Wacom just broke free from the computer with two new Cintiq Companion graphics tablets, both of which offer features that may appeal to photographers.
Each tablet is equipped with a 13.3-inch, full HD display as well as an 8-megapixel (rear) and a 2-megapixel (front) HD camera. The touchscreen displays are compatible with Wacom pressure sensitive pens. Unlike other Wacom tablets, however, these Companion models operate as standalone devices so you can take them on the road.
The Companion runs on Windows 8/Windows 8 Pro (included) and comes with a 256GB or 512GB solid state drive. For photographers, this means you can run full-featured applications such as Adobe Photoshop. It's equipped with two USB 3.0 ports, video out, wireless, Bluetooth, a headphone jack, microphone and two speakers.
The Companion Hybrid is an Android 4.2 Jelly Bean tablet that is also PC and Mac compatible, like the traditional Wacom Cintiqs, so you can easily hook it up to your computer as a touchscreen display. Like its sibling, connectivity is available via wireless and Bluetooth; it also features USB 2.0 and HDMI ports, headphone jack, microphone and video out. You'll need to hook it up to a computer to work in Adobe Photoshop and other full software applications. As a standalone, you'll be able to use compatible Android apps for photo and video editing.
Wacom also announced the new iPad-compatible (3, 4, Mini or newer) Intuos Creative Stylus. The stylus communicates with the iPad via Bluetooth 4.0 Smart, although its pressure sensitive and shortcut button features will work only with compatible apps.
You'll have to dig deep into your pockets if you want one of these tablets, though. The Companion Hybrid will set you back $1499 (16GB) or $1599 (32GB); the Companion is priced at $1999 (Windows 8/256GB SSD) and $2499 (Windows 8 Pro/512GB SSD). The Hybrid should be available mid-September; the Companion in October on the Wacom eStore. An optional Bluetooth keyboard is available for both tablets.