When looking for a new drawing tablet, you might have come across the Wacom Cintiq 16 and the Xp Pen Innovator 16. These two are the best mid-range drawing tablets in the market and comes with a wide range of features.
The Wacom Cintiq 16 is known for its good build quality and a stable, smooth, and consistent drawing experience.
On the other hand, you have the Innovator 16 – which is one of the new launches from Xp Pen. The tablet boasts a premium metallic design and top of the line features with zero compromises.
So which if the two tablets should you buy as your next drawing tablet? and which tablet is a better value for money?
In this Xp Pen Innovator 16 and Wacom Cintiq 16 comparison, we will guide you through all the important features these tablets have to offer. We will also be sharing a lot of “not so obvious” background information to help you make an informed and educated buying decision.
To start the comparison, here is a table showing all the significant features of the XP Pen Innovator 16 and Wacom Cintiq 16 at a glance.
|Xp Pen Innovator 16||Wacom Cintiq 16|
|Dimension||443.27 x 256.45 x 9 mm||422 x 285 x 25 mm|
|Display Size||15.6 Inches||15.6 Inches|
|Working Area||344.16 x 193.59 mm||344.16 x 193.59 mm|
|Resolution||1920 x 1080 (16:9)||1920 x 1080 (16:9)|
|Color Accuracy||125% sRGB||96% sRGB|
|Response time||16.4 ms||25 ms|
|Screen Type||Matte + Textured||Matte + Textured|
|Pressure and Tilt||8192 pressre Levels|
|8192 pressre Levels
|Dial||Rotating + Touch||No|
|Tablet Stand||Included||Foldable Legs|
|Build Material||Metallic (Premium)||Plastic|
|Weight||3.08 lbs (1.4 kg)||4.1 lbs (1.9 kg)|
|Price||Check on Amazon||Check on Amazon|
If these numbers and stats don’t make any sense to you, don’t worry. We will talk about all these features one by one in detail.
Design and Build Quality
The Wacom Cintiq 16 and the Innovator 16 have a very different design approach. The Cintiq 16 is a very minimalistic design with just a screen at the front and no shortcut buttons.
The Innovator 16 on the other hand has a screen on the right and a shortcut buttons on the left side of the tablet.
Also, the Cintiq 16 comes with an inbuild foldable legs whereas the Innovator 16 comes with a separate plastic tablet stand that comes included in the box.
Talking of build quality – the Cintiq 16 is made of plastic, but the quality of the plastic used is actually really good. Due to the solid build, you won’t hear any creaking sound or experience flexing as you work on the tablet.
The Innovator 16 on the other hand takes the build quality to the next level. It is fully made of metal from the front as well as the back. The metal surface is cold on touch and has a dense and hefty feel, that gives out premium vibes.
Xp Pen has also paid a lot of attention to detail, the rotating dials plus the power and brightness buttons are made of metal.
Display comparison – Innovator 16 vs Cintiq 16
The two drawing tablets come with 15.6″ screens and a 1920 x 1080 HD resolution. XP Pen Innovator 16 has 125% sRGB while the Cintiq 16 has 96% sRGB color accuracy.
Therefore, the Innovator 16 offers a wider color range than the Cintiq 16. This is not to mean that the Cintiq 16 has a poor color accuracy – the Innovator 16 is simply better.
While the Innovator has better accuracy, the Cintiq holds a distinct advantage – the Cintiq 16 comes with a color calibrated screen right from the box. This means you do not have to adjust any color settings to get the best colors on the screen.
On the other hand, you would most probably have to calibrate or play with color settings on the Innovator 16 to get the right colors. However, if you can get the color settings right, you’d likely prefer the colors on the Innovator 16 over the Cintiq 16.
XP Pen Innovator 16 advertises a brightness of up to 250 nits. The Cintiq, on the other hand, advertises a brightness of up to 210 nits.
While the Innovator 16 is brighter, the downside is that its colors tend to wash out at the highest brightness level, which is probably why the Wacom advertises it as lower than the actual value.
When used at 70 to 80% brightness, both units give accurate color representation without suffering from any color washing.
Drawing surface – Textured and matte
When you draw on a smooth glass surface with a stylus that has a plastic tip, the pen tends to slide too much. This results in a bad drawing experience.
