Category Archives: Wacom alternative

Wacom alternatives are lower-cost tablets similar to the Wacom Cintiq or Intuos and Bamboo graphics tablets. While they don’t have the more advanced features of the Cintiq, they can be effective digital art tools. They have EMR digitizers and usually get 2,048 levels of pressure sensitivity. Companies include XP Pen, Ugee, Parblo, Yiynova, Bosto, Monoprice, Turcom, and more.

This category does not include tablets such as the Dell Canvas that are similar to a Cintiq, nor does it include things like the Surface Pro. It only includes products by smaller companies whose tablets are affordable alternatives to Wacom. In cases where there is a low-priced all-in-one (tablet that is also a computer) I have included it, such as the Mytrix.

best cheap drawing tablets

Best cheap drawing tablets: 10 for [2017-2018]

best cheap drawing tablets

Best cheap drawing tablets: our favorites for 2017-2018

Starving artist? Look no farther.

“What are the best cheap drawing tablets?” seems to be a question on the minds of many. It seems to be a good time to do this post. I’ve been lucky enough to be able to test quite a few. I’m a believer in these.

Here are top picks and links to our reviews.

CHEAP GRAPHICS PADS FOR PC OR MAC
  
Huion 610 Pro
Read Huion 610 Pro review
International customers
Wacom Intuos Draw
wacom-intuos-draw
target="_blank">Read Intuos Draw reviewInternational customers
Wacom Intuos Art Pen & Touch
Read Intuos Pen & Touch review
International customers
BUDGET PEN DISPLAYS
XP-Pen Artist 22E

Read XP-Pen Artist 22E review
International customers
PNBOO PN2150
Read PNBOO PN2150 reviewUK customers
(only in US and UK right now)
Ugee 1910B
Read Ugee 1910B review
International customers
Artisul D13
Artisul D13 reviewInternational customers
STANDALONE MOBILE AND 2-in-1s
Samsung Galaxy Tab A with S Pen
Read Galaxy Tab A with S Pen review
International customers
Lenovo Yoga Book
Read Yoga Book review

International customers
Lenovo Miix 320
Read about Miix 320International customers

I’ve made a list that includes othe 3 different types: cheap graphics tablets without screens, budget tablet monitors, and affordable Android tablets or cheap 2-in-1 tablet PCs. All come with an active pen.

If we were talking about traditional art supplies, I would say to spend more, because of factors such as pigment, fillers, and lightfastness. But pixels are pixels. It’s the experience of using the tablet, and its reliability, that matter the most.

An good cheap drawing tablet does most of the same thing as an expensive drawing tablet. Some might say you shouldn’t penny pinch, but the price difference can be huge.

Below I go over the differences and want to look for.

Ultra cheap pen display

I’ve tested and reviewed this PNBoo PN10 as a small ultra-cheap tablet monitor. It has Express Keys. I think this is a good choice if you’re willing to download a different driver (please read review).

A cheaper graphics tablet is the Turcom TS 6610, which is similar (with small hardware and driver differences) to the Huion 610Pro. If you use the Huion driver, you’re better off.

 

bestcheapdrawingtablets (1)

Dog knows.

Cheap tablets vs. Wacom

Build

Cheap drawing tablets, and their pens, are made mostly of plastic and thus are lighter. Parts are metal, including the stand. Expensive drawing tablets have more metal alloy and tend to weigh more.

Features and hardware

These budget brands, and most others, use EMR, which is the same type of technology that Wacom uses in their digitizers. EMR is highly sensitive, so you will not be missing out in terms of pen responsiveness.

Lower-cost tablets usually have no tilt sensitivity, no multitouch (ability to finger paint). A cheap drawing tablet won’t get pressure sensitivity in vector programs such as Adobe Illustrator or Inkscape.

For vector art, the best option is to use Clip Studio Paint, where you can get pressure sensitivity with a budget tablet. Though those files stay in their native file type and can’t be exported to .eps or .ai files.

Cheap graphics tablets don’t have a wireless kit the way the Intuos non-Pro models do (note, that costs extra).

Most budget tablet monitors lack external, customizable Express Keys. Some do, though.

Cheap tablet monitors come with a stand, but the stand doesn’t swivel the way Wacoms do.

Budget tablets usually have 2048 levels of pressure and Wacoms have up to 8192, though some still have 1024. All are fine.

Generally, a cheap drawing tablet won’t come with bundled art software. Wacom Intuoses do, though.

Wacom Intuos as a cheap drawing tablet

As you can see, two Wacom Intuoses are named as a best cheap graphics tablet. That may seem strange, but the small non-Pro Intuoses really aren’t that expensive. They don’t have all the features of the Pro line, but that’s OK for most people.  I think Medium is the best size for drawing, but it depends. With the Intuos you get bundled art software.

(See  best Wacom tablets.)

Drivers

Drivers for budget tablet brands do not offer as much customization as more expensive ones. They can also be harder to install or have occasional hiccups.

Wacom drivers are not immune from hiccups, but the installation process takes you by the hand more. Usually I find the budget ones to install quickly, but now and then there’s a hitch.

Low-cost tablets usually do not come with bundled art software. Wacom’s do, so that adds value.

Other differences are simply in the packaging. Some budget pen displays come in plain boxes without printing on them. The manuals may not be written in perfect English or may say “works with Windows 8” when the world is on Windows 10.

