Huion Inspiroy KeyDial K200 is an interesting product that combines a keyboard, dial and tablet into one drawing device. Official retail price is US $169.
Who is this product for?
This drawing tablet is for digital artist who don't want to waste seconds of time moving the hand away to an actual keyboard. When I use drawing tablets, I always try to have my wireless keyboard on the left to be more productive, and so that my keyboard hand won't get in the way of the drawing hand. This tablet is for people who really value time.
The drawing tablet is also for people who work with Windows tablets or 2-in-1 devices that don't have keyboards or pressure sensitive pens. To be able to access keyboard shortcuts even with a partial keyboard can improve productivity significantly.
If you think there are other use cases for this drawing tablet, let me know in the comments section.
You can find the full specs on Huion KD200 product page.
Big thanks again to Huion for providing the review unit so that I can show you guys what to expect.
These are the items included:
- Artist glove
- Wireless USB receiver
- USB-C to A data cable
- Huion PW517 battery-less pen
- Pen stand
- Nib remover and 10x replacement nib
This is the USB receiver for the wireless tablet. Battery life from the 1100mAh battery is rated to be around 18 hours. Full charge takes 1.2 to 3 hours. The tablet can still be used while charging.
The tablet can work with Android devices. No micro-USB and USB-C adapters are included this time because the tablet now supports Bluetooth 5 connection.
You can also use Bluetooth to connect your computer to the tablet, so you don't actually need to use the USB receiver.
The Huion PW517 supports tilt sensitivity and up to 8,192 levels of pressure sensitivity. It's not powered by battery so no charging required.
Design of the pen looks good. Build quality is solid. It's also comfortable to hold with its large rubber grip.
By the way, this is the same pen from the Huion Kamvas 16 (2021) pen display.
The two side buttons can be customised to mouse clicks, keyboard shortcuts and other functions.
The pen tip has slight lateral movement rather than in-out movement. This is actually better compared to pens from other brands where you can feel the in-out movement.
The pen stand is quite stable, solid build.
The nib remover and 10 replacement nibs are kept in the pen stand.
The Huion Inspiroy KeyDial KD200 looks good. Build quality is solid. Active drawing area is 8.9 x 5.6 inch. This is considered a medium sized tablet that should work well with most monitor sizes, from laptops to 27-inch displays or larger.
The partial keyboard is located on the left, which means this product is designed for right handed users.
The keys you get are
ESC - K1 - K2 - K3 - K4 - K5
Tab - Q - W - E - R - T - Delete
Num - A - S - D - F - Enter
Shift - Z - X - C - V - B
Ctrl + Start/CMD + Alt/Option + Space
Many buttons have dual keys and can switch to either by toggling the Num button. For example Z and X can be switched to [ and ] to adjust brush size.
The chiclet keys are low with good travel and feedback. Doesn't seem like there's backlight.
The dial has been pre-configured to three functions: Zoom, scroll and change brush size.
You can switch between the functions using the switch key just beside the power button.
When you switch functions, an on-screen label will appear to show the active function.
The dial is easy to turn and there are audible clicking sounds when turning.
This keyboard can be used with Windows and MacOS.
Unfortunately the control keys for MacOS are not in the same order as a Mac keyboard. On the KD200, it's Windows configuration Ctrl + Start + Alt order. When used with MacOS, it's Ctrl + CMD + Option. A Mac keyboard has the CMD button beside the spacebar.
If you use MacOS, be prepared for weeks of confusion and pressing the wrong keys before you can get used to the layout.
This is how a Logitech keyboard does it. I use this keyboard for Windows and MacOS. Even after months of using it, sometimes I still press the wrong control buttons.
Hopefully, Huion can actually program the driver to allow for key remap because that would seriously help MacOS users.
The Delete button is the Windows Delete which deletes to the right side. MacOS Delete (Backspace) is to the left. Again, hopefully Huion can add another function to the delete to allow for left side delete – it can be as simple as using the Num button to toggle.
Keys can be held down for continuous adjustments. For example, [ and ] can be held down to increase brush size continuously.
Keys from the KD200 cannot be combined with your keyboard for shortcuts. For example, when you press KD200's Ctrl and your keyboard's G for a Ctrl + G, nothing happens.
There are 5 programmable shortcut buttons K1 to K5. You can set specific keyboard shortcuts, mouse clicks or other functions to them.
The charging port is just above the keypad. Tablet can still be used while charging.
The four large pieces of rubber feet behind the tablet provides good grip on table.
The drivers I've tested are MacOS driver Driver_126.96.36.1993 (4 Feb 2021) and Windows driver Driver_188.8.131.529 (30 Jan 2021).
Pressure curve can be adjusted by move the two square control points.
You can rotate the orientation of the tablet for left handed use, but the keypad will be upside down. Oops.
Switch allows you to Switch Screen (for dual monitors) or Switch Brush.
Other shortcuts that can be assigned.
Drawing performance is excellent, consistent and predictable.
The pen is very sensitive. Initial activation force is very minimal. Drawing thin lines is easy. Lines taper gradually, and turn smoothly. The lines always come out exactly the way I expect them to.
There are no issues with drawing dots.
Tilt sensitivity works great.
Pressure sensitivity does not work with Adobe Illustrator CC (Mac). Workaround is to install Wacom Intuos driver as well.
Pressure and tilt works with Affinity Photo. Pressure works with Affinity Designer.
Android support is bad.
Horizontal drawing area of the tablet is mapped to my Android tablet's vertical orientation.
When my Android tablet is horizontal, drawing area of the tablet is not able to cover the whole Android display.
Huion needs to work on making the tablet more compatible with Android. It should at least map the orientation of the tablet to the orientation of Android, e.g. vertical to vertical, horizontal to horizontal.
Don't get this tablet if you main purpose is to work with Android devices.
The Huion Inspiroy looks good and performs well.
I use MacOS and the main issue I have is just with getting used to the button layout. I really hope Huion can release a driver that allows you to remap the MacOS control buttons. Windows users will find the keyboard layout welcoming.
You really have to study your workflow to see if such a device can is suitable for you. If you already have a wireless keyboard, you could just get a simple wireless tablet such as the Huion Inspiroy Dial Q620M which is US $109 (that's $60 cheaper).
While I appreciate the partial keyboard for extra productivity, I also appreciate having a full keyboard because I do use a lot of keyboard shortcuts.
Oh, if you're left-handed, this is not a product for you. It will be cool if Huion could make the keypad detachable, and make a keypad for left-handed users.
Anyway, if you do decide to get the KeyDial KD200, I'm confident you will be pleased with the look, build quality and performance.
Pros and cons at a glance
+ Design looks good
+ Solid build quality
+ Excellent drawing performance
+ Battery-less pen
+ Supports tilt and up to 8,192 levels of pressure sensitivity
+ Keys and dial have good feedback
+ Partial keyboard improves productivity
+ 5 ExpressKeys
+ Control dial works great
+ 10x replacement nibs included
+ USB receiver not needed if you use Bluetooth connection
+ 18 hours battery life
+ Tablet can still be used while charging
- Android support is bad
- Order for the MacOS control keys are wrong
- Not for left-handed users.
Huion online store. That's where you can find the full specs and get the tablet.