Xp Pen Deco Pro Review – Wireless graphics tablet for Artists

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Xp pen deco pro review by artist

Searching for a graphics tablet is always tricky, as there are numerous options for drawing tablets available in the market. Each claiming to be the best.

But none of the tablets can be considered a complete package as they often lack in one area or the other. 

These entry-level cheap drawing tablets are the worst culprits. Initially, they may seem like a good deal but they cause a lot of trouble in the long run.

On the flip side, premium tablets like Wacom Intuos Pro are way too expensive for what they have to offer.

Well, the Xp Pen Deco Pro (Amazon) is one of the rare few tables in the market that we can wholeheartedly recommend

The Deco Pro has everything that you can ask in a drawing tablet.

Whether you talk of a big drawing area, multiple shortcut options, premium build quality, or wireless connectivity – it got it all at a very reasonable price.

To go the extra mile they even put some nice-looking LED lights for added flair.

After using the Xp Pen Deco Pro for a few months we are finally here to share our honest views about it.

In this Xp Pen Deco Pro review, we will discuss all the features the tablet has to offer and find out what makes it different from other options in the market.

Quick look – Features and Specifications

Here is a quick look at all the main features of Xp Pen Deco Pro.

It is important to know that Xp Pen Deco Pro is available in two sizes – Small and Medium.

Other than the size of the drawing area and price, there is no difference between them.

 Xp Pen Deco Pro - Features
xp pen deco pro - drawing tablet under 100 for beginners
Dimension399.7 x 227 x 16.5 mm
Active Area11 x 6 Inches
9 x 5 Inches (small)
Shortcut Buttons8
Roller WheelMechanical wheel + Trackpad
Pen Pressure8192 Levels
Pen Tilt±60° degrees
Report Rate200 RPS
Buttons on Pen2
SupportWindows, Mac and Android 6.0 and above
ConnectivityWired
Wireless/ Bluetooth (optional)

Buy on Amazon     Deco Pro Small →        Deco Pro Medium →

Xp Pen Deco Pro – Design and first impression

Just by the first look, you can see – this is not your usual pen-enabled surfaced slapped on top of the plastic frame design.

For its excellent design, Xp Pen Deco Pro has even been awarded the “Red dot award“.

Deco pro front

The tablet looks modern and minimalist with matte black and metallic silver color that really complements each other. 

Being made from metal, holding the tablet for the first time in hand “it feels reassuringly high quality”.

There has been a lot of thought put into making this tablet. Everything is well laid out, very symmetrical with the use of different materials.

The tablet has a massive drawing area on the left, with buttons and an advanced shortcut option on the right.

On the backside, there are two large rubber strips that grip the surface and keep the tablet securely planted on the surface.

graphics tablet width
Difference in width

The tablet has a thickness of 16.5 mm near the buttons and control surfaces and a thickness of just 7mm near the drawing area.

Plus the corners are rounded and edges are beveled for a smooth surface finish.

The overall finishing, panel gaps, as well as sturdiness of the Deco Pro, is right on point with no rattling sound coming out of anywhere.

Drawing area

Xp Pen Deco Pro is available in two models small and medium. With the smaller variant, you get 9 x 5 inches of the active working area.

Whereas the medium variant has a really massive 11 x 6 inches of working area. Apart from the size, there is no difference between the small and the medium size tablet.

Surface texture

For making the device feel more like drawing on paper, the tablet comes with a textured surface. The surface texture provides slight resistance which helps with controlling the stylus better.

Looks like Xp Pen have been working on improving the texture of their tablets. The Deco Pro feels a little different than the previous generation of Xp Pen tablets. It has a got a mild texture with a soft feel which is very satisfying to draw on.

The texture on the Deco Pro definitely feels a step above normal pen tablets in the market, but it is a few points below Wacom Intuos (the difference is very subtle).

Deco Pro small or medium – Which tablet to pick

xp pen deco pro small and medium
source: Xp Pen

Since we already mentioned, other than the size there is no difference between Deco Pro small and medium.

So, which of the two tablets should you pick over the other.

Well, the right answer is – it all comes down to the size of the monitor you are using. 

If you are working on a laptop or using a monitor which is around 19 inches or smaller – then the Deco Pro small is the right choice for you.

Similarly, the medium size Deco Pro is suitable for artists who work on larger monitors with screen sizes of 24 inches or more.

