Category Archives: Cintiq alternative

Cintiq alternatives are an informal name given to drawing tablets that are more affordable than the Cintiq. They don’t offer as many features, but can be a good solution if you’re on a budget or don’t need all the power of a Cintiq. Brands include Huion, Ugee, XP Pen, Parblo, Yiynova and more. They share having a sensitive EMR pen, usually with 2,048 levels of pressure.

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:

https://youtu.be/Ou11WTmpzXY

Here’s my unboxing video.

https://youtu.be/3X0lafewAag

See it on Amazon: click for US

See on Amazon: click for UK

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

xp-penartist22ereview

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).

 

xppenartist22epin

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.

https://youtu.be/1V9EU5XiZvE

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

 

ugee-1910b-review

Ugee 1910B review with art tests

Ugee 1910B review with art program testing: affordable 19” tablet monitor delivers

ugee-1910b-review

Ugee 1910b–click image to be taken to the Amazon store in the country you’re in.

 

 

 

 

Features

19″ display, TFT panel
UC-Logic digitizer (uses EMR)
1440 x 900 resolution
2,048 levels of pressure sensitivity
Battery-free pen recharges from USB. Two pens included.
Pen has eraser/pen toggle button
Adjustable metal stand goes from 90 to about 20 degrees
Compatible with Windows XP on up and Mac. Works with 2d and 3d art software.
Can support dual monitors and has screen mapping
Pen does not have tilt or rotation sensitivity (nor do other Cintiq alternatives)
Pen has eraser/pen toggle button setting
Brightness: 300 nits
Contrast ratio: 800:1
Viewing angles to ~80/~80
5080 LPI (lines per inch)
220 RPS (revolutions per second)
Response time 5 ms

ugee-1910b-review-with pen

Ugee 1910B with pen

What’s in the Box

Ugee 1910B tablet monitor
Power adapter and cords: VGA, USB, power supply
Two pens, two pen charging cables
Pen stand
CD with driver
Drawing glove
Screen protector (glossy)
User manual
Pen battery lasts at least 800 hours
Compatible with Windows XP/Vista/7/8/8.1/10 and latest Mac OS

Weight: 15 lbs.
Dimensions: 20.9 x 18.3 x 7.2 inches
Active display area: 19”

 

Packaging and setup

Ugee is a Chinese company and, like Yiynova, Huion, and others, makes lower-cost tablets that are alternatives to the Wacom Cintiq. This is an an Ugee 1910B review.

This model is among the most economical of the Cintiq alternatives for its size. It’s a tablet monitor that attaches to your computer. It works with Windows and Mac. You can also use it as a regular monitor and attach it to a TV or projector.

This was my first time trying an Ugee.

The tablet monitor came safely packaged in cardboard, with a hard backing, and styrofoam. The inner cardboard box having a handy handle. The packaging is not fancy—it’s no-frills, and the savings are passed along to us.

The boxes open vertically rather than like a clamshell. Inside, along with all the cords, are some nice extras: a drawing glove, screen protector, and extra pen and cord. The screen protector is in a separate package.

Setting up the Ugee 1910B

The USB and cables are each about four feet long, and the power supply about 6 feet long. The power brick is pretty small and compact (about 5” long, 2” wide and 1.5” thick) and stays cool. The pen cords are about 3 feet long.

The cables are relatively simple to set up (no splitters or confusion as to what goes where) and do not produce cord tangle–I was grateful for that. There is VGA, but no HDMI support. You can use a VGA to HDMI adapter if needed.

The cords are in back near the bottom, which makes them a little hard to access, but once set up, they are out of the way both physically and visually. The cords are long enough for me, but it depends on your setup.

You plug the tablet into a wall outlet or surge protector, and connect the 15-pin VGA to your computer or use an adapter for HDMI—most newer computers use HDMI. You also connect the tablet to your computer’s USB tablet, and charge the pen via USB as well.

Installing the Ugee driver

The drivers support Windows 10, even though the info in the paper booklet doesn’t go up that high. The driver comes on an included CD, but I used the ones from the Ugee site. You can use anything from XP to Windows 10. It also works on the latest Mac OSX (and I am checking with the company about older Macs).

You have to delete all tablet drivers and any remnants of them before installing. You connect all the cables, including the USB, with the computer and tablet turned off, then install the driver, then reboot.

