Xp Pen Artist 15.6 pro Review : The Best budget display tablet

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Xp Pen artist 15.6 Pro Review

The Artist 15.6 Pro is the latest drawing tablet from Xp Pen. It is already being considered as the prime candidate for the best – budget display tablet in the market. Its distinctive look and combination of low price and premium features make it one of the most lucrative options for those looking for a display tablet.

The last few months have seen many tablet releases by all the major brands. Huion have come up with their Kamvas lineup whereas Wacom has released their Cintiq 16 tablet. So where does the Artist 15.6 Pro stands – and what makes it better than its competitors?

If you are looking for a tablet, this is a must read for you. In this Xp Pen Artist 15.6 Pro review, we will take a close look at all the features the tablet has to offer and how it compares to other tablets in its price range.

Xp Pen Artist 15.6 Pro – Features and specifications

Xp Pen Artist 15.6 Pro display tabletThe Artist 15.6 Pro comes with some of the very unique features – like the red roller which was never seen before on a display tablet. Before we show you the full specifications, it is important to note that – features often do not tell the full story. We highly suggest you read the full review…

 Xp Pen Artist 15.6 Pro
Resolution1920 x 1080 p
Size15.6 Inches
Color88% NTSC (120% sRGB)
Viewing Angle178°
Active Drawing Area344.16 x 193.59 mm
Pen / Pen HolderPassive Pen / Included
Pressure and Tilt8192 Levels / 60° Tilt
Shortcut KeysEight
Roller WheelOne
Tablet StandIncluded

Design and Build quality

USB-C port
Power Button, Brightness Control and USB-C port

Coming to the design – The Artist 15.6 Pro has all the buttons and shortcut options on the left and working area on the right-hand side. It has a single USB-C port which is located at the right edge of the tablet along with the power switch and brightness controls (pic above).

Its 15.6 inches medium-size display, the width of just 11 mm and overall light weight make it perfect for working on a desk as well as your lap.

The tablet feels very strong and sturdy. There is no flexing or creaking sound audible when pressed hard. There are two big strips of rubber pads on the back of the device which makes it very stable on the smooth surface.

How good is the display – Resolution and features

tablet specifications Artist Pro

The display is one of the main focal points of the Artist 15.6 Pro. It comes with a 1920 x 1080 P fully laminated display. The tablet performs great in terms of vibrancy and color accuracy. Its display is capable of producing rich colors which cover 88% NTSC – 120% sRGB color space.

viewing angles
Viewing Angles

The viewing angles are also great and there is no color shifts and desaturation on steep viewing angles.

What is a laminated Display

In traditional budget display tablets, there is a small gap between the display unit and the top glass. It causes parallax, where the strokes appear a few millimeters away from the actual point where stylus touches the surface. It also makes the screen look dull.

Laminated Display - no gap between pen tip and stroke
Laminated Display of Xp Pen Artist 15.6 Pro (no gap between the pen tip and stroke)

In laminated tablets, the display layer and the top glass are bonded together with no gap in-between. It completely eliminates the parallax issue. These types of screen really improve stroke accuracy and remove the need for guesswork in addition to that – the drawing feels more natural.

Laminated screens were first introduced by Wacom but they were only available with Premium drawing tablets. Xp Pen Artist 15.6 Pro is amongst the few tablets which have brought down laminated screens on budget tablets.

Surface texture and Matte screen

Screen glare is one of the most annoying things about large screens, it is quite difficult to work in close proximity of a super-reflective screen. That is why most of the drawing tablets come with a matte screen which substantially reduces reflection.

The Artist 15.6 Pro has a matte film applied on top of the glass. The film provides texture and reduces screen glare. The textured screens are better as it provides slight resistance to the pen while drawing which helps in controlling the stylus better. The film comes with scratch resistance properties and lasts a long time.

In real life uses, the texture of Artist 15.6 pro is very light, you feel a slight grip, nothing too aggressive.

On continuous uses for multiple hours, the screen warms up a little but this is totally normal and happens with all the display tablets. You can still comfortably use the device without feeling uneasy.

Stylus – New pen with new features

tilt sensitivity
Tilt Sensitivity

The stylus of Xp Pen Artist 15.6 Pro comes with 8192 levels of pressure sensitivity. Along with pressure sensitivity – it also has tilt recognition up to ±60 degrees making it one of the few budget devices with tilt support.

artist 15.6 pro stylus test
Stroke Test

Artist 15.6 Pro stylus has very consistent performance. The strokes are smooth with no sign of weird pressure bumps. It also passes the straight-line test at fast as well as slower speeds. The tilt works fine as you would expect it to. You will also not encounter any parallax issues because of the laminated screen. Overall the best stylus in the price range.

StylusThe pen has a replaceable tip at the front. There are two buttons on the sides – to which custom shortcuts can be assigned in pen settings. The buttons slightly protrude above the surface and easy to find without looking. The buttons are of high quality and make a sharp click sound when pressed.

The pen is well put together. It is center weighted and feels very balanced while drawing. The outer shell of the pen is very ergonomic with the front end wider than the back. There is a soft rubbery material at the front which helps with better grip. Overall the pen can be comfortably used for longer drawing sessions without hand fatigue.

Pen holder/ Pen stand

pen holder and pen stand
Pen holder and Pen stand

Xp Pen Artist 15.6 Pro comes with a strong and rugged pen holder. The pen holder is cylindrical in shape and made of toughened plastic. The outer layer of the pen holder is covered with soft material with rubber pads on the top and bottom ends.

Opening the top lid of the pen you will find the storage compartment for the pen. The lid also doubles as a pen stand. The pen stand holds the pen in an upright position. It is bottom heavy and the rubber pads do not let it slip on smooth surfaces.

