Hi all. I’m Griffnix (aka John). This is a review of the latest tablet monitor from Yiynova, the MVP22U + RH (V4), the RH being remote hotkeys, which is something fairly new to the world of non-Wacom branded tablet monitors and this is the 4th iteration of Yiynova’s 21.5” product.
About me: I am not what I’d consider a pro artist but maybe an aspiring one. I’ve used an Intuos4 tablet for some time (years) and more recently an old model (DTZ) Cintiq 21UX for a couple of months plus a Monoprice 12x9 tablet.
I’m going to assume that if you’re looking at this review, you’ve already looked at others like Cintiqs or Huion and know what a tablet monitor is for the most part but I’m happy to answer questions if I’ve missed something important.
What’s in the box:
You get a nice bunch of goodies with the MVP22U+RH package:
- MVP22U+RH tablet display
- Remote HotKey
- P2X Pen set x 2
- Artist Gloves
- Pen Stand
- DVI-I Adapter Kit (VGA/HDMI/Mini DisplayPort)
- Power Supply
- Power cord
- Quick start guide
- Driver disc
I’m really glad they supply the DVI adapters since I have a PC and a Macbook. It just gives me options without forking out for extra cables.
The other thing worth noting is this version comes with 2 of the P2X pen, unlike the previous version being supplied with a P2H and a P2X pen. I’ll get into that in the hardware description.
Drivers can be a nightmare, but gorgeous display to look at and, when working correctly it’s great fun to draw with. A little parallax that made no difference to me, a slightly stiffer pressure curve compared to Wacom tablet pens. Good viewing angles and colours. The hotkey remote is a good improvement. The wheel has a soft click which helps precision and the buttons feel good although a little hard to press for me personally. Nice being able to place it where you want but more space on either side of the screen would be ideal else you cover up a small part of your viewing area unless you put the remote at the bottom. The pen is light and comfortable and I’ve had no problems with the pen buttons. I’d recommend this tablet to anyone just with a small warning to be careful with your drivers when installing on PC, though Mac was easy peasy.
HARDWARE: Oh it’s so pretty!
The monitor is light for it’s size and the IPS display looks really nice. It’s probably one of my favourite things about it. Since this new version has a hotkey remote, there are no longer hotkeys along the top of the monitor but otherwise it’s identical to the V3 version. Buttons on the back, a decent adjustable stand, cables come out the side so you don’t have to worry about bending them when you lay the tablet flat. There is a USB socket on the bottom right specifically for the hotkey remote and nothing else (they mention that on the packaging).
The hot key remote is really light (ignore my weird bendy thumbs). I like the wheel a lot: It’s easy to spin but has a soft click so you can use it for precise things like if you’ve set it to undo levels or switch layers. The hotkeys are good too, they’re fairly flush with the remote and they are pretty firm. I find them a little hard to click but maybe they’ll loosen up with more use. You won’t ever hit them by accident that’s for sure.
The remote sticks anywhere you want with some little suction cups. Sometimes they come loose but if you wet them a tiny bit they seem to stick firmly and the remote doesn’t wobble around like I actually expected so it’s all win.
This is the latest pen which requires a AAA battery. The previous Yiynova MVP22U V3 came supplied with a P2H and a P2X, but now they give you two P2X pens instead. I asked them about this on Twitter and they gave a nice reply explaining that the newest version (marked with the red ring) is phasing out both the old ones and is supposed to boast softer pressure sensitivity. I was originally worried the pen would slip and slide all over the smooth glass surface but the nib gives you some friction and it feels perfectly fine drawing on the glass. Some people may not be sure about it which is fair enough, but I like that there’s little chance of the glass getting scratched compared to my Intuos 4 tablet which is looking rough these days.
With the 2 pen packs you get spare nibs and nib removers plus a stand that I like a lot, with space inside to store the nibs and remover. In total you get 4 spare nibs (excluding the ones already in the pens), 2 nib removers and the stand:
I will refrain from a mass of specs for this piece of hardware as they’re all on the Yiynova website in good detail.
