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Asking for Tablet recommendation for Affinity Designer/Photo


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Hi,

I am seriously getting into my Affinity Designer app and thinking of purchasing Affinity Photo.

I would like to use a Tablet and pen going forward and I have been looking at the Wacom offerings. I have a budget of about £350 and would prefer a large tablet.

I am using a Mac Book Pro mid 2016, 16Gb ram.

I have reviewed various people's experiences with various tablets posted here and would like a few recommendations please.

Thanks for any help provided.

Dx

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I use the Wacom Intuos Pro (Large) and am very happy with it, I think it is above your budget though. The medium size may work for you and fit your budget. One thing to consider is the amount of desk space these large size tablets use, and some tablets have a larger border around the active area.

Mac Pro (Late 2013) Mac OS 11.7.1 
Affinity Designer 2.0.0 | Affinity Photo 2.0.0 | Affinity Publisher 2.0.0 | Beta versions as they appear.

I have never mastered color management, period, so I cannot help with that.

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1 hour ago, Old Bruce said:

I use the Wacom Intuos Pro (Large) and am very happy with it, I think it is above your budget though. The medium size may work for you and fit your budget. One thing to consider is the amount of desk space these large size tablets use, and some tablets have a larger border around the active area.

Many thanks. I see the Large Wacom Intuos Pro is about £18 above my budget. I might have to stretch the budget a bit. I have just measured my desk space and the large will be ok. 

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Wacom L is IMO all one needs as a professional, top of the top . I am using an XL since almost 11 years.

Now, if want to save money, I agree with the above poster: The Deco models from XP-PEN are very cheap and yet very, very good and reported to work well with Affinity (specially the Deco 03, more instances on that one).

My recommendations (other than the Wacom L being my all times favorite, and this including the display-tablets, that is, weird for many, but I prefer the Wacom L to a Cintiq) are the Deco 03, the Deco Pro MEDIUM (BEWARE, THERE'S A SMALL MODEL),   and the Deco 01 V2.

The Deco 03 -> because a lot of reviewers talk wonders about it, as well as several well known users here, and some friends of mine (also pros in illustration and/or comic) unrelated to this forum. 80 dollars.(now. Normally is 100)

The Deco 01 V2 (be VERY sure is V2!! Not just Deco 01 !!! -> For no particular reason other than the price/what you get (active area size, 5080 LPI, tilt!, 8k pressure levels, battery free pen, on board buttons... for 48 bucks, I mean, u kiddin' me???) ratio is amazing. Sadly, I have not even checked reviews about it, yet. It has some features not present in the other two, in part as is more modern. 48$, but dunno what's the usual price.

The Deco Pro (MEDIUM) -> Well, if the Decos seem to be quite compatible with Affinity, why not this one. Several well known youtube reviewers are in love with this one. The wheel has double function, so, can set there for example brush size and zoom, and overall, seems really the pro part of the name is justified. Now seems you can get it (didn't know they have these summer discounts) for 100 bucks. A steal of a bargain.  Normally ain't expensive, tho, around 130.

it's 10x6 or the like for all the models, although the Deco Pro Medium is bigger, 11x6 (careful, in the store's product comes pre assigned to the 9 inches one. BE SURE to click on the 11x6 option). All these are significantly bigger in active area than Wacom Medium. And this is rather important for line stability and control in general.

Still, my preference goes with the Wacom L. But I would be pretty comfortable working with any of these 3. Also, they're all battery free pens with lots of pressure levels. I like the idea of having sustainable hardware and software. (ie, cheaper to replace if it breaks, while if one only is willing to work with a cintiq 32, it breaks out of warranty, there's a huge problem if it happens in the middle of a month with not much in the bank, while a perfectly capable 100 bucks tablet would save the day, if you got used/trained with it. The same I say this, I strongly recommend not going for a small tablet if willing to draw and paint (for other tasks small ones are good). Is possible to work with small ones, but if 100 bucks is not something crazy for you, it has a great ratio of cost/quality, in these 3 products.

AD, AP and APub. V1.x and V2.x Windows 10 and Windows 11.  
Ryzen 9 3900X, 32 GB RAM,  RTX 3060 12GB, Wacom Intuos XL, Wacom L. 
Eizo ColorEdge CS 2420 monitor. Windows 10.
HP Omen 16-b1010ns 12700H, 32GB DDR5 (corsair), nVidia RTX 3060 6GB + Huion Kamvas 22 drawing screen, Windows 11.

 

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Not sure if the type-c of the Pro model is better fit than what the others bring. As I don't use anything Apple.

https://www.xp-pen.com/product/432.html

It speaks about it, scroll to the middle.

The Deco Pro is the first drawing tablet that comes equipped with a Type-C port. Now you can directly connect your iMac/Mac Book Pro and other Windows computers that support Type-C input to the Deco Pro without using a Type-C to USB adapter. Its interface is symmetrical, making it equally comfortable for right- and left-handed users. You can also rotate the Deco Pro to 0 degree, 90 degree, 180 degree and 270 degree depending on your different creative requirements.

AD, AP and APub. V1.x and V2.x Windows 10 and Windows 11.  
Ryzen 9 3900X, 32 GB RAM,  RTX 3060 12GB, Wacom Intuos XL, Wacom L. 
Eizo ColorEdge CS 2420 monitor. Windows 10.
HP Omen 16-b1010ns 12700H, 32GB DDR5 (corsair), nVidia RTX 3060 6GB + Huion Kamvas 22 drawing screen, Windows 11.

