Xp Pen Artist 12 Pro Review: Why it is the Best budget tablet

Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate EssentialPicks earn from qualifying purchases.

Display tablets are one of the most basic tools used by digital artists. They have a lot of advantages over traditional non-display tablets.

xp pen artist 12 pro review
source: xp-pen.com

Most of the display tablets in the market are way too expensive for beginners. And of those tablets who claim to be budget devices – have some major limitations.

That is where Xp Pen Artist 12 Pro steps in. If you want a good drawing tablet that comes with all the latest features. A tablet that is great value for money and does not compromise with quality – Xp Pen Artist 12 Pro is the right tablet for you.

This tablet is for beginner to intermediate artists who want the better drawing experience provided by the display tablets at a reasonable price.

Xp Pen artist 12 Pro is an updated version of its last generation Xp Pen Artist 12 drawing tablet. In this review, we will take a deep look at all the features this tablet has to offer and help you figure out whether this device is the right drawing tablet for you.

Xp Pen Artist 12 – Features and specifications

Starting off with the features. Here is the list of all the main features this tablet comes with.

Xp Pen Artist 12 Pro
Display11.6 Inches
Display Dimension25.6 cm x 14.4 cm
Tablet Dimension35.1 cm x 22.5 cm x 1.2 cm
Resolution1920 x 1080 FullHD
Color72% NTSC Color
Viewing Angle178°
Pressure and Tilt8192 with 60° tilt
Stylus TypePassive (Batteryless)
Buttons on PenTwo
Buttons on Tablet8 + Roller Wheel
Response Time14ms

Check on Amazon →

Design and Build Quality

xp pen artist 12 pro design and build quality
source: xp-pen.com

From the very first look – the tablet looks like a well-refined product. It has a modern and minimalist design.

At the front, you have the display in the center with Shortcut buttons on the Left and Xp pen branding on the right.

The glass on the front extends over the borders of the screen which does not allow the stylus to get stuck at the corners and sides of the display.

The tablet is made of high-quality plastic that feels very sturdy in hand with no flexing or rattling noise on shaking overall giving it a premium feel.

In short, the built quality is better than what you would expect from a budget drawing tablet.

Display – Size, Resolution and Color Accuracy

The Xp Pen Artist 12 Pro comes with an 11.6-inch display. It has a resolution of 1920 x 1080 (FullHD) and 72% NTSC color coverage.

A FullHD resolution on an 11.6 display produces sharper images in comparison to the larger 13 or 15-inch tablets with the same resolution.

A 12-inch drawing tablet is a great option for someone who wants a portable device that can be taken anywhere with you. It easily fits in your backpack and takes the same space as a laptop. The tablet is very slim measuring 0.3 inches and weighs 2.18 lbs (0.98 kg).

The 11.6-inch screen is sufficient to comfortably use any of your favorite drawing applications without feeling cramped. This small size makes it a great candidate to use it on your lap.

In case you want a larger screen you can check out the Xp Pen 13-inch (Amazon) and the Xp pen 16-inch (Amazon) variant.

The matte surface and Anti-glare film

display properties of artist 12 pro

The display comes with an anti-glare film of the top which reduces reflections and glares off the screen when you are using the tablet in a bright environment.

The protective film has scratch-resistant properties and it is very well adhered to the surface and does not peel off from the sides and corners.

The tablet display has a textured finish. One of the biggest advantages of the textured surface is – it prevents the pen from slipping too much on the glass display which gives you better control over the stylus.

Laminated display of Xp Pen Artist 12 Pro

A while ago, Laminated screens could only be seen in tablets that cost a couple of thousand bucks. It is really good to see the technology slowly trickle down to budget devices.

One of the biggest advantages of a laminated display is – it reduces Parallax.

Now the question is – What is Parallax? And how does it affect the drawing experience?

In nonlaminated displays, when you draw a stroke the actual line appeared a few millimeters away from where the stylus is actually touching the surface. This happens due to a small gap between the screen and the top glass.

In modern laminated displays, the display and top glass are laminated together leaving no air gap in-between. This solves the parallax problem and also results in more vibrant colors on the screen.

You can know more about laminated displays here.

Stylus – Xp Pen PA2


One of the good things about the Artist 12 pro is Xp Pen have not cheaped out on the stylus. The Artist 12 Pro comes with the PA2 stylus. It is the same pen that comes with the more expensive variants of Xp Pen display tablets.

The PA2 is the most advanced stylus of Xp Pen. It has a pressure sensitivity of 8192 levels and can detect tilt up to ±60°.

The stylus of Artist 12 pro is a passive stylus, which does not need to be charged. It takes its power wirelessly from the tablet with the help of EMR. You can click here to read more about how it works.

Design of the stylus

A drawing tablet is often used by the artist for long drawing sessions so the tablet should be comfortable to draw on. One of the ways Xp Pen has improved the comfort of using this tablet by making the stylus ergonomic.

The stylus has a wider tip that slowly tapers towards the back. The front half of the pen is made of some kind of textured material. The wider tip and the matte textured material provide a comfortable holding position and better grip on sweaty hands.

