As you may know, I am a hobbyist artist – until recently concentrating on 3D modeling. I have however started to explore sketching and painting digitally – a few days ago I posted about the beginnings of my journey and discussed Autodesk’s Sketchbook. I have a Microsoft Surface Pro 3 tablet PC with pen and a Ugee HK5060 tablet monitor for my desktop PC. Over the years I have tried ‘normal’ graphics tablets – a slab with a pen – but I have always struggled with coordinating what my hand is doing on the tablet with what is happening on screen. Nevertheless, I decided to persevere, practice, and get over this mental hurdle.
Wacom is, of course, the big daddy when it comes to graphics tablet technology, and this is reflected in their pricing. The above model is the Intuos Pro M and the tablet has 5080 lpi – lines per inch or resolution. It has an active drawing area of 8.7″ x 5.8″ and the batteryless pen supports an incredible 8192 pressure levels and recognizes 60 degrees of tilt. The tablet has 8 express keys and a touch ring for keyboard shortcuts. The price is on average £300 / $350. Nice specs, pity about the price.
This tablet is a Huion Inspiroy h950p. Its active draw area is 8.7″ x 5.4″ – as wide but not quite as tall as the Wacom. It too offers a 5080 lpi resolution and also has 8 express keys, though no touch ring. The pen is also batteryless, offers the same 8192 levels of pressure sensitivity and the 60 degrees of pen tilt. Amazingly, although its specifications closely match the Intuos Pro M, this device sells for an incredible £70 / $90! As I had some spare Amazon gift tokens in my account, I took the plunge and bought one.
It arrived a few days ago and first impressions were good. As you can see from the top photo, it comes in a nice minimalistic white box. Removing the lid revealed a carry bag for the tablet.
Taking that out I was presented with a warranty card, a thank you note from Huion and instructions on where to download the device drivers from.
Upon flinging those aside I finally reached the tablet sheathed in a protective plastic. I removed that to see the tablet itself.
Running my fingers over the express keys, they gave a satisfying and tactile click. Underneath the tablet I found the USB cord to attach the device to my PC, a quick start guide, the pen and pen holder.
With a quick twist, the pen holder opened up to reveal 8 spare pen nibs.
Replace the lid and the pen sits fine both vertically inside the holder and horizontally on top.
Both the pen for my Surface Pro and my tablet monitor require batteries. By comparison, this pen felt very light in the hand and I can imagine much more comfortable for long periods of drawing or painting – it weighs little more than a regular pen. Like the Wacom pen, it too has 2 side buttons. However, unlike the Wacom, it does not have an eraser on the end. I had a cheap Wacom many years ago with an eraser and never used it – so I cannot imagine missing it with the Huion.
By comparison, my Surface 3 Pro pen has just 256 pressure levels. My Ugee HK1560 has 2048 levels. The 8192 levels of the Huion pen are mind-boggling.
After installing the device driver I opened up the panel to see what options I had.
The first page allows you to set your express keys to whatever keyboard shortcuts you might need. Easy and straightforward.
This next page lets you tweak your pen pressure according to how you use your pen. Some are more light or heavy-handed, so this lets you dial in something that you are comfortable with. Here you can also set what functions the two barrel buttons do.
Finally, you can set the pen use according to your preference. For example, if you have more than one monitor you can dedicate it to whichever one your drawing or painting software is on. It’s also possible to span monitors, but I can’t really see a use case for that.
So, how is it in use? The increased pressure sensitivity is very noticeable. The pen is comfortable to use and the tablet surface is not too slippy – unlike drawing on a glass screen there is a little bit of drag like when drawing on paper.
Sure, it’s going to take me a while to perfect my hand-eye coordination, but with practice and perseverance, I hope to get better at drawing and painting with the Huion. I cannot tell you how it performs compared to the Wacom Intuos Pro M, but for the price, this tablet is a bargain – especially when considering its specifications.
All three strokes use the same pencil tool in Corel Painter with none of the settings changed between strokes. With the top line, the pen was held at a nearly vertical angle with little pressure applied. The second line was held the same, just with increased pressure. The bottom line I held the pen as one would when doing shading with a normal pencil, tilting the pen sideways. I have never used a digital pen with tilt functionality but I like it the different stroke variations I can make with the pen.
Overall I think the Huion h950p was an excellent buy and thoroughly recommend it if you are in the market for a device with similar specs to the Wacom Intuos Pro M but costing a fraction of the price.
Now, back to practicing….
Note: this post contains Amazon affiliate links to the products featured.