Review: Ugee HK1560 Pen Digitizer Display

Hi, I’m Iris. Let’s discuss the HK1560 monitor display from Ugee!

Disclaimer: I bought the UG2150 (absolutely love it, 100% recommend it), and was sent the HK1560 along with it to test out. It is fairly new, so if you are reading this at a later date, please continue to research if anything has changed. I got these through PNBOOTECH, other sellers might provide different accessories or customer care.


Overall, I think it is a really great tablet! I’d rate it approximately 4 out of 5 stars and I’d recommend it to most artists. But one issue with the display that I talk about later will show why I don’t think it’s as perfect as the UG2150 for example.

Even so, I actually think it is better than the comparable Wacom 13HD which, to me, is uncomfortably small. Somehow the couple of extra inches on the HK1560 are enough to make it a perfect size for home or away from home. The display is decent quality, and the pen is super responsive, and usual tablet concerns like cursor lag or parallax are totally acceptable and not a problem with the HK1560.

For reference, I have owned a Yiynova MSP19U+ for 3 years, and regular Wacom tablets (Intuos, Graphire), and I have tried Wacom Cintiq a little bit (24HD, 13HD).


The HK1560 is so light (bit less than 5 pounds, 2.27kg) and sleek. Its design is simple and practical. I could see myself or anyone else carrying this in a backpack or case, with a laptop, to a coffee shop or anywhere else to draw, take notes, or other work/hobby purposes. The HD resolution (1920x1080) looks crisp and nice on this monitor (HDMI cable provided)

The stand has a very fluid adjustment handle, good angle range, and is very solid. I tried to mount the HK1560 to my standard HP single monitor arm, but because the HK1560 is very light (not heavy enough to keep a lowered position on the arm) and the VESA monitor mount screws do not screw in far enough to mount it tightly (they fit in the correct placement but the holes are shallow, so it ends up too loose), using it with a monitor arm seems like it would be difficult to do. Maybe some monitor arms allow for lighter monitors though (the HK1560 is just a few pounds, most monitors are heavier), and you could find very short screws to make it work. That’s fine though, because the stand is good, and keeps this tablet simple to carry around. It doesn’t take up much space at all.

The tablet lacks express keys, which I never use, but I know this matters for some people. I suggest either placing your keyboard behind it to the side, or a small shortcut gamerpad (tartarus, or other remote controls being made for this recently).

The screen itself is glossy, clear, and clean (no dust inside or defects on mine). Some do not like this drawing surface because it can be very reflective in some situations, or because of its slippery surface. Personally, I think this is very easy to get used to, and I enjoy it, so I don’t understand those complaints. However, if you hate it, there are slightly textured screen films available, like MXH from Photodon. I got one for my Yiynova and enjoyed it, so I got one for my UG2150. Currently (December 2016), however, Photodon does not offer one that fits the HK1560 perfectly. They probably will in a few months. These diffuse light, making the surface more matte and textured, bringing the drawing feel closer to a Cintiq but not 100% the same (perfect for me though!). Some complain that this tablet is squeaky. Occasionally it can squeak, but using any screen protector and a tablet glove fixes most of it. I still prefer a small panty hose sock with a hole cut through it, over any tablet glove, as strange as that sounds.

Overall the drawing feel on the HK1560 is good but not perfect, like most Cintiq alternatives. The tablet does not overheat after being used all day, it only becomes a little bit warm in the center.

I love that you receive two pens, and that they are rechargeable by USB (two charger cables too!). The pens have a nice look, good drawing and button feel, comfortable weight distribution (weighs almost exactly as much as a wacom pen), and long lasting charge. I think the rubber seams on the pen can be improved, as they are visible and can be felt more than those on a Wacom pen when you drag your finger across (not a big deal though). I also think more variation in the nib textures would be great. They are all the same glossy plastic. While this is durable and fine, more choices would be interesting. You are also given quite a few of them! Additionally, the nib container doubles as a great pen stand.

With Photoshop, Clip Studio Paint (a.k.a. Manga studio), Paint tool Sai (I use version 1.1), Paintstorm studio, FireAlpaca, Zbrush, Blender, Sculptris, it works perfectly.

The range of pressure is wide (opacity and size respond very well). The lines follow the pen so closely, there is practically no delay. For sculpting or texture painting in 3D softwares, every change in pressure is present in your strokes as well. Very responsive.

With Krita, Autodesk Sketchbook and Mischief, I experience bugs while drawing and/or no pressure. This is because they do not support this tablet well yet. In time, they might. The Yiynova became more compatible with art software over time, so I think this will be the same. And programs like Krita are always being updated and improved. Please be aware that certain companies, Autodesk for example, may have exclusive contracts/deals with Wacom. (The tablet listing says it supports Sketchbook, and it's possible that it does! I use Windows 7 and don't update much, so maybe it works for others! Please check with other reviews.)

