Wacom One vs Cintiq Pen Displays in 2023

Comparing Wacom’s entry-level screen tablets
Date Updated: 
December 20, 2023
When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more
We’re going to be comparing the Wacom One with the Wacom Cintiq 16 - two of Wacom’s more affordable screen tablets, both well suited to being someone’s first screen tablet. Which one should you pick?
Contents (hide)

The Wacom One 12, 13 and the Cintiq 16 are all quite similar pen displays, with a few key differences that really affect what they are each best at.

Trying to figure out which one you should get? Let’s cut to the chase shall we.

If portability is not important to you, and you plan to use your tablet in a single spot, like at a desk, I would go for the Cintiq 16. If portability is important, a Wacom One is more portable but an iPad would probably serve you better than a One with a laptop.

The Cintiq 16 is more comfortable to paint on because of its larger size. But that extra size makes it unfeasible to carry around. It’s just too big, like all 16 inch tablets.

The Wacom Ones are smaller, and you can make professional work on tablets those sizes, but they can feel cramped. This also means they are more portable - they are small and light enough to carry with a small laptop, but at that point why not buy an iPad?

There’s a lot more to say though, so I‘ll break this down further:

Wacom One and Cintiq Features

Here’s everything in a nice table for you!

By the way, I chose to omit the Cintiq 22 from the comparison. It’s a good tablet, but has a completely different audience to the One line of pen displays. There’s little point incomparing them.

Comparison Table
Feature Wacom One 12 Wacom One 13 Wacom Cintiq 16
Price $399.95 $599.95 $499.95
Screen Size 11.6-inch 13.3-inch 15.4-inch
Resolution 1920x1080px 1920x1080px 1920x1080px
Color Gamut Coverage 99% sRGB 99% sRGB 99% sRGB
Touch No Yes No
Best usecase Super-niche Portability Portability with Touch Desk tablet
Stylus Wacom One Standard Pen Wacom One Standard Pen Wacom Pro Pen 2
Pen buttons 2 2 2 and eraser
Pen Pressure Levels 4096 4096 8192
Stand None None Adjustable Legs
Dimensions 299x190x11mm 336x222x12mm 422x285x25mm
Weight 700 grams 900 grams 1900 grams


The Wacom Ones are compact and lightweight, making them both very portable. The One 12 is a little more portable than its older brother, but that’s all it really has going for it.

The Cintiq 16 is just the wrong side of portable. It’s too large and cumbersome to carry it around with you regularly, especially when you also need a laptop with you.

Dimensions and Weight:

  • Wacom One 12 - 299 x 190 x 11 mm, 700 grams
  • Wacom One 13 - 336 x 222 x 12 mm, 900 grams
  • Cintiq 16 - 422 x 285 x 25 mm, 1900 grams

How do their screens compare?

Just to make sure everyone is aware, both the Wacom Ones and the Cintiqs need a PC or Laptop to function. These are not all-in-one tablets like the iPad, they are essentially fancy screens connected to a pc or a laptop.

All in all, their screens are very similar, the largest and most impactful difference being the size. They are all 1920x1080 Full HD, and the Color Accuracy of all tablets is sRGB 99%.

The Cintiq 16 has a 15.4” screen and no multi-touch, meaning you really need a keyboard to use it effectively.

It’s comfortable to paint on, as the 15.4” screen is just big enough to fit your full canvas on with your main palettes and tools.

It’s not enough screen space to let you fit much more than that though. A larger device does allow you to have a bunch more palettes, other windows, all kinds of extra stuff at the sides of the same screen, but the Cintiq 16 works best if you keep your view just to the art and most important palettes.

As for the Wacom Ones, the 12 has a 11.6-inch screen without multi-touch and the One 13 has a 13.3-inch multi-touch screen.

That multi-touch the 13 has makes a big difference; it means you can get by without a keyboard, which is a win for portability.

Strangely, the Wacom One 12 doesn’t have touch. It’s the most portable of the lot, but without touch you need a keyboard to paint on it efficiently, undermining its portability. It’s such a strange decision by Wacom not to give the 12 multi-touch!

Professional work can be done on the Wacom One’s, but they are cramped. You get used to such small screens, but they certainly aren’t optimal. Forget about having other windows and palettes open while you work; just one and you’ll really feel your painting space is constricted.

But if you’re worried about the screen space, for most of my career I’ve used 13” devices. I started with the Cintiq 12WX, then the 13” Cintiq Companion, and my current tool of choice is a 12.9” iPad Pro.

Extra space does make things easier, but 13” is completely viable.

