gadgets tech

XP-Pen Innovator Display 16 drawing digitizer show assessment – Part 1

REVIEW – Artists who transition from bodily mediums, like paper and canvas, to the virtual global temporarily find out how insufficient a mouse is.  It simply doesn’t really feel herbal within the hand in comparison to a pencil or a paintbrush.  To triumph over this factor, an artist can draw on a graphics pill with a pen (aka a stylus).  Broadly talking, there are three kinds of graphics pills:

  • Digitizer pills – the place artists draw on a complicated mouse pad that is hooked up to a pc
  • Display pills – the place artists draw on a track that is hooked up to a pc
  • Tablet computer systems – the place artists draw on a track that’s the laptop; assume iPad

Generally, digitizer pills are essentially the most economical, however they’re frequently the least fascinating to make use of, since the artist is drawing in one position whilst taking a look at their symbol elsewhere.  Tablet computer systems are normally the least economical, as they generally tend be very pricey, now and again costing neatly over a grand, however they may be able to have beautiful presentations (like a Retina show on an iPad Pro).  Display pills have compatibility into that candy spot within the center, the place the artist is drawing on their show, an excessively herbal approach to attract, but the presentations gained’t cost a fortune.  XP-Pen has been creating pills for artists and architects for 15 years and feature numerous drawing and graphics merchandise.  They lately launched the Innovator Display 16, a show pill, which I will be able to be reviewing in two portions.  The first article, this one, will likely be technical and concentrate on the pill itself, its specs, design, and setup.  The 2d article will likely be creative and concentrate on the reactions of a handful of younger artists who’ve various levels of enjoy with the arena of virtual graphics.

What is it?

The Innovator Display 16 is a show pill from XP-Pen.  With a 15.6” panel, it has a lot of room upon which to attract.  At a moderately svelte one-third of an inch thick, it’s moveable sufficient to take anyplace a computer can move.

What’s within the field?

A fantastically embellished blue field arrived from XP-Pen that contained the next:

  • 15.6” show pill
  • USB energy adapter with converters for more than a few international locations
  • 3-in-1 cable
  • USB-A extension cable
  • Pen holder with pen and 8 more nibs
  • Collapsible show stand
  • Drawing glove
  • Display cleansing fabric
  • Quick information with 2 pages of English instruction
  • Swag (stickers, keychain, pen, and many others.)

Hardware specifications

  • Dimensions:  17.5 x 10 x 1/3 inches
  • Display Area:  13.5 x 7.6 inches
  • Panel Type:  IPS
  • Resolution:  1920 x 1080
  • Response Time:  16.4ms
  • Viewing Angle:  178°
  • Aspect Ratio:  16:9
  • Ports:  USB-C
  • Compatibility:  Windows 10/8/7, macOS 10.10 and better
  • Pressure Sensitivity:  8192 ranges
  • Tilt Support: 60 levels
  • Screen Color Gamut: 125% sRGB, 92% Adobr RGB, 88% NTSC

Design and contours

The Innovator is quite related to an iPad.  With its abundant show and lovely matte silver end at the aspects and again, it nearly looks like a pill.  Of path, that comparability falls brief, because the Innovator is tremendous vast, two-and-a-half instances wider than my iPad, and has a large, one-inch bezel across the show.  Additionally, there are 8 huge buttons at the aspect in conjunction with a couple of rotating wheels, one thing that gained’t be discovered on any pill.  Even so, it’s truly skinny, simply as skinny as my iPad, and strangely mild.  It feels forged and neatly made; there’s no sense that I may just simply twist it or bend it and thus Mod the show.  The Innovator appears to be like and looks like a high quality machine.

Being mild makes it moveable; it will have to be simple to take this to a pal’s space or back-and-forth from house to the administrative center.  It is, on the other hand, an digital machine that must be safe with a excellent bag whilst in transit.  Unfortunately, at an excessively lengthy 17.5”, it doesn’t rather have compatibility into a regular computer backpack, just like the Targus Drifter II.  Although it slips down into the computer compartment, it pokes out the highest, and I will’t rather shut the zipper.  I’m going to have to seek out an extra-long bag or sleeve by which to hold it.  (If you’ve gotten any excellent concepts, please let me know within the feedback underneath.)

The Innovator has no rubber toes at the again as it’s possible you’ll to find on a keyboard.  It’s designed for use with its stand or for your lap however now not laying flat on a table or a desk.