Don’t worry about that. Companies keep the drivers updated even if they don’t always keep the printed matter up to date. Download the drivers from their sites.

The screen tends to be smooth; there’s no texture as there is on some Cintiqs.

Many of the budget graphics pads and pen displays come with a generous assortment of accessories such as a drawing glove, bag, screen protector, and extra pen.

Tip:

A lot of the low-cost tablet brands have interchangeable drivers, meaning those from one company can work on another’s. That’s a positive. If you have trouble with a driver, you can sometimes download a driver from a different site. In some of my reviews, I’ve noted where I had difficulties with drivers and tried alternative ones that worked better.

Support

As far as support, most of the companies have ways of reaching them online, including forums, phone, and Skype chats. Some have offices in the U.S. and other countries and some don’t. Not all have Facebook pages and Twitter, as some are in countries where those are blocked. So you may need to use email or Skype.

Buying on Amazon is probably your best bet since you will have their return policy and guarantees.

Most of these are for sale only online, except the Wacoms. You won’t find cheap drawing tablets at Best Buy or other big box stores.

What to look for (and look out for) in an affordable art tablet:

Drivers should install without a struggle. Be sure you have deleted all previously installed tablet drivers first. (If you’re on a tablet PC, you can leave the tablet PC software. Only delete drivers that you or someone else installed onto the computer.)

If you do have a struggle, contact support of that particular company. You can also try deleting and reinstalling. It seems to me that installation is getting easier.

Drivers should work well across programs and for Windows and Mac.

Ports should not be loose. Loose ports are even a problem in some Wacom tablets. Cables should fit snugly into ports.

Don’t be alarmed if the screen squeaks at first when you use the pen; rub the screen with your hands a few times to quiet it down.

 

cheap drawing tablet

 

Cheap Android and 2-in-1s

I’ve included standalone, direct drawing tablets on my list too, including the Lenovo Yoga Book and Samsung Galaxy Tab A with S Pen, an excellent choice for a relatively cheap 10″ tablet.. There are some relatively inexpensive tablet PCs and Android tablets.

A lot of people want a 2-in-1. None are super powerful, though. If you want a lot of processing power at the lowest price, you may be better off using a PC with an attached graphics pad.

Students, beginners, hobbyists, and artists on a budget–including professional ones–all can benefit by saving money. Many people have been using these less costly tablets and are happy with them. I’ve been glad to have had the opportunity to try some.

You can always start out with an affordable option then move up. Or you may just decide to keep it.

You will find you can get good results without spending so much.

Read more drawing tablet reviews.

end of Best Cheap Drawing Tablets

 

 

 

PNBOO PN10 review

PNBOO PN10 review: pen display under $250. Testing and video

PNBOO PN10 review

Image courtesy PNBOO

PNBOO PN10 review: Amazingly affordable

The PNBoo PN10 is a small, lightweight tablet monitor with screen that costs under $250 as of this writing (Dec. 2017).  It’s just 10″ diagonal, with an active area of 8.5 x 5.3″ (217 x 136 mm). It’s amazingly affordable.  PNBoo sent me the PN10 to review.

pnboo pn10 review

Click image if you’re already ready to see it on Amazon

Type of tablet

Pen display/Cintiq alternative

You have to attach it to a computer.

PNBoo also makes the 21″ PN2150 (review here).

Features

Active area: 8.5 x 5.3″
Pen: batteryless, lightweight
Display: HD (1280×800)
Pen pressure: 2048 levels
Resolution/Report Rate: 5080 LPI, 220 pps
ms 5

What’s in the box?

The PNBOO comes in an attractive white box with graphics. (Unlike some budget ones that come in plain cardboard). You can see the box at the bottom of this page where it says unboxing video (you don’t have to watch the video to see it).

10intabletaccessories

PNBoo PN10 with pen, pen holder, glove, CD

Pen display monitor
1 Pen
Pen holder
8 extra nibs
1 pen page
USB cable
HDMI cable
Plug
2 in 1 cable

Like other budget graphics monitors, it has no multitouch (can’t finger paint on it), no tilt sensitivity, and no pressure sensitivity in Illustrator. Palm rejection is not an issue since it doesn’t have multitouch.

I recently reviewed the PNBOO PN2150, a 21″ tablet monitor. The PN10 is around a couple hundred bucks at this writing.

pnboo 10 small tablet

Tablet

The build quality is nice. The PNBOO is really lightweight, lighter than an iPad Pro. It’s made of plastic and pretty solid, with two rubber grips along the back so you can grab it easily. There’s a raised bezel around the screen. Unlike most budget drawing monitors, there are six Express Keys that are programmable in the driver. The driver has presets to some popular drawing programs.

You can use any art software with it, including Photoshop, Sketchbook, Gimp, Blender, Illustrator and more. It gets pressure sensitivity (not in Illustrator or Inkscape though–for pressure in vector, use Manga Studio). You can’t finger paint on it, though, you have to use a stylus.

On a Mac, you will need a MiniDisplayPort to HDMI adapter.

There’s no need to plug the PNBOO PN10 tablet into a wall, which gives it a lot more mobility. I was easily able to sit on the couch and draw, and at the desk, it doesn’t take up much space.

The best thing about it (besides the price) is how light it is. The pen is very light, too. It’s thin, more like a ballpoint pen. It’s similar (perhaps the same) as the pen that comes with the ArtisulD13. The driver says Artisul, so there’s some connection there.