Once installed, the driver icon stays in its folder rather than appearing on the desktop, so you need to open the folder and click on it.

If your screen is high-resolution, you will need to set the monitor to Extend mode. If your resolution is the same as or lower than the Ugee’s, then set it to Duplicate. If you are getting a big offset, this setting is the first thing you need to look at.

I tested it using my tablet PC and it worked fine with that; as with other tablets, using a penabled computer does not cause a conflict.

Since I did have remnant files from other drivers, I at first got the dreaded “other tablet drivers detected” error. What solved it for me was going into the Windows folder and deleting two files, a fix I quickly found online after doing a search for the text of the error message. If you have never installed another tablet, then you should not have a problem installing.

The pen calibration and pressure sensitivity worked great out of the box for me and required no adjustments.

Build quality

The Ugee is black plastic and attractively designed. It’s not all that thick, but it feels solid. While it’s not lightweight, it’s not hard, if you’re of average strength, to carry it around the room. I would not want to carry it around town or anything.

Stand

The stand is also plastic (though it resembles metal) and uses a latch system to lock in place. It adjusts from 90 degrees to back to about 20 degrees—which is the best angle, ergonomically, to draw on.

The stand is attached and stable at any position. The tablet is VESA-compatible, so you could use a mounting arm. The tablet sits about two inches off the table surface. The bottom of the stand has four rubber bumpers.

Screen

The glossy screen is flat glass all the way up to the ends. There is no raised bezel, only a black frame that’s a bit less than an inch wide, making good use of the screen real estate. You could use a ruler or template on it if you want—makes it easy to make stencils.

Or. if you have done your line art on paper, you can use it as a light box by laying your drawing over it and tracing over it to transfer your drawing, which can be useful in retaining a loose line quality. (You can do this even with a raised bezel, but it’s easier with this flat setup).

The glossiness of the screen makes colors look brighter. Thanks to the flat glass, if you want to use a different screen protector, such as a matte one to get some paperlike tooth, you don’t need to worry about cutting it to fit within the bezel.

The protector covers the active area and a bit beyond. I installed it and got some bubbles that I’m working on getting rid of. The pen doesn’t scratch the tablet if you do not put on the protector, so you may prefer to go bare-screened. If you wear the glove it will stop smudging and moisture. The protector does not affect drawing or the visibility.

There is a slight, very rare squeak with some pen strokes with the screen protector off, but the squeak is a lot less than on some tablet monitors, and it tends to go away after a while—it’s that new-tablet sound.

The display resolution is not high, so things are bit pixelated. Because of the large size, the pixelation is noticeable, and text is a little fuzzy. It’s not lower-res than the Cintiq 12ux or the original iPad, but at this large size, it is more noticeable. This is really my only sticking point. However, higher resolution would mean a higher price and I don’t see it as a dealbreaker. You can still see your art on whatever computer or second monitor you are using.

The viewing angles seem best straight on; this is not an IPS screen. But you don’t get blind spots or anything from other angles, you can see what’s on the screen. If you move around a lot the image becomes a little less clear from certain angles, but chances are you will be drawing from right in front of it. The stand does not swivel, it only goes up and down, the but if you want to turn the monitor it’s not terribly heavy.

Palm resolution works well; I didn’t have any issues with that or the hover distance.

Ugee pen

ugee-1910b-review-pen

Ugee pen

The Ugee pen has a good weight, not too heavy. It’s a little chunky, with a thin part near the tip. It’s thicker than a fountain pen. It’s light enough to not cause fatigue but heavy enough to give a good balance. With my small hands I could stand it to be slightly thinner, but it’s less thick than some of the other tablet pens out there. All in all, I like the pen.

There is a slight parallax (space between pen and screen), but not enough to bother me at all—maybe 1/10th of an inch. In fact I like it seeing the whole line instead of any of it being blocked by the pen.

You will need to use a USB port to charge the pen for about 45 minutes, and a USB cord to connect the monitor. A blue LED light stays on until the pen is fully charged. If you don’t have an extra port, you can charge the pen via a power bank or another device—or simply charge the pen then remove it.

The company says the pen battery lasts a minimum of 800 hours. I haven’t had it that long. There is no need to pair, as no Bluetooth or other wireless signals are involved.

