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samsungnotebook9proreview

Samsung Notebook 9 Pro Review, S Pen included

samsungnotebook9pro

Samsung Notebook 9 Pro review: an all-you-need 2-in-1

This relatively powerful, relatively affordable, art-friendly 2-in-1 tablet PC laptop is on my list of top drawing tablet PCs. This is the second generation and came out in late 2017.  It comes in 13.3 and 15″ versions. This Samsung Notebook 9 Pro review focuses on the 15.”.

(There is no upcoming 2018 Samsung Notebook 9 Pro, but the soon-to-be-released Notebook 9 Pen will be similar).

The 15″ Notebook 9 Pro is one of the lightest in its class on the market, and the included S pen saves you money on an extra pen purchase. It also rests in a built-in silo, so you don’t have to keep looking for a place to stow it.

It’s not super powerful, but it can handle Photoshop, light gaming, and general use. The best thing about it, and Samsung’s myriad other S-Pen offerings, is the smooth Wacom EMR pen experience.

Type of tablet

2-in-1, nondetachable
Runs: Windows, comes with Windows 10 Home and Creator Update

Digitizer

Wacom EMR, S Pen, 4096 levels, tilt sensitivity
Uses Windows Ink

Features

Comes in 13.3″ and 15″
Nondetachable keyboard
360-degree hinge
8th-gen Intel i7 processor (on Best Buy model, only on the 15″)
The 13 also has an i5 version.
Aspect ratio 16:9
Can charge with portable charger
Display: LED LCD. HD 1920 x 1080p
Brightness 350 nits
Color gamut: 106% sRGB, 77% Adobe RGB
Windows Ink
Weight: 3.79 lbs (15″)
2.91 lbs (13″)

Graphics:
AMD Radeon 540 (15″ – 15 also discrete graphics (2GB GDDR5, switchable).
Integrated Intel UHD graphics 620 (13)
Backlit keyboard

RAM: 16GB (15) 8 GB (13). RAM not upgradeable
Storage: 256 GB (can swap to larger hard drive)
720p HD Webcam with microphone
Samsung’s Dual Channel Memory (quickens multitasking, viewing, and rendering)
Windows Hello facial recognition
Modes: Outdoor, quiet, HDR mode for videos

Ports

1 USB-C
2 USB 3.0
headphone,
Micro SD
HDMI
Dimensions:
13.7 x 9.4 x 0.7 inches (15)
12.21″ x 8.54″ x 0.63″ (13)

What’s in the Box

Notebook Pro 9
Battery (3-cell)
Charger

Build

The Notebook 9 Pro has a solid build quality with utilitarian style, meaning, not  much style. It has an all-metal, aluminum alloy body. It’s slender but solidly built, doesn’t bend, and has nicely rounded edges that won’t dig into your hands and thighs.

Its two hinges let you pose it into laptop/tent/stand/tablet.The hinges are sturdy and hold the positions without making the screen wiggle. It takes a little effort to open it from a closed position.

When bending the laptop into a tablet, I immediately accidentally shut off the power key, which sits on the right side where it’s easy to do that.

The other easy accident is putting the S Pen back upside-down, which I also immediately did. If you put it in wrong, it can get stuck and even cause damage.

samsung notebook 9 pro review

Notebook 9 Pro in tablet mode

For lefties

It’s fine for lefties, but as one Samsung Notebook Pro review observed, lefties may do well to get a longer pen to be able to reach scrollbars.

Display

The screen has really good color to the eye, bright without being oversaturated. It’s sharp (though not 4K) with realistic colors and deep blacks. You can pick different color profiles.

It’s glossy but not overly slippery or glarey and doesn’t attract a lot of fingerprints.

The display is bright at 350 nits, and colors are faithful, with deep, rich blacks.

The slightly raised bezel is thin, not the minimal “infinity” style, but i I don’t mind having what I’m doing separated from the environment around it.

Keyboard and trackpad

The keyboard is backlit. Keys are comfortable and quiet, chicklet with each key slightly curved. It would be nice if they had more travel.

The keyboard when on the bottom, does not retract, but the keyboard and trackpad both stop working when folded back. So, if you want keyboard shortcuts you would need an external Bluetooth or USB-connected keyboard.

The trackpad is large, accurate, and accepts gestures.

The 1.5-watt speakers don’t seem to be a priority. They don’t have much bass or oomph.

The machine boots up really fast, and it’s fast and responsive; I didn’t get any annoying blue circles as can happen on lower-power computers even with undemanding tasks.

The 8th generation Intel chip, the dual core  i7-8500, is the same  used in the most recent MacBook Pro 15. The 15″ Notebook 9 Pro has a 2GB dedicated graphics chip that’s about half again as fast as the 13’s integrated chip. Both sizes are fine for Photoshop and the rest of the Adobe Creative Suite, video editing, and light gaming.

