Wacom Cintiq Pro 17 Review

The Wacom Cintiq Pro 17 ($2,499.95) interactive monitor is the smallest of the company’s three Cintiq Pro models to emerge since 2022. It’s also the least expensive of the models with 4K UHD resolution, and the only one whose base price includes a stand. Its screen looks gorgeous, and you may prefer its small footprint even if you’re not working with limited space. In fact, much about the Cintiq Pro 17 just feels more reasonable than the comparatively massive Wacom Cintiq Pro 27. That, plus the fact that all of the new Cintiq Pro models deliver more or less equal pro-level performance, means the Cintiq Pro 17 earns an Editors’ Choice award as an excellent smaller interactive display for digital artists.

Design: Small But Mighty

Measuring 16.7 by 10 by 0.8 inches, the 4.9-pound Cintiq Pro 17 is, unlike its larger siblings, close in size to a very large laptop or tablet rather than a traditional computer monitor. The space saved is welcome, but to be fair, when you take what’s so impressive about the larger models and apply it to a smaller footprint, some things translate better than others. The 17.3-inch screen itself still looks amazing—crisp, with a matte surface that has very little glare. However, the included stand places the screen at a height and angle, at least on my desktop, that resulted in far more light reflecting off its surface than would be the case if it could be angled forward even slightly. (An adjustable stand is an optional extra.) Also, the 0.9-inch black bezel is the same width as on the Wacom Cintiq Pro 22, but surrounding this smaller screen, its presence feels a bit wider and therefore less elegant.

Since 1982, PCMag has tested and rated thousands of products to help you make better buying decisions. See how we test.

The Power button, Display Settings button, and Touch switch are located on the back panel, on the upper left (behind the upper right corner when you’re facing the screen). The switch allows you to quickly enable or disable the capacitive-touch feature for the screen. We’ll discuss the display-setting button later in the review.

Wacom Cintiq Pro 17: Back Hinge and Express Keys

(Credit: Joseph Maldonado)

The Express Key buttons are arrayed along the grain-leather-like surface of the indented grips on the left and right side panels. They’re highly customizable in the Wacom Center app, but by default, they’re programmed (from top to bottom) for Radial Menu (we’ll discuss this in a different section), pen-display modification (this menu allows quick access to common keyboard modifiers and mouse clicks using the pen), Display toggle (this lets you use the display as a mouse pad for your other displays), and Change Settings, which opens the Wacom Center software. Since it’s useful to have the Wacom app up and running in the background already, this button in particular seems like a strong candidate to be swapped out with a more useful function—but all of the buttons can be switched, and the two sets of control keys needn’t mirror each other.

The Express Keys are easy enough to operate, but if the Cintiq Pro 17 instead offered tactile or capacitive touch controls along the bezel, they would be easier still. When you’re using the display, you can’t see the Express Keys; you can only feel for them, and the top two buttons in particular are placed very close together.

Wacom Cintiq Pro 17: Ports

(Credit: Joseph Maldonado)

The input panel is a recessed array at the top of the back panel. It houses, from left to right, a Mini DisplayPort, a USB-C port (for connecting to computers), an HDMI port, and a second USB-C port (for connecting to the included power supply). Unlike with the other Cintiq Pro models, there’s no cover for these connections, nor any cable cinches attached to the back. Unlike with the 22-inch model, you don’t get the full host of cables included. Aside from the included power supply, only a 6-foot USB-C-to-USB-C cable is included.

Inside, the Cintiq Pro 17 has a cooling fan, akin to those found in most laptops. We never heard it kick in during testing in late autumn in a climate-controlled studio. A hot room on a sweltering summer’s day might trigger the fan system more often, but based on our experience with the Cintiq Pro 27, we’d be surprised if the fan was loud, as quieter cooling was one of the major upgrades introduced with that model. The two vents that run along the top panel also help keep the display from getting hot—it felt warm at times, but never uncomfortably so.

The display is compatible with Windows 10 and 11, macOS 11 or later, and Linux.