 

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6 hours ago, SrPx said:

Wacom L is IMO all one needs as a professional, top of the top . I am using an XL since almost 11 years.

Now, if want to save money, I agree with the above poster: The Deco models from XP-PEN are very cheap and yet very, very good and reported to work well with Affinity (specially the Deco 03, more instances on that one).

My recommendations (other than the Wacom L being my all times favorite, and this including the display-tablets, that is, weird for many, but I prefer the Wacom L to a Cintiq) are the Deco 03, the Deco Pro MEDIUM (BEWARE, THERE'S A SMALL MODEL),   and the Deco 01 V2.

The Deco 03 -> because a lot of reviewers talk wonders about it, as well as several well known users here, and some friends of mine (also pros in illustration and/or comic) unrelated to this forum. 80 dollars.(now. Normally is 100)

The Deco 01 V2 (be VERY sure is V2!! Not just Deco 01 !!! -> For no particular reason other than the price/what you get (active area size, 5080 LPI, tilt!, 8k pressure levels, battery free pen, on board buttons... for 48 bucks, I mean, u kiddin' me???) ratio is amazing. Sadly, I have not even checked reviews about it, yet. It has some features not present in the other two, in part as is more modern. 48$, but dunno what's the usual price.

The Deco Pro (MEDIUM) -> Well, if the Decos seem to be quite compatible with Affinity, why not this one. Several well known youtube reviewers are in love with this one. The wheel has double function, so, can set there for example brush size and zoom, and overall, seems really the pro part of the name is justified. Now seems you can get it (didn't know they have these summer discounts) for 100 bucks. A steal of a bargain.  Normally ain't expensive, tho, around 130.

it's 10x6 or the like for all the models, although the Deco Pro Medium is bigger, 11x6 (careful, in the store's product comes pre assigned to the 9 inches one. BE SURE to click on the 11x6 option). All these are significantly bigger in active area than Wacom Medium. And this is rather important for line stability and control in general.

Still, my preference goes with the Wacom L. But I would be pretty comfortable working with any of these 3. Also, they're all battery free pens with lots of pressure levels. I like the idea of having sustainable hardware and software. (ie, cheaper to replace if it breaks, while if one only is willing to work with a cintiq 32, it breaks out of warranty, there's a huge problem if it happens in the middle of a month with not much in the bank, while a perfectly capable 100 bucks tablet would save the day, if you got used/trained with it. The same I say this, I strongly recommend not going for a small tablet if willing to draw and paint (for other tasks small ones are good). Is possible to work with small ones, but if 100 bucks is not something crazy for you, it has a great ratio of cost/quality, in these 3 products.

wow, thanks for the very detailed info. Plenty of information. I did not consider the other options seriously but will now. 

The main thing for me is to have the largest size and lots of pressure points. 

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6 hours ago, SrPx said:

Not sure if the type-c of the Pro model is better fit than what the others bring. As I don't use anything Apple.

https://www.xp-pen.com/product/432.html

It speaks about it, scroll to the middle.

The Deco Pro is the first drawing tablet that comes equipped with a Type-C port. Now you can directly connect your iMac/Mac Book Pro and other Windows computers that support Type-C input to the Deco Pro without using a Type-C to USB adapter. Its interface is symmetrical, making it equally comfortable for right- and left-handed users. You can also rotate the Deco Pro to 0 degree, 90 degree, 180 degree and 270 degree depending on your different creative requirements.

Thanks. I will look into this offering. 

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I can’t speak from personal experience, because I only have a small Wacom tablet, but Huion is another brand which is frequently mentioned in discussions here about graphics tablets. The Huion WH1409, costing around $160, has an active area of 13.8″ × 8.6″ (350 mm × 220 mm) and offers 8192 levels of pen pressure, but if you’re only looking for something in the 10″ × 6″ range you might want to consider the Huion H610 Pro (also offering 8192 pressure levels, but with an active area of 10″ × 6.25″) at a third of the price.

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Affinity Designer/Photo/Publisher for Windows 1.10 • Windows 10 Home/Pro
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Yep, I prefer XP-PEN for the info & XP experience from reviewers and friends, but in several occasions have said Huion is kind of the other main brand to consider (other than, of course, Wacom).  I have even heard rumors (quite weak, probably) of Wacom considering the possibility of (acquiring?) "getting" Huion to be their cheap sub-brand to allow them to output cheaper tablets under their umbrella without loosing their premium Wacom offering line. 

That said, while I'd recommend always a 13.8x8.6 inches of active area over 10x6.25, because it would typically give u more control over the lines, not sure in this case. As the confusingly enough matter of the 610 case (and XP-Pen does this too with the naming and the upgrades)... it's an area where I'd thread carefully. You can do a great purchase there, but consider there's an HS610 (notice the "S" after the H) which has indeed a battery-free pen, there's a H610 which HASN'T it, it's a rechargeable pen (a thing that starts being a bit of the past, thankfully, tho, hello iPad Pro :D...but that one's is a beast of a good pen for good and very specific reasons ), an H610 PRO, which NEITHER has a battery-free pen, but a rechargeable pen, and then the H610 PRO V2 (so, that "V2" is key) which indeed uses a battery-free pen. The beautifully large area of the WH1409 is using a rechargeable pen...