The 9 Pro is not a super powerhouse but it’s fine for digital art, students, and general productivity or busness.The quadcore Lenovo Yoga 720 is more powerful, but heavier.

It comes with some bloatware, such as Samsung apps you may not have much use for and can remove.

Portability

At 3.9 lbs., the 15″ is lighter than the same size Yoga 720 or HP Spectre. It’s still a little heavy to carry around but you won’t find something lighter at that size. The 13″ is a pound lighter and easier to slip into a messenger bag. The pen weighs hardly anything and the included charger is compact. The Notebook 9 Pro is lighter than Yoga 720 15 or HP Spectre 15.

You can charge it with a portable battery charger (not included) via the USB-C port.

Battery life

About 7 hours of mixed use on both models.

 

Pen

2018samsungnotebook9review

Notebook 9 Pro S pen and keyboard

The battery-free, Refined S pen fits into a silo in the front of the laptop base. The pen is skinny and short, and very light. Its fine point is .07mm.

Having a silo is super convenient since you don’t need to worry about keeping a separate pen someplace.

Should you want a larger implement, older Wacom EMR tablet-PC pens as well as the golden Staedtler Noris are compatible. The tilt sensitivity works with these pens as well as the S-Pen.The older tablet PC pen I tried on it didn’t produce an offset.

As with the Galaxy Note, the pen opens up Air Command, where you can do things like screenshot and annotate. Beyond the usual Windows Ink settings, there aren’t specialized pen settings.

Samsung Notebook 9 Pro review

Samsung Air Command and S Pen

Drawing on the Samsung Notebook 9 Pro

Having a 15″ display is almost like having a Cintiq MobileStudio Pro 16, without quite the power so many art features, but the size makes up for it in many ways.

Being able to stow the stylus right in it makes working less fraught with anxiety over losing the little devil. Though you may definitely want a larger, slightly heavier pen for heavier work.

The pen has great accuracy, nearly no parallax (offset), and is calibrated right out of the box. It’s also very sensitive. Even though it’s superlight, gently running it over the screen produces a line.  Lines come out fluidly, almost like ink. The fine tip makes it precise in hitting icons. Palm rejection works fine.

Tilt sensitivity doesn’t seem as obvious as with a Cintiq pen. I’ve gotten something resembling barrel roll with some apps using the S Pen, but I don’t think this is a feature intended to create designs the way it was in the old Wacom Art Pen for Cintiqs.

If you want to do 3D, it comes with Microsoft 3D, which is, as they say, fun for all ages. It’s sort of a premade way for young Makers to assemble a quick monster or robot. You can also go a lot farther with it.

User Reactions

Most who penned a Samsung Notebook 9 Pro review were very satisfied. Some praised the color quality as well as speed. While some wish the screen were 4K, others don’t mind. One pointed out that a higher resolution screen would cause issues with scaling Adobe icons. Most thought the speakers were just OK.

Pros

lightweight
can charge via portable charger (not included) via USB-C
well-built
value
fast, smooth
Wacom EMR, S Pen included

Cons

Must remember to put pen in silo the right way or can get stuck
RAM not upgradeable
Speakers lack oomph
Bloatware

The Verdict

This Samsung Notebook 9 Pro review is a pen’s-up. It’s speedy, affordable, portable and all you need for general art use. If you had one of the old Samsung slates, this will replace that with the same drawing experience and a lot more power.

Still, you might want to wait for the Notebook 9 Pen which you might think of as the 2018 Samsung Notebook 9 Pro. It’s not that different from the Pro but will weigh only 2.2 pounds because it’s built with a lighter-than-aluminum alloy called Metal12. You can see what’s ahead for Samsung’s new lineup.

See Samsung Notebook Pro 9 at Best Buy

Save $100 on a Samsung Notebook 9 Pro 13″ (256GB SSD) (1/28 – 2/3 only!) Reg. $1,099.99. Plus free shipping! (Samsung)

See on Amazon

Optional, if you want a longer pen than the one it comes with:

End of Samsung Notebook 9 Pro review

See best 2-in-1s for drawing

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 seeking the best cheap drawing tablets? Look no farther. Going digital without breaking the bank is a question on the minds of many. I’ve been lucky to be able to test quite a few cheap tablets and I’m a believer. I do not agree with reviewers who say you have to buy a Cintiq.

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
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 the 3 different types: cheap graphics tablets without screens, budget tablet monitors, and cheap drawing tablets with screen–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.

A 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 for a small cheap drawing tablet with screen.

