So of the Time Lords… well, it’s pretty self-explanatory.  Some thoughts once had just need to be exorcised from the brain.  In this case, the thought was “If the road runner wanted to cosplay the doctor, what could he wear?”  It kinda snowballed from there, but if the road runner was the doctor, the coyote as the master was an obvious fit… up to no good, a genius, but every so slightly… off.  Regardless, a google image search found no such image, so stylus hits screen, and we have this…

As per technology, well, I had a chance to take a look at Yiyinova’s newest Cintiq alternative, the MVP22U.  Now, when I say “had a chance”, I mean I bought one, so here are my thoughts.

Front and back view of the monitor

The short review:

The above comic was drawn with a wacom product not the Yiyinova.  That is on it’s way back to the supplier.

The long review:

I had been waiting all summer for the promised MVP22U to be released for sale.  I was thrilled when I was browsing through Amazon and noticed that it was finally available and that there were *8* in stock.  At $849 for a 22″ HD Cintiq replacement, I had to bite, so I placed my order.  They only offer one shipping option, so I hit the payment button and prepped myself for the 3-5 days wait…

…so I was a wee bit surprised the next afternoon when the UPS guy knocked on the door with a very large box in his arms!!!  Huzzah!  The Panda City did a good job packing it, so there was no damage, and everything looked good.  The build quality is what you’d expect from a Chinese import… nothing fancy, but functional.  The screen appears to be clipped into the back with several tabs over the top and bottom of the monitor.  I know this because I had to reseat the tabs when I took the monitor out of the box as the screen was slipping, but everything snapped back into place with no problems.

The stand has a great adjustment range, but the lever to release the stand is on the back of the monitor, so you have to reach up and over the monitor every time you want to change the angle… which can be ergonomically difficult depending upon your setup.  Other than that, though, no complaints.  It adjusted well and was stable.

To install, I uninstalled all the wacom drivers from my system (as they are incompatible with the yiyinova drivers), rebooted the system, installed the yiyinova drivers and then plugged in the monitor.  It has an attached vga connector, so I had to use an adapter to my dvi/hdmi card, but I had just bought one the other day, so I was good to go.  There is also a single usb attachement and the power brick cable.

A quick note about the power cable:  The 19-inch version of the monitor, comes with a cable that has a 90° connector that orients down to the bottom of the monitor and is constantly crimping as the monitor is tilted upward.  This new version has a straight connector which comes out of the side and is not in the way or in danger or crimp damage.

Compared to the non-HD versions of the Cintiq (the 20wsx to be exact), the colors on the yiyinova are much, much better.  The screen is vibrant and color reproduction is what you would expect from a typical lcd monitor (as opposed to the wacoms which are always very muted).  The viewing angle on the yiyinova, however, is terrible.  The specs say you get 80° up and down and 85° left and right… so basically, you can only enjoy those colors when you are looking directly at it… but hey, it’s meant for drawing, so that isn’t too big of a problem.

The stylus has the typical rocker button but no eraser end.  I found right away that I missed having it there, but considering the savings over the cintiq, I was willing to go with it.  The stylus uses a battery, but even loaded the stylus was lighter than wacom’s… I prefer a bit more heft, but it was comfortable in the hand.  The only nibs supplied were the white plastic variety (no felt or spring loaded), and are not interchangeable with Wacom’s (different shape).

The unit has a glass plate over the LCD, so parallax may be an issue for some, but it didn’t seem any better or worse than what you find on the Cintiq.  The software includes a 9-point screen calibration, so with a few seconds effort, you can be happily drawing on that glass!

…well mostly happily.  The tech is pretty darn good.  The lines draw without jaggies, misses or lag.  The pressure sensitivity is amazing!  Both Wacom and Yiyinova claim 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity.  However, I find without exaggerated lift, it’s hard to get really fine lines on the wacom.  The default seems to be a fairly thick line which you alter in either direction with pressure.  With the Yiyinova, on the other hand, the lines are fine from the start and you add pressure to thicken them up.  I’m not explaining this well, but let’s just leave it at it’s easier to produce a natural line variance on the Yiyinova than the wacom… any wacom.

They’ve also added 8 programmable buttons to the MVP22U.  I don’t use that many of the buttons on the wacoms, but the few that I do, I don’t want to go without, so I was glad to see them added.  They made an odd choice and placed them across the top of the monitor which isn’t the most natural place to reach, but whatever… they’re there which is the important point.

So… good colors, nice lines, a few perks… why did I send it back?

My computer has room for two monitors, and I depend upon the two monitors for drawing and general computing.  It is in the area of acting as a general display that I found the MVP22U disappointing… well… annoying… actually, just pretty darned unusable.  It’s a full 1920×1080 pixels, but the dot pitch isn’t everything it should be, so fine screen lines like say… text on a screen just looked… thin.  And any bold text looked… jagged.  Imagine if you had turned ClearType text off on your system… that is what text looked like on the yiyinova…   No amount of adjustment could seem to clean it up… the monitor offers the usual adjustments, but nothing… phase, brightness, contrast, etc. seemed to help.  I’d start tweaking and thing I was making headway, but always, always ended up with jagged bolds and too thin regular text.  I don’t know how many times I went in to adjust ClearType, but there was no joy in Mudville.  I should point out that fine lines while drawing also showed this “thinness” to the extent that I was constantly zooming to be sure it was a solid line…

I gave it a few days to see if I could get used to it, but not a chance.  It just annoyed me more and more… eyestrain is just not my thing, so everything was packed back up and sent back to The Panda City.  They’ve handled everything courteously so far, and I expect to see the refund when they receive the package.  I did have to pay shipping on the return, but what can you do?!?

So, the MVP22U didn’t work for me.  The digitizer is great, but they’ve cut too many corners on the LCD.  Now if you have the space to have the monitor dedicated as just a drawing tool, you may find that it works very well for you, but I couldn’t fit it into my workflow.  If they come out with a revised version with a better viewing angle and increased dot pitch, though, I’d be happy to give it a go.  For now, I’ll just drop another dollar into the Cintiq fund jar….