It was a Tuesday morning when the package arrived. Nicely packaged and safely stored graphic tablet from a now well-known company in illustrators community that produces, people say, great and definitely more affordable Wacom alternatives for all of us creatives out there.
When Nana from the product sales reached out to see if I wanted to try out one of their products and test it out, of course I was all in! Since I care about being mobile and sometimes working on the go, Nana and me figured that the smaller version, 13.3 inch one that is, would best fit my needs, though they do cover, it's safe to say, almost all standard sizes, ranging from small to huge, and both off-screen and on-screen versions.
So as the package came and so did my excitement. The box itself is quite rigid but nicely designed, protecting the tablet within.
First thing you see when you open the lid, is a well-protected screen display itself, you pick it up - it's quite light in weight, but still feels sturdy and overall has a decent quality feel to it. You immediately see 8 buttons, which are all easily customizable to fit your workflow i.e shortcuts you use most frequently, we all know the drill. I was so pleasantly surprised to see the wheel- which means zooming in and out with gentile rotation of your finger - hooray the best thing ever since I'm, one might say, a zooming freak. Soon, the touch-feely urge kicked in as soon as I removed the protective foil, and may I say, the laminated screen feels so gooooood - coming from an obligatory non-slippery screen freak. Plus, it's anti-glare, of course.
Now onto the inside of the box, which I won't go into many details - well, at least regarding the cables and the plugs since there are more on the technical side and we are all here for the good stuff. In short, you plug it in as you would any other graphic tablet. HDMI, USB, power plug, and all that jazz.
The pencil case is my favorite because a) you can store the pe n safely after using it and b) bulkiness of the case makes it impossible for you to lose the pen while traveling (which I tend to have a slight problem with). The case contains extra nibs, and the lid turns into a pencil stand while you work!
The pen is really light and on a slimmer side so it fits perfectly into my palm. I'm still not sure if I like how light it is though, but it's just a matter of habit, I suppose.
Just like a Wacom pen, it has two customizable buttons on the side to make your life much easier. Besides that, I love the rubber grip (yeah, I'm cheering about the rubber grip, it seems like I'm using my iPad pan too much, you know the slippery one). More on the pen later though.
Suffice to say this box has everything you need to set up your workstation - stuff you have to additionally buy when it comes to the high-end brands. There is the stand, it feels a bit plasticky, but hey, it's doing its purpose. The glove, which I never wear but I know some people do, so yeah, there it is. The cleaning cloth, to keep your new friend fresh and clean :)
Urgh. I hate setting up new tablets. So skip this part if you are unlike me actually good at it and bother to read the instructions. I downloaded the drivers, which, they are advising, should be the only ones installed :/ (now that's a bummer). Secondly, I went through literal hell, trying to make my screens extend properly without Photoshop scaling quite funnily when dragged onto the tablet screen (but that's not to say that's any of the XP PEN's fault of course). Google always helps, my friends. Anyhow, a few hours later I was all set up and ready to go.
Wow, the resolution and the colors on this screen are so nice! 1920*1080 is a great resolution for a screen that size and the colors are vivid and saturated, I'm truly amazed! Nothing to add here, unless you want me to cheerfully repeat a few more times that I honestly love this screen.
Sooo, opened up Photoshop excited to finally draw you know a couple of lines to test it out, the pen is in my hand, a wide smile on my face but then - a cold shower. Hey the pen pressure, as I slide my hand against the screen, is not working! Don't be confused as I was guys - just turn on the Window Ink option in the tablet settings and lo and behold the problem is solved.
I asked you on my Instagram to give me suggestions on what to draw to test the tablet out and I picked a few:
Here is a timelapse of me drawing a magical frog that has a pet snail, surrounded by greenery and mushrooms, meeting a little fairy girl who just journeyed from far away to meet the two companions for their scheduled picnic day! Please witness me zooming and rotating like crazy and believe me I do that no matter the device I draw with :D Enjoy!
The drawing experience was really great! No lagging, high level of pressure sensitivity was excellent, shortcuts, and the glorious zooming wheel worked perfectly! The surface feels very natural to draw on, and it doesn't differ that much from Wacom when it comes to the screen feel. The only thing I would change though is the pen - the nib is somewhat sticking out more than I'm used to, making it not that fixed to the pen itself and a bit bumpy when I do my texturizing (you know gazillion small strokes). I miss the eraser on the top end of the pen too, but the preprogrammed click of the pen's upper button makes it easy to acess and the workflow is one again seamless.
I seriously can not wait to use this tablet more! Not to say that my 22inch Wacom will be instantly replaced- no, but this one is perfect for me to work remotely without having to worry that my work will suffer. Also, I can imagine myself drawing in a cozy cafe with it or on the sofa in my living room.
The price of this tablet is insane, considering the fact what you get for your money - it still boggles my mind! The current price on Aliexpress is $349.99! Also feel free to explore their store for more options :)
For anyone looking to buy their first drawing tablet, for students and hobbyists, and for pros too, I find XP PEN to be a pretty decent alternative, if not even an awesome one! Sure, I still have to spend hours and hours with it before I can properly judge, but judging by this experience, and two extra days of doodling/sketching - me and my 13.3 XP PEN will be a friend and a companion for years to come :)
Thanks for watching, thanks to XP PEN for this opportunity and please if you have any questions, don't hesitate to reach out!