Pen

The pen has a more premium quality than the thick pens that come with most budget tablets. It has a chrome band at the place you can unscrew and open the two sides (though there’s no good reason to open it). The pen doesn’t need a battery or charging.

The pen is accurate, without much parallax. I did recalibrate it, but it was fine out of the box. The plastic on the screen is pretty thin so there’s not a lot of distance between the surface and the digitizer layer, thus, not much parallax. It’s not possible to have zero.

Driver

Driver installation was simple. I used the site to get the driver, rather than the included CD, since my computers lack a CD drive. It’s always better to use downloaded ones anyway, because they are kept updated.

The driver says Artisul, and as mentioned, it has shortcuts for the express keys and pen buttons. More on the driver later.

pnboopn10driver

Screen

The drawing surface is plastic. It’s not too slippery. It’s a lot less slippery than the iPad Pro. In fact, when home, I find myself using this instead of the iPad Pro, which surprised me. I like that I can use desktop programs, that it’s not too slippery, and that it feels like a dedicated drawing surface rather than something that invariably distracts me with all the online temptations (even though I can on those on the tablet screen, the icons are so small on it that it’s less tempting.

Colors on the IPS LED screen are rich and bright, with deep blacks.

Changing the brightness on the computer screen does not affect the brightness or color on the PnBoo.

The pen is thinner than most budget pens. It’s like the Artisul D13’s pen.

Drawing on the PNBOO PN10

pnboo pn10 drawing

lines done in Clip Studio Paint

The pen is pretty accurate. But I found I had to press down quite hard to make a mark or select buttons, even with the pressure curve on the lowest setting. In Sketchbook Pro on a Mac, I sometimes got little blobs on the ends of lines because of having to press down.

It worked a bit better in Clip Studio Paint, but at times it would stop working and I’d have to make a line using the trackpad, then go back to the pen and it would work. So, the driver is buggy.

The pressure sensitivity works fine in the programs it should work in. (So, not in Illustrator; for vector, use Clip Studio Paint’s vector layer for pressure). I found the bugginess unsettling. I was starting to write off the tablet as more of a toy.

But… I found a solution!

Since the driver that came with this says Artisul and thus has some connection, I decided to try the Artisul D13 driver from the Artisul site. Sure enough, it recognized the PN10, and this driver works MUCH better. No more issues with pressing down hard. No more little blobs. The initial activation is about similar to a Surface Pro. A great free solution.

Hopefully PNBOO will fix the native driver. The previous PNBOO driver, on the 2150, was an improvement over what it seemed to be based on (the usual very basic ones). This one seems to need some tweaks.

PNBoo PN10 review: the verdict

In short: I do like the tablet except for the driver issues. If you have problems with the driver it comes with (I can’t be sure everyone’s computer will have the same issues) I suggest you download the Artisul D13 driver on Artisul.com, as described above. I haven’t tried every single program, but I’m satisfied with it now that I switched to the other driver.

I’d recommend the PNBOO PN10 for people who want something small, light, and cheap, who want to use desktop programs as opposed to apps. The PNBOO could be a good travel pick if you are working on a larger Cintiq type of tablet but can’t bring it with you. It also could be good for a starter tablet for a student. The size makes it more like a sketchbook.

Here’s a quick pen test from the outside of the tablet:

Here’s my unboxing video.

See it on Amazon: click for US

See on Amazon: click for UK

pnboo 2150 review

PNBoo PN2150 review: affordable graphics monitor

pnboo pn2150 review

PNboo PN2150 review: budget tablet monitor

Here’s a full PNboo PN2150 review and art program tests.

Pnboo graphics monitors are made by China’s Shenzhen Pnboo technology company. Their products are sold in over 100 countries.

This 21.5″ tablet monitor is a new offering, in the vein of Huion and Ugee tablet monitors known as Wacom Cintiq alternatives. These attach to a computer and provide a second monitor with a touchscreen and pressure sensitivity. PNBoo also sells a 15.6″ version they call the PNBoo 1560.

Here’s a video showing the pressure sensitivity in Photoshop. A pen test showing the tablet from the outside is below.

Type of tablet

Tablet monitor
Needs to be attached to computer

Type of digitizer

EMR (Electromagnetic Resonance)

Features

21.5″ diagonal screen
HD display
2048 levels of pressure sensitivity
batteryless pen (charges with cord)

Comes with: 2 pens, 2 pen power cables, screen protector, drawing glove, extra pen nibs. Cables: HDMI, VGA, USB, power cord, English user manual, CD drive. Drivers also available for download on the PNBoo site.

Drivers available for Mac and Windows.

Packaging

The Pnboo graphics monitor arrived safely nested in styrofoam blocks inside two inner boxes, one of which has a plastic handle, and one outer Amazon box. As with some other budget tablet monitors, the box containing the tablet was plain cardboard without any printing.

The PNboo comes with lots of accessories such as a glove, two pens, and screen protector. It also has numerous cables: USB, HDMI, VGA, and two pen charging cables.

It does not come with a Mac adapter, so you’ll need to have a mini display port or USB-C to VGA or HDMI adapter for your Mac.

Display

The HD screen is nice, clean and shiny, with no dead pixels. The black border is reflective. It’s about an inch wide on the top and bottom and a little thinner on the sides. The plastic screen isn’t too glossy. It doesn’t have a texture the way Cintiqs do.

