Which XP-Pen Graphics Tablet Should I Buy?

Which XP-Pen Graphics Tablet Should I Buy?

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When it comes to drawing tablets or digitizers, Wacom is the first name to come to mind. Their products are ideal for digital artists and photographers alike, making the process of creating art on a computer a more enjoyable and seamless experience. However, there are still reasons why you might want to look for an alternative.

XP-PEN as a company has come extremely far and I’ve actually switched from Wacom to XP-PEN which is something that I thought would never happen in the past. If you’re new to animation or art and you’re looking to start somewhere to dip your toes into the field, I would highly recommend the XP-PEN.

XP-Pen is one of the top brands when it comes to design tools such as graphics tablets, pen display monitors, stylus pens and other digital graphical products.

Introduction to XP-PEN

XP-Pen realised long ago that a graphics drawing tablet solution needs to fit not just a variety of budgets, but also different ways of working. At the top end, there's the Artist Pro range, aimed at the professional user with luxury items such as interactive pen display, while the Deco tablets has a solid set of functionality, but at a more affordable price.

The company also produce the Star range of tablets, but these are more aimed at note-taking , digital writing and photo editing. Thus, if you're just starting out down the graphics tablet road, then the XP-PEN Star G640 could be a good starting point, for instance. The latest edition to the family of tablets the XP-PEN Innovator 16 includes everything you need to get started including 12 months of free drawing software ( Artragr & open canvas ), so this could be a great starting point.

Why use a graphics tablet?

A graphics tablet or pen tablet is more efficient, faster and far more accurate than a mouse. With one waft of the hand, your cursor can travel right across the screen and most importantly, there's nothing more natural feelings than holding a pen in your hand. The pen also has buttons for mouselike clicking and a variety of nibs can be bought as replacements or to optimise the pen tip feel.

Sensitivity and pressure levels are a big factor when using a graphics tablet. Instead of just an on/off style of working with a mouse, effects such as painting can be applied gradually, which makes for a much more natural and artistic way of working. Holding a pen is also a more ergonomic way of working, much more natural feelings than many hours with a mouse. For work such as fine detailed retouching, a tablet is more of a necessity, than a nice addition.

The XP-PEN Deco Range

This range is split into the Deco and Deco Pro range of tablets. The pro range has extended functionality, which will suit the working professional, but the Deco has the same core functionality. Thus, if you are only doing small edits, then this range will suit you fine. It's also advisable to buy a tablet which isn't too small. Anything smaller than A5 will not give you enough workable space and you will soon be wanting for a larger model.

A good solution is the XP-PEN Deco Pro Medium. The tablet has a large working area for most jobs and has been recently updated with better hardware. The drawing surface itself has a Smooth feeling to give a natural feedback to pen strokes and even with heavy use, pen nibs should last at least a year, with spares included.

Pressure levels have been increased on this version to 8192 with also a rubberised grip, similar to the PA2. The PA1 Pen has a few more features than you find on the regular Deco , such as a tilt support and double wheel design . These could be a must have for the likes of illustrators .

Each tablet comes with a set of shortcut keys, which can be configured for different types functionality. For instance, one of the buttons can be set for 'Cntrl/Z' undo or other types of commonly used shortcuts. The buttons on the pen can also be configured to many different shortcuts, either for general use, or specific to different types of software, such as in Photoshop.

Setting up of the tablet on your computer is straightforward, with a simple install process of the software and drivers. it's a given that the tablets work seamlessly with all types of image software.

Another tip is to try and use a cable rather than relying totally on wireless connectivity ( XP-PEN Deco 03 ). We've never experienced any latency or delay with wireless, but for added peace of mind, there's nothing like being hardwired into your computer.

The XP-PEN Artist Range

The Artist Pro range have the most rounded professional features, with screens going up to 22 and 24 inches, which some models even have fully-laminated Display to reduce the parallax . These solutions are aimed at the high-end professionals or CAD users who have mission-critical deadlines, but are also the most costly.

The big difference between the regular Artist and Artist Pro range is mainly in the type of the display. the regular Artist series doesn't have fully-laminated screen and not supported the tilt function.

Full-lamination means between the glass and the panel, there is a special GLUE bonds them seamlessly. That's it will reduce parallax to almost none and provide a better display effect.


For those looking for a simple and affordable alternative to the WACOM, the XP-PEN is highly rated amongst artists.

The Star & Deco range is a good starting point to access the basic features and functionality. While the Artist range is for the most rounded, professional solution, which also allows you to draw directly on a screen.

Which solution you choose will ultimately come down to your budget and regular workflow, but it's also worth bearing in mind not to dive straight into the cheapest solution. This will mean the smallest of working areas and the least functionality, which is fine for general office work, but you will soon outgrow it for regular editing work.

If you've never used a digital art tablet before, they will take a little getting used to, but the learning curve is small and the benefits will soon shine on the work you produce. The benefits aren't immediately obvious until you have started to work with a graphics tablet on a few projects. It's only then that the more intuitive workflow becomes apparent.

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