Stylus Comparison - One pen vs Pro Pen 2

Implied by the Pro Pen 2’s name is the idea that it’s for professionals. You then might expect that the One Pen is not for professionals.

But in reality, you can barely tell the difference between them.

Sure, the Pro Pen 2 has an eraser at the end and the One Pen doesn’t, and the Pro Pen 2 has 8192 levels of pressure sensitivity where the One Pen only has 4096.

But the Pro Pen eraser button sucks, and you probably wont ever use it. And the difference between 4096 and 8192 levels of pressure sensitivity is completely unnoticeable while painting.

The biggest difference between the two styluses is the more ergonomic design of the Pro Pen 2. It has a larger grip, and is a little easier to handle over long drawing sessions, but you can absolutely do professional work on the One Pen.

As for other little features, they both have ±60° tilt, and both tablets have fabric loop pen holders; the Cintiq 16’s holder is detachable and includes extra pen tips and a nib removal tool.

Do they have Shortcut Buttons? Touch?

Neither tablet has built-in shortcut buttons, which means you either need a keyboard to pair with the tablet, or touch functionality to add gestures and shortcuts to your workflow. 

The Wacom One 13 has the touch functionality, and the lightweight, portable nature. The Cintiq 16 doesn’t have touch, meaning it pretty much needs to be used with a keyboard, further reinforcing the idea that it should be desk-bound.

The One 12 doesn’t have touch either, as I said earlier, so in my opinion it’s completely inferior to both.

What about their stands?

Not a particularly good situation for any of them to be honest.

The Cintiq 16 has little leggies that come out of the back of the device, but honestly, they aren’t enough. You’re going to want to get some sort of stand anyway, if you plan on sitting at a desk.

The Wacom Ones now don’t come with a stand of any sort - you have to buy something additional. The stands Wacom offers are portable, but I’m not a fan of them. They aren’t adjustable enough.

Instead, for the all of these pen displays I would recommend you check out my iPad equipment article and consider the Huion stand paired with the Nexstand that I describe a little way down the article. Together, they work well with all of these screen tablets and will let you adjust the height and angle easily.

Do Wacom One and Cintiq 16 have Android Support?

This isn't something I would have considered writing about a few years ago, but today there are some pretty powerful android devices out there, and you could feasibly paint on them!

That is, if you have a Wacom One, and not a Cintiq 16. The Cintiq 16 does not support android, but the Wacom One does, improving its portability even further, as you could just hook it up to your phone and paint away.

Of course, that‘s a super portable situation - as you probably already carry your phone with you, now you just need to bring the tablet too.

You’d think this is what the Wacom One 12 version was designed for, but as it doesn’t have a touch-screen you’ll need to carry a keyboard with you to paint efficiently. I’m really annoyed about this!

What’s Inside the Box:

Here’s a table of the accessories included with both the Wacom One tablets and the Wacom Cintiq 16.

Comparison Table
Wacom One 12 Pen Display Wacom One 13 Touch Pen Display Wacom Cintiq 16 Pen Display
Wacom One Standard Pen Wacom One Standard Pen Wacom Pro Pen 2
Power Adapter with regional plug head Power Adapter with regional plug head Power Adapter with Power cable
2 x USB-C cables 2 x USB-C cables 3-in-1 cable
Quick Start Guide Quick Start Guide Quick Start Guide
- - Built-in Pen Holder with Nib Extractor and 3 Nibs

So which should you get?

I think it should be clear now that the Wacom Ones are better for portability, and the Cintiq 16 is better for those looking to keep their tablet at their desk.

The Wacom One is suitable for beginners, budget-friendly and you can definitely make professional work on it. It’s portable friendly too, and can even be hooked up to an android phone instead of a laptop for even more portability - just make sure to buy the 13 and not the 12, for the multi-touch functionality.

The Wacom Cintiq 16’s main advantage is the screen space, which makes it more comfortable to paint on. It’s a better choice if you’re desk-bound, when you’re likely to have a keyboard anyway and wouldn’t use the touch of the One 13.

As for the Wacom One 12, it’s such a niche piece of kit I’m not sure who I could recommend it to. You know the problem with it by now: it can connect to an android phone, which is cool, but it has no touch functionality, so you need to cart a keyboard around with you, defeating the purpose of getting the most portable version. You may as well get the 13 In that case.

Hey, I’m Christopher

I started making digital art in 2009, became a full-time freelance artist in 2016, and now I’m able to work on my own schedule from anywhere in the world.

I created this blog to help other artists make the same journey.

SelfEmployedArtist.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program,  an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. We also participate in similar affiliate advertising progams for Skillshare, Squarespace and others.