To counter that, the drawing tablets come with a textured surface.
The textured surface has microscopic irregularities that provide resistance to the stylus. This provides better control over the stylus which results in a better drawing experience.
The textured surface is also the reason behind that pleasing scratchy sound (kind of like the sound of pencil on paper) that you hear when you draw on these tablets.
This textured screen also comes with a matte effect. The matte screen reduces reflections and glares off the screen and makes it easier to see in a bright indoor environment.
Both the Cintiq 16 as well as the Innovator 16 displays are textured and have an anti-glare matte effect.
Laminated (Innovator 16) vs Non-laminated display (Cintiq 22)
A laminated display is one in which the display and top glass are integrated (laminated) together.
The advantage of such a display is the reduction of parallax. In displays without lamination, your strokes appear a slight distance (a few millimeters) away from the actual point of contact between the pen and the screen.
The Innovator 16 sports a laminated display. Thus your strokes are accurately reproduced precisely where the pen touches the screen.
This is not the case with the Cintiq 16 as it comes with a non-laminated display. While this might seem like a deal-breaker, it isn’t as big a deal as it sounds.
Wacom has done a great job of reducing parallax despite the non-laminated screen. In real life usage, the results still look great, and you would likely not even notice any parallax at first glance unless you are searching for it.
Stylus – Xp Pen PA5 vs Wacom Pro Pen 2
The Wacom brand is known for the quality of its styluses. Digital artists consider Wacom pens as one of the best styluses in the market.
The Cintiq 16, in spite of being a budget alternative to Wacom’s Pro level drawing tables, still comes with the same stylus (Wacom Pro Pen 2) that you get in the Cintiq Pro models. This is a huge advantage.
The Pro Pen 2 offers you up to 8192 pen pressure and ±60degrees of tilt recognition. You also have two side-buttons on the pen as well as an eraser at the back.
The Xp Pen Innovator 16, on the other hand, comes with the most advanced stylus made by Xp Pen named “Xp Pen PA5 stylus”.
Like the Pro Pen 2, the PA5 stylus comes with 8192 levels of pressure sensitivity and ±60° of tilt sensitivity.
Design and ergonomics
For making the tablet comfortable to use on longer drawing sessions the stylus comes with an ergonomic shape. Due to its shape, the stylus perfectly fits in your hands and avoids general fatigue that you get when holding them for a long duration.
Both these stylus has a very similar design with a wider body towards the tip and a tapered back. The weight distribution also feels on point .
The front half of this stylus has a grippy silicone material that provides a better grip, especially on sweaty hands.
Drawing performance – Wacom Pro Pen 2 and Xp Pen PA5 stylus
As we mentioned before – the Wacom Pro Pen 2 is considered the holy grail of stylus. But in the last few years, their feature and design have not changed at all. Meanwhile, the stylus of other brands such as Xp pen and Huion has quickly caught up.
Both the Wacom Pro Pen 2 and the Xp Pen PA5 stylus have equally good pen tracking and pressure sensitivity.
The lines drawn by them are smooth and consistent with no pen jitter (wavy lines) and no sudden pressure bumps. The end of the strokes is taper well. Overall the pen feels responsive and smooth.
The only difference you may notice is in the initial activation force. The Wacom Pro Pen 2 is very sensitive and can detect the pen and start drawing on the slightest of force applied on the stylus.
The Xp pen stylus initial activation is good but not as good as the Wacom Pro Pen 2. Xp Pen has said that the newer PA5 stylus that comes with the Innovator 16 has a better initial activation force.
The Wacom Pro Pen 2 also handles the tilt sensitivity better than the Xp Pen stylus. With that said thee tilt sensitivity of PA5 stylus is perfectly usable as well.
This is one section where the Innovator 16 beats the Wacom Cintiq 16. The Innovator 16 comes with a sturdy cylindrical pen holder that offers far better protection to the pen and offers more convenience.
The front cap of the pen holder works as a pen holder which stores the stylus in an upright position.
Wacom Cintiq 16, on the other hand, does not have a pen holder. It comes with a fabric loop that is attached to the right side of the tablet. The loop is used to hold the stylus while it is not in use.
