Kamvas is the name given by Huion to its pen display range - different from a graphics tablet in that it displays the image you’re drawing on, like a Wacom Cintiq. Huion makes what might be described as budget tablets for beginners, or professionals, who might not be able to afford more high-end industry favourites, like Wacom, or an iPad Pro. This doesn't mean that Huion should be considered a compromise, as they have made some very respectable graphics tablets so far and are doing well to keep up with, or even stay abreast of, current trends and technological advances in the manufacture of pen displays, too.
Screen size: 21.5” (diagonal)
Resolution: 1920x1080 (16:9)
Display: Etched glass anti-glare, fully laminated
Colour gamut: 140% sRGB
Pen: Battery Free
Pressure levels: 8192 levels
Weight: 3.9KG (with stand)
Ports: USB-A, USB-C, HDMI
The Huion Kamvas 22 Plus, as you might have guessed, is a recent upgrade to the Huion Kamvas 22, so it will be interesting to see how much better it is, if it’s worth the upgrade, and if it is worth purchasing if your budget is around the $500/£500 mark, and you want as large a pen display as the budget will allow.
Huion Kamvas 22 Plus: display and drawing experience
A 22-inch inch screen with 16:9 is a very nice sized screen indeed, not quite as cumbersome as the other 24-in giants out there, yet big enough to act as a second monitor, as well as an art tool. Unlike its slightly older sibling, the Kamvas 22, the Kamvas 22 Plus comes with an etched anti-glare glass screen rather than the 22’s mere anti-glare film, which means the screen is going to last a whole lot longer. In production the glass is basically dipped in acid, which erodes the otherwise smooth surface. This adds texture, a very slight texture, that makes the drawing experience that little more refined, and more like the analogue experience of drawing. Not only does the surface of this pen display feel really great to draw on, the anti-glare works a real treat, too.
Anti-parallax measures by Huion also include a screen that bows from the middle to its edges at 178 degrees, instead of just lying completely flat at 180. I guess this helps like a curved TV, 178 degrees is so slight though, that you don’t notice. The picture, display, colour, and other settings are all accessible via five small buttons on-top on the display. With 140% sRGB and ability to replicate 16.7 million colours the range is pretty impressive, considering it is a full HD display at 1920x1080.
Drawing experience seems really good. Full lamination means the glass is super close to the LCD screen beneath, meaning the nib seems really close to the cursor and gives the impression your drawing directly onto the surface. It’s like a touch phone in this regard, and although the Huion Kamvas 22 Plus does not have touch capabilities, the drawing experience benefits from this immensely. I don’t have any qualms with the drawing experience at all really. I wish you could get rid of the cursor, but this isn’t a Huion thing, more of a general bugbear.
Huion Kamvas 22 Plus: stylus/pen
I know this is a budget unit really, and a really good one at that, having used a good few other pen-displays from different companies, the pen just leaves a lot more to be desired, particularly in presentation. It does come with a kind of doughnut shaped pen holder, which is fine, but not overly impressive. Inside it contains 10 replacement pen nibs, and in a rather haphazard way there is another small plastic bag with the label ‘gift’ on it, containing another 10. Thanks, I guess. It might be more helpful to have an assortment of different nibs included, such as felt, just so you can get a feel for the types of different drawing/pen experiences out there.
The PW517 pen has the same standard levels of pressure sensitivity as most, if not all other, current styluses out there. It does the job, and has no immediately obvious differences over any others, particularly in this price range. Two programmable buttons sit on the pen itself, and the pen is battery free.
Huion Kamvas 22 Plus: design and build
Apart from the amazing etched screen the unit itself feels pretty solid and well made. Huion, having only been in business since about 2011, have done a pretty good job with making affordable graphics tablets, and pen displays with good build quality, again - considering the more-than-reasonable prices their units go for. So, with that in mind you won’t be disappointed in the mostly plastic casing, and it’s somewhat small and clunky display buttons (for colour and saturation etc).
The Huion Kamvas 22 Plus, like its sibling, the 22, has no shortcut buttons, other than the two on the pen. This is fine with me, I only ever play around with them, and perhaps use only a few, as I’m more used to using keyboard shortcuts when it comes to PS, or Affinity Photo. Huion offers a shortcut remote for a nominal price.
One of the best things about the Huion Kamvas 22 Plus is the substantial stand you get with it, which comes with screws and tools for you to attach yourself. Personally I think any pen display over 16” should come with one. This feels solid and has a good quality rubber stand that makes adjusting your preferred working angle a real breeze. It stands pretty much upright, should you want to use it as a second monitor. I don’t game, or have an android phone, but it also serves as a monitor for these, too. There are a list of compatible android phones on the Huion website, and compatible art software to use, also, so even if you don’t yet have a computer or laptop you can use it in this respect to make art, too.
Huion Kamvas 22 Plus: power
Another difference to the Kamvas 22 is the addition of a USB-C to USB-C cable so you can attach your compatible android phone or laptop. Additionally to this the main power port is a 3-in-1 cable and power adapter. Huion has said this somehow cuts down on the mess of cables we are supposedly already familiar with. It’s still a bit of a mess though. The 3-in-1 sticks out the right side of the tablet with enough ‘stiffness’ to make it awkward in terms of where you can place the tablet without the cable being in the way. The rest of the cables just tuck away behind, so it’s not that big a deal. A handy USB-A sits on the side of the unit, making it easier to access saved files without having to navigate the back of your desktop, if that’s even relevant to you.
Huion Kamvas 22 Plus: price & Should you buy it?
Currently the Huion Kamvas 22 Plus is $549/£519 which is only marginally more expensive than the Kamvas 22 at $449/£419. You get marginally more for the Plus, however, like the etched glass screen, more colour gamut, full lamination, and a USB-C cable included.
Its XP-Pen equivalent, the XP-Pen Artist 22 (second generation), $424.99/£449.99 (currently on sale) is a newer release though only matches the original Kamvas 22 in spec. However, an XP-Pen 22 Pro is FHD (1920x1080) though supposedly supports 4K display is $449/£449, and the XP-Pen Artist 22R Pro is $599.99/£599.99 and comes with a host of customisable shortcut buttons and dials. Overall, these are very similar creatures with minor variances in price, but technically speaking the Huion Kamvas 22 Plus has better colour reproduction at 144 sRGB, and the screen is hard to beat in terms of drawing experience. Also, from personal experience the Huion was simplicity itself to install the driver and start using, whereas I’ve had frustrating problems nearly every time I’ve tried another XP-Pen unit. That's not to say XP-Pen doesn’t have its benefits. Here’s a list of other graphics tablets and pen displays worth checking out.