In this review I’ll take a look at the new Huion pen display tablet, the Huion 16 Pro. I’ll try to consider everything from the perspective of a potential customer. There will be a number of you out there looking for a new tablet device, and hopefully this review will help you decide if this is the device for you.
If I was looking for a new tablet device I think my order of priorities would be:
1. Quality - is it made well and does it do what I need it to?
2. Price - can I afford it?
3. Size - will it fit on my desk or be portable?
4. Features - what benefits does it bring to help me create easier, better, or faster?
For most people price will probably create the parameters for what is possible for purchase, but no-one would buy a useless device regardless of how cheap it was. So, hopefully the order of priorities above makes sense and resonates with your own thinking as a customer.
I’ll use the above priorities as categories to discuss the device, so hopefully you will get to the information you want to know as quickly as possible.
Out of the box
I’ve included a few images below of what the device will look like out of the box. I didn’t do an unboxing video as we’ve seen so many of them before. But the materials used feel quality in the main. The device itself is robust and has a weighty feel of quality to it.
The pens are maybe a little light for my liking. They are battery-less, which is a good thing, and they certainly feel robust and like they will last well. But I personally would like them to be a little heavier.
The set up is all so simple. The cables can be connected up in minutes and the drivers aren’t too large to download. So from out of the box to plugged in and working is a matter of 10 minutes at the most.
I’ll get to specifics and price shortly, but there can be hesitancy about devices like this, as we all know you can buy something similar from another manufacturer and pay significantly more. However, within 10 minutes you’ll have it unboxed, plugged in and ready to roll, and you’ll know that you have bought a quality product.
It is great quality and feels sturdy and well made.
Under the heading of quality we should discuss how it works. In my opinion there are three major issues to be aware of with a device like this. They are:
1. Registration - when you put the pen on the screen does it make a mark exactly where you want it too?
2. Responsiveness - is there a big lag when you start mark making? Is the screen slow to respond to your brushstrokes?
3. Screen - are your color choices representative and do they appear as you would like them to?
Perfect registration is rarely achieved. I’ve tested very expensive devices that will still be off by a few mm. My iPad Pro is leading the charge in regards to registration and is about as realistic as can be expected from a pen without a very fine point. You’ll see in the video that the registration is probably out by about 2mm.
The screen registers a mark close to, but not exactly where you place your pen. You can see the equivalent accuracy on the iPad Pro.
I would love to see Huion make some advances in this area, as it always feels like this is an element with room for improvement. But I would say this is typical, even on leading brand devices, so don’t let this be a reason you don’t buy this device. It is accurate enough to make it perfectly useable, and I don’t feel it hinders or negatively effects using it to paint.
So this isn’t perfect, but you might find it hard to find a pen display that you use in conjunction with your PC that is.
This is another common flaw in pen displays. It won’t inhibit your ability to paint in any major way, but their response time in relation to your brushstrokes is often a bit slow. If you compare the videos below you will see the Huion and iPad Pro compared. The iPad wins comfortably.
As you can see the iPad is faster to respond. This is a very old iPad Pro, it isn’t even a newer model
This is a little like registration. A lot of pen display tablets suffer from a short delay like this. It’s another area with room for improvement. However, I should stress again that this is pretty typical for this sort of device even in more expensive brands. You will be more than capable of painting on the device, even with the minor delay you can see in the video.
The screen is obviously an area of focus for Huion. A lot of their marketing is focussed on the quality of the screen and it’s ability to display vibrant colours. I will talk about that a little later in regards to the features.
I will however say that the screen is really good. The colors look great and the surface is pleasant to paint on. My pictures make it look a bit overly reflective, but it isn’t. Even in the bright light of my garden office it is clear and punchy.
It is hard to get a good photo that really makes it clear, but the screen is vibrant and deals with the colours very well.
Final thought on quality
So a final word on the quality. I’ve used a lot of pen displays (obviously not every one - but a lot). I’m yet to find one that I feel exceeds expectations in the above categories. This device is not perfect, but was at the good end of what I expected. The quality is solid and I would suggest that if you are upgrading from a standard graphics tablet you would consider this fantastic.
It is very intuitive to paint on, and would feel like a huge upgrade to anyone using a traditional graphics tablet without a display.
This is really important. You could go out and shop for a device that might perform a little better in the above categories, but the effect of that would be that you will see the price go up very quickly. This device retails at £529.99 in the UK and $599.99 in the US.
The Wacom 16 Pro for example would be an upgrade on this device. Although I haven’t reviewed that device, I have had a little play with one. The registration and responsiveness are better on the Wacom than the Huion, however, the Wacom retails at a whopping £1399.99.
This is an important consideration. The Wacom device is comparable but the quality is slightly higher, but the price tag is a lot higher. This will be the kind of judgment the buyer will need to make themselves. However, in relation to value for money, I think the Huion represents a really good credible option.
Pen displays have reduced in size in recent years. They are thinner and generally come with a little less unnecessary space around the edge than they used to. This brings them into the realms of being portable. It would be very feasible to pack the Huion into a rucksack along with your laptop. The wire setup isn’t overly complicated either.
If portability is something you are interested in, I would say this is pretty good.
The stand is something I have mixed feelings about. It is very thin and lightweight which makes it very portable. However, I feel it is a little limited. Even at its highest, the device remains fairly flat in a way that I find disappointing. As the stand doesn’t match the width of the device, it can feel a little unstable if you are the type of artist that likes to rest your weight on the device screen a bit. On their website Huion list some affordable alternative stands and if you plan to use this long term, I would suggest considering that option carefully.
I don’t love the stand, but it is very compact and portable.
There are 8 hot-keys on the Huion which are easily programmed and customized. This is pretty standard on a device of this price and size, but it is still nice and very practical. I’ll always appreciate hot-keys.
Huion draw your attention to the following items in their marketing which I will touch on briefly:
• Battery free pen - I’ve mentioned this one before. It is a bit light for my liking, but it is very convenient to not have to worry about your pen battery running out. It is better to have it battery free.
• 3-in-2 cable - this isn’t ground breaking or that exciting and it certainly isn’y likely to convince you to be a customer, but it is still a good idea. You simply plug one 2 point plug into the device, then the 3 connectors at the other end will attach to your USB, HDMI and power socket. It’s very tidy and simple.
• QHD display - you will all be familiar with the benefits of a quality screen with better resolution. This screen is very good quality.
• Anti-glare - I’ve mentioned this already. My pictures do look a bit like they have a glare, but actually even in bright light it is easy to see and has very little glare.
One final comment on the screen in relation to it’s representation of color. The website will tell you that the device has the following benefits:
• 145% sRGB
• 1200:1 contrast ratio
• 16.7 million color depth
• 178-degree viewing angle
I find this difficult to really point out the benefits of. Each new Huion device I review increases these numbers and Huion really focus on this as an element of their marketing. If I compare the 145% sRGB screen with a 100% sRGB screen, the difference is very hard to see. For that reason I wouldn’t draw that much attention to this information.
The colors on the screen are very good though. Although the above described difference is negligible to the naked eye, you can be confident that you would be buying a great quality screen.
To bring these thoughts to a conclusion, this is a pretty good device. If your budget is in the realms of £500 - £600 this is really worth looking into and would feel like a great investment for the price. You can buy better, but would have to spend a lot of money to do so.
I played with it for a couple of hours and became comfortable with painting on it in no time at all. I painted the picture below using it.
I had a lot of fun painting this dragon on the Huion
It’s a good solid device, not perfect, but excellent for the money.