The pen does not have an eraser end but the 3-way button (front, back, and left click) has a pen/eraser toggle and some choices of settings, including and the choice of absolute positioning, or relative (mouse mode).

With absolute mode, the cursor goes where you touch the pen to the screen. I left it on absolute, as it’s desirable for a tablet, unless you have a reason to use mouse mode. The driver also lets you set pen sensitivity and after some testing I put that around the middle, slightly to the harder side.

The Ugee comes with a manual that’s pretty basic and takes you through the steps of installation, settings, and basic troubleshooting.

In Windows 10 you can do a little bit further pen customization by going to Settings > Devices > Pen & Windows Ink.

Drawing on the Ugee 1910B

One happy surprise about UC-Logic drivers is their excellent responsiveness, which I find comparable or better than other digitizers, including Wacom’s. The Ugee’s driver has a comfortable pressure curve and seem to maximize line variation. You can get very thin, interesting lines, similar to using a ballpoint pen.

The driver includes a small test area where you can make adjustments. You can get a very thin line, like drawing with a fine ballpoint pen. Inking feels very fluid.

As mentioned above, there is a small amount of parallax, maybe 1/10” of an inch, with the cursor being a little under the pen. I do not mind this as I like to see where the cursor is. If it were larger, I would mind, but it’s pretty small. I drew around the edges and did not get jitter regardless of speed or direction.

I also did not get lag when drawing, no matter how fast. I did get lag, though if I stopped drawing for a few minutes. Putting the pen back on the tablet apparently wakes the pen up, but sometimes would result in it drawing a random line, which I fixed with a simple Undo command.

The screen is glossy, so colors appear bright and contrast is enhanced. The screen is smooth glass, with no tooth. The included screen protector is also glossy. The protector does not affect drawing.

Controls

You can do monitor mapping with the driver and set up multiple monitors.

Buttons are all along the bottom of the monitor, there are none on the sides. The “menu” button lets you make changes to positioning, color temperature, contrast, and other parameters. There is not a lot of customization to the drivers. If you want express keys, you could try a gaming tablet, Photoshop Actions, the Tablet Pro app, or a radial menu.

Pros

Affordability
Size
Cables simple to set up (no splitters and such)
Adjustable stand
VESA-compatible (meaning you can attach it to VESA stand, so it can go on a wall or mounting arm)
Excellent pressure curve and pen sensitivity
Good build quality
Comes with useful extras, such as glove and screen protector
no jitter
battery-free pen
uses EMR, a sensitive digitizer system allowing excellent drawing control

Cons

Screen shows some pixelation
Color accuracy is imperfect
Driver installation ease varies
Pen takes a moment to “wake up” if you pause drawing

Ugee 1910B vs. Wacom Cintiq

There are a lot of things that pricey Cintiqs has that this doesn’t, including multitouch–so you can’t use your hands on it, nor finger paint or gestures. The drivers have a lot less customization, and there are also no programmable express keys either on the monitor or on-screen.

You can only get pressure sensitivity in Adobe Illustrator using Wacom tablets, so you will not get it with the Ugee, but you will get it in other Adobe programs. All this is standard for Wacom alternative tablets.

Customer reactions

I’ve looked at Ugee 1910B reviews in different places, and this seems overall to be a pretty well-liked tablet, with praise for the pressure curve. On the negative side, some people have technical issues with the drivers and aren’t happy with the help they’ve received. Occasionally there are issues with the pens ceasing to work, which could be from the battery.

The company seems to issue replacements of the tablet, pens, or parts when needed. In my own contact with Ugee, they responded quickly and helpfully—though my contact was with the general rep, not tech support. They do not seem to have elaborate customer support with screen sharing, but most places don’t. They have a Facebook page where you could upload images or videos if you’re having problems, and they can also be reached via email or Skype (or WeChat if you use that).

The Verdict

The verdict for this Ugee 1910B review is that it’s a very good deal for something this affordable. It works well, with the pressure curve being comparable to or superior to Wacom. It does not have all the features of a Wacom, but it’s similar to other Cintiq alternatives.

The screen resolution being a bit low, and the colors not super accurate, but you can check against your computer monitor.