The screen has a black border with no bezel, so you can run your pen right off of it, making it easier to draw right out to the edge.

pnboo pn2150 review

Build quality

The body has a pleasing design with a curved back. The back has a textured plastic that’s grippable. The plastic is not that thick, but the thing seems sturdy. I would not want to drop it. The back has a rounded design

There are air vents in the back, as well as speaker holes, which a lot of these types of tablets seem to have.

pnboo 2150 tablet monitor back

Adjustable stand

The metal stand is solid and adjusts easily. You pull up a lever and pull on the stand to lower it.

The ports for the cables are under a panel in the stand, which to me isn’t optimal. It’s harder to access them that way, and it makes it easier for them to get jiggled loose. The ports seem fine, not loose.

With the stand extended. the footprint of the stand and tablet from front to back is about a foot. The stand goes all the way back to about a 25-30 degree angle.

The stand has a rubber cover on each side of the bottom bars to keep it from slipping around or scratching your table.

 

PNboo stylus pen

The pen requires charging from a USB port. The cord is long enough that you can charge it and draw at the same time. The pen is lightweight, since it has no battery. It’s pretty thick but comfortable to draw with.  It’s the standard pen used with Huion, Ugee, and most other Chinese tablets. The pen has a blue LED indicator light that stays on while it’s charging. I charged it overnight, as there’s not a clear way to show if it’s fully charged.

Drawing on the PNBOO 2150

Here’s a quick pen test. This is using a thin pen.

 

First off, there was that familiar squeak when I used the pen. I’ve begun the process of rubbing my hands on the screen to impart some oils from my hands to quiet it down.

Though it comes with a screen protector; I don’t use one unless a screen is too slippery, and I don’t find this one to be. I like the way the plastic pen tip feels on the bare screen. So for now, I’m living with the squeak. It’s that new tablet-monitor sound.

Software

Installing the driver was quick and easy. Even though I’d forgotten to remove a Wacom driver, the PNBOO 2150 driver installed and worked anyway. (I do recommend not forgetting to remove other tablet drivers you’ve added!)

As with most affordable graphics monitors, the driver functions are very limited compared to Wacom drivers. You can test and adjust the pressure curve from heavy to light. You can program the pen button to click toggle to eraser.

You can calibrate the screen and draw lines in different colors to test the pressure. But that’s all. You can’t program your favorite shortcuts into Photoshop and other programs.

Drawing on the PNBOO 2150

pnboostyluspen

The PN2150 comes with two of these stylus pens.

The screen came calibrated, but it could have been better. I recalibrated and it was more accurate afterward. On Mac, there was a 5-point calibration. The accuracy now is fine. Because of the glass, there’s a little parallax, but now there’s no offset.

I first tried Photoshop. The pressure curve is smooth and controllable. Some of the low-cost tablets have almost too springy a line but this one is very natural-feeling.

You have to apply a bit of pressure to draw. It’s not quite as sensitive as Wacom, where the inital activation force is really low, and even lightly dragging the pen without all the pen’s weight can leave a mark. On the PNboo, dragging the pen across it using the pen’s weight resulted in a very light line.

I have the settings on the lowest, requiring the least amount of pressure. I don’t like to press down much; it’s an individual preference. The Pnboo feels comfortable to draw on for me.

Art programs tested

So far I have only tested on a Mac. I plan to add Windows testing soon.

Besides Photoshop, the pen pressure and drawing works great in Gimp, Sketchbook Pro, Clip Studio Paint/Manga Studio, Inkscape, and Illustrator. Some of the cheap tablet monitors I’ve tried have had drivers that haven’t played well with Photoshop and Gimp right away, but this one seems perfectly attuned to the pressure settings in those programs. (I am working with clean installs of the programs, and hadn’t tweaked anything.)

This not being a Wacom driver, there’s no pressure sensitivity in Illustrator (Illustrator limits the pressure sensitivity to a couple of types of brushes). If you want to get pressure in vector, you can use Clip Studio Paint’s vector layers, but you can’t export the file type into other vector programs.

I experienced no lag or latency with any programs. The driver really works well.

You can draw with the pen plugged in, but let it charge for a while first.

Color

The display color is a bit warm out of the box. I fiddled with the menu on the display, which lets you adjust color temperature, brightness, contrast, and red/green/blue. This took a while, but I got it to a nice neutral white.

Pros

Nice design
Driver easy to install (in my experience)
Smooth, consistent drawing across programs
Comes with extra pen and other accessories

Cons

Features are basic: no programmable buttons
Cables on bottom of panel
Doesn’t come with adapter for Mac
Needed to fiddle with calibration and color settings

User reactions

So far this PNboo 2150 review seems to be one of only a few out there, but I’m sure that will change.

PNBoo 2150 vs. Wacom Cintiq

The PNboo 2150 has the same screen size as the Wacom Cintiq 21. It has the same HD (1920×1080) resolution and the same amount of pressure sensitivity as traditional Cintiqs (2048 levels. Newer Wacoms such as the Cintiq Pro and Wacom Studio Pro have more). 2048 is more than enough in real-world use.

The tablet has no programmable shortcut keys. It does not get tilt/angle sensitivity.
With the current stand, you can’t swivel it like you can with a Cintiq stand.

But, this costs a heck of a lot less.