You'd say, well, where's the issue ? Well, this tech has improved a lot, but many reviewers keep (doing visible tests in screen which we (if know how to) all can zoom-in and check by our own) checking these pens and realizing/demonstrating (is not brand dependent) that "TEND" to produce quite more (in some cases the difference is huge) wobbly/jittery lines than the battery-free ones (ie, all Wacom pens are battery-free, of what I can remember). iPad Pro doesn't count as is a totally different technology, and quite a premium thing (pity that they don't produce tablets larger than 12,9...neither drawing tablets per se, but with Apple, who knows about the future).

That said, a lot of people might have no issues, or, in a lot of cases, are not able to notice -this I have been able to confirm in several cases, they were really using a heavy stabilizer by software , without even knowing-  the issues with rechargeable pens. I kind of wouldn't risk it, whatever the brand, would opt for a 10x6.25 with a battery-free pen over a 13.8x8.6 if the latter needs to be with a rechargeable pen. Although for same pen technology, always the largest active area, at least for drawing and painting. For just some light vector works (ie, of the kind you could even do with a mouse), pixel art (aka tiles and sprites for those 90s 2D games, I worked at that, so , I know), or photo retouch (watched and read from several pros in the field, stating it's enough) only, you can be good to go with a small active area size. Or.... maybe.  But all those 3 fields "could" be more comfortable with medium size of around 10 inches width. The medium size matter wont damage the activity in those fields, while it could be an issue for seriously drawing and painting. The space a medium takes in the desktop... yeah, is bigger, but for serious use, you find the way to organize everything. It's even my XL (never more maintained, but the store keeps selling this Intuos 4 XL model of 10 --11 years old, while all the others in the intuos 4 range didn't stay in the (eu) Wacom store's catalog since long ago. So, there's that...) and I managed to have my working space quite functional. For sizes starting in the L, be it a classic tablet like mine, or a Cintiq or Cintiq alternative larger than 16, it starts being strongly recommended an Ergotron arm (I don't use one, but I'm weird) for better ergonomics and to work comfortably. And yeah, is expensive, but it depends. I think around 180 bucks would compensate in the long run for many use cases. https://www.ergotron.com/en-us/products/product-details/45-241#/?color=polished aluminum  .  I wouldn't do that for a medium size classic tablet, neither for a cintiq 16 or alternative of the size.

 

AD, AP and APub. V1.x and V2.x Windows 10 and Windows 11.  
Ryzen 9 3900X, 32 GB RAM,  RTX 3060 12GB, Wacom Intuos XL, Wacom L. 
Eizo ColorEdge CS 2420 monitor. Windows 10.
HP Omen 16-b1010ns 12700H, 32GB DDR5 (corsair), nVidia RTX 3060 6GB + Huion Kamvas 22 drawing screen, Windows 11.

 

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5 hours ago, DXAffinity said:

The main thing for me is to have the largest size and lots of pressure points. 

Then... go Wacom L.  You wont regret it.... Best of the best.  I kind of wouldn't particularly go for the Paper option (slightly more expensive), unless you are very curious about the matter, or are a comic inker, and trust on your own tricks to overcome certain issues with that Paper thing (one of them: it's gotta be with Wacom's ink, not a regular cheap ink cartridge. Same story than, hey, why are printers so cheap... 'cause the business is in the ink.... ).

AD, AP and APub. V1.x and V2.x Windows 10 and Windows 11.  
Ryzen 9 3900X, 32 GB RAM,  RTX 3060 12GB, Wacom Intuos XL, Wacom L. 
Eizo ColorEdge CS 2420 monitor. Windows 10.
HP Omen 16-b1010ns 12700H, 32GB DDR5 (corsair), nVidia RTX 3060 6GB + Huion Kamvas 22 drawing screen, Windows 11.

 

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35 minutes ago, SrPx said:

Yep, I prefer XP-PEN for the info & XP experience from reviewers and friends, but in several occasions have said Huion is kind of the other main brand to consider (other than, of course, Wacom).  I have even heard rumors (quite weak, probably) of Wacom considering the possibility of (acquiring?) "getting" Huion to be their cheap sub-brand to allow them to ...

Thanks. 

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56 minutes ago, SrPx said:

Then... go Wacom L.  You wont regret it.... Best of the best.  I kind of wouldn't particularly go for the Paper option (slightly more expensive), unless you are very curious about the matter, or are a comic inker, and trust on your own tricks to overcome certain issues with that Paper thing (one of them: it's gotta be with Wacom's ink, not a regular cheap ink cartridge. Same story than, hey, why are printers so cheap... 'cause the business is in the ink.... ).

The one I am looking at is the Series Intuos PRO Large PTH-860-N, but for a similar price point there is also the XP-Pen Artist16 Pro 15.6 Inch Drawing Tablet Graphics Pen Display FHD IPS Monitor 8192 Pen Pressure with Shortcut Keys & Adjustable Multi-angle Stand, which from readers reviews and Q&A indicates people are using it with Affinity products.

Though I think XP-Pen Artist16 Pro is penned against the Wacom Cintiq 16 

 

Choices, choices, choices.

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The Cintiq 16 is better calibrated by default than XP-Pen or Huion, but anyway, I'm of the ones that believe that you need to hardware calibrate all your screens, no matter what.