Mainly it’s 2048 levels of pressure on an IPS panel display at 1920x1080 resolution. comparatively this is a smooth glass surface whereas the Wacom tablets have a matte surface that’s a little softer.
Also worth noting is the tablet’s display cable is DVI and can’t be unplugged from the monitor. Yiynova supply you with adapters for Mac, HDMI and some other that no one cares about (just kidding, it’s VGA). This is really helpful in my opinion.
DRIVERS AND SOFTWARE
I had a bit of a nightmare trying to get the drivers working with my PC. UC logic provide the drivers and there are currently two to choose from: The older 5.2f and the newer 8.1. I had been using a Monoprice tablet which go by the same drivers (5.2f) so I just plugged the new tablet in and I was away, but without hotkeys.
With UC logic drivers, you have to first uninstall all old tablet drivers (such as Wacom ones) and carefully go through the process of uninstall, reboot, install new drivers, reboot, THEN plug in the USB for the tablet monitor. Don’t ever plug it in beforehand. To be fair to Yiynova, they had these instructions plastered all over the packaging and leaflets for everything. If you mess up the order you can get stuck in a loop of reinstalling.
I tried the new drivers and they worked great… For 10 minutes before the drivers crashed and I lost pen detection and pressure. I emailed Yiynova after trying endless solutions to remedy this and they tried their best to help and were pleasant to deal with. Eventually I decided to do a fresh install of Windows and go through the driver installation slowly and carefully. This resulted in the same problem unfortunately but I would say this is because my PC is a bit of an old wreck. Yiynova explained that there should be no problems after asking me what my setup was as they’ve tested their drivers on much lower spec computers and laptops with success. I am 99% sure my problems were down to old hardware wearing out so all I’ll say to others is, don’t have an 8 year old machine that’s on it’s last legs! Yiynova actually said they are still working on this and trying to replicate the problem themselves so they can fix it, asking me to be patient. They’re genuinely helpful and won’t fob you off. They want you to enjoy the tablet.
Anyway, I had chance to look at all the shiny new options the hotkeys have while the drivers did work. Here’s some snaps:
You have the usual options for adjusting pressure and pen buttons. You’re limited with the pen buttons but there’s a cool option in there to set one to toggle between pen/brush and eraser which I’ve been enjoying a lot.
Hotkeys on the other hand, allow you to do almost anything you want with them. They give you a stock list of common functions or you can customise them to be specific keyboard shortcuts or even use other tools and programs. I don’t get why the default hotkeys are set to things like Page Up though, I mean who needs that noise?
Mac users: You can expect similar options though not quite as extensive. I tried out the tablet with my Macbook Pro Retina and was up and running in less than a minute. Uninstalled the Wacom drivers, installed the UC Logic drivers, rebooted, plugged in and I was away.
The wheel has set uses to jog through and I haven’t seen a way to customise them except for enabling or disabling the ones you prefer. The same goes for the other hotkeys as they give you a large list of options but you can’t set your own keyboard shortcuts. Here’s some screens for you:
Calibration in both is accurate from the get go or you can re-calibrate it yourself with the software. Tracking is smooth on both PC and Mac. I find the cursor only lags slightly behind your pen if you scribble fast. I’ve had the same with the Wacom Cintiq so I’m happy enough with that. There is a small amount of jitter when you get close to the edges of the screen, but not enough to ever cause me to miss a menu button or tool. As long as you’re not a weirdo who draws on the edges you’ll never notice.
To give you an idea, here’s some madman scrawls from Manga Studio (ruler test is the bottom left I can’t draw straight lines to save my life apparently):
I included a ruler test though I don’t believe it’s an accurate measure of anything personally. I did find that very slow movements were a little jagged when drawing diagonally (see top left). I hear people use Lazy Nezumi software to fix that and I generally try to draw with fast, fluid movements anyway so I didn’t actually notice it until the test. Pressure sensitivity is a little stiffer than Wacom pens. Having used a Monoprice for a while I find Wacom pressure almost too soft. I think both are fine and I quickly adapt to either, plus a lot of software lets you adjust the pressure curve further so you can have your cake and eat it.
