Review unit provided by Simbans
Simbans has just released the PicassoTab X14 and it is HUGE. This 14.1-inch tablet is much larger than the 11.61-inch Simbans PicassoTab XL I reviewed last year. It's so big that it looks more like a laptop, except without a keyboard of course. The display size can definitely compete with the 14.6-inch Samsung Tab S9 Ultra.
The price is USD 299 and it comes with one year of warranty.
The Simbans PicassoTab X14 is marketed as a drawing tablet and in this review you'll find out if it's any good at creating art.
- Display:14.1-inch IPS LCD
- Resolution: 1920 x 1080 @ 60Hz, 16:9
- Processor: MediaTek MT8183
- Graphics: Mali-G72 MP3
- Battery capacity: 10,000 mAh
- Connection: Bluetooth, Wifi 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz
- RAM: 6GB
- Storage: 128GB
- MicroSD card slot: Yes
- Camera: Rear 13MP and front 8MP
- Port: USB-C
- OS: Android 13
- Flip case
- Artist glove
- SIM ejection tool
- User guide
- Warranty info
- Promo code for Concepts app upgrade
- USB-A to USB-C charging cable
- USA-A charger with travel plugs
- Picasso Pen 4 with AAAA battery
- Extra AAAA battery
There's a card with the promo code for a Pro account with Concepts app. Go unlock the drawing tools before you throw away the card.
The Picasso Pen 4 supports tilt, 4096 levels of pressure sensitivity and palm rejection. There is no side button and no eraser. The body is matte textured and is comfortable to hold. Build quality is solid.
The pen is powered by one AAAA battery, and there's an extra AAAA battery included. No replacement pen nibs are included.
Shown above are the iPad Pro 12.9, Simbans PicassoTab X14 and Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra.
This tablet is big, heavy and thick. It weighs the same as some 14-inch laptops. This is a tabletop tablet so don't expect to hold this in hand while drawing.
The tablet can be propped up for a more comfortable angle for drawing. For more angle adjustments, consider getting the Parblo PR100 tablet stand.
There are four-way speakers but the volume is not loud and audio quality sound hollow. There's no 3.5mm audio jack so for better audio quality you will have to use wireless earphones.
Tablet design looks alright. The sides look like bumpers. Bezels are not too thick. Build quality is solid.
The display is a 14.1-inch IPS LCD with 1920 x 1080 resolution, 16:9 aspect ratio. There is slight pixelation with this display size and resolution but it's not too bad. Refresh rate is 60Hz.
Colours look pretty good, better than I expected. Brightness is suitable for use in bright room environment but it's best to use some curtains.
A thick matte screen protector is already applied on the display. The anti-glare isn't too aggressive which is good. Viewing angles are decent with minimal colour shift and slight drop in brightness.
Sensitivity of the touchscreen may have been affected by the thick screen protector. There are numerous occasions where tablet did not detect the action when I tap the screen with the pen. The fix is to tap harder. There are no issues with drawing and no issues with using the finger to tap the screen.
The matte screen protector is on the smoother than rougher side. This matte surface does make the visuals look slightly softer which also reduces pixelation. There is minimal grain and colour noise added.
I am actually quite impressed by the visual quality of the display, especially the colours.
The display looks laminated. There is minimal gap between the pen tip and the line. The pen tip has slight movement when in contact with the drawing surface.
The back has a clean and simple design with the logo in the centre and camera at the corner.
Performance and Android 13
The processor is the 8-core MediaTek MT8183 with Mali-G72 CPU. There's 6GB of RAM which is good enough for multitasking. Overall performance of the tablet is smooth and apps are able to launch fast. Web pages take a bit more time to load compared to other tablets but it's not too bad. Graphics intensive games will have slight lag occasionally and dropped frames.
This tablet runs on Android 13.
Many apps are not optimised for such large displays, especially for landscape orientation.
Normal phone apps look huge when blown up to fit the display.
The UI and launcher provided by Simbans have bare minimum features. The default UI looks so primitive that I can't help it but install NOVA launcher with PRIME features to make the UI look better. All the photos you see of the home screen in this review are from NOVA launcher.
There is Google Play Store so there's a huge variety of apps to choose from. There are many good drawing apps on Android.
Simbans has also pre-installed some drawing apps:
- Concepts - A popular vector-based drawing app. Use the promo code provided by Simbans to unlock more drawing tools.
- Flipaclip - A 2D animation app
- Artixo - This is an app with video tutorials on drawing.
- Infinite Painter - A popular raster-based drawing app. The free version only has limited tools.
These are drawing tests from Medibang Paint Pro.
1. Initial activation force is low enough. Thin lines can be drawn easily by applying minimal pressure. Diagonal lines drawn slowly are affected by jitter and wobble.
2. Lines are able to taper smoothly and sharply. These diagonal lines are straight because they were drawn faster.
3. Line transition from thin to thick is smooth. Note the diagonal line wobble.
4. It's easy to maintain consistent line width when maintaining consistent pressure. Note the diagonal line wobble again.
5. Dots can be drawing easily by tapping the pen on the display.
6. Cursor tracking is affected by tilt of the pen. When the pen is tilted at angle, the cursor will stray slightly away from the pen tip, and this will affect accuracy. When joining lines, there are numerous occasions when the lines will overshoot due to cursor misalignment when pen is held at an angle. To join lines properly, you have to look at the line instead of the pen tip.