Shortcut buttons

xp pen deco pro shortcut buttons

Shortcut buttons can be really handy for making quick changes on the go. It minimizes the use of a keyboard, saves time, and provides and seamless drawing experience.

The Xp Pen Deco Pro definitely over-delivers when it comes to shortcut options.

The tablet has a total of 8 shortcut buttons which are divided into two separate groups. Four on the top and four on the bottom of the circular roller.

The buttons are of different sizes and have different raised dots for easy identification.

Overall the placement of buttons is on point – they are easy to reach and easy to distinguish one button from the other.

The button has a rubbery texture and gives a nice click sound on pressing.

Xp pen deco pro shortcut buttons settings

All the buttons can be set to custom shortcuts of your choice with the help of the driver.

The driver also allows you to create application-specific shortcuts, where you can have a different set of shortcuts for different drawing apps.

Roller and trackpad

roller and touchpad image of xp pen deco pro This is one of the highlights of the tablet which separates the Deco Pro from all the other tablets in the market.

Out of all the drawing tables in the market, only a few come with these advanced shortcut options.

Of those tablets that come with these options, they either come with a touchpad or a rotating dial.

With Xp Pen Deco Pro, you essentially get both the touchpad as well as the roller.

The rotating dial is located in between the shortcut buttons with the touchpad (virtual wheel – as Xp Pen calls it) present inside it.

Mechanical wheel

The circular metallic wheel can be rotated left or right to perform various shortcut operations such as changing the size of the brush and eraser or zooming in or out of the canvas.

The wheel has a smooth movement with no clicking steps. You can set the wheel to perform up to 5 different shortcuts.

TouchPad (Virtual Wheel)

The trackpad behaves like a virtual wheel. You can perform shortcuts by touching the wheel in a circular motion in a clockwise and anticlockwise direction. Alternatively, you can do just the left or right swipe. It allows you to scroll and pan the page.

Similar to the mechanical wheel, the trackpad can be set to perform 5 different shortcuts of your choice. In normal non-drawing applications, the trackpad works like a normal touchpad.

Controllable LED lights

light controls in deco pro Some artist really likes to work in the dark as it helps with concentration. The deco Pro comes with a blue-colored circular indicator light which is located around the touchpad and white lights at the corners of the active drawing area.

In the driver settings, you have the option to dim the LED lights to 50% brightness or to completely shut them off.

For those who are wondering – Yes the LED lights also works with the Android devices.

Deco Pro Stylus – PA1

xp pen deco pro stylus PA1

The Deco Pro comes with a very capable stylus with 8192 levels of pressure sensitivity. In addition to that, the stylus also supports tilt up to ±60°.

Stylus – Design and Build quality

stylus ergonomics and build quality The Deco Pro stylus has a very distinct design with metal at the back and silicone grips at the front half. The black portion of the stylus has a matte feel which helps with holding the pen better.

The stylus has an ergonomic shape, which comfortably fits in your hand. The front end of the pen is wide which slowly tapers off towards the back.

It is interesting to note that – even though the pen is made of metal, but somehow the metal does not contribute to the overall weight. The pen is still lightweight and nimble.

Shortcut buttons on the pen

raised buttons on stylus There are two shortcut buttons located on the side of the stylus.

To help you easily feel them without looking the buttons have been raised slightly above the surface and have a smooth texture compared to rough texture on the surrounding area.

On pressing, the button gives good feedback to let your know the click has been registered.

Last but not the least, these buttons are customizable and can be set to any shortcut of your choice in the pen settings.

Recharging the pen – Not needed

The Xp Pen PA1 is a passive stylus which means it does not need to be charged. It does not have a battery inside and works on EMR (Electromagnetic Resonance). Click here to know more about how it works.

How does the stylus perform

Stylus performance test
Stylus Test

Drawing tablets have gotten really good in terms of accuracy. Even cheaper graphics tablets have accurate stylus nowadays. So it is no surprise that the Deco Pro performs really well in terms of stylus accuracy.

Coming first to the pressure sensitivity. The Deco Pro stylus comes with 8192 levels of pressure sensitivity.

As you can see in the picture above – in the pressure test – there is a very smooth transition between the thick and thin lines. There are no weird pressure bumps in between.

Similarly, we can see a smooth transition between low and high opacity. So we can see that the stylus performs really well in the pressure test. It is well balanced and accurately calibrated.