The Ugee is a fine choice for artists on a budget, for students, or beginners wanting to try a tablet monitor without a big investment. While you may want to eventually invest in a Cintiq, this is a fun and solid drawing tablet with a screen.

Check price and read more Ugee 1910B reviews on Amazon

Link will take you to the local Amazon store for where you’re located.

End of Ugee 1910B review

Artisul D13 review: quality pen-display tablet lets you unplug

the Artisul D13 review: high-quality 13″ pen tablet lets you unplug

artisul d13 review

The Artisul D13 with U-Pen

Artisul is part of UC-Logic, a Taiwanese company that has been making digitizer tech since the 1990s. The company kindly lent me a unit for this Artisul D13 review. The Artisul line, which includes the Artisul D10 (which has very similar specs to the D13 but is smaller) and Artisul Pencil Sketchpad, is the first tablets the company has produced. Its Web site describes the tablets as the culmination of a dream.

The D13 is a tablet monitor you might consider if you are looking for something more affordable than a Cintiq 13HD.

The tablets are designed in San Francisco and created in Taiwan. The name comes from Art and Soul. Will this drawing tablet find a place in your heart?

Type of tablet

Tablet monitor/pen display tablet (draw on screen)

Digitizer

UC-Logic
Electromagnetic resonance (EMR)
2,048 levels of pressure sensitivity

Dimensions

13.3″ diagonal screen

What’s in the Box?

Tablet
Pen (called U-pen)
Pen case with 9 extra nibs and nib remover
Stand for pen
HDMI cable (HDMI on one side, mini HDMI on other)
USB cable (USB on one side, micro USB on other)
Y-type cable
Power adapter, plugs for U.S./Asia, Europe, Australia

Opening the box, you can’t help but being wowed by the presentation. The cables and small items come in individual, black, quality cardboard boxes in a sturdy, sleeved box with a foam-lined lid. The tablet is sleek and solidly built, and the slim, gold-trimmed pen looks would look good in one of those fancy pencil cups executives keep on their desks. The D13’s packaging pretty much screams “gift me!”

artisul d13 review

Unboxing the D13. There’s an outer sleeve with a box inside.

Features

Works with: Win 7/8/8.1/10, Mac OS 10.8 or later
Aspect Ratio:16:9
Active Area: 11.5″ x 6.5″
Weight: 2.42 lbs. (1.1kg)
Dimensions: 12.8″ (L) x 7.6″ (W) x 0.7″ (H) (in mm: 389.0 x 250.7 x 14)
Screen: LCD, 13.3″ FHD 1920 x 1080 IPS
Wide Viewing Angle: 178° (89°/89°) H, (89°/89°)
Brightness: 300 nits
Resolution 5080 LPI
Reading speed 200 PPS
Powered by: USB 3.0, HDMI input
6 assignable hotkeys and Quickdial scroll wheel on tablet
2 pen buttons

The build quality is excellent, with a solid plastic body. I only had a it a month, but the ports seem durable and the cables fit well. The thin, relaxed cables actually put less stress on the connectors.

Unusual Features of the Artisul D13

One really cool thing is that you can power the Artisul off your computer’s battery alone. This will work with a single USB 3.0 port, or two 2.0 ports. This ability to unplug  is a major advantage for those who want to work in places out of reach of a wall outlet. You also have the option of plugging the tablet into an outlet.

This ability isn’t unique (a small Yiynova also offers this feature, as mentioned in this New York Times article about trying out a Cintiq and a rival), but it’s not common.

Another unusual feature is that in Windows, the Artisul will work and get pressure sensitivity just from the pen and digitizer alone, without even installing the driver. Without the driver, you won’t be able to customize the hotkeys and other settings, of course, but let’s say you just got the tablet and have no Internet connection–you can still use it. On Mac, you will need the driver to use the tablet.

Portability

At 2.42 lbs., it’s quite portable–of course, you will also need to have a computer. The lightweight power cords and option to power from the computer alone adds to the Artisul’s portability.

For lefties

The tablet can be turned so that the hotkeys are on the left side, making it suitable for southpaws.

Setting up the Artisul D13

Documentation

The documentation is well-designed, but it could be more thorough. Some of the cables may not be familiar to everyone; the detailed diagram in the manual is hard to see clearly; and the instructions take you through, but don’t always explain what to expect. For instance, I thought the installer would show up on the desktop, but had to click on it from inside the folder instead.

