This review is written by Ryan Lopez, a freelance artist, live streamer, and product reviewer.
Text review is further below.
This is a review of the XP-Pen Artist 22HD, a graphic tablet monitor that displays what you are drawing on screen as you work. In this review we will discuss the some of the positives and the negatives about this product. Also I will try my best to be as in depth for someone that is brand new to this type of product. I myself have used a few Wacom bamboo tablets, and also a few products from Ugee, like the 2150 and 1200b. I have never worked with a Cintiq, but hopefully someday. This product is known as a “Cintiq Alternative”, with sharing many similarities... but one not being the price. Without hesitation, let's get it started.
The XP-Pen 22HD is a 21.5 inch 1920 x 1080p resolution IPS drawing tablet monitor. This is your basic resolution for everything classified as High Definition.
The benefits of this being an IPS monitor are the viewing angles and the true rich colors the monitor puts out. This monitor can be viewed from many angles and really only seeing some color degradation when at the extreme side viewing angle.
The colors are spot on and there is little to zero calibration needed of the monitor when coming out of the box. This monitor has 2048 levels of pen pressure sensitivity and comes with 2 rechargeable pens in the standard package. 2048 levels of sensitivity is the standard for most pen tablets, meaning that you can apply as many points of pressure to see a difference in line or stroke size.
The pens have 2 express hot keys located on them that can be customized to about 9 assignable shortcut keys. This monitor has HDMI, DVI, and VGA ports for all of your output needs. Cables that are included in the standard package are USB, Power, DVI, HDMI, VGA. Also included is a mini-DVI adapter, cleaning cloth, a brush, screen protector, a pen stand and extra nub holder, and a XP-Pen artist glove. There is more technical terms and more specifications that could be listed above, but these are the ones I find most important.
Some of the included items.
The recognizable name in this product field is Wacom with their Cintiq line. As for myself, a person that has never used a Cintiq, I can only comment on the differences simply on paper and from what others have previously discussed. Commonly described as a Cintiq alternative, here are some of those differences.
The Artist 22 has no express keys at all. Express keys are keys that are on the front face of the tablet to enable shortcuts to certain functions like “undo, erase, move, zoom” and more that can be customized to your liking. With the pen having 2 buttons on it I set them to erase and color picker for easy use. I also found that as long as your keyboard is near this shouldn't be a problem for the average user that has no experience with a Cintiq anyways.
The glossy glass screen is quite the contrast to the Cintiq that has more of a flat plastic surface. The gloss tends to reflect the light that you have in the room and makes it hard sometimes to see the screen clearly. The gloss also tends to stick to your hand as you try to move it for larger brush strokes, a good thing XP-Pen recognized this problem and included a very comfortable glove to help. It's a 2 finger glove that leaves your thumb, index, and middle finger free to grip the pen naturally, while covering you pinkie and ring finger to help your hand slide across the screen.
The prices between the Cintiq 22HD and the Artist 22HD are night and day. With the Cintiq HD (non-touch) coming in at $1799.95 USD, currently on Amazon, and the Artist 22HD coming in at $609.99 the price comparison isn't even close.
These three key differences are what I can see affecting a lot of consumers decisions when purchasing these similar products. With the over one thousand dollar price difference being the biggest factor of all.
So let's now talk about the monitor build itself. The stand provided works well enough, with a single latch that you hold up at the top of the monitor to have the stand slide up and down. It's made of a thick plastic and has rubber grommets on each of the four foot contacts. The only issue I have seen with the stand is I just didn't find it comfortable for extended periods of time. With my current setup I have my monitor on a movable arm so that I can bring the tablet to me instead of moving to the tablet, so yes it is VESA mount compatible also which is a plus.
VESA mount applied
Five buttons are located on the bottom right corner of the monitor, Auto, -,+, Menu, Power. The “-” and “+” being volume control for the built in speakers located on the back. I didn't test out the speakers, but it's strange that the product specifications makes no mention of them at all.
Hello glossy screen!
The screen has a glossy finish, as I mentioned earlier, and has quite a gap between the glass and the point at where your pen is displayed, which is described as parallax. The gap only becomes an issue towards sides of the screen. With most of the work you will be doing towards the center, this isn't a problem.
Cables become bunched when lowering stand.
One of the problems I ran into when using the provided stand is the cable placement located at the bottom of the monitor. When adjusting it up and down, some of the cables would get caught under the monitor and wouldn't allow it to go all the way down with out me reaching behind and pulling the cables out of the way. A minor inconvenience, but one nonetheless.
So while we are talking about the build quality we might as well discuss the similarity between this and other Cintiq alternatives. I personally own, and have been using for quite some time, the Ugee 2150. These are the exact same product. With only a difference in the packaging (much nicer than that from Ugee) it came in and the name on the front of the screen. I do not know the logistics of Chinese manufacturing, but all I know is that both of these products work great.
Ugee 2150 (left), XP-Pen Artist 22HD (right)
The pens included have a great weight to them and feel comfortable in your hand. Included are extra nubs located in the stand for the pen and two charging cables for the pens as well. A full charge on the pens will last a couple weeks, depending on how much you use them of course. The only issue I ran into is the sound that the pen sometimes makes when moving across the screen. I believe that the screen protector is included to help prevent this noise, but with me previously trying to get the screen protector applied without any bubbles on the Ugee 2150 and failing, I didn't even try on this unit. As a suggestion, I would hope that these screen protectors could come pre-installed from the manufacturer in the future.
Other than the cable placement I am impressed with the build quality of the Artist 22HD. With a solid construction and a beautiful display I can't say much bad about it.
Different positions of the stand.
Software and Drivers
Installation of the drivers and software from XP-Pen were the easiest I have ever encountered. I used the CD provided, installed and rebooted in a flash. I currently am running Windows 10 with the latest updates. This tablet is also compatible with Windows XP/7/8/8.1/Mac OS x 10.7.0 or later. I also tested this unit using Adobe Photoshop and Manga Studio Pro and had no issues at all. After the restart, I was getting ready to do the 9 point configuration tool, like I have done with other products, but realized that the configuration was already spot on. It was a very nice surprise from having so many issues from other products before. All of the other configurable areas of the software are ready from the start, with only one suggestion to turn the pen sensitivity all the way down. I felt like I had a much more consistent pressure control with the slider at the zero position.
Quick Test for jitters and inconsistencies, results none.
So let's breakdown the pros and the cons of the Artist 22HD.
- Priced at $609.99 USD currently on Amazon is an amazing deal
- Screen size, Resolution, and Color reproduction quality
- All of the outputs you could want. And all cables included
- Software and Driver installation was really smooth
- Glossy Screen and slight Parallax
- Cable placement at bottom of monitor
- Stand can make it uncomfortable, but VESA mount compatible
- No express keys
With the pros definitely outweighing the minor cons of this product, I can't help but have to recommend this to anyone considering this unit. Much like the Ugee 2150, well exactly like it, this product has an outstanding value that can't be beat. Stop thinking about, just buy this now