Take a Stand (You’ll Want to Buy One, Too)

Unlike the larger Cintiq Pro models, the Cintiq Pro 17 includes a basic, non-adjustable stand that screws into the back panel. We imagine most users will eventually want to spring for the highly adjustable $449.95 Wacom Cintiq Pro 17 Stand, which is slightly less expensive than the optional stands for the 22- and 27-inch models. Think of the included stand as a workaround for those who maybe want to spread the spending out a bit—most people would be able to make do with the provided stand for a certain period of time. Issues with it include lack of control over how the room lighting hits the screen, and lack of control over whether the angle and height on your desk might eventually cause neck or shoulder strain. The best I can say about the included stand is that it does feel sturdy, and prevents any sort of bounce or movement from happening. But part of the Cintiq Pro magic is the availability of the optional stand that allows for any sort of micro adjustments to the screen angle and tilt you can think of. The photos that accompany this review show the Cintiq Pro 17 paired with this optional adjustable stand.

Wacom Cintiq Pro 17: Side View with Stand

(Credit: Joseph Maldonado)

Like the stands for the larger models, the optional Cintiq Pro 17 stand is heavy and more or less negates the fact that the display itself is a mere 4.9 pounds. That said, it has a smaller footprint than the larger models do, and works essentially in the exact same way otherwise—it’s just a mini version of the big stands. A sliding lever on the neck of the stand is easy to lock and unlock, allowing for 20 degrees of rotation in either direction, and a wide range of angles, from nearly vertical to fully horizontal, as well as a significant range of backward angling. When you’ve got your angle, locking it in place is just as easy, and the stand is exceptionally sturdy. In addition to the excellent tilt, you can also adjust the height—some users might be able to work standing up, thanks to the range of the stand. (That’ll depend on user height and desktop height, of course.)

Cintiq Pro Display Settings, Explained

The screen itself has an active area of 15 by 8.5 inches. The edge-to-edge etched-glass surface provides the near-paper-like feel you’d expect from a Wacom display—the nib moves naturally across its surface. You can draw while resting your hand on the screen, even with the multi-point touch support enabled, since the tablet has excellent palm rejection (meaning it generally doesn’t mistake the side of your hand or your palm as an input). You can find screens that feel nearly as good as this one, like the Xencelabs Pen Display 24, but Wacom is the clear front-runner when it comes to interactive display design, and this is a fantastic smaller-sized interactive display.

Wacom Cintiq Pro 17: Display Settings Adjustment

(Credit: Wacom)

Some aspects are less than stellar, though, including the Display Settings menu. You can only access these important settings by pressing the button next to the Power button on the back panel, and then navigating the dated-looking menus that appear using the Express Keys. In one field, the keys might control up and down menu navigation, but in another it’s left or right. It’s a clunky experience that doesn’t make sense for a product this expensive—why not just have these settings easily accessible in the Wacom Center app? Xencelabs has a display-settings menu in its app, and it’s a far better user experience when making these crucial adjustments.

Complaints aside, you can adjust color mode in the app—the options are PQ Rec.2100, EBU, sRGB, Display P3, Rec.2020, Rec.709, DCI-P3, AdobeRGB, Native, and Custom. You’ll also find the ability to adjust brightness, contrast, peak luminance, and manually switch the input source.

Included Extras: Pen, Accessories, and Tray

The included Wacom Pro Pen 3 employs the electromagnetic resonance (EMR) technology that put Wacom on the map—it needs no battery or charging, instead pulling the power it needs from the display’s surface. If you’re making the transition from working with a mouse to a pen, one important thing to know is that a few inches away from the screen, the cursor is inactive, as are the buttons—this is pretty standard for a modern digital stylus, but with no onscreen controls to help you when the stylus isn’t close enough, you may sometimes find yourself reaching for the mouse.

The Pro Pen 3 has 8,192 pressure levels and a resolution of 0.005mm/point, with 60-degree tilt recognition. It feels good in the hand—especially with the weighted accessory piece installed—and pressing harder results in beautifully graduated line thickness. The Wacom Center app allows for fine-tuning just how much the pen responds to pressure, as well.