You ask/mention this to the wrong guy ... :D As I hate with a passion to paint in a screen as small as 16 inches. A 22 inches one is much better. That said, again, it depends. I've been painting for decades with classic tablets of all sizes, but was 8 months with a cintiq, doing my usual work.... I don't recommend it for the full-day-grunt (hello!) kind of illustrator. For a part-time thing, yes, even more for a 2 hours per day hobby, yep, too. Drawing over a screen, due to the distance to the eyes, position of back and neck (even with an ergotron), and other things... I prefer classic tablets if one is going to put 8 to 10 hours a day. But definitely, I wouldn't buy a 16 inches screen-tablet. The surface area for drawing is almost fine, but not the screen size. And the one thing shared with the 22 is that I think is less ergonomic than a classic, with your monitor vertical,  at the right distance and all, back and neck straight and its muscles/tendons 100% relaxed (some people need to train this, though, it's a mindset, but is trainable by everyone) all those hours,  specially many hours a day, all days of the week, during years. So, since some time I 've become a great defender of the classic tablets. Also, this allows one to focus in a great professional monitor, as a separated thing from the drawing tablet. And these tablets actually quite cheaper, too, while providing the same or more pressure sensitivity levels, etc.  XP-PEN has quite cheaper models for the 22, also. That's normally, but now in the summer offer time, it's crazy, I believe it's even cheaper then a cintiq 16, (or any other 16 from any brand, till 15th September) by quite some difference... lemme check... yeah... I mean... c'mon.... 400 US $. LOL. And yep, is not "well" color calibrated (no screen is, in purity) by default like Wacom Cintiqs, but anyway, anyone just minimally serious, doing this for paid work, needs to calibrate the monitor by a hardware calibrator (be it a monitor or a display-tablet), and there are some dirty cheap in amazon. And if one doesn't have one... bad thing... is a must.. and one can use it for all the monitors in the studio or home. This is a must for whatever the brand, XP, Huion, and personally, I don't even trust Wacom fully for that. I'd calibrate a Cintiq...

I mean, TOTALLY keep recommending you and whoever (not really, a stupidly rich individual is better off with a Wacom L and Cintiq 32 combo) the Wacom L over anything, but if you really feel (but study well the case...) you need to draw over a screen - don't get me wrong: I think saves time and all... I'd just have it as a companion, to cover some hours a day, or some stage on each project-  do yourself a favor and get this 22E Pro. And I know...it's rechargeable pen, non battery-free, while I have been pestering about that just some posts above... but tends to happen in alternative brands at this size, dunno why at 16 they have all that ironed already (battery-free pens and other advances appear first in the 16" models). But that's how much important I think the screen size is, to work seriously even just during 4 hours. The 22E Pro model from XP-PEN gives u 2 rechargeable pens (so u can keep drawing with one while charging the other), if I recall well, and if notice some jitter/wobble, besides is compensated with a greater accuracy due to having a much larger active area, -more control over the lines- well, do the dirty trick, activate software line stabilization (use the lower values possible). Affinity photo supports it (and anyway, in AP you need it when drawing zoomed out). It's a no-way in a classic tablet, as at least you don't have to care about other issues as in display-tablets, so, one shouldn't admit today a classic with rechargeable pen, but I mean, it's a trade in the end. IMO is preferable to get a 22 inches screen with rechargeable pens for painting, drawing and inking, than a 16 with a battery-free pen, by far. 

I insist... I prefer the Wacom L, as your main work horse... Then, later on with a nice gig and money in the bank, the cintiq-like, as you could use it for portions of time in each day. My 2c.

The 22 model (400$) ...btw, don't get the "non-E"  ... that other one as no function keys, and quite worse cable management, can be a problem :

https://www.storexppen.com/buy/artist-22epro.html

In Amazon UK, as I believe you mentioned prices in pounds, hardware color calibrators at good price (I can only speak about i1 Display Pro, which is the one I have and use, and works great, but some of these below are said to do fine ) :

My super loved one, i1 Display Pro, still rocking after a bunch of years :

https://www.amazon.co.uk/X-Rite-i1Display-Pro-Professional-calibration/dp/B0055MBQOW/

Then the others  :D 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Datacolor-SpyderX-Pro-Calibration-photographers/dp/B07M6KPJ9K/

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00UBSL2TO

https://www.amazon.co.uk/X-Rite-ColorMunki-Display-Calibrator-Projectors/dp/B0055MBQOM/

I mean, no matter if it's 16, 22 , a Wacom Cintiq of the cheaper line, or Huion or XP-Pen, or a classic but one does not have yet a calibrator, IMO, it's a must. If already have one, then, is less investment now...

EDIT: About the tablet, at Amazon Uk there's no discount, it seems XP-Pen offers that to get more ppl buying directly from them... but if you have to buy all from Amazon for security or sth, it's quite more expensive there, and yet a stupidly good bargain (a steal) :

https://www.amazon.co.uk/XP-Pen-Artist22E-Interactive-Shortcut-Adjustable/dp/B01M28DHOA/

Great offers. But I still keep recommending the Wacom L over any of these. Now, I recon some people don't want to spend the time training the eye-hand-screen coordination thing with a classic tablet. I mean, I can understand that. But is .. acquiring an extremely valuable skill. If one ends up at company, is easy to transition to a Cintiq, but quite hard doing the opposite, from cintiq to a classic if never used the latter, in the intensity of a new job and all. Also, if you get the tablet broken out of warranty (happens to many) , and you are used to classic tablets, is WAY easier on the pocket to get a 100 bucks Deco 03 or Huion to solve the day than needing to improvise a large investment in the middle of the month, to end gigs or etc. Is a more sustainable thing, so to speak.