PNboo PN2150 review: The Verdict

Though it required some adjusting of the settings, I found it took less adjusting in the art software I tried. I’m using fresh installs of these particular programs, so it’s not because I saved settings from before. Everyone’s system is going to have different things on it that could affect things but in this case it went well.

The tablet overall is pretty similar to the XP Pen, Ugee, and Huion ones that have no programmable keys.

So far the driver stands out for working well across programs, while the rest of the package is basic. It can do most of what a Cintiq can do. This tablet is a great starter tablet monitor, or one to keep.

The conclusion of this PNBoo PN2150 review is that it’s a solid addition to the budget graphics monitor lineup. It doesn’t have bells and whistles, but if you want to draw on the screen it works well. Recommended for students and artists on a budget or just those who don’t need the advanced features of a Cintiq.

See the PNboo PN2150 on Amazon

See/Buy on Amazon UK

Pnboo site: pnbootech.com

See more budget tablet monitors

Read intro post about top drawing tablets

End of PNBOO PN2150 review

 

 

 

ugee 2150

Ugee 2150 review, art program tests

ugee 2150 review

Photo of  Ugee 2150 courtesy Ugee

Ugee 2150 review: room to draw

Previously, we took an-depth look at the Ugee 1910B, a budget tablet monitor similar to a Cintiq. Now we’re going to examine the Ugee 2150, a 22″ version that has a higher resolution display than the 1910B. Ugee was kind enough to send me a unit to test for a few weeks for this Ugee 2150 review.

Ugee is based in Shenzhen, China. They make pen tablets such as the 1910B, 2150, and HK1560 pen-display tablets as well as graphics tablets.

ugee 2150

 

Click image to check the price.

Features

Digitizer: UC-Logic, EMR
Pen: battery free, charges via USB. 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity
Dimensions: in.: 20.5 x 12.5 x 1.2 | mm: 517 x 321 x 30
Display Area: mm: 18.75 x 10.5 | mm: 476.64×268.11
Display Resolution: 1920×1080 pixels
Response Time: 14ms
Contrast Ratio:1000:1
Brightness: 250 nits
Viewing Angle: +-80 degrees
Line Resolution: 5080LPI
Report Rate: 220 RPS
Adobe RGB: about 70%

What’s in the Box
UGEE UG-2150 tablet monitor
Power adapter and cord
Two pens
Pen charger
Pen stand/holder containing 8 extra nibs and ring nib remover
CD driver
User manual
Screen protector
Squeegee card
Lens cloth
Cleaning brush
Drawing glove

Portability

A big tablet monitor is not something you want to carry around at about 14 lbs., but since the box has a handle, you can take it places if you really want to.

For lefties

It’s fine for lefties. Some controls are on the bottom right, but they aren’t ones you need to access often. Since there are no Express Keys, there’s no issue about which side they’re on.

Overview

As with the Ugee 1910B, the Ugee 2150’s box doesn’t have any printing on it, it’s plain cardboard. The packaging protects the contents well, and the inner cardboard box has a handle. The included items are individually wrapped and come in a smaller box. The pen says Ugee on it.

The Ugee 2150 drawing tablet monitor is made of sturdy black plastic with a narrow bezel. The bezel is completely flat, so you can bring your pen all the way to the edge, which is a nice touch. This way, you don’t end up with lines suddenly hitting the edge of the bezel.

There aren’t any Express Keys on the monitor, nor any on-screen ones. The pen has two programmable buttons that can be mapped to mouse keys and eraser.

The ports are in the back, under the stand. They’re reasonably easy to get to, though the stand gets in the way some. The ports have held everything well, but be careful about bumping into the monitor.

Screen

Colors are bright and clear, and matched my computer’s with a little adjustment to the brightness.

The glass is pretty smooth and a little slippery. There’s some squeaking from some pen strokes, but someone gave me a fix that worked!  SQUEAKY SCREEN FIX: Rub your hands all over the screen, then wipe it off with a cleaning cloth–wipe gently, not too hard.

I put the screen protector on. I am updating this today because I realized the screen protector that I had said bubbled was not the one that came with it. The one that came with this says 3M on it. It went on very easily, did not bubble, and was a nice matte surface good for drawing.

ugee 2150 artist reviews

Photo courtesy Ugee

The stand goes almost all the way down, to about 15 degrees, and almost all the way up to 90 degrees. It’s steady, and you lock and unlock it via a small lever. The Ugee is VESA-compatible if you want to use a mounting arm.

Pen

The pen doesn’t have a grip or indentation. It charges via USB and has a blue charging indicator. It weighs 17 grams, a good weight, and is comfortable to hold. It’s not too thick for my small hands. It says “Ugee” on it.

Calibration, which is 5 points with the Ugee driver, worked out of the box.

Drawing on the Ugee 2150

Here’s a pen demo I did of me sketching in Photoshop using the Ugee driver on Windows 10.

The driver is responsive and springy, going from a very thin line to a very thick one without blobbing.  I ended up leaving it set to needing less pressure rather than dialing it to the right.

There’s some parallax because of the distance from the pen tip to the glass, as is often the case with drawing tablet monitors. Nothing I’m not used to.

On Mac El Capitan, I tried Photoshop CC, Illustrator, Krita, Gimp 2.8, Manga Studio/Clip Studio Paint, Rebelle, Sketchbook Pro, and Sculptris, which uses ZBrush. Pressure and everything else worked great in all of them.