Next, we come to the accuracy test. Some stylus produces uneven wavy lines at slow speeds. In the above image, we can see the pen produces a super sharp and straight line at fast as well as slow drawing speeds. Similar results can be seen in the cross-hatching test.

Furthermore, observing the individual strokes – particularly at the end part you can see that the strokes do not end abruptly. They have a nice taper at the back.

The pen also comes with a title sensitivity of ±60° which works as expected.

Pen holder

xp pen deco pro pen holder Pen holders are important as they protect the stylus from being damaged and store them neatly. The Xp Pen Deco Pro comes with robust and strong pen storage. It is cylindrical in shape and made of plastic with soft-touch material on the outside.

The front cap of the pen holder doubles up as a pen stand. It has rubber pads at the bottom to help it stand on smooth surfaces.

extra pen nibs of deco pro
Extra Nibs

Coming to the other side of the pen holder, there is a small removable cap. Opening the cap you will find 8 extra pen nibs, all neatly stored in small compartments. There is also a nib remover tool at the center. As the name suggests, it helps with removing the nibs from the stylus.

Connectivity – How to connect the tablet to the computer

This is probably the most incredible feature of the Deco Pro.

There are three ways in which you can connect the drawing tablet to your computer (or Android device).

  1. Wired connectivity via USB cable
  2. Wireless connectivity via wireless USB receiver
  3. Wireless Bluetooth connectivity

Wired connectivity is very straightforward. Simply connect the L-shaped USB-C connector to the Deco Pro tablet (shown below), next connect the other end to your computer – and you are done.

connecting the tablet to the computer using the USB type-C cable
L shaped USB-C connector

The advantage of having an L-shaled connector is the cable does not stick out of the tablet and goes flush with the tablet body – keeping your setup relatively clean.

Connecting the tablet using USB receiver is simple as well, just connect the receiver to your computer and you are done. – easy.

wireless receiver and USB-C to USB-A cable for connectivity
Wireless receiver (left) and USB connector cable (right)

Bluetooth connectivity is my personal favorite. As you don’t even need to carry the wireless USB receiver or risk losing it, just open Bluetooth and connect.

Before Deco Pro, only a few models of Wacom tablets had this Bluetooth connectivity feature, it is nice to see that Xp Pen has started including this in their tablets.

Driver and advanced settings

A driver is an application that helps your computer to communicate with the tablet and helps it understand the pressure and tilt data.

xp pen deco pro driver The driver is the main control center of the tablet. It allows you to change the default express keys of the tablet to the shortcut of your choice. Similarly, the mechanical wheel and the touchpad can also be customized.

Coming toward the pen controls. You can change the pressure curve along with the two buttons on the stylus.

As mentioned earlier, there are LED lights on the tablet. In the express key settings, you will find the option to dim or completely turn off the lights.

Coming towards the advanced settings – the driver allows you to set application-specific shortcut buttons. This means you can have a different shortcut for different applications. Once you switch from one application to another – the shortcuts automatically change.

Support for Android phones and tablets

tablet support of xp pen deco pro The Deco Pro is compatible with all the Android 6.0 or above smartphones and tablets. IOS devices are not yet supported.

deco pro OTG connector
Included OTG Connectors – to address connectivity port incompatibility

The tablet can be connected to Android devices with the help of the included OTG connector and the USB cable/ receiver. Simply plug the USB cable into the tablet and OTG connector to your phone and tablet. Connect both of them together and you are good to go.

The tablet works with all the popular drawing applications for Android – such as Autodesk Sketchbook, Medibang paint, Ibis paint X, Infinite painter, and so on.

Most of the drawing apps support pressure sensitivity but not tilt recognition. The buttons are dials are also not supported by android apps.

Xp Pen has its own application called Deco Draw which supports the shortcut buttons as well as the touchpad.

Accessories – What you get in the box

Xp Pen is known for providing a generous amount of accessories with their tablets. The Xp Pen Deco Pro contains the following items in the box.

  • Deco Pro – graphics tablet
  • Stylus (PA1) – Battery-free
  • Pen holder/stand
  • 8 Replacements nibs
  • USB to USB-C cable
  • Wireless receiver
  • OTG adapter for Android devices
  • Drawing glove
  • Quick Guide
  • Free Driver (to be downloaded separately)

Drawing gloves

As mentioned above – the Deco Pro comes with free drawing gloves. The xp pen branded glove is made of synthetic material that easily soaks up sweat and dries fast.