AD, AP and APub. V1.x and V2.x Windows 10 and Windows 11.  
Ryzen 9 3900X, 32 GB RAM,  RTX 3060 12GB, Wacom Intuos XL, Wacom L. 
Eizo ColorEdge CS 2420 monitor. Windows 10.
HP Omen 16-b1010ns 12700H, 32GB DDR5 (corsair), nVidia RTX 3060 6GB + Huion Kamvas 22 drawing screen, Windows 11.

 

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Sorry, the XP-Pen 22E Pro, not available for shipping to UK. The Amazon.co.uk option would be the only one.

1 hour ago, TomM1 said:

Look at Huion tablets.

Pricier than XP-Pen, indeed...

AD, AP and APub. V1.x and V2.x Windows 10 and Windows 11.  
Ryzen 9 3900X, 32 GB RAM,  RTX 3060 12GB, Wacom Intuos XL, Wacom L. 
Eizo ColorEdge CS 2420 monitor. Windows 10.
HP Omen 16-b1010ns 12700H, 32GB DDR5 (corsair), nVidia RTX 3060 6GB + Huion Kamvas 22 drawing screen, Windows 11.

 

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One important thing to notice, though. You never know which of those Amazon's comments are paid or not.. But in the Wacom L, I read that a small number of users are having their pen tips wasted very fast, as they are using the current default sheet/protector in the Wacom L, and seems is the most "textured" (rough) one. Which is nice for paper-like feel and.... to get more money to Wacom (in tips replacement). Seems one can change those protectors, so, better if changing for the smoothest one (there are 3 levels, I believe), for long durability of the tips. I've only used 2 in 11 years with my Intuos 4 XL (but I never put a lot of pressure into the tablet/pen, compared to absolutely every other artists I've met....)

Besides that sometimes are paid opinions, consider also that people is very different one from each other. I have happened to work side by side with people that literally scratches their Wacom as if they were scribbling in stone. There has to be a bit of everything in this world, so, that percentage often shows up, and even 3 look like a lot. That said the rough sheet must be a reality, as is not something new, there have been complaints in the past. I have a smooth sheet, but also, use a smooth tip (so to  neither scratch the sheet, and because I prefer the almost brushy feel, and I don't press strongly. Ever).

AD, AP and APub. V1.x and V2.x Windows 10 and Windows 11.  
Ryzen 9 3900X, 32 GB RAM,  RTX 3060 12GB, Wacom Intuos XL, Wacom L. 
Eizo ColorEdge CS 2420 monitor. Windows 10.
HP Omen 16-b1010ns 12700H, 32GB DDR5 (corsair), nVidia RTX 3060 6GB + Huion Kamvas 22 drawing screen, Windows 11.

 

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I was really torn this year when buying a new display tablet. Wacom has started to make more affordable Cintiq models by stripping out some features from their pro lines.

I am opposite of SrPx, I prefer smaller displays, wanted something along the lines of a 16 inch display. I like being able to be more portable and take it along with my laptop when the need arises.

So, I look at the Wacom 16, not the Wacom 16 Pro, and really I was not that thrilled with what they were offering. A 1920 x 1080 resolution display with 96% sRGB/72% NTSC, 3-in1 cable setup, it comes with retractable legs to give you, what, 20 degree working angle, and no express keys. You would have to pay extra to get the Wacom Remote to get the express keys.

That would bring the price to $750 (Wacom 16 $650, Wacom Remote $100).

I then looked at the XP Pen 15.6 Pro. It offers the same 1920 x1080 display but has 120% sRGB/88% NTSC coverage, has the same 8192 levels of pressure, comes with a cheap, but functional stand that gives you the same working angle, 19 degrees? It differs from the Wacom 16 in that it has 8 express keys and a Red dial, scroll ring. It comes with the same 3-in-1 cable type of setup. Pen does not have to be charged. The laminated display of this XP Pen 15.6 Pro really does improve parallax greatly and I think eventually they will update their 22 line with laminated displays as well.

The cost of the XP Pen 15.6 pro was $400.

Did I want to spend $750 or $400? No matter which one I chose, I was going to calibrate the display with my SpyderPro. And a better stand would need to be purchased regardless of which one was chosen too. The one clear advantage that Wacom has is the pen and software/drivers. But is that advantage really so great to be worth the extra $350??

In my mind, no, I think XP Pen is close enough with their pens and drivers. Wacom has decades of experience, I think they were founded some 35 years ago? And XP pen was founded in 2005? Yeah, Wacom has way more experience and development time in this field but I do think XP Pen has made a lot of progress lately. I think XP Pen and their drivers are second to Wacom, I think Huion and the other companies are not quite as mature and lacking in their drivers and support. Just my opinion of course.

Anyway, I bought the XP Pen 15.6 Pro and it has been a fabulous experience. My favorite 'feature' is that I don't even have to use all of the 3-in1 cable. I plug in the HDMI connector and one of the USB connectors and the remaining USB connector goes unused. On both my Ryzen PC and my Ryzen laptop, they both provide enough power to run the display. I don't have to use that last USB connector to plug into a wall outlet. So I am able to go out and about and use the 15.6 display with my laptop and not be worried about being tethered to an additional power source, wall outlet, etc.

If I remember right I got something like 220 nits of brightness when measuring the 15.6 Pro, I believe the Wacom 16 is 250 nits? But the color gamut of the Wacom is worse and I think the XP Pen has the better display.