As expected, Illustrator and Inkscape did not get pressure, as expected (because only Wacom’s do), but you can still use these programs. Pressure works with vector layers in Manga Studio, so vector painting is not a lost cause.

On Windows 10, I tried out Photoshop CC, Gimp, Paint Tool Sai, and Sketchbook Pro. The pressure sensitivity and overall drawing experience were great in Photoshop and Paint Tool Sai. Paint Tool Sai delivered really smooth lines.

ugee2150review

But in Sketchbook Pro in Windows, there was some lag. I could not get Gimp 2.8 to work on Windows. As per the Ugee site, I tried Gimp 2.6 instead, and this worked perfectly.

Installing the 2150 driver was pretty easy on both Mac and Windows providing that the computer is free of old tablet drivers. Ugee has a page with troubleshooting tips. The manual is clearly written and well-printed.

The Ugee 2150 is the same tablet monitor as the XP-Pen Artist 22, both are manufactured by Ugee.

Ugee 2150 vs. Cintiq 22HD

No Ugee 2150 review can claim that the Ugee is “as good” as a Cintiq. But the Ugee 2150 is enough for artists who don’t need all the bells and whistles. It has the same levels of pressure sensitivity  and display resolution, and it’s brighter (250 nits vs. the Cintiq 22HD’s 230). The screen is glossier, because it doesn’t have the coating that Wacom uses to give the surface some bite. The included screen protector from 3M works well in giving the drawing surface a little friction.

The Cintiq 22HD lets you customize express keys and the pen buttons to keyboard shortcuts. The pens also have a variety of types of nibs. Cintiqs support tilt and rotation sensitivity and their stand rotates. They offer a touch version with which you can use your hands to do gestures or draw.

Wacom Cintiqs offer more features, but you don’t really need these to draw; they are to streamline workflow. The Ugee gives you most of the features of the Cintiq. The choice depends on your own needs and preferences.

Vs. tablet PC: The drawing features of the Ugee and other Cintiq alternatives are like those on tablet PCs such as Surface Pro and Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga–there’s no tilt recognition or express keys.

For on-screen keys, on your computer, you can download the Wacom Feel driver that gives you an on-screen radial menu, or the more robust Tablet Pro app on Windows computers.

User reactions

Most users like the Ugee and feel it’s a good tablet for the money. Some of those who penned an Ugee 2150 review felt it was just as good as a Cintiq.

Others had problems with the drivers or figuring out how to calibrate it to their screen resolution. These problems are fixable. For instance, if the computer screen is a lower resolution than the Ugee, you have to use Extend, or view on 2, rather than Duplicate/Mirror. Otherwise you will get an offset.

Pros

2,048 levels of pressure
Pen lasts up to 120 hours on a single USB charge
Flat bezel
Affordability
Comes with accessories
Matches Cintiq in pressure levels and resolution
Can be used with Mac, Windows, Linux
Stand is highly adjustable
VESA-compatible
Good build quality

Cons

Drivers can be finicky
No Express Keys (not a con if you don’t use them anyway)
Just one type of nib for pen
Stand does not rotate (but tablet is VESA-compatible, so you can use a mounting arm)

The Verdict

The Ugee 2150 is a spacious tablet monitor you use with Mac or Windows (or Linux, made by third parties). It’s well built, and colors are bright and clear. The stand doesn’t jiggle, and it’s highly adjustable. The pen gives good accuracy.

The drivers were pretty easy to install. You have to be sure to remove other tablet drivers and their remnants though. If you use Sketchbook Pro, the XP-Pen driver seemed to work better with it in Windows.

This tablet is especially good for students, beginners, artists on a budget, and those growing their art career. It’s simple, affordable, and does the job.

See UGEE 2150 on Amazon U.S.

Ugee 2150 in International Amazon stores

Links will open in the Amazon store local to your country.

Want to know more about tablets? Read our article: Best drawing tablet: a complete guide to art and graphics tablets

end of Ugee 2150 review

xppenartist22ereview

XP-Pen Artist 22E review, art testing

XP-Pen Artist 22E review: Express Keys bring it closer to a Cintiq

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The XP-Pen Artist 22E is an update of the XP-Pen Artist  22, a pen tablet monitor in the family of “Wacom alternatives.” It offers many of the features of a Cintiq, without the price tag. I’ll go over the differences.

XP-Pen started out in Japan in 2005, and since then has opened offices in Taiwan; Shenzhen, China; and the U.S. They state their concern with the environment led to them to make their pens battery-free. They were kind enough to send me this tablet to review, so I have had time to test out various art programs on it.

In a hurry? See the XP-Pen Artist 22E tablet monitor on Amazon.

XP-Pen Artist 22E vs. XP-Pen Artist 22

The 22E is an update of the XP-Pen 22. The main obvious change is the addition of the Express Keys. The 22 had no Express Keys. (Those are buttons on the outside of the monitor, or sometimes on-screen keys, that can be programmed with software commands). The 22E also uses A+ LED, which has better color quality than the 22.

The 22E has two sets of keys, eight on each side, making life equally convenient for lefties, righties, and the ambidextrous. They mirror each other, so there are a total of 8 programmable keys, not 16. These are all on the outside. They are slightly raised.