It has a medium fit and feels soft on the touch.

How it compares to other tablets in the price range

In terms of price, the Wacom Intuos is the closest tablet it compares to. The Deco pro has a larger drawings area, more features, and better build quality than the Wacom Intuos.

The Deco Pro can be seen as an alternative to the Wacom Intuos Pro. XP Pen Deco Pro has similar features, better build quality, and an equally large area all at a fraction of the price.

Final thoughts/ Summary

So far we have compared a number of different aspects of the tablet and you have witnessed that Xp Pen Deco Pro stands tall on all the benchmarks.

Whether you want a large drawing area, great stylus performance, high quality textured surface, wireless connectivity, shortcut buttons, advance shortcut options (roller+touchbar), metallic build or an attractive design that looks good on your desk – the Xp Pen Deco Pro (Amazon) has got it all.

The drawing experinace on this tablet is exceptionally good and the roller-touchpad combo is very practical and takes your overall experience with the tablet to the next level.

Wireless connectivity on this tablet works great with negligible latency – so everything remains as fast and smooth as in wired connection.

final thoughts and summary of Deco Pro

The overall appal of the tablet, how premium it feels and how well Xp Pen have designed it – as an artist you will really appreciate that.

Price wise, Deco Pro is one of the more expensive ones in the market.

But the value, features and quality it brings and the way it overdelivers on its promises and does not cheap out on accessories – its price is totally justified.

If you are a professional artist looking for some high quality digital drawing tablet, you should defineatly go for the Xp Pen Deco Pro.

 

 

 

Looking for an affordable display tablet? Check out – Huion vs Xp Pen 13 inch affordable display tablet comparison

If you like the Deco Pro, you would also like the Xencelabs Pen Tablet

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 8 Comments

  1. Tom

    Hi – thank you for your great reviews. I am really struggling with choosing between the Deco 03 and Pro Medium. You really liked the 3 as well. I am looking at this for my 16 y/o daughter who is just getting into this. There is about a $40 cost difference between the two. Would you say it is worth it? She has a 21 inch monitor makes these larger units seem ore appropriate. I do like the fact hat the pro is a complete kit. Any advice appreciated.

    1. Essential Picks

      Hi Tom, thanks for stopping by.
      Why not get the Deco Pro Small Instead. Its working area is perfect for a 21-inch screen plus it costs similar to Deco 03.
       
      Compared to Deco 03, the Deco Pro small has a superior build quality and better drawing features.
      With that said, you will miss the wireless connectivity that you get with Deco 03, but since we are talking about drawing tablets – the drawing feature is more important than tech features (wireless connection).
       
      So our suggestion would be to go with Deco Pro small.
       
       
      Update: You won’t be missing wireless connectivity. The newer version of Xp Pen Deco Pro comes with wireless connectivity.

  2. Pranav Raj Sharma

    Just completed your 3 articles on XP Pen Deco (01 V2, PRO, 03). Loved the content!! But here goes the confusion too, especially in between 01V2 & Deco Pro(S), where one side 01V2 is dipped in all new features but Deco Pro(S) holds my heart due to its design wheel and metal aesthetics. Please help me out in choosing one in between them. What would be the right choice in long term perspective, and also what’s your take on it. Thanks a ton beforehand!!

  3. Essential Picks

    Hello Pranav, Thanks for stopping by.

    Get the Deco Pro Small. The dual wheel (dial + virtual wheel) and the metallic build make a substantial difference in the drawing experience, especially when compared to the Deco 01 V2.

  4. krishna

    Thank you for the elaborate review. I am planning to buy this, but wanted to know before if there will be any drifting of pen. I mean, like when we hover the pen near the tablet the cursor moves but doesnt click/draw anything. Is it common for all graphic tablets?

    1. Essential Picks

      This is how they are supposed to work.
      When you hover the stylus above the tablet (without actually touching it) the cursor moves with the stylus without drawing anything.

       

      In order to draw stuff, you need to touch the surface of the tablet with the stylus.

       

      As far as the clicking of buttons on the pen is concerned. The buttons on the stylus does work in hover mode.

       

      Also, what do you mean by drifting? can you please elaborate?

  5. Long

    Thank you for your guide.

    I’m a teacher from Vietnam. I’m teaching online in the pandemic and my mainly use is writing and drawing (mostly line, circle… in math) on screen. Could you please recommend me a suitable version of XP-Pen? Thank you so much!

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