We had a chance to test the new professional XP-Pen pen display with a vivid 4K display.
Last month, XP-Pen presented its new Artist Pro 16TP pen display. The device is the first in XP-Pen’s Artist Pro series of professional pen displays featuring a vivid 4K UHD resolution. The XP-Pen team was kind enough to send me the tablet and today I'll be discussing whether it's a good choice for your 3D projects. The thing is that this was my first graphics tablet with a display and I hope my experience can help someone thinking about switching devices.
- 4K resolution (3840 x 2160), 15.6-inch Multi-touch Screen
- Digital eraser
- 60°tilt function
- USB-C to USB-C connection
- Fully-laminated display with 92% Adobe RGB, 124% sRGB high color space
I got the tablet a week ago and the first thing to notice is its beautiful cover created in collaboration with artist Shan Jiang. It doesn't really affect your experience, of course, but we all love good art at 80 Level and it's nice to see the company taking time to prepare the package.
Inside you'll see a 15.6-inch multi-touch screen with a bunch of other things to connect and use the device:
- Battery-free stylus
- Pen case (comes with 9 pen nibs)
- 2 USB-C to USB-C cables
- 2-in-1 cable
- Power adapter
- Quick guide
- Cleaning cloth
- Black drawing glove
The package comes with a classy pen case that protects the battery-free stylus. I'm a big fan of dropping a pen at least once a week (even broke a side button once) so that's a game-changer for me. All the components feel solid and there is a couple of extra things like the black drawing glove with the XP-Pen logo on it and a cleaning cloth.
Please note that the package doesn't feature a stand and you need to buy one separately. Any stand for a 15.6-inch tablet or a laptop would work in this case.
Launching the device
Just hit the power button on the left side and the tablet starts working as your second screen. You can also download and install an additional app from the official website to tweak settings – change the key set for the side button of the pen or tweak sensitivity. The software is actually super simple and I didn't have any problems installing drivers or customizing buttons.
The display comes with four buttons on the left and top sides that let you change settings, control brightness, and turn the display on and off. You can pick the color space, tweak resolution, and more. It comes with 92% Adobe RGB, 124% sRGB in color gamut, and a 1000:1 contrast ratio, providing natural color transition, super color accuracy, and saturation.
Let's finally talk about the painting experience. I should first discuss the stylus and its buttons. The pen supports up to 60 degrees of tilt action and 8192 levels of pressure sensitivity. The build quality is solid and the matte texture makes it feel really comfortable.
On the side, there's only one button which turned out to be the biggest drawback of the device for me. Let's say you're working on textures in Substance Painter. You need two buttons, one for the right mouse button and the other one for the middle button, to translate and rotate your camera. The same thing goes for Maya, for example, and many other 3D tools, but you can always tweak shortcuts.
The display comes with three touch modes. You can turn on the touch mode, choose a mixed option or turn gestures off. Users can easily zoom in and out, rotate their canvas, and navigate more freely with their fingers while drawing with a stylus.
ZBrush and Other 3D Apps
I picked a concept by Alex Konstad to test the display and learn how it performs across different applications. The first tool was ZBrush where I sculpted and modeled different parts of the scene. It took time to get used to the new pen but the general experience was kind of captivating. A tablet with a display provides this extra level of engagement so I "woke up" at 4 am in the morning on my first day with the device. And that is a really good thing. Sometimes it's kind of difficult to focus and this sense of engagement really helps me channel my thoughts. My hand though needed time to get used to drawing on a standing tablet.
The team notes their latest display combines eye strain relief technology with an anti-glare glass screen that minimizes visual interference from surroundings for a gentler image presentation and reduced eye fatigue.
All the details feel very sharp and adding little scales or wrinkles wouldn't be a problem thanks to the 4K display. The fidelity comes at a price though and you should examine the power of your rig before buying the Artist Pro 16TP display. The performance was not a problem in my case but there were some minor lags when texturing the scene in Substance 3D Painter. I love painting small details manually in Substance 3D Painter and the display allowed me to apply all the little scratches, dirt spots, and other layers, then tweak them in no time.
I then rendered the piece and switched to tweaking final details in Photoshop and that's where XP-Pen Artist Pro 16TP shines. The display is perfect for 2D art. You have the needed control and all the strokes come out great. That doesn't mean it's not meant for 3D tasks but the device just nails every task out of the box when you're working on 2D artworks.
The XP-Pen Artist Pro 16TP display delivers a smooth, crisp and vivid experience thanks to its high-quality 4K display. I've heard about artists switching back to flat tablets after trying devices with displays but that's not my case as the display really helped me nail the final touches. The only downside was the pen with only one button but I'm getting used to it.
Artist Pro 16TP is now available at the discounted price of $719.99 (the regular price is $899.99) as XP-Pen is celebrating its 16th anniversary. The display can definitely help you level up details but please consider the performance aspect before making a decision.
The XP-Pen team also sent us an exclusive promo code for our audience. The 5%-off promo code XPPEN80LV expires on September 20th. You can combine the code with the current anniversary offer to get the best possible price.