There are ample instructions about working with different graphics cards, and some troubleshooting tips.

Cables

There are several cables you’ll need to use, including a splitter. Though it’s a lot, there’s no large power brick. To avoid having so many cables, you may choose to work more often using your computer power.

If your computer lacks an HDMI port, you will need to supply an adapter; that doesn’t come with it. (You can ignore the note in the Artisul manual about only using Artisul cables as far as HDMI adapters). You can find them on Amazon for various connections.

Artisul drivers

Installing the drivers is easy, though if you’re new to it, setting them up may be a little tricky. Like Cintiq drivers, the Artisul drivers offer lots of customization options. Once set up correctly, they perform well and and are free of the unpredictability that plagues some drivers in budget tablets.

More description on the download page of which driver to choose would be helpful–for instance, the word “beta” might scare some people off, but the beta drivers have been deemed ready to use. Capabilities varied a bit on different programs and different operating systems. The company continuously works on the drivers.

Be sure to uninstall all other tablet drivers you’ve previously installed before installing the D13 drivers.

You can use a mouse and pen, but you cannot use both at the same time. You can map the D13 to multiple monitors.

There are some preset hotkeys (the co. calls them FastAccessKeys) for Photoshop, CorelPaint, Clip Studio Paint (Manga Studio), and some basic defaults.

Though the drivers look like Huion’s, such as the little icon of a tablet and pen, UC Logic and Huion are not related. In fact, Artisul says UC Logic launched a lawsuit against Huion.

U-Pen

The batteryless, cordless fine-point U-pen weighs just 11 grams. It looks very much like a ballpoint pen. It would give more balance and drawing oomph if it weighed more, but I prefer light to too heavy, and didn’t feel that the lightness affected my drawing. Your hand won’t get tired holding this pen for hours. If you’re a fan of heavy pens, this one may feel too light.

It comes with 9 nibs nested neatly into the pen case. The nibs are hard, and they’re all the same; they don’t have different tips or pen choices.

This Artisul tablet is aimed at the educational market as well as consumer, and I think the pen, being light and suitable for small or larger hands, is ideal for kids middle-school age and up for note-taking and art. It’s used in classrooms for creative learning, writing, and calligraphy, and the company offers a student discount for educators and students in the U.S., Mexico, and Canada.

Screen

The screen comes with a removeable, replaceable anti-glare matte screen protector that cuts glare and allows the brightness of the display to shine through. It gets fingerprinty, but cleans up well. As with other tablet monitors, you can wear an artist’s glove to keep the screen clean and keep moisture from your hands from sticking.

Neither the D13 nor the 13HD are super sharp, both being HD, but the display looks good. The screen gets a bit fingerprinty, but cleans up well. You can wear an artist’s glove to not only keep the screen clean, but to keep moisture on your skin from causing stickiness.

The screen protector has slight texture that’s pen-and-paperlike and not slippery or glossy.  It lacks the rougher “bite” of Wacom’s offering, but has some tooth. The D13’s surface provides enough traction for a pleasant drawing experience. There are color calibration settings. Colors are bright, with a 75% percent Adobe RGB coverage, same as Cintiq 13HD. Bottom line, the screen is nice.

Drawing on the D13

The drawing experience is excellent. I got no lag when drawing and almost no parallax (the slight gap between pen tip and screen) either; the line was right under the tip; I did not have to keep an eye on the cursor to see where my line would appear.

The D13’s pressure curve is smooth. The pen makes a bit of tapping noise, but no squeaking, as can happen with glossier screens.

cintiq alternative reviews

Drawing with the U-Pen

Drawing on the Artisul easily matches drawing on a Cintiq. The Artisul uses EMR tech, as does Wacom, each using their own technology. EMR offers the most sensitive digitizer outside that of Apple’s iPad Pro. You don’t have to press hard at all to make a mark with the Artisul pen.

I don’t have a number for the initial activation force, but I noticed dragging the tip lightly across the screen made marks, also some skips due to my not being able to precisely control the pressure. The pen is lighter than the Wacom pen and feels about as sensitive.

Palm rejection worked well, with a comfortable hover distance.

