XPPen sells several 16-inch pen displays and below are the ones from 2020:
- Artist Pro 16 2nd Gen (2023) - USD 599
- Artist 16 2nd Gen (2022) - USD 399
- Artist Pro 16TP (2021) - USD 899
- Artist Pro 16 (2021) - USD 449
- Innovator 16 (2020) - USD 399
Since XPPen products are often on discounts, actual prices are lower than those listed above.
The price of the XPPen Artist Pro 16 (gen 2) is US $539 at time of review and comes with a 3-to-1 cable (otherwise sold separately) and 2 years warranty.
The upgrades over the Artist Pro 16 (2021)
There are several improvements:
- Pressure sensitivity has increased from 8K to 16K
- Resolution has increased from 1920 x 1080 to 2560 x 1600 (16:10 aspect ratio)
- USB-C port provides more secure cable connection
- Matte textured glass used instead of matte screen protector
- Pressing down on the glass will not create colour ripple effect
- ACK05 wireless shortcut remote is included
The one downgrade is the lack of hotkeys but XPPen has included the ACK05 wireless shortcut remote (review) in the box.
Overall design looks good and build quality is excellent. The display with 16:10 aspect ratio is a selling point and the increased resolution is extremely welcome. Drawing performance is good however it does suffer from more diagonal line wobble or jitter compared to the XPPen Artist Pro 14 (gen 2) which uses the same pen and technology. To get straighter lines while drawing, you may have to apply smoothening to the lines.
- Pen display
- XPPen ACK05 wireless shortcut remote
- 1x USB-A power adapter with interchangeable plugs
- 1x USB-C to USB-C video cable (1.5m long)
- 2x USB-A to USB-C cable
- 1x USB-A to USB-A extension cable
- 1x Microfiber cleaning cloth
- 1x Drawing glove
- 1x X3 Pro Smart Chip Stylus
- 1x Pen case (with 4 plastic nib, 4 felt nibs, one USB-A wireless receiver)
- 1x Quickstart guide
- 1x Warranty card
What's not included is the 3-to-1 cable with HDMI, USB-A and USB-C. If your computer does not have USB-C for video, and you use HDMI for video, you will need that 3-to-1 cable which cost USD 19.99. This cable may be included as a free gift during promotion.
There's also no stand included.
Contact info for XPPen support is provided on the label on the protective wrapping.
This is a very clean and simple design. Corners are rounded off. Bezels are big with space for resting your hand, and there's a wrist rest at the bottom made with metal
When the two foldable feet on the back are folded, there are five pieces of rubber padding with good grip on the table.
The foldout feet can only deploy the pen display at this angle and it's a comfortable angle to draw with.
Both sides has slight indent that lets your finger slide under easily to lift the pen display.
Overall build quality of the pen display is excellent with the metal construction.
The two USB-C ports at the top are recessed so this means less cable movement and less likely to have loose connection or cable damage.
The 16-inch IPS LCD display has 2560 x 1600 resolution. Visual are sharp with no noticeable pixelation from one arm's working distance away.
The 16:10 aspect ratio is more productive than the common 16:9 because given the fixed width, you have 11% more vertical space. Any extra space on a small display is welcome. The downside is when watching 16:9 videos, there are black bars at the top and bottom. I hope XPPen can make more pen displays with 16:10 aspect ratio in the future.
Colour accuracy is really good. I measured colour support 100% sRGB, 98% AdobeRGB, 95% P3 and 94% NTSC. This is better than the XPPen Artist Pro 14 (gen 2) with 85% AdobeRGB.
Maximum brightness is 171 nits which is alright for use in a bright room environment but I wish it could be higher.
The display used matte-textured anti-glare glass which provides a nice tactile drawing experience with both plastic and felt nib. The glass will not scratch compared to matte screen protectors.
Viewing angles are good. There's minimal colour shift and drop in brightness. Visual quality is affected by reflections diffused by the anti-glare. To get the best visual quality with this display, it's best to avoid having reflections on the display.
The matte surface does introduce some grain and colour noise to affect the visual quality, but it's not too bad. That's the compromise for having a matte surface.
The display is laminated with no gap between the glass and LCD, and hence there's no parallax. When drawing, there's no gap between the line and the pen tip.
Cursor tracking is accurate up to the extreme edge.
MacOS users beware! 16-inch with 2560 x 1600 resolution is not a good match with MacOS. To achieve proper scaling with sharp UI elements, you need to use the BetterDisplay app for UI scaling to achieve sharper visuals. The default scaling options from MacOS are limited and not good enough.
The new X3 Pro Smart Chip Stylus is housed inside a solid matte textured metal pen case.
The pen supports tilt and 16,384 (16K) levels of pressure sensitivity. There's a big comfortable silicone grip area, two customisable side buttons and an eraser on the back. The pen is not powered by battery so no charging is required.
According to the XPPen, the pen has initial response rate reduced to 90ms, accuracy increased by 20% (cursor tracking), initial activation force of 3g and a 0.6mm retraction distance (how much the pen tip moves inside the pen).
The pen nib is not firm but has minimal movement. It's kinda like drawing with a ballpoint pen which has that sort of movement, but there's less movement here.
I'm duplicating some content from the XPPen Artist Pro 14 (gen 2) review here since the same driver is used.
The pen display supports Windows 7 (or later), macOS 10.10 (or later), Android (USB3.1 DP1.2), Chrome OS 88 (or later), Linux. At the time of review, the Linux drivers are not available yet.
The drivers I've tested are Mac driver ver 3.4.9_230829 and Windows driver ver 22.214.171.124815.
The display settings can be left as default unless you have issues with mapping the drawing area.