Extra Nib storage and Nib removal tool
Nib storage and Nib removal tool

The pen holder has a storage compartment at the back which can be accessed by opening the bottom lid. It is used for storing the extra pentips and houses a nib remover tool.

Shortcut Buttons

xp pen artist 15.6 shortcut buttons
Shortcut Buttons

Multiple Expresskeys is what every artist want in a drawing tablet. Other than Cintiq 16, every other display tablet comes with some kind of shortcut buttons. The Artist 15.6 Pro comes with a total of “eight” buttons, arranged in two groups of four.

The buttons are located at the left-hand side of the device which is an ideal location for both left and right-handed artists. If you are lefty, you can simply rotate the tablet to 180° and you will have the shortcut button on the right side.

The buttons are clicky and have dotted and dashed patterns to easily identify without looking. You can change the default shortcut with any other keystroke of your choice with the help of the driver.

The red roller wheel – advance shortcuts

The dial may seem like a simple feature but it makes a lot of difference in the actual drawing experience, the more you use the tablet more you start to appreciate the dial.

Most of the tablet comes with just the shortcut buttons. In the past few months, new tablets are being launched with a touchpad in conjunction with the buttons. While the touchpad can be useful but most of the time it is buggy and does not work as fluidly as you would expect it to.

Artist 15.6 Pro is the first display tablet to come with the physical – rotating dial. The dial allows you to zoom, rotate, pan, scroll and most importantly – change the size of the brush and eraser by simply rotating it. It is a very convenient feature to have and makes your drawing process much easier and effortless.

The ring has a very solid construction and does not shake or wobble. It feels very satisfying to rotate and make a click sound. Last but not least – the dial makes the tablet look different and somewhat more professional than all the other tablets.

Tablet Stand

tablet stand of artist 15.6 pro
Included Tablet Stand

Using the tablet flat on the table is not the most ergonomic position – so the Xp Pen have included a tablet stand. The stand is made of plastic and has rubber pads at the top as well as the bottom legs.

It folds up flat in a slim form factor. The stand has a raised lip at the bottom which keeps the tablet in place. Its leg folds out and snaps into place which gives you a single drawing angle of about 19°. Although more customizable angles would have been better, still – it gets the job done.

Other accessories

Xp Pen is known for including a number of accessory in the box. Here is the complete list of what you will find inside the box of Artist 15.6 Pro.

  • Display tablet
  • Stylus
  • Replacement Nibs
  • Pen holder
  • Tablet Stand
  • 3 in 1 Cable
  • International power adapter
  • HDMI to Mac adapter cable
  • Extension Cord
  • Drawing glove
  • Cleaning Cloth
  • Quick guide

Connectivity and Ports

3 in 1 cable
3 in 1 Cable: Artist 15.6 Pro

Wires are messy, in an effort to minimize cables, the Artist 15.6 Pro comes with a 3 in 1 cable. On one end you have an HDMI cable with three cables coming out it.

How to connect Xp Pen Artist 15.6 pro to the computer

Steps for connecting Xp Pen Artist 15.6 Pro to computer
Steps for connecting Xp Pen Artist 15.6 Pro to computer

Here are the 6 steps you need to follow

  1. Plug the 3 in 1 cable to the HDMI port of your computer
  2. Connect the black USB Type-A cable to the computer
  3. Connect the USB Type C cable to the Drawing tablet
  4. Plug in the USB extender cable to the red USB Type-A cable
  5. Connect the USB extender to the Power Adapter
  6. Press the power button on the drawing tablet
 *the red USB-Type-A cable can be directly connected to the computer instead of Power adapter if your computer has a Powered USB port which can provide enough power. 

Overall you have a single cable coming out of your tablet which keeps your workspace clean and gives you a little extra freedom to shift around.

If your computer does not have an HDMI or USB-A port, you can get a USB hub that has multiple numbers of ports.

Driver

Before being able to use your tablet, you need to install the Driver. The driver is free to download for both Windows and Mac devices and available on the Xp Pen website.

A driver is a software that communicates with the computer and helps it to understand the pressure, tilt and location data. It also gives you extra settings options for your tablet.

driver settings
Driver Settings

In the settings panel of the driver, you can change the pressure curve of the stylus and assign the custom shortcuts to the buttons on the pen. The driver also allows you to customize the rolling disk with a total of 5 different shortcuts. Its layout is easy to understand and the whole setup just takes a couple of minutes.

Software/ OS support

The tablet supports both Windows and Mac devices. It supports all the popular drawing applications including Photoshop, Illustrator, Corel, Krita, clip studio and 3D modeling and sculpting applications like Maya, Cinema 4D, Mudbox, Zbrush.

Summary – Why you should get Xp Pen Artist 15.6 Pro

The budget tablet has never been this good. The Xp Pen Artist 15.6 Pro comes with multiple features that could only be found in expensive-premium tablets a few years back.

It does not compromise with the build quality and provides a very stable and fluid drawing experience.

Its increadibly reliable stylus which draws perfect strokes every single time, laminated display, shortcut keys, roller wheel, a ton of accessories – all at a beginner friendly price makes it the best budget tablet in the market.

PROs

  • Accurate and reliable stylus
  • Tilt support
  • High-quality matte display
  • Laminated screen
  • 8 Buttons with roller
  • Tablet Stand Included
  • Thin and Lightweight with great build quality
  • Stable and easy to use driver

CONs

  • Single adjustment angle on the stand
  • Display not precalibrated
  • No eraser on the back of stylus
  • Carrying case not inluded

 

Related:
Cheap drawing tablet with screen
Wacom Cintiq 16 vs Xp Pen Artist 15.6 pro
Xp Pen Artist 15.6 Pro vs Huion Kamvas Pro 16

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