Wacom Cintiq Pro 17: Using the Pen

(Credit: Joseph Maldonado)

The pen is exceptionally accurate, with no discernible parallax issues. Since Wacom feels it has essentially eliminated parallax concerns, there’s no actual pen calibration in the software. You can customize a pen-tip offset in the advanced menu for the Pro Pen 3 in the app, but with the default settings, I had no trouble performing precise pen-based tasks and drawings. Surely not everyone will agree, but I don’t see the lack of a pen-calibration tool as a negative.

By default, the pen’s three buttons are assigned to Erase, Pan/Scroll, and Right Click—these can be changed to a wide variety of commands, and you can also make app-specific functions for each button. 

The touch-display function, easily enabled or disabled with a switch behind the top right corner, is well implemented. Not every user needs it, but those who do will find a graceful response—along with the ability to program multitouch gestures. The pen can also be programmed with custom gestures in the Wacom Center app—we’ll discuss that below. The usefulness of this feature more or less depends on what apps you’re using and how well their interfaces are laid out for touch.

Wacom Cintiq Pro 17: With Pro Pen 3

(Credit: Joseph Maldonado)

The pen tray’s lid opens to reveal the accessories: two grips; three extra button plates (including one with no buttons for those who just want a smooth surface and to utilize screen keys for shortcuts); a balanced, weighted piece that can be placed inside the pen; five standard replacement nibs; five felt nibs; and the nib-removal ring tool.

The placement of the threaded mounts for the pen tray is tricky. The only threaded mount on the top panel is dead center, and actually makes contact with the cables connected to the panel below it. It’s a minor design flaw: The only way to screw in the tray up top forces the tray to press down on the power cable and whatever other cables you have connected, bending the cables near the connection point. That’s typically a no-no, and a great way to shorten the life of cables, and even connections. Thus, we recommend using the side mounts—there’s one on each side panel, near the grips that house the Express Keys.

Despite its overall functionality, there’s a decidedly less-than-premium feel to the build of the plastic tray and lid. Internal compartments can come loose, and the lid can be difficult to close securely.

The Wacom Center app is well-designed—aside from our complaint about it not having access to the display menu settings—with a thoughtfully laid-out user interface that includes embedded tips and tutorials. At the top left of the screen, you’ll find tabs for Devices, On-Screen Shortcuts, and Software Offers. In Devices, a left-side menu lists the Cintiq Pro 17’s various accessories and controls: the Pro Pen 3, Express Keys, Touch & Gestures, and Display Settings (which is really just a graphic that explains you can only access the actual display settings using the onboard button). 

Wacom Cintiq Pro 17: Pro Pen 3 Buttons

(Credit: Wacom)

The Pro Pen 3 screen clearly displays the default pen settings—from functions assigned to the buttons (by default, from top down: Erase, Pan/Scroll, and Right Click) to tip sensitivity. A drawing area is provided for you to test-drive the settings and make adjustments. Below this screen, the supported apps, such as those from the Adobe suite, will appear. Tapping on Adobe Premiere’s icon in the app allows you to make button adjustments and shortcuts specifically for that app only. It’s easy to add in these customized settings, and the process is intuitive, with pop-up menus that show you your options, from keyboard shortcuts to pen gestures.

Wacom Cintiq Pro 17: Touch and Gesture Guide

(Credit: Wacom)

Express Keys, similarly, have a wide breadth of options you can assign to them, and they don’t have to remain in their mirrored default state. Touch and two-finger gestures are customizable to a degree—in the default settings, a two-finger tap performs a right click, swiping up and down scrolls, pinches zoom in or out, a circular gesture rotates the image, double-taps handle smart zooms, and swiping your fingers to the edge calls up the Notifications menu. Two fingers are required for these gestures—and you can disable some and keep others. The advanced gestures require three , four, or five fingers that can be assigned to open various apps or functions. If this sounds like more than you feel you need to program, these can all be ignored, but the touch functionality, especially the advanced gestures, can be fine-tuned and customized.