Now if I considered the Wacom 16 Pro, that has the same form factor as the 16 but more of the high end features that you associate with the Pro line. 4K display, etc. But a jump in price to $1,500? But it still doesn't include any express keys and you still would have to buy the Wacom Remote, so the total cost would be $1,600??? And is the display really better in terms of color gamut? Better than the XP Pen 15.6?? And then I have seen really bad reviews of the early buyers of the Cintiq 16 Pro, seems Wacom did have quality control issues with the first year of this model.

So, I ponder to myself, $400 for the XP Pen 15.6 Pro or $1,600 for the Wacom 16 Pro? What could I do with the $1,200 difference between the two?? Well, I could buy an Nvidia 2080 Ti for that much money. With so many programs now using CUDA or OpenCL, using both the CPU and GPU, my time in Blender or Resolve would be much, much nicer with that 2080 Ti card.

I am happy with my choice of the XP Pen, for now, but even if I had the budget of $1,600 say, I would still choose the XP Pen.

One last thing, it was mentioned earlier about taking into account your desk and the space you have. I can't stress this enough, having a quality desk seems to be way down the list of priorities for artists and if anything it should be right at the top. I had an Anthro computer desk and various accessories and it served me well for 20 years but I decided to upgrade to something different this year. It was a do it yourself project. I bought and assembled my own sit/stand desk. I did not go with an electronic motor but one that has a simple, rock solid manual crank. I went to Home Depot and bought a butcher block counter top, 5 foot, 1.5 inches thick put a couple coats of polyurethane on it. Together the frame and desktop weigh about 100 pounds, it goes from 27 inches to as high as 50 inches. So, I can sit in my ergonomic chair and then change it up, crank the table up and stand and work. I have a nice floor mat that I stand on that has various cushioned structures on it so that you can shift your weight, massage the arches of your feet, etc.

With my regular displays mounted on arms, I can push and move them around, and there is just so much space to set up the XP Pen 15.6 Pro, to have my Ryzen laptop on the desk as well, or to have say my iPad Pro set up as well. So often I see Youtube videos where artists are using so little space, I get claustrophobic watching them. It is like a juggler going into a tiny closet and trying to juggle. Yeah, I guess he can adapt and figure out how to do it, but why??

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8 hours ago, SrPx said:

The Cintiq 16 is better calibrated by default than XP-Pen or Huion, but anyway, I'm of the ones that believe that you need to hardware calibrate all your screens, no matter what.

You ask/mention this to the wrong guy ... :D As I hate with a passion to paint in a screen as small as 16 inches. A 22 inches one is much better. That said, again, it depends. I've been painting for decades with classic tablets of all sizes, but was 8 months with a cintiq, doing my usual work.... I don't recommend it for the full-day-grunt (hello!) kind of illustrator. For a part-time thing, yes, even more for a 2 hours per day hobby, yep, too. Drawing over a screen, due to the distance to the eyes, position of back and neck (even with an ergotron), and other things... I prefer classic tablets if one is going to put 8 to 10 hours a day. But definitely, I wouldn't buy a 16 inches screen-tablet. The surface area for drawing is almost fine, but not the screen size. And the one thing shared with the 22 is that I think is less ergonomic than a classic, with your monitor vertical,  at the right distance and all, back and neck straight and its muscles/tendons 100% relaxed (some people need to train this, though, it's a mindset, but is trainable by everyone) all those hours,  specially many hours a day, all days of the week, during years. So, since some time I 've become a great defender of the classic tablets. Also, this allows one to focus in a great professional monitor, as a separated thing from the drawing tablet. And these tablets actually quite cheaper, too, while providing the same or more pressure sensitivity levels, etc.  XP-PEN has quite cheaper models for the 22, also. That's normally, but now in the summer offer time, it's crazy, I believe it's even cheaper then a cintiq 16, (or any other 16 from any brand, till 15th September) by quite some difference... lemme check... yeah... I mean... c'mon.... 400 US $. LOL. And yep, is not "well" color calibrated (no screen is, in purity) by default like Wacom Cintiqs, but anyway, anyone just minimally serious, doing this for paid work, needs to calibrate the monitor by a hardware calibrator (be it a monitor or a display-tablet), and there are some dirty cheap in amazon. And if one doesn't have one... bad thing... is a must.. and one can use it for all the monitors in the studio or home. This is a must for whatever the brand, XP, Huion, and personally, I don't even trust Wacom fully for that. I'd calibrate a Cintiq...

I mean, TOTALLY keep recommending you and whoever (not really, a stupidly rich individual is better off with a Wacom L and Cintiq 32 combo) the Wacom L over anything, but if you really feel (but study well the case...) you need to draw over a screen - don't get me wrong: I think saves time and all... I'd just have it as a companion, to cover some hours a day, or some stage on each project-  do yourself a favor and get this 22E Pro. And I know...it's rechargeable pen, non battery-free, while I have been pestering about that just some posts above... but tends to happen in alternative brands at this size, dunno why at 16 they have all that ironed already (battery-free pens and other advances appear first in the 16" models). But that's how much important I think the screen size is, to work seriously even just during 4 hours. The 22E Pro model from XP-PEN gives u 2 rechargeable pens (so u can keep drawing with one while charging the other), if I recall well, and if notice some jitter/wobble, besides is compensated with a greater accuracy due to having a much larger active area, -more control over the lines- well, do the dirty trick, activate software line stabilization (use the lower values possible). Affinity photo supports it (and anyway, in AP you need it when drawing zoomed out). It's a no-way in a classic tablet, as at least you don't have to care about other issues as in display-tablets, so, one shouldn't admit today a classic with rechargeable pen, but I mean, it's a trade in the end. IMO is preferable to get a 22 inches screen with rechargeable pens for painting, drawing and inking, than a 16 with a battery-free pen, by far. 