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 best cheap drawing 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

At first the driver was fine but then it started to behave inconsistently. I deleted, then reinstalled it, and since then it has been fine. Pressure sensitivity works well and there’s good pen accuracy. You have to press a little bit but it’s fine.

I also tried the Artisul D13 driver from the Artisul site (Artisul.com) and that one worked well, so if you have any driver issues, or just want to compare, try that one.

PNBoo PN10 review: the verdict

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

hpsprout

HP Sprout Pro G2 hands-on with inventor Brad Short

HP Sprout Pro G2: overview and video demo

hpsprout

The first HP Sprout was launched two years ago (with Windows 8) after a development period of about 4 years. This article shows the HP Sprout Pro G2 in action. The non-Pro Sprout is quite affordable, at about the cost of a laptop.

hp sprout review

HP Sprout Pro G2 3D image capture in action

HP Sprout is a dual-screen PC that runs Windows 10 Pro. It’s meant to allow an immersive computing experience that breaks the boundaries between physical objects and the digital world.

It’s got an i7 processor, a camera/projector, an amazingly thin, flexible 20-point touch screen with 2,048 levels of pressure sensitivity (HP Active Pen included), and a scanner that scans both 2D and 3D objects.

Brad Short,  HP Distinguished Technologist and the inventor and creator of the HP Sprout, showed off the HP Sprout Pro G2 at CES Unveiled NY 2017. I was on hand to watch and try out the drawing touchpad.

Here’s the creator himself doing a demo of the Sprout Pro G2.

Drawing demo on the HP Sprout touchpad. The included pen gets 2,048 levels of pressure.

What can artists do with the HP Sprout?

What can we not do? Artists can draw on the touchpad, scan objects and immediately place them into a 2D or 3D image, create 2D and 3D art, edit music and video, and send files to a 3D printer such as a Dremel. We can incorporate blended reality, VR (virtual reality), and AR (augmented reality).

It’s not just for artists. Short says blended reality will soon be a common way of communicating. Instead of a photograph, people will take a 3D scan and post it on social media. The HP Sprout isn’t meant for super-heavy-duty 3D scans but to create something that looks nice and is manageable in many apps. Here, Brad Short demos creative uses for 3D scans, such as putting the images into a video or into PowerPoint 3D. (Microsoft Office now supports 3D).

The Sprout runs Windows 10 Pro, has an i7 processor and 21.3″ HD display.

Basic specs:
Windows 10 Pro
i7, Intel HD graphics 630
21.3″ screen, HD 1920×1020
wide viewing angle
full keyboard
Ports: SD media card slot, 4 usb 3.0, HDMI 2.0, RJ-45, audio, controller


Bottom monitor:
Intel HD Graphics 6305
discrete NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M
wireless mouse, active pen that uses Wacom
camera: HP High def 14MP
Top screen is touchscreen

The Sprout has real-time tracking of the object. You can move it around and it will capture.

hp sprout pro 3d capture

HP Sprout Pro G2 captures objects and creates 3D scans.

The camera somehow ignores your hands and fingers, if you are holding up the object. If you’re holding it and you put down the object or otherwise let it lose tracking, it easily regains it.

At the end of the scan, you can see a mesh version with superimposed high-res photos of the surface. The files are .obj files you can open in surface mesh editing software, or AR and VR programs. The files are not very large at all.

You can also open the files in Photoshop and 3D Builder in Windows Creator. Short talks about how “fun” is an important part of Sprout ,and the idea of bringing 3D to everyone. “Sprout is a creative product for creativity,” he says.

hpsproutproG2

The HP Sprout Pro G2 captures an elephant

Accuracy: The 2d aspect is more accurate than the 3D in the camera used here; here, the 3D has 1mm accuracy. But if you use the the other 3D scanner that comes with the HP Sprout Pro G2, which is a higher-end, professional one, you get a high 10 to 15 micron accuracy.

You can then print it on a 3D printer such as a Dremel. You can also use it to create textures for your own 3D creations. You can quickly drag it to the touch mat and draw on it using the Active Pen or your finger on the touch mat.

Using it with Microsoft Creator Studio, you can integrate it into their videos or add your own 3D objects to libraries. You can edit music and video.

The HP Sprout is a tool, but also can be a fun a toy; a kid can use it.

The HP Sprout Pro G2 is a remarkable machine with a ton of potential. I find the flexible touchpad to be amazing.

The HP Sprout’s main use has been in the educational and manufacturing areas, but as it evolves, and consumers are more used to using 3D, AR, and VR, we could see more of these machines in homes. For artists who create game art, 3D models, or use AR and VR, it’s already extremely useful. Paired with Microsoft’s 3D tools, the Sprout may become a household word.

See the Amazon listing for more about the HP Sprout and HP Sprout Pro G2.

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