It is confusing to choose between the 15-inch pen displays from XP-Pen in 2022 because they currently sell six, these six:
- Artist 16 2nd Gen (2022) - USD 399
- Artist Pro 16TP (2021) - USD 899
- Artist Pro 16 (2021) - USD 449
- Innovator 16 (2020) - USD 399
- Artist 15.6 Pro (2019) - USD 369
- Artist 15.6 (2018) - USD 299
- Artist 16 1st Gen (2017)
I've reviewed all the models so I'll share with you my thoughts and recommendations. Generally speaking, you can choose based on a budget you have already set, or if your budget is flexible, choose based on features, the pros and cons.
Below's a specifications comparison table that you can click for a larger view. The listed colour gamut are advertised but brightness are based on my own measurements.
XP-Pen Artist 16 (2nd gen) - USD 399 (2022)
This is a good looking pen display with solid build quality and fantastic colour accuracy up to 92% AdobeRGB. The included X3 pen is accurate and sensitive. Drawing performance is excellent. It supports USB-C to USB-C connection but the USB-C cable is sold separately, and so is the stand.
I don't have any major complaints for this pen display. Only issue is there's no pressure sensitivity with Adobe Illustrator on MacOS.
XP-Pen Artist Pro 16TP - USD 899 (2021)
Unfortunately, the drawing performance isn't as good compared to other pen displays mentioned. Maybe there was some issue to the pre-production unit I tested. Unfortunately I no longer have the unit so I can't say whether the new drivers have improved drawing performance. You can see more reviews on Amazon.
Touchscreen works fine. You can use finger gestures for desktop apps but most aren't designed for use with finger gestures except for basic navigation, e.g. zoom, pan, rotate.
Generally speaking, touchscreen features on Windows isn't as refined compared to iPads and Android tablets. E.g. Sometimes Windows cannot detect my double finger tap to undo. This issue is specific to Windows and not due to the hardware or brand.
When you consider this is 2 times the price of other pen displays, you really need to want 4K and touchscreen to find the value for the price you pay. The other pen displays all offer better value for money simply because they are much cheaper.
XP-Pen Artist Pro 16 - USD 449 (2021)
The XP-Pen Artist Pro 16 (review) is the upgraded model of the Innovator 16. Interestingly, now the model comes back under the Artist series even though the design looks exactly similar to the Innovator 16, except for the darker colour.
The main improvement over the Innovator 16 is the use of the new X3 Elite pen which has lower initial activation force that makes the pen more sensitive, especially when drawing with minimal pressure. The other pen displays that don't use the X3 pen still have pretty good drawing performance, so the improvement in drawing performance can probably be seen only with a side by side comparison.
Downside is the matte textured screen protector introduces grain and colour noise to affect the image quality. That's the compromise between having a textured drawing surface and image quality.
Second downside is there's no stand included. And there's no USB-C connection even though this is more expensive than the XP-Pen Artist 16 (2nd gen).
Between this model and the Innovator 16, I'll probably recommend the latter because it's cheaper by $50 and a stand is included.
XP-Pen Innovator 16 - USD $399 (2020)
The XP-Pen Innovator 16 (review) is interesting in the sense that it isn't under the Artist series product line. The design is departure from the black body pen displays. This new design features a metallic body and it's really thin. A stand is included.
This is an upgrade of the Artist 15.6 Pro with better colour accuracy and laminated display. Drawing performance is good.
Downside is the matte textured screen protector introduces grain and colour noise to affect the image quality.
XP-PEN Artist 15.6 Pro - USD 369 (2019)
The XP-PEN Artist 15.6 Pro (review) was released in 2019 so this is considered an old model. It has good build quality, good colours, shortcut buttons, a dial and good drawing performance, and comes with a stand.
The downside is the display isn't laminated so there's parallax. The gap between the glass and the LCD isn't that big though, and the parallax is easily corrected by calibration with the driver. Anyway, parallax isn't a big issue on smaller size displays.
The other downside is the matte textured screen protector introduces grain and colour noise to affect the image quality.
This pen display was released in 2019 and is considered an old model. If you have extra budget, consider the other pen displays.
XP-Pen Artist 15.6 - USD 269 (2018)
This model is for those with a small budget. If you have a small budget, you can get better specifications with other brands, such as the UGEE U1600 which can be found around US $220 - 260.
The pen display that provides the best value for money is the XP-Pen Artist 16 (2nd gen) which is US $399. It's a good looking pen display with solid build quality, fantastic drawing performance, good colour accuracy and supports USB-C connection.
I recommend this over the Artist Pro 16 because it has more features, more specifically the support for USB-C connection. And I don't quite like how the cables stick out from the Artist Pro 16 and Innovator 16 since they have the same design.