These are line tests with Clip Studio Paint. Results are the same.
With Clip Studio Paint, you can adjust the pen pressure to make it easier to draw thinner line.
There is latency when drawing as the line is trying to catch up with the pen tip, and more noticeable when you're drawing really fast (shown above). Latency is more noticeable compared to other more expensive tablets I have reviewed. When drawing with normal speed, I can still see the latency but it doesn't affect my drawing as much as the diagonal line wobble.
Latency will also depend on the app you use. Some drawing apps will have more latency. And if you apply smoothening to lines, e.g. to reduce line jitter, more latency is added.
This was drawn with Concepts, my favourite drawing app on Android. I definitely had some difficulty drawing the diagonal lines due to the diagonal line wobble. You can make the lines smoother by applying more smoothening to the lines but that introduces more latency.
This was drawn with Concepts too. I had line smoothening at 10% and the additional latency isn't that noticeable.
Surprising, I didn't have much issues with diagonal line wobble when drawing at normal speed. Maybe it was the dry brush effect from the Old Inker brush that makes the diagonal line wobble less obvious, so I switched to using the smoother Manga Inker brush to draw the same drawing again.
I drew this with Manga Inker brush with 9% smoothening. If you draw with 0% smoothening, the lines will not be as smooth and will have jitter. You can zoom in to the top left side to see the extra line tests with 0%, 5% and 9% smoothening.
Brushes with rough edges and 0% smoothening can make jitter look less noticeable. For smooth hard edge brushes, more smoothening is needed to get smoother lines. The jitter is those micro-jitter and not the wobble pattern from the line tests.
This was drawn with Concepts. Due to the wide 16:9 aspect ratio, drawing with the tablet in vertical orientation will feel kinda weird as the canvas looks so narrow, and more narrow if there are UI elements on the left and right.
The thing that really affects drawing performance
There are two other issues that affect drawing performance other than the jitter/wobble.
First issue is palm rejection. There is strict palm rejection, AKA pen mode where you can only draw lines with the pen and not finger or palm. This is good. However, when resting your palm on the display, the tablet may recognise unintentional finger gestures, such as two finger tap, or zoom, pan, rotate. While drawing, undo may happen suddenly or the canvas may move. This is very disruptive so using the included artist glove is a must.
The second issue is with the thick screen protector affects sensitivity of the pen. Initial activation force is alright, so drawing is alright, but tapping the pen to select tools sometimes may not register, and you will need to tap a second time. Tapping with finger works fine. The workaround is to tap twice or tap harder.
If the art you create is mostly line art, well, just note the issues especially with jitter and wobble.
For digital painters, note that the cursor will only appear when the pen tip is near enough to the display. If there's no cursor, you will not be able to preview your brush size or brush pattern. The tablet can only detect the pen when it's nearer is probably the reason why it has issues with unintentional finger gestures as mentioned earlier.
Laminated display, cursor tracking
I'm not sure if the display is laminated but the gap between the pen tip and glass is noticeably smaller than the Simbans PicassoTab XL. This reduces parallax noticeably and is important because parallax affects larger displays more. There is still slight cursor misalignment when the pen is held at an angle but it's not too big an issue when you draw and look at the line instead of at the pen tip. Once you realise there's cursor misalignment, you will get used to looking at the line instead of the pen tip.
Design of the tablet looks alright. Build quality is good. Battery life is around 8 hours. Display and colours look surprising better than I expected. The anti-glare on the matte screen protector works well.
Pen performance is affected by jitter and wobble when drawing diagonal lines so applying smoothening to the lines is a must to draw smoother lines, at the expense of having more latency. Palm rejection doesn't work that well for drawing because it always picks up unintentional gestures, so wearing the included artist glove is a must while drawing. The thicker screen protector seems to affect the sensitivity of the pen when clicking on things, so sometimes you'll have to tap twice.
If you're buying this tablet to create art, just mind the issues or limitations. I was still able to draw on this tablet, but maybe that's because I have tested so many good and bad tablets over the years. With some practice, you should be able to work around the issues.
For an 14.1-inch Android tablet selling at USD 299 with a display that shows pretty nice colours, the pricing is quite reasonable. If you're not buying the tablet for drawing, it's still a pretty good as a general purpose tablet except for the hollow sounding 4-way speakers. This works great as a wireless external display due to its size with the SuperDisplay app. Watching videos on such a big display is very satisfying.
Pros and cons at a glance
+ Okay looking design
+ Good build quality
+ Huge display
+ Display has good colours and viewing angles
+ Laminated display
+ Matte textured drawing surface with anti-glare that works well
+ Comes with pen and flip case
+ Pen supports tilt, pressure and palm rejection (but has issues)
+ Micro SD card slot
+ Free upgrade to Pro account for Concepts app
+ 6GB RAM
+ Android 13
+ Google Play Store included
+ Competitive pricing for such a large display
- 4-way speakers have low volume and sound hollow
- UI and launcher have bare minimal features
- No biometric unlock
- Pen needs to be very near display for cursor to show
- Palm rejection doesn't work well. Unintentional finger gestures are often activated
- Sensitivity of touchscreen may be affected by thick matte screen protector
- Diagonal lines drawn slowly are affected by jitter and wobble
- Slight cursor misalignment when pen is held at lower angle
- Noticeable latency when drawing