Top positive review
Good alternaitive to Wacom pen/display tablet
20 September 2017
This is a review of the xp-pen artist 16, it's not a paid review or a biased one as I purchased this myself. I've used a variety of digitizers over the years as a photographer, retoucher and have strayed into digital art too. I've used Wacom Cintiq's and cheap huion Tablets too.
I got this as I wanted a cintiq but didn't want to pay as much as they were asking for the 13" HD model. So after a trawl of the internet and watchign a plethora of reviews. I though I would give this pen display a go.
I'm impressed with the packaging, sturdy box and everything secured inside foam cutouts. The device feels sturdy, if plasticky.
I'm going to move onto the good points and the bad points here now.
Sturdily built, the adjustable stand is strong, and offers a nice variety of viewing angles. Unlike the wacoms that often only have the three cut outs in the stand. The express keys are nicely placed and fall under the thumb of my left hand well enough.
The stylus, feels a little cheap but is comfortable to use, and holds a good amount of charge once it is fully charged up ( you also get two and a spare nibs, always a good thing.)
Drawing on the display is nice enough too, there is a screen protector on it so even the most heavy handed among us can worry less about scratching the screen, There is a little parallax but nothing too much to worry about. You only get 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity but that should be more than enough for most of us.
Most software appears to run okay with it. I've started using Affinity photo and it seems to work okay...pressure sensitivity is there with your brushes etc. (I'll cover a big "BUT!" in the bad).
You can rotate the display to allow for use properly if you are left handed....really important that this is in place for those that are left hookers as it means you won't be reaching across yourself to access the express keys and will get a nicer experience.
Now the BAD:
Driver set up can be a pain, even when uninstalling previous tablet drivers. It took several attempts to get it working as it should and even then it would misbehave when tracking the stylus.
Nine point calibration.... You need more points to calibrate the screen properly and have accurate tracking. It may seem a minor niggle but it was something I found disappointing.
The colours on the display once you turn it on are WAY off, you need to calibrate it. Mind you I'd do that with any new display. However this display is a lot warmer in tone that you'd like to see when you first get it. I used my spyder pro to calibrate it, but even now it's a little off compared to my main display.
Now here is a big caveat....There is no pressure sensitivity when using Adobe Photoshop CC 2017. You can use the stylus, but you lose any nuanced control of a brush via pressure such as opacity and brush thickness. I have, as mentioned above started using Affinity Photo, but I still have a subscription to Photoshop CC. It works fine with CS6...Which point to CC 2017 needing to use the Windows Ink drivers....So until there's a driver update I cant use it (this is on my windows boxes so can't speak for Mac users here.)
This is a good basic pen/display....it's just not as great as it could be. I would like to be able to recommend it, I just can't, not as it is. Little niggles rising up to combine into a major let down.
I will give it a while longer to see if I can get it working with PS cc2017....but I feel this may be going back and spend a few more pennies to get what I need. Shame really as I wanted to like it..
Would just like to say I'm impressed with XP-Pen's swift response to my review....The comments below, and the email I've had regarding a fix...nicely done. I will give the fix a go later and adjust my review accordingly...Thanks again
Okay, I've added the text file to PS2017, and it works quite well. Pen pressure works okay, as does opacity.....So Kudos for XP-pen for getting in touch and helping me out....However, it would have been more helpful if they had included this in the manual or a text file on the CD or as a download on their support page. Having looked into the issue, it's quite a well recognised thing. I'm impressed by it now it's actually working the way I need it to. XP-PEN have been in touch and asked for the reviews star rating to be adjusted, considering the customer support I feel it's justified.