The cords now get tucked vertically in the back. On the XP-Pen 22 they were in a row under the stand. They are now easier to reach. This version does not have speakers. (Installing it, though, may alter the speaker settings on your computer–it did on my Mac–so you may need to go and reset them to continue getting sound from your computer).

 

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XP-Pen Artist 22E review drawing test

 

 

Features

Type of digitizer: XP-Pen
Included EMR pen with 2,048 levels of pressure sensitivity, charges via USB

Display: 21. 5 inch diagonal IPS?)Dimensions: 567 x 326 x 30 mm
Display Area: 476.64×268.11mm
1080p resolution (HD)
178° viewing angles (wide)
4- and 9-point calibration
16 Express Keys (8 are programmable, 8 are mirrored)
Pen has two programmable buttons that map to mouse functions
Color gamut: 72% of Adobe RGB
VESA-compatible
Pen weight: 0.6 oz. (17g)

LPI (lines per inch): 5,080
Response time: 14ms
Contrast Ratio: 1000:1
Brightness: 250 nits
Ports: USB, DC power, VGA, DVI, HDMI
Report rate: 220 rps
No multitouch (cannot use your fingers to draw–only has pen input)

What’s in the Box

XP-Pen Artist 22E 21.5″ tablet monitor
2 rechargeable pens
Pen power adapter
Cables: VGA, USB, HDMI, HDMI to Mini Display Port adapter cable
Power adapter
Power cord
Stylus pen stand/holder (8 replacement pen nibs and one pen nib removal ring tool inside)
CD driver
User manual
Cleaning cloth
Black drawing glove
Screen protector

 

xppenartist22ereview-back

Back of the Artist 22E–(ignore the extra cord). The cords in the 22E are vertically next to the stand; making them easier to access; in the XP-Pen Artist 22, they were in a horizontal row beneath it.

 

 

 

Since XP-Pen has included an HDMI to Mini Display Port adapter, you don’t need to buy anything additional to use it with a Mac.

To install the driver, you have to uninstall all other tablet drivers I had zero problems installing the driver on my Mac. On Windows, the tablet icon that you click to open the driver settings, didn’t appear, but I opened the driver settings in the folder.

If you’ve had other tablet drivers on your computer, you’re going to have to uninstall them and all remnants of them–this can be tricky. XP-Pen has a troubleshooting page for driver issues.

The driver lets you program the Express Keys, adjust your pressure sensitivity, test it by drawing with four colors, calibrate the touch points (4 or 9 points), and rotate the image on the screen in 90-degree increments.

It came well-packaged, not fancily, but safely. The accessories are all individually wrapped and put in one box. The box has a handy handle.

Portability

At around 17 lbs. including the stand and power supply, this (or any) large tablet monitor is not very portable. The handle on the box helps. The attached stand folds up. It’s not terribly heavy to pick up, though I would not want to walk around with it for long. The power brick is not that big.

For Lefties

The right- and left-hand columns of Express Keys make this a great choice for lefties.

Screen

The XP-Pen’s HD screen is brighter than a Cintiq, since it doesn’t have that filmy coating Wacom uses to give the screen a paperlike bite. So the XP-Pen screen is smoother, but isn’t too slippery. It’s fun to draw on. The screen doesn’t get that dark even with brightness turned all the way down. Turning it up increases color intensity.

The screen has been measured at 250 nits brightness to the Cintiq 22’s 230 nits.
The pen squeaks a little on the screen once in a while but not often, and that should go away after a while. There were no dead pixels. There was a little dust on the outside of the monitor.

Screen protector

The screen protector had some bubbles that were difficult to get rid of. I also just preferred the feeling of the pen on the screen, so after trying the screen protector I removed it.

Pen

xppenartist22estylus

The pen has a pretty fine tip.

The pen needs to be charged via USB. A full charge takes about an hour and a half, but 30 minutes is enough to work for quite a while. The company says the pen can go up to 130 hours on one full charge. It has red and blue indicator lights showing when it’s charging or low.
The pen has no indentation to grip, but it’s comfortable to hold, and a good weight at 17g–a combination of light enough to not get tired, but giving some balance. The barrel has two buttons. They are easily reachable.

The default settings are right-click and erase, but you can change that in the driver settings. The pen does not have an eraser end. The buttons cannot be customized to keyboard shortcuts, but only to eraser and things your mouse does (right-click, etc.).

Art Software

Mac: I tested on Mac El Capitan: Photoshop, Illustrator, Manga Studio, Sketchbook, and the free programs Gimp, Inkscape, Paint Too Sai, Sculptris, and  Krita.  The pressure sensitivity worked great in all of them (I am not that familiar with Sculptris, a free 3d program, so I was not sure what to expect but the pressure did make a difference).

As expected, the pressure sensitivity doesn’t work in Illustrator; so far, Wacom Cintiqs and Intuos Pros have the monopoly on that. The pressure also, as expected, doesn’t work in the Inkscape calligraphy brush, since Inkscape is similar to Illustrator. You can still use the tablet in those programs, without pressure. Pressure sensitivity worked in vector layers in Manga Studio Pro, so you can draw in vector with this.

The one little glitch I experienced in Mac was that the pen suddenly seemed to stop working, a major bummer. But then I realized it was working, but stuck on the eraser tool. Yet, I still got pen lines in the area of the driver where you can test.

Looking this up, I see it’s an issue on Wacom too, so I’m going to chalk it up to a Mac thing. Unplugging the tablet from the computer then plugging it back in fixed it.