Here’s some Photoshop scrawls too:
At the time of writing, this costs €969 with free postage from Yiynova.eu. This is roughly £700 for you brits and only €20 more than the V3. I believe there is a $200 difference between these two models for my stateside friends which is a much bigger difference.
Delivery was rapid and they have a 14 day no-questions return policy plus a warranty for 2 years. Considering the Wacom equivalent of this is at least double the price, it doesn’t take much persuasion to go for other brands. Especially now that they seem to be catching up with Wacom in most areas. When purchasing, my choice was between this and the Huion GT-220. I haven’t seen one up close to compare fairly but they use the exact same drivers so I imagine them being close in quality. The drivers are the biggest thing but otherwise, using the MVP22U feels just as good, if not better than the old Cintiq I tried for a while. I can’t compare to the newer 22HD Wacom option but from what I know, they haven’t changed much in the driver area to make any difference to the drawing experience.
V3 & RH/V4 COMPARISON
If you’re in the USA and want to save $200 you may as well get the V3 and something like a Nostromo keypad for your own hotkeys. The V3 is out of stock on the Yiynova.eu website so I think they’ve just totally replaced the V3 and these cheaper units are just what’s left in stock in the US. Besides hotkeys and getting the newest version of the P2X pen I don’t think there’s a whole lot of difference between V3 and RH. Personally I’d go for the V4 because of the newer pen and the price difference was negligible for me. The new P2X isn’t available separately from Yiynova at the moment but hopefully it will be soon for you V3 users. I haven’t used the old pens so I can’t really give a comparison, I just know I like using the latest version of the P2X at least.
- Cheap alternative to Wacom.
- Fully customisable hotkeys.
- Gorgeous IPS panel display.
- Supports multiple display setup.
- Hotkeys for lefties and righties alike.
- Supplied with cables to suit different platforms (and nice extras such as gloves and spare pen).
- Attentive customer service.
- Still more expensive than some alternatives.
- Hotkey remote covers edge of display (if you put it there).
- Drivers can be a real pain. (Most users I’ve seen with problems have been fine with the old 5.02f drivers from what I’ve seen)
- I’m genuinely happy with the MVP22U+RH even though I’ve had problems with getting it running properly on my PC. I’ll be upgrading my machine and when that happens I’m fairly certain there won’t be any issues.
In the mean time, I’ve been enjoying using it with my Macbook a lot. I really don’t see much difference in pressure sensitivity or tracking between Mac and PC, the biggest thing being a few less options with the hotkeys on Mac. I recently purchased a Nostromo so I’ve been playing with that for hotkeys instead since they’re fully customisable (It wasn’t necessary mind you).
Overall, I highly recommend this product for any kind of digital artist who doesn’t have vast amounts of disposable income. Some people aren’t comfortable with tablet monitors compared to regular tablets so it’s always good to try one out first at least. If you’re a PC user, just make sure everything is up to date and you go through the driver installation carefully. If you’re a Mac user, you might miss a few things with the hotkeys but there’s plenty of options in there to help your workflow. This tablet shows no signs of struggling on my ancient PC and Yiynova claim to test on a lot of low spec machines which is helpful. For a few small sacrifices such as some hotkeys or needing the patience to set up the drivers properly, you can save yourself a lot of money compared to a Wacom Cintiq and you get a nice big display for it. If you purely want one for a new toy and hobby then you could go for cheaper options like the Huion GT-220 or 19” models as they use the same drivers and similar IPS panels and they were my personal next choice.
If you want to save $300, you can get the Yiynova MVP20U+RH instead which has a 20 inch screen and 1920x1080 resolution.