Review: Artisul D10 Pen Display Digitizer

Artisul D10 Pen Display Digitizer is the smaller variant of the 13-inch Artisul D13 released a few months ago. And Artisul is kind enough, again, to loan me one unit for this review.

What's in the box

Here are the items in the box

  • Artisul D10 Pen Display
  • HDMI cable
  • USB cable
  • 10 replacement nibs inside a case
  • Pen

There's no power cable. The Artisul D10 draws its power from USB so this means you need a computer with powered USB ports. This is great because the fewer cables there are, the better.

Build quality


Build quality feels solid. I like the round corners. On the back are large pieces of rubber to prevent slipping. The unit is only 700g so it's extremely portable should you want to bring it around, or put into a bag.

On the unit are six physical shortcut buttons, each with a firm tactile feel when pressed. It can be used by left handed users as well, just change that in the settings.


The 10.1-inch screen came with a matte film protector already pasted on it. It does affect the image quality but in exchange you get a better drawing experience when using the plastic nib on the drawing surface.

The resolution is 1280 by 800 which is sufficient for a screen this size. All the graphic software are able to display user interface (e.g. buttons, menus) at comfortable sizes.

Brightness of the screen stated at 300 cd/m2 with a contrast ratio of 700:1. In actual use, the brightness is adequate, but definitely nowhere near 300cd/m2 which is the typical brightness of desktop monitors. When used in an environment with bright conditions, colours and contrast are affected, washed out. So it's best to work away from bright light sources. Working indoors with normal lighting overhead is fine.


The battery-less pen supports 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity but there's no tilt sensitivity. There's No eraser on the back.


This is the case with 10 replacement nib. There's no stand for the pen though. That tiny hole in the middle is to take the nib out from the pen. Just tilt the nib when it's in there to pull it out.

Connecting to the computer

Driver disc is not included so you have to download the latest driver at artisul.com/downloads.

Before you install, you should uninstall other tablet drivers on your computer. Uninstall any existing Wintab driver, or just rename it. Artisul driver will install its own version of Wintab so you don't want any conflicts. To check for existing Wintab drivers, visit these two locations:

  • C://Windows/system32/wintab.32.dll
  • C://Windows/syswow64/wintab.32.dll

After you have installed the driver, plugged in the display and it should be detected.


Picture left: For me, I'm using a Windows 10 tablet that does not have HDMI port. So I had to use a USB Type C to HDMI adapter.
Picture right: On my Mac Mini 2012, somehow the HDMI port wasn't giving any video signal and I had to use a Thunderbolt to HDMI adapter.

Driver settings

The driver settings allow you to customise the physical shortcut button, pen buttons and pressure curve.

For physical shortcut buttons, there are already pre-configured software-specific shortcuts that you can choose from, e.g. Photoshop Undo, Brush, Corel Painter, Illustrator. I discovered that the pre-configured Photoshop's Brush Size Increase shortcut wasn't working. Anyway, I was able to customize a keyboard shortcut to replace that so it doesn't matter. You can basically bind any keyboard shortcuts to those physical buttons.

Drawing performance

My experience with Artisul D10 are on Windows 10 and Mac OS 10.9.5. Overall drawing performance is fantastic with the exception of some glitches.

Windows glitches: Most graphics software I've used work fine except Mischief. I had to turn off Wintab for Mischief to work properly. If you use Mischief, you can use this hack to turn on/off the Wintab driver easily. But to use Photoshop, you have to turn on Wintab again.

Mac glitches: I wasn't able to get pressure sensitivity in Adobe Illustrator to work by default. The workaround is to install Wacom Intuos drivers. I know earlier I said to uninstall other drivers but this seems like the only way to get pressure sensitivity to work in Adobe Illustrator. So far, there has been no conflicts with the two drivers. This affects Mac's Illustrator only.


These are strokes from Photoshop CS5 on the Mac. Pressure sensitivity works well. Strokes taper nicely.


This is Adobe Illustrator CS5 on Mac. Strokes here are unable to taper to a sharp point.


Both Medibang Paint Pro and Mischief on the Mac work well.

There is minimal lag. Cursor under the pen tracks quickly. There's parallax error though but you can minimise that by calibrating the pen through the driver settings.


This is Photoshop CS6 on Windows. Occasionally, there are some strange stroke tapering effect. In other words, the strokes don't taper gradually and smoothly. Sometimes they would taper abruptly and end with a thin line. You can see that effect at the end of the spiral stroke on the left. This effect happens when drawing the strokes very quickly, e.g. cross hatching. If you draw deliberate strokes, then it's not a big problem.

To workaround the strange stroke tapering effect, one can use the Lazy Nezumi Pro (not free) Photoshop plugin.

With all other graphics software, pressure sensitivity works well and all the strokes taper nicely. I've tried Sketchbook, Krita, Paint Tool Sai, Sketchable, ArtRage and Wacom Bamboo Paper.

Warranty and support

A one year warranty is provided for the monitor.

If you have problems, you can also submit a ticket to the support forum. They actually have someone who troubleshoots problems on the forum and is quite responsive.

Conclusion

Drawing performance is satisfactory. There are some glitches but no big deal as they can be solved easily.

The only downside is actually the screen size. I feel that 10.1 inch is small. But since it's small, it's also cheaper. It sells for USD $350 currently. Compared to the $600 Artisul D13, this is significantly cheaper. I consider this to be quite affordable.

The performance is definitely good enough for professional work in my opinion. If you're someone who creates line art with Photoshop on Windows, that stroke tapering effect may be of concern. Other than that, the accuracy is similar to Wacom tablets. When compared to Windows tablets, this is definitely much more accurate because strokes do not suffer from any jitter.

Overall, I think it's worth the money. It's good for digital artists with limited budget, but still want a screen to draw on. With the D10, you can continue using the graphics software from your computer, either Windows or Mac.

Pros and Cons

+ Good build quality
+ Extremely portable at 700g
+ Tactile buttons with good feedback
+ Powered by USB 3 port
+ Just two cables required to make it work
+ Significantly cheaper than D13, but also smaller
+ Runs cool
+ Wireless and battery-less pen
+ 10 replacement nibs provided
+ Rubber at the all the right places to prevent slip
+ Pressure sensitivity works great
+ Strokes taper well* and have no jitter
- Windows drivers are at different places: Start menu and taskbar
- Parallax exists, corrected by calibration
- Only HDMI port so you might need an adapter
- Strange stroke tapering effect in Photoshop (Windows)

Availability

You can find the Artisul D10 at https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01LRB4DSA?tag=artprdus-20

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