I insist... I prefer the Wacom L, as your main work horse... Then, later on with a nice gig and money in the bank, the cintiq-like, as you could use it for portions of time in each day. My 2c.

The 22 model (400$) ...btw, don't get the "non-E"  ... that other one as no function keys, and quite worse cable management, can be a problem :

https://www.storexppen.com/buy/artist-22epro.html

In Amazon UK, as I believe you mentioned prices in pounds, hardware color calibrators at good price (I can only speak about i1 Display Pro, which is the one I have and use, and works great, but some of these below are said to do fine ) :

My super loved one, i1 Display Pro, still rocking after a bunch of years :

https://www.amazon.co.uk/X-Rite-i1Display-Pro-Professional-calibration/dp/B0055MBQOW/

Then the others  :D 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Datacolor-SpyderX-Pro-Calibration-photographers/dp/B07M6KPJ9K/

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00UBSL2TO

https://www.amazon.co.uk/X-Rite-ColorMunki-Display-Calibrator-Projectors/dp/B0055MBQOM/

I mean, no matter if it's 16, 22 , a Wacom Cintiq of the cheaper line, or Huion or XP-Pen, or a classic but one does not have yet a calibrator, IMO, it's a must. If already have one, then, is less investment now...

EDIT: About the tablet, at Amazon Uk there's no discount, it seems XP-Pen offers that to get more ppl buying directly from them... but if you have to buy all from Amazon for security or sth, it's quite more expensive there, and yet a stupidly good bargain (a steal) :

https://www.amazon.co.uk/XP-Pen-Artist22E-Interactive-Shortcut-Adjustable/dp/B01M28DHOA/

Great offers. But I still keep recommending the Wacom L over any of these. Now, I recon some people don't want to spend the time training the eye-hand-screen coordination thing with a classic tablet. I mean, I can understand that. But is .. acquiring an extremely valuable skill. If one ends up at company, is easy to transition to a Cintiq, but quite hard doing the opposite, from cintiq to a classic if never used the latter, in the intensity of a new job and all. Also, if you get the tablet broken out of warranty (happens to many) , and you are used to classic tablets, is WAY easier on the pocket to get a 100 bucks Deco 03 or Huion to solve the day than needing to improvise a large investment in the middle of the month, to end gigs or etc. Is a more sustainable thing, so to speak.

thanks for the wealth of information. 

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4 hours ago, Scungio said:

I was really torn this year when buying a new display tablet. Wacom has started to make more affordable Cintiq models by stripping out some features from their pro lines.

I am opposite of SrPx, I prefer smaller displays, wanted something along the lines of a 16 inch display. I like being able to be more portable and take it along with my laptop when the need arises.

So, I look at the Wacom 16, not the Wacom 16 Pro, and really I was not that thrilled with what they were offering. A 1920 x 1080 resolution display with 96% sRGB/72% NTSC, 3-in1 cable setup, it comes with retractable legs to give you, what, 20 degree working angle, and no express keys. You would have to pay extra to get the Wacom Remote to get the express keys.

That would bring the price to $750 (Wacom 16 $650, Wacom Remote $100).

I then looked at the XP Pen 15.6 Pro. It offers the same 1920 x1080 display but has 120% sRGB/88% NTSC coverage, has the same 8192 levels of pressure, comes with a cheap, but functional stand that gives you the same working angle, 19 degrees? It differs from the Wacom 16 in that it has 8 express keys and a Red dial, scroll ring. It comes with the same 3-in-1 cable type of setup. Pen does not have to be charged. The laminated display of this XP Pen 15.6 Pro really does improve parallax greatly and I think eventually they will update their 22 line with laminated displays as well.

The cost of the XP Pen 15.6 pro was $400.

Did I want to spend $750 or $400? No matter which one I chose, I was going to calibrate the display with my SpyderPro. And a better stand would need to be purchased regardless of which one was chosen too. The one clear advantage that Wacom has is the pen and software/drivers. But is that advantage really so great to be worth the extra $350??

In my mind, no, I think XP Pen is close enough with their pens and drivers. Wacom has decades of experience, I think they were founded some 35 years ago? And XP pen was founded in 2005? Yeah, Wacom has way more experience and development time in this field but I do think XP Pen has made a lot of progress lately. I think XP Pen and their drivers are second to Wacom, I think Huion and the other companies are not quite as mature and lacking in their drivers and support. Just my opinion of course.

Anyway, I bought the XP Pen 15.6 Pro and it has been a fabulous experience. My favorite 'feature' is that I don't even have to use all of the 3-in1 cable. I plug in the HDMI connector and one of the USB connectors and the remaining USB connector goes unused. On both my Ryzen PC and my Ryzen laptop, they both provide enough power to run the display. I don't have to use that last USB connector to plug into a wall outlet. So I am able to go out and about and use the 15.6 display with my laptop and not be worried about being tethered to an additional power source, wall outlet, etc.