Extra Pen Nibs
The innovator 16 comes with a total of 8 extra Pen nibs. The pen nibs are stored in a tiny compartment located at the back of the cylindrical pen holder.
With Cintiq 16 you get 3 extra pen nibs. These extra pen nibs are stored withing the pen holding loop and can be accessed by pulling out the fabric pen holder loop.
The pen nibs of these drawing tablets are very robust. A single pen nib can easily last you 5-6 months on heavy uses and about a year on light uses.
Wacom and Xp Pen have taken a different approach when we talk of shortcut buttons.
Wacom went with a cleaner and symmetrical design with no shortcut buttons on the tablet. Instead of shortcut buttons, you can get the Wacom Expresskey remote (Amazon) – which has all the shortcut buttons you need.
The Xp Pen Innovator 16, on the other hand, comes with a total of 8 programmable shortcut buttons that are located at the left-hand side of the tablet.
The Innovator 16 supports application-specific shortcut buttons, where you can program the buttons to perform a different set of shortcuts depending on the application you are using.
Other than the shortcut button the Xp Pen Innovator 16 also comes with two multishortcut Dial interfaces. They can perform tasks such as zoom, pan, scroll, and change the size opacity and strength of the brush and eraser.
These shortcut dial work by simply rotating the dial left and right.
As we mentioned the Innovator 16 comes with 2 dials but it is important to note that – only one of the dial physically rotates, the other Dial is a touch-based dial where you have to move your fingers in a circular motion in clockwise and anticlockwise to perform shortcuts.
Each of the two dials can be set to 5 different shortcuts.
The Wacom Cintiq 16 comes with a built-in foldable tablet stand that gives the tablet an elevation of 19°. This is a very neat design.
In addition to the inbuilt foldable leg, the Cintiq 16 also comes with VESA mounting holes. This allows you to attach an external tablet stand when you want more flexibility.
The XP Pen Innovator comes with a simple generic stand made of plastic and has no support for third-party VESA compatible stand.
The included stand on the Innovator 16 only allows you to prop up your tablet at a single angle. But you can always upgrade to a better tablet stand with more adjustable angles.
Rubber-pads at the back
Turning both the tablets to their back you would see that – there are four circular rubber pads present on the Cintiq 16. This helps the tablet to get a better grip on smooth surfaces. Even the foldable legs on Cintiq 16 has rubber material at their ends for the same reason.
Innovator 16 on the other hand has no rubber pads at the back which makes them susceptible to move around when you are using the tablet flat on your desk.
Wireless technology is still not good enough to replace the use of cables – and that is why both units still come with cables.
The Wacom Cintiq 16 has a 3-in-1 cable with triple connectors at one end and just a single connector at the other.
The Innovator 16 comes with a similar 3-in1 cable design connected to HDMI, USB-A, and a Power port.
Both units have cables that are long enough for your needs.
Drivers – XP Pen vs. Wacom
Both units come with drivers to communicate with your computer. You can connect both models to your MAC and Windows computers.
The driver from Wacom is one of the most reliable options on the market. It comes with some advanced shortcut controls that are easy to understand and quick to setup.
The driver from XP Pen may not be as advanced as the Wacom driver but it has plenty of customization options. You can use it to customize physical shortcut buttons, adjust color temperature, contrast, brightness, and more.
What’s included in the box
Here is the list of everything that comes included in the box.
Summary – Which is a better tablet?
Comparing the Wacom Cintiq 16 with the Xp Pen Innovator 16 was kind of like watching a one-sided match.
The innovator 16 has a lot going for it, whether we talk about its premium-metallic build quality or the slimmer and compact form factor.
The display of the Innovator 16 has a superior color accuracy and better contrast. It comes with multiple shortcuts options including onboard buttons and dials. The Wacom Cintiq 16 lacks all these features.
The only advantage Cintiq 16 has at this point is its slightly better stylus. But the stylus of the Innovator 16 is also just as good if not better.
The final nail in the coffin comes in the form of the price tag. In spite of having better features and better build quality, the Innovator 16 comes at a considerably lower price tag compared to the Cintiq 16.
Considering all these factors it is easy to conclude that if you are looking for a mid-size quality drawing tablet – the Xp Pen Innovator 16 is an absolute deal – and a great value for money.