XP-Pen Artist 15.6 Pro review

A budget screen-tablet, with tilt, pressure sensitivity, and a battery-free stylus; can the XP-Pen 15.6 Pro unseat Wacom's champion?

XP-Pen Artist 15.6 Pro

Our Verdict

The XP Pen Artist Pro15.6 is a great budget screen-tablet, and is a great choice for hobbyists or beginners who can live with its flaws. But if you're a serious or pro artist, you'll probably find it makes too many quality concessions to hit that lower price point.

For

  • Affordable
  • 8 shortcut keys and Red Dial
  • Low parallax display

Against

  • Inconsistent line quality
  • Needs colour calibration
  • Pressure and tilt issues

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The big question with any new graphics tablet is 'how does it compare to the current market?'. Every new contender can boast improved features and specs, but ultimately what we want to know is if it's one of the best drawing tablets and how it stands up against the competiton (Wacom and Apple in this instance). 

With its lightweight screen, pressure and tilt sensitive, battery-free pen, the XP-Pen Artist 15.6 Pro is arguably the best non-Wacom/Apple competitor so far. But it does have certain issues that hold it back from dethroning its larger competitors. However, the price point/product quality level trade-off will be good enough to sway some, depending on their needs. 

Image

Huion Kamvas Pro 13: $359/£302
A surprisingly good quality, low budget display tablet, that is let down by an unreliable pen when it comes to line jitter, and has a bizarrely placed power button that sits next to the shortcut keys, so you'll have to be careful that you don't accidentally turn it off while painting!

Image

Apple iPad Pro 11-inch: From $699.99/$719
If you're not just after something to hook up to a computer to draw on, but a whole system, the iPad Pro is a lovely, albeit expensive, all-in-one solution to taking your design studio with you. You'll need to fork out extra for an Apple Pencil to make the most of its digital painting capabilities.

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Wacom Cintiq 16: $649/£531
The current gold standard for what you're looking for from a 'budget' display tablet. It's on the pricier end of the scale, but not without good cause. The quality and performance of the Cintiq is superb, plus it supports every art-based app on desktop, and comes colour-calibrated out of the box.

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The Verdict
7

out of 10

XP Pen Artist 15.6 Pro

The XP Pen Artist Pro15.6 is a great budget screen-tablet, and is a great choice for hobbyists or beginners who can live with its flaws. But if you're a serious or pro artist, you'll probably find it makes too many quality concessions to hit that lower price point.

David Cousens

David Cousens is an illustrator and author who specialises in character design, comics and editorial illustration. He's written books and articles teaching digital art, and has provided illustrations for a diverse portfolio of clients, including Adobe, Apple, the BBC, Adidas, Macmillan Publishing, Simon & Schuster and more. He has written articles for ImagineFX, and is also the creator and co-creator of multiple original comics.