The stylus has two buttons on the side – one of the buttons switches between brush and eraser and the second button acts as a right-click by default. You can change these default buttons to any other shortcut of your choice.

Pen Holder

The Xp Pen Artist 12 comes with a very handy and high-quality pen holder. The pen holder is cylindrical in shape and provides excellent protection to the stylus.

The rear cap of the pen holder opens up to reveal the storage space. This space is used for storing extra pen nibs.

The cap, on the other hand, doubles up as a pen holder. It holds the stylus in the upright position while it is not in use.

Shortcut Buttons

shortcut keys - artist 12 Pro

The shortcut button is a very important part of the drawing process. It saves a lot of time and allows making quick changes easier and convenient.

The Xp Pen Artist 12 comes with a total of 8 shortcut buttons. All these buttons are located on the left in two groups of 4 buttons each.

Some of the buttons have raised dots and dashes to identify them by touch. This can be useful in a dark environment and helps to develop muscle memory for the buttons.

These shortcut buttons can be programmed to any shortcut of your choice in the tablet settings. You can also make application-specific shortcuts where the hotkeys on the button automatically change according to the program you are using.

Multipurpose roller wheel

Red roller wheel

Other than button the Artist 12 Pro also comes with a very handy multipurpose roller wheel. This roller wheel is located in-between the shortcut button.

It allows you to perform actions such as zoom, Pan, Scroll. And most importantly the wheel can change the size, opacity, and hardness of brush and eraser, just by rotating the dial.

What about the lefties?

All the shortcut buttons are located on the left meaning a right-handed artist can draw with their right hand and use the shortcut buttons with their left hand. But what about artists that use their left hand to draw.

left and right hand mode in xp pen artist 12 pro
Left and Right-hand mode in Xp Pen Artist 12 Pro, source: Xp-Pen

In that case, there is a left-hand mode in the tablet settings. Once you click that button the tablet automatically maps the screen for left-handed usage. After that, all you have to do is rotate the tablet by 180° and you are good to go.

Tablet Stand

tablet stand xp pen

Drawing on a tablet that is laying flat on the table can be inconvenient and uncomfortable, it may even lead to muscle cramps and pain on prolonged uses.

The Xp Pen Artist 12 Pro comes with a simple tablet stand. The stand is made of plastic and gives a single working angle. It is lightweight and can fold into a slim profile – making it easier to take with you.

If you want more adjustability you can also buy a separate tablet stand that gives you varying levels of slope.

Connectivity – How Artist 12 Pro connect to the computer?

Everyone wants a clean desk, wires look messy and often gets damaged if kept carelessly. They also restrict your movements and in this particular case defeats the purpose of getting a small and portable device.

The Xp Pen Artist 12 Pro connects to your computer with the help of a 3-in-1 cable.  A 3-in-1 cable setup minimizes wire on the desk and gives you more space to move and adjust your tablet.

The cable consists of 2 USB-A and a USB-C connector on one end and a single HDMI connector on the other end.

The USB-C cable connects to the drawing tablet, on the other end the HDMI and a USB-A connect to the computer and the Red power USB connector is plugged in the power adaptor.

Some of the laptops come with a powered USB outlet. If your computer or laptop has one – in that case, you can plug the Red power connector directly to the computer instead of attaching it to the power adapter.

Unboxing – What you get in the box

Here is everything you get in the box of Xp Pen Artist 12

artist 12 pro Unboxing

  • Artist 12 Pro tablet
  • Tablet Stand
  • PA2 Stylus
  • 8 Replacement nibs
  • Pen Holder
  • 3-in-1 Cable
  • USB extension cable
  • Power Adapter
  • Drawing Glove
  • Cleaning Cloth
  • Quick Guide

Summary – Why you should buy the Xp Pen Artist 12 Pro

The reason you should buy this tablet is, you won’t get a better value for money than the Xp Pen Artist Pro. This tablet is the smaller variant of the larger 13 and 16 inches Xp Pen tablets.

Now in spite of being an entry-level tablet, other than the display size, Xp Pen has all the same features that you get with the larger models – which is a massive plus point.

The stylus is another big reason why you should be getting the Artist 12 Pro. It is quite difficult to find a comparable stylus at this price range. It has excellent drawing performance.

The strokes made by the stylus has no inconsistent pressure bumps or pen jitter. The pressure sensitivity is also very balanced.

The final reason why this tablet is an absolute steal is the shortcut button situation. You get everything from multiple shortcut buttons to the excellent roller wheel.

This impressive shortcut layout sometimes cannot be found even in the tablet that costs twice or three times the price of this tablet.

Overall, the Artist 12 Pro is a great option for anyone who wants to take their drawing journey to the next level. This tablet has all the features that you need and you will have a great time using it.

Check on Amazon →


Cheap drawing tablet with screen
Laminated vs non-laminated displays

Shubham Singh

Shubham Singh is an Adobe Certified Associate, Graphic Designer, and 3D artist. He likes to acquire new skills and explore how things work.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Rayan

    This was really helpful. Thanks

  2. Jamie

    I think that the xp pen artist 12 pro is the best budget tablet because it has a lot of features for a low price.

Leave a Reply