If you experience cursor misalignment, you can calibrate the pen and display with the Calibration button.
The pressure curve can be adjusted with 3 control points.
I usually set one side button to Switch Display/Switch Monitor. There are three modes: cursor on display #1, cursor on display #2 and cursor across both displays (like a mouse).
To customise the XPPen ACK05 wireless shortcut remote, pair it first with the computer with either Bluetooth, USB wireless (through Bluetooth) or cable. Once the remote is paired, the same driver can be used to customise the hotkeys.
The dial can be configured with up to four shortcuts. Rotation only works with Photoshop. To get rotation to work with other drawing apps, those apps must have keyboard shortcuts for rotation.
The shortcut remote has 10 customisable hotkeys. You can create up to four groups of shortcuts (total 36) and use a hotkey to switch between the groups. That little USB adapter is a Bluetooth receiver for computers without Bluetooth.
Shortcuts and groups of shortcuts can be created for specific apps. Those shortcuts will then load automatically when the app is active. E.g. You can have one set of shortcuts for Photoshop, another set for Clip Studio Paint.
Key combination works. E.g. Ctrl + Shift + A.
Press and hold will not activate repeated keys. E.g. Press and hold [ or ] will not increase brush size repeatedly.
I have three sets of line tests from Medibang Paint Pro, Photoshop and Clip Studio Paint.
For some reason, XPPen Artist Pro 14 (gen 2) seem to have slightly better drawing performance, especially with the lack of wobble or jitter with slow diagonal lines.
The reason I did the line tests with different apps is because I see inconsistency with drawing performance.
1. The pen is very sensitive and the initial activation force is minimal. As long as the pen tip is in contact with the surface, even if no pressure is applied, you can draw a thin line. There's slight wobble and jitter with slow diagonal lines, but it's not as obvious with Photoshop and CSP.
2. Lines are able to taper smoothly but not as sharply as I expected. Photoshop and CSP are able to produce smooth and sharp tapered strokes.
3. Line transition from thin to thick to thin is smooth. Pen is able to drawn thin lines easily after the thick lines. You may notice slight jitter and wobble with this diagonal line.
4. No issues with maintaining line width by applying consistent pressure.
5. Dots can be drawn easily.
6. No issues with joining separate lines. There are no gaps and lines do not overshoot.
Only issue with Photoshop is with the tapered strokes that may end with a round end.
Clip Studio Paint performs well.
It's strange that Medibang Paint Pro has more diagonal line wobble and jitter from the Artist Pro 16 (gen 2) than the Artist Pro 14 (gen 2) even though both pen displays use the same technology. Anyway, the wobble and jitter is not significant and can be smoothen by applying software smoothening at the expense of introducing more latency.
This was drawn with Medibang Paint with a combination of lines that have and don't have smoothening. Even with drawing with a brush that does not have smoothening, the lines were not really affected by the wobble or jitter when I'm drawing at my usual speed.
Since the pen is so sensitive, you can actually use a single brush width for the whole drawing, and just vary the width with pressure.
A thin line can be drawn even with a thick brush selected.
The ACK05 wireless shortcut remote is useful for those who have a use for it. You can customise up to 36 shortcuts with the shortcut remote, but I still prefer using my keyboard because I can have access to all keyboard shortcuts.
Here's a quick sketch with Krita. No issues here.
This was drawn with Clip Studio Paint. The pen performance is great.
This was drawn with Affinity Photo. This truck has plenty of diagonal lines and I did not experience any diagonal line wobble or jitter issues.
My overall drawing experience is very positive. Even though the line tests shown some wobble and jitter with the slow diagonal lines, I didn't really see those issue while drawing. Drawing performance is pretty good. The pen is very sensitive and versatile due to the fantastic support for pressure sensitivity. The 16-inch display with a matte surface is satisfying to draw on.
The XPPen Artist Pro 16 (gen 2) is a huge upgrade over the previous model in so many ways. There's better cable connection, better colour accuracy, 16:10 aspect ratio, and higher resolution. This is also better than the 14-inch model due to the higher resolution and better colour accuracy, but it's USD 539 vs USD 377.
This pen display together with the Artist Pro 14 (gen 2) are the best pen displays from XPPen right now. I can't wait to see the next refresh for the 24 inch pen displays from XPPen.
Pros and cons at a glance:
+ Beautiful design
+ Solid build quality
+ 16:10 aspect ratio display
+ Laminated display
+ Display has foldable feet
+ Fantastic colour accuracy with 98% AdobeRGB
+ Matte glass drawing surface
+ Matte drawing surface has minimal grain and colour noise
+ X3 Pro pen is accurate and sensitive
+ Accurate cursor tracking
+ Pen has tilt and 16K levels of pressure sensitivity
+ Pen case included
+ 8 replacement pen nibs included, and 4 are felt nibs
+ USB-C to USB-C video connection
+ Cables connection seems secure and durable
+ Fantastic drawing performance
+ Supports Mac, Windows, Android, Chomebook and Linux (driver upcoming)
+ Two years warranty
- Metal edges are not beveled
- Another stand is needed to prop up the display for non-drawing work
- No OSD menu for manual colour adjustments
- No 3-to-1 cable included (sold separately for USD 19).
- More diagonal line wobble and jitter with Medibang Paint Pro
- Drawing performance not as good as Artist Pro 14 (gen 2)
- MacOS users need BetterDisplay app to get sharper UI scaling
The XPPen Artist Pro 16 (gen 2) pen display is available from XPPen online store.
If you have intention to buy one, consider supporting me and my work by using the affiliate links above. I earn some commission for each sale at no extra cost to you.
And if my review is inaccurate in any way, let me know in the comments section below.