You can also customize the virtual buttons of the pie-chart-like Radial menu, which appears or vanishes with the press of an Express key. The On-Screen Shortcuts tab handles this menu as well as the Grid Panel menu option. (The Radial menu is for pen use, and the grid options are for touch.) The app has tutorials for using these menus and customizing them.

Wacom Cintiq Pro 17: Control Center Menu

(Credit: Wacom)

Finally, the Software Offers tab requires you to create an account and sign in (or you can sign in with Google, Facebook, or X). The Cintiq Pro 17 comes with bonus software and trial bundles from Toon Boom and others. 

Testing the Cintiq Pro 17: Good Contrast, Weak Adobe RGB Coverage

According to Wacom’s listed specs, the Cintiq Pro 17’s 16:9 screen has a 3,840-by-2,160-pixel resolution, displays 1.07 billion colors, and is Pantone- and Pantone Skin-certified. The display is rated to cover a relatively low 88% of the Adobe RGB gamut—compared with 95% for the 22-inch model and 99% for the 27-inch—offers DCI-P3 coverage of 99%, and shows 100% of the Rec. 709 gamut. Brightness is rated for 400 nits max, which is equal to the 27-inch model and better than the 22-inch model’s 300 nits. The refresh rate is 120Hz, which means, according to Wacom, near-zero screen latency.

We tested the Cintiq Pro 17’s brightness, contrast ratio, and color coverage using our standard test gear: a Klein K-10A colorimeter, a Murideo SIX-G signal generator, and Portrait Displays Calman 5 calibration software. It exceeded its brightness rating, testing at 427 nits. That should go a long way toward offsetting the effects of any ambient light in your studio. The panel has a rated typical contrast ratio of 1,000:1, the most common contrast ratio for IPS monitors, and it tested a little above that, at 1,116:1.

Wacom Cintiq Pro 17 DCI-P3 Chromaticity Chart

(Credit: Portrait Displays)

In our testing, the Cintiq Pro 17 covered 100% of the sRGB space (which is very similar to Rec. 709) and 98.1% of DCI-P3 (see the chromaticity chart above). For Adobe RGB, it exceeded its rating with 91.8% coverage (see the chart below), but that is a low bar to clear. For professional monitors to be used for preparing art or photos to print, we look for at least 95% Adobe RGB coverage.

Wacom Cintiq Pro 17 Adobe RGB Chromaticity Chart

(Credit: Portrait Displays)

Verdict: A Right-Sized Cintiq Pro, Priced Right

The Wacom Cintiq Pro 17 is the most affordable of the new Cintiq Pro models, and reasonably presents some minor disappointments where sacrifices had to be made—the screen specs are not all as pro-level as we’d like to see for this price. Regardless, plenty of users will sacrifice a minor degree of color coverage on their interactive display in order to have a better, more precisely responsive surface. Of the new models, the Cintiq Pro 17 is the one most likely to fit crowded workspaces and small desks without it feeling like a jumbotron is parked on your workspace.

Wacom Cintiq Pro 17: With Photoshop

(Credit: Joseph Maldonado)

True, arguably better Wacom models do exist—but they’re more expensive, and enormous by comparison. Just remember, if you are interested in a larger screen but the prices scare you, the Editors’ Choice-winning Xencelabs Pen Display 24 is also quite good and comes with a haul of accessories—including an adjustable stand—for a lower price. And, if budget is not a concern, the massive Cintiq Pro 27 doesn’t disappoint. Otherwise, the Cintiq Pro 17 offers a nearly top-notch experience for digital artists with smaller spaces and budgets.

Like What You’re Reading?

Sign up for Lab Report to get the latest reviews and top product advice delivered right to your inbox.

This newsletter may contain advertising, deals, or affiliate links. Subscribing to a newsletter indicates your consent to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. You may unsubscribe from the newsletters at any time.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply

Compare items
  • Total (0)
Shopping cart