Art Programs

Will work with most software, including Photoshop, Sketchbook, Maya, Corel, Clip Paint, Photoshop, After Effects, Anime Studio Pro, Toon Boom, and Affinity Designer. Works with Illustrator, but without pressure sensitivity at this time (this may change). I tried it with Photoshop, Sketchbook, Gimp, and Illustrator. Photoshop and Sketchbook worked great. The manual has instructions about working with Paint Tool SAI.

I told the company about some issues I had with Gimp with one of the drivers and they quickly identified the problem and said they’d fixed it (that was after I returned the tablet). Later they said they had a new Windows driver that fixed that issue plus some others.

Controls

The six hotkeys are on the tablet and are round and a good size. They’re a little bit stiff to click on. You can program the hotkeys to presets, or customize your own commands.

You can also assign them to different programs–the programs don’t automatically show up in the driver as with Wacom; on the Artisul, you program the buttons, then save them, and on the next screen assign them to the applications of your choice. There’s also a scroll wheel. The two pen buttons are programmable to an extent.

The stand goes from 13 to 70 degrees, which is a lot more flexible than the Cintiq stand’s three positions. Easel mode is good for working on and gallery mode for admiring your work.

Artisul Freestyle Stand

artisulstand

The Artisul Freestyle stand is made of is fully adjustable to any angle between 13 and 70. You can use it when drawing in “easel” mode or upright in “gallery” mode. (20 degrees is an advisable angle to draw on for good ergonomics).

artisul stand gallery mode

Artisul Freestyle stand in gallery mode

Artisul D13 vs. Cintiq 13HD

The Wacom Cintiq 13HD and Artisul D13 have a lot in common, and some differences.

Win for Artisul: Artisul is more portable because it doesn’t always be plugged into a wall outlet. The display is 50 nits brighter. There are six hotkeys embedded into the tablet body, as opposed to just four with the 13HD. The screen protector is removeable and replaceable. The Artisul Freestyle stand adjusts to any angle between 13 and 70, as compared to the Cintiq’s 3-position stand.

The response rate of the monitor is 19ms to the Cintiq’s is 25 ms (milliseconds)–lower is better. 

Win for Cintiq: You’ll get tilt sensitivity, rotation sensitivity with an optional pens, and pressure sensitivity in Illustrator. The two pen buttons have more customization options. Also, the Wacom pen has an eraser end, which like the tip has 2,048 levels of pressure.

Cintiq has various kinds of pens and nibs as an optional purchase. Its screen has more “bite,” though Artisul’s has enough.  Cintiq comes with some freebie software and Artisul doesn’t. The Cintiq’s cords are simpler.

The Artisul’s design and build are just as good, I think, and its ports seem durable. Many of the Artisul specs are identical to the Cintiq’s, including screen resolution, resolution in lines per inch (5080), and amount of colors displayed (16.9 million).

Customer support

Artisul was extremely helpful in answering my questions both about products and technical aspects. You can contact them or post on their forum. They will set up a remote screen-sharing session if needed. They are a small and dedicated company and open to feedback.

User reviews and reactions

User reviews have been positive. Reading the Artisul forums and some other comments, some people are having some issues with things like offset, but this should be fixable by adjusting the driver. Though some people have had some glitches, overall, this tablet has been well-received.

Pros

Pressure curve
Quality build
Stylish
Pleasant drawing surface
Comfortable pen width
Lightweight, portable
Reversible for lefties
Drivers work well
Battery-free, cordless pen
Can work without being plugged in to wall
Can work without driver in Windows

Cons

Can be a little tricky to set up, depending on your skills
Documentation could be more detailed
Drivers have some differing features, so it can be hard to know which to choose
Nibs all the same (for now)

Artisul D13 review: the Verdict

This is not a budget tablet, but a high-quality one that offers value. It has its own character and some unique and convenient features, particularly that you can run it from your computer’s battery, adding to the tablet’s portability.

The Artisul is a durable and well-made tablet with great drawing capability for tablet users whether students or pros. It’s one of the better, probably the nicest in quality, of the Wacom competitors.

artisul d13 pen

Artisul U-Pen with nibs and carrying case

 

See the Artisul D13 on Amazon – includes pen and stand

Mini Display Port to HDMI Adapter on Amazon

Extra screen protectors, pens and nibs, cables, and stands are all available on the Artisul site.
end of Artisul D13 review