If I remember right I got something like 220 nits of brightness when measuring the 15.6 Pro, I believe the Wacom 16 is 250 nits? But the color gamut of the Wacom is worse and I think the XP Pen has the better display.

Now if I considered the Wacom 16 Pro, that has the same form factor as the 16 but more of the high end features that you associate with the Pro line. 4K display, etc. But a jump in price to $1,500? But it still doesn't include any express keys and you still would have to buy the Wacom Remote, so the total cost would be $1,600??? And is the display really better in terms of color gamut? Better than the XP Pen 15.6?? And then I have seen really bad reviews of the early buyers of the Cintiq 16 Pro, seems Wacom did have quality control issues with the first year of this model.

So, I ponder to myself, $400 for the XP Pen 15.6 Pro or $1,600 for the Wacom 16 Pro? What could I do with the $1,200 difference between the two?? Well, I could buy an Nvidia 2080 Ti for that much money. With so many programs now using CUDA or OpenCL, using both the CPU and GPU, my time in Blender or Resolve would be much, much nicer with that 2080 Ti card.

I am happy with my choice of the XP Pen, for now, but even if I had the budget of $1,600 say, I would still choose the XP Pen.

One last thing, it was mentioned earlier about taking into account your desk and the space you have. I can't stress this enough, having a quality desk seems to be way down the list of priorities for artists and if anything it should be right at the top. I had an Anthro computer desk and various accessories and it served me well for 20 years but I decided to upgrade to something different this year. It was a do it yourself project. I bought and assembled my own sit/stand desk. I did not go with an electronic motor but one that has a simple, rock solid manual crank. I went to Home Depot and bought a butcher block counter top, 5 foot, 1.5 inches thick put a couple coats of polyurethane on it. Together the frame and desktop weigh about 100 pounds, it goes from 27 inches to as high as 50 inches. So, I can sit in my ergonomic chair and then change it up, crank the table up and stand and work. I have a nice floor mat that I stand on that has various cushioned structures on it so that you can shift your weight, massage the arches of your feet, etc.

With my regular displays mounted on arms, I can push and move them around, and there is just so much space to set up the XP Pen 15.6 Pro, to have my Ryzen laptop on the desk as well, or to have say my iPad Pro set up as well. So often I see Youtube videos where artists are using so little space, I get claustrophobic watching them. It is like a juggler going into a tiny closet and trying to juggle. Yeah, I guess he can adapt and figure out how to do it, but why??

Thanks for sharing your experiences and choice.

I notice you mentioned right at the end that you have a iPad Pro. How does that compare to the Wacom and XP offerings as a drawing / painting option?

 

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I have the large 12.9 inch iPad Pro second gen and the first gen Apple Pencil. I also have the iPad 2018, 9.7 inch model. To me I love it as much or more than the various Wacom products I have had over the years.

The apps have started to come to iOS. You have the Affinity products of course, but also Procreate and Clip Studio Paint. There are those that hate iOS file management, and supposedly there are big things in store for iOS 13 but really, I have been getting along fine with Sratospherix FileBrowser as my Mac OS Finder replacement or iOS. Readdle's Documents is another worthy Finder replacement for iOS.

I am not a big fan of the second gen Apple Pencil. Yes, it appears better in most regards but fails me in customization. With the first one I can use an assortment of custom pencil grips. I have always preferred grips with pens and pencils. I am partial to this UK company named Ego that makes Apple Pencil grips. But now with the double tap functionality of the Apple Pencil 2 how do I do that if I have a pencil grip? How do I charge it with a pencil grip on it?? I am in the minority on this I know but I will really miss my first gen Apple Pencil when I upgrade to a new iPad Pro in a year or two.

It will be interesting for Mac users how Apple's Sidecar works out and develops. Could an iPad Pro be a replacement for a Ciniq? Could Apple make even larger iPad Pros?? Who knows?

It is important I think to not try and shoehorn everything into one device or expect one device to be great at everything. There is a reason why I have a Mac Pro and a Ryzen PC, why I have a laptop and iPads, why I have a Wacom Intuos Pro medium sized tablet and an XP Pen 15.6 Pro. I like to change things up and sometimes things work better in certain situations. Pick the right tool for the job at hand.

For example, say you want to do a pattern, a repeating pattern, have it be a vector. Yeah, some may go into Illustrator to do that, some might even do it in Affinity Designer and use symbols as a workaround to get it done. Me? I first turn to Lost Minds Patternnodes 2. It is this parametric, node based app that gives you so many options and possibilities. You can even do animations with it. Anyway, you could develop this repeating pattern, really complex and then export it out to use in Designer. But this app is only on Mac OS, so I would use the Mac Pro for that. As I have gotten older I have tried to become platform agnostic, and not tie my wagon to any one OS but at the same time I try and take advantage of each OS and what it has to offer.

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Just a note on the XP Pen 15.6 Pro, it is currently selling for $320 on eBay by various vendors. $320 is just an incredible price for what you are getting. I am not an XP Pen employee just a really satisfied customer. It is a great time to be an artist and in need of a tablet or display tablet, just so many options and companies to turn to besides Wacom.

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19 hours ago, Scungio said:

Just a note on the XP Pen 15.6 Pro, it is currently selling for $320 on eBay by various vendors. $320 is just an incredible price for what you are getting. I am not an XP Pen employee just a really satisfied customer. It is a great time to be an artist and in need of a tablet or display tablet, just so many options and companies to turn to besides Wacom.

thanks. I wil see what offers ebay UK has.

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