Windows: On Windows 10 I tested Photoshop, Gimp, and Sketchbook, and got the same results–works great.

Controls

There are basic controls on the bottom right. There are no speakers in the monitor, and when you attach it, you may have to change speaker settings to get sound in your computer as it may change the settings (this did happen and it’s on the XP-pen site). The driver settings let you test and adjust pen pressure, calibrate the screen to the pen, and set up the Express Keys.

On the bottom there are controls to adjust brightness, bring up the menu that allows some color adjustments, and the power on/off.

Out of the box, the Express Keys are on default settings that work in all programs.  You can reprogram them to your favorite keyboard shortcuts using the driver settings. The pen’s two buttons are programmable as well, to mouse commands such as right and left-click, and eraser.

Drawing on the XP-Pen 22

Here’s a pen test showing pressing down harder and softer in Photoshop CC. I’m working on some more video.

Me drawing curlicues on the XP-Pen Artist 22E. You can see the pressure sensitivity at work.

Have to say I really enjoyed the XP-Pen Artist 22E for drawing. The lines are fluid, the pen sensitive. I adjusted it to a bit higher in pressure as it’s very sensitive at the lower areas. The driver, which Ugee and XP-Pen developed together, gives a springiness to drawing. XP-Pen (the company) also used to work with UC-Logic (the company), but no longer does.

Tip: On a Windows 10 computer, some programs, including Photoshop and Sketchbook, require “supports digital ink” to be ON in your PC tablet settings in order to get pressure sensitivity.

In Photoshop, remember to have Brush Shape Dynamics turned on.

It seems to take slightly more initial activation force than Wacom to make a mark, but less than N-trig pens of the Surface line. There is a little parallax because of the glass. No jitter whether drawing forward, back, or faster  I didn’t experience any hover issues.

Pros

Sensitive, responsive to drawing
Affordability
Display
Stand
Extra pen, cables, adapter for Mac, glove, and screen protector all included
Easy setup
Ports are in good place
Battery-free pen; charge lasts up to 130 hours of use

Cons

Some have issues with driver installation
No multitouch (pen only–doesn’t respond to hand touch)
Drivers more limited in functions than Wacom’s
No tilt or rotation sensitivity
No pressure sensitivity in Adobe Illustrator (only Wacom has this. But, the XP-Pen does get pressure with vector tools in Manga Studio/Clip Studio Paint)
Pen button customization is limited
Stand does not rotate

Stand

The stand is very sturdy and highly adjustable. Simply press a lever in back and it goes from nearly straight up to nearly all the way down, to about 15 degrees. Twenty degrees is considered the most “neutral” and offers the best ergonomics (I confirmed this with a physical therapist). It doesn’t rotate; you can instead rotate the art, turn the tablet itself, or use a mounting arm. The monitor is VESA-compatible.

XP-Pen Artist 22E vs. Cintiq 22HD: main differences

Same: display resolution, size, line resolution, pressure levels, Adobe RGB coverage. The Cintiq 22 pen still has 2,048 levels, not 8,192 like the newer MobileStudio Pro and Cintiq Pro. So pressure levels are the same as the XP-Pen.

The earlier XP-Pen had no Express Keys, and now it does, so that brings it closer to a CIntiq, though the XP-Pen has 8 programmable keys (16 keys in mirrored columns) and the Cintiq has 16 different programmable keys.

The Cintiq is a premium item made of premium materials, but the XP-Pen is solidly built. The drivers give a slightly different feel, both very responsive. Here are the major differences:

Cintiq 22HD:

-Drivers let you customize Express Keys per-app

-Pen has eraser end

-Wacom pen is battery-free and cordless

-Cintiq 22HD Pen and Touch model has multitouch (you can use your hand for gestures such as pan, zoom, and rotate, and you can finger paint, but only the pen gets pressure sensitivity)

-Additional controls such as Rocker Ring, Touch Strip, Radial Menu

-Tilt and rotation sensitivity

-Cintiq stand rotates

-Pen buttons can be customized to keyboard shortcuts

-Wacom pen has different types of nibs

XP-Pen Artist 22:

-Greater affordability

-Brighter (250 nits to Cintiq 22’s 230)

-Screen not coated, so smoother, but not too slippery

-Pen can be mapped only to mouse buttons and eraser

-Comes with extra pen, glove, screen protector

-Pen is battery free, needs to be charged via USB

xp-pen artist 22e review

XP-Pen Artist 22E up as far as it will go, down as far as it will go, Express Keys close-up

 

 

The Verdict

I can’t find much to complain about. It works well and is great to draw on. This is a good professional or starter pen tablet monitor. It doesn’t have every feature of the Cintiq, so the decision should come down to how much you need those additional features. Customizable keys increase efficiency, but you can draw without using them at all if you prefer, or just use some.

This XP-Pen Artist 22E review is a thumb’s up. The color is bright and vivid, and it gets most of the Adobe RGB. This is a great tablet if you want a large, responsive drawing surface to create digital art.

End of XP-Pen Artist 22E review

 See the XP-Pen 22E on Amazon

UK customers

Canada customers

Compare the Cintiq 22HD:

U.S. customers

UK customers

Canada customers

(Remember that if you want the Cintiq with multitouch, you must get the Pen and Touch version.)

Optional accessories::

Amazon Basics Display Mounting Arm