Note: I have a friend who purchased the UG2150, he uses it with windows 10, and for him Autodesk Sketchbook works perfectly (full pressure recognized when making a stroke). Since everything else I tried worked the same on both tablets, I assume the same for this point. So it will probably work for you! He also showed me how an older alpha version of Krita worked perfectly on his 2150, and then the newer version had the same bug happening between brush strokes that I experienced on mine. Knowing it worked in a past version of Krita, I think this should change in the future. I say this to reassure you that this and other display tablets are mostly compatible with softwares.

You can adjust your pressure curve in the tablet drivers, but I think in the future that max pressure while pressing even lighter should be enabled.

I’ve been told that Lazy Nezumi (and probably other methods) can help adjust the pressure curve/feel (how the pressure is interpreted). Some software let you adjust that in settings, too.


Calibrate the HK1560 with Windows display tools (very simple to do), and use LCD calibration websites like lagom.nl to get desired results with the settings buttons on the monitor.

The display looks great right out of the box, but the colors and contrast were a bit too strong for me, so I calibrated a little. By the way, some settings in the menu do nothing or can't be changed (colors are on a blocked ‘warm’ setting for mine, so I had to make sure I calibrated it to a more neutral look, basing myself on greys and comparing to my other screen), I'd like if this were a little more flexible, like having a neutral setting build in. The display is good quality though, because it does well (but not great) with those tests (subtle and perceivable differences between hues/values/etc). It also does very well with displaying various images and video. However, the UG2150 does much better (as good as a good quality monitor). The HK1560 displays a bit more choppyness and banding in gradients of color (stripey sections instead of smooth blends). I noticed this when painting with low opacity; slight variations can look a little rough sometimes.

For most users, I think it’s totally fine. If you’re using it for watching videos, drawing in line mostly, inking comics, doing vector/illustrator work, collecting reference images, sculpting/modeling in 3D, it could go unnoticed. If you have another monitor to show you if your work looks different on another screen, that’d be best. I don’t think it would bother everyone, but for me it’s an important downside. I want smooth gradients and no patchiness. I have been told this is a little better on other models, and hopefully getting better with different production batches of this tablet so please check and ask others if this is still standard for this tablet.

Because of one current flaw I have noticed while testing it (I’m sure it’s related to the banding I mentioned above, too), I think that this model suits most users like I stated above (working only with lines, flat color, taking notes, almost anything), except for professional digital artists seeking a 100% accurate display (I often paint and check my illustration with a light and dark background, and make other quick changes). The display auto-adjusts contrast in certain situations (quick changes in dark or bright elements on screen in Photoshop, MSpaint, etc), creating flickering and inconsistent values and colors when painting in Photoshop and other software. I’ve shown this issue towards the end (at 44 minutes) of my long youtube video review of both tablets if you wish to see it in action.

Video Link with Timestamp: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PH2LmJG8tKI&t=44m05s

I imagine that this will be fixed as soon as possible, as it is something that can be corrected by changing a setting on other display devices, but so far this one does not allow disabling of this.

We have kept in contact about this issue, testing it on different computers and with different plugs, and they even let me trade in the first one for another one, to check if it was not just a one-time error. I really appreciate this effort.

I have also received an answer from them recently saying that this problem was present on maybe 20% or more of their first production batch of this tablet. They told me that in the future, this problem should not be present on this tablet, and that many of them don’t do it at all. I have no way of verifying this, so I choose to trust they will improve it and just let you know this information so you can make your own decision on what you think about it :)

To me, this is an important flaw for my usage of this tablet, but I think Ugee can and should fix this soon, making this basically a perfect product for any and all users.

I trusted this tablet before I bought it, since I heard that it uses nearly identical drivers as the Yiynova (UCLogic). The driver interface could be more appealing, and pen tilt support should be added eventually, but overall I think UCLogic makes a great tablet driver software!

When I contacted Ugee about the UG2150 and the HK1560, they were very informed and kind to me. The shipping was so fast, they arrived within a week, and were super well packed. (Thank you Tiffany and the team for your great service!)

One last note, just in case:
Please use the very simple user manual instructions to install, (drivers from the website are usually newer and better; choose according to your tablet model and system). Getting started with the tablet is so easy, if the steps are followed correctly. I’ve seen complaints from people online, and user error is almost always the cause. Sometimes Windows can cause the tablet to misbehave (also happens with Wacom. all types of tablets share similar issues and fixes). Disabling flicks, handwriting, digital ink, tablet input panel service, etc., will usually fix everything. Personally, I have helped a few people figure out tablet issues, or sometimes they find a solution by accident or trial and error, and personally I have barely ever had problems with mine. It all depends! Sometimes it just takes opening the driver and checking one thing, or rebooting.

Please be patient, look it up, ask questions, and understand that this is normal.

I hope I helped your decision! Good luck :)

Availability

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