Installation and setup

As the Innovator is a show pill, it doesn’t paintings by myself, like a pill laptop does; it will have to be hooked up to a pc with a purpose to paintings.  The graphics tool with which you draw, reminiscent of fotoshop or Krita, runs at the laptop and is simply displayed at the Innovator.  Think of it extra like a track, a complicated one that you’ll be able to draw on.  As it calls for a pc to paintings, many of the setup procedure concerned getting it to paintings with a pc.  For my trying out, I labored with my daughter to glue it to her 2020 MacGuidePro.

The Quick Guide first instructs us to glue the Innovator to her laptop.  For this goal, it supplies a 3-in-1 cable that has 4 connectors.  The USB-C connects to the Innovator, and the opposite 3 are meant to connect with the pc.  There are 2 USB-A connectors, one for knowledge and one for energy, and an HDMI connector.  What!?  I’m taking a look on the MacGuidePro, and it has a couple of USB-C connectors.  How is that this going to paintings?  There’s an image on XP-Pen’s web site that presentations the Innovator being hooked up to a Mac computer, however it will have to be a truly previous (or truly doctored) image, as it’s been years since Macs have supported USB-A and HDMI.  This 3-in-1 cable is unfortunately anachronistic for a brand-new product, doubly so for the reason that XP-Pen already has an present product that makes use of a USB-C cable.  I want that XP-Pen had designed their product to make use of USB-C.

Given that I’ve to make use of this 3-in-1 cable, what are my alternatives for connecting the Innovator to a pc?  The excellent information is that there are (a minimum of) 3 alternatives:

  • If I had an older laptop, one that had a couple of spare USB-A ports and an HDMI, then I’d be excellent to move.  I may just simply plug the cable in, ensuring that the crimson connector is handing over energy.
  • If I had a dock that supplied the connectors I want, like this one from Anker, then I’d even be excellent to move.
  • Unfortunately, I don’t have both of the ones, so I had to shop for one thing.  Anker’s dock appears to be like lovely superb, however it’s additionally $300, which is lovely steep for someone who simply spent $500 for the Innovator.  A inexpensive resolution could be to purchase XP-Pen’s $40 adapter from Amazon, which is what I did.  It lets in me to glue the HDMI and information USB-A into it after which plug the ability USB-A into the incorporated USB energy adapter.  The finish result’s a multitude of spaghetti wiring, however it does paintings.

The Quick Guide then suggested us to put in the driving force onto the pc.  On the Innovator’s webpage is a hyperlink to “Download Driver/Manual.”  When we clicked on it, it didn’t take us to the driving force or the guide, however it did take us to a web page that claims we will be able to download loose tool, both ArtRage 5 or openCanvas.  Bonus!  But once we created an account and entered the serial choice of my Innovator, we had been knowledgeable that the Innovator isn’t eligible for the loose tool.  Why does the Innovator hyperlink to loose tool after which now not give it to us?  So now not cool.

We in the end discovered the driving force on this improve web page and downloaded it.  It’s a ZIP report that accommodates a DMG installer and two PDF information, one with set up directions for Catalina, the model of macOS that’s on my daughter’s Mac.  We labored our approach thru it, working the installer, enhancing System Preferences settings, and shifting information to precise places.  Then we were given to step 11 — sure, it’s a moderately lengthy, difficult procedure to get this setup, undoubtedly now not plug-n-play — which required us to transport a report that doesn’t exist.  We spent 30 mins looking for this report, taking a look at XP-Pen’s improve web page, and googling for lend a hand, till I by chance stumbled upon the answer, which used to be to run this system, PenTabletAtmosphere, that have been put in again in step 5.  Suddenly the lacking report seemed, and we had been in a position to complete the set up.

We then returned to the improve web page and downloaded the User Manual, which confirmed us how one can configure the pen, the buttons, and the wheels the usage of PenTabletAtmosphere.  The Innovator is extremely customizable.  Each of the 8 buttons can also be configured to do one thing; as an example, we set one to Undo and any other to Save.  The two wheels – the outer, silver ring is a mechanical wheel, and the internal black floor is a digital wheel – we set to zoom in/out and build up/lower brush measurement respectively.  The buttons at the pen we set to Right Click and Pen/Eraser.

Here’s the truly cool section:  All of those settings can also be uniquely configured for each and every program!  We could have one team of settings for Illustrator and an absolutely other team for Gimp, and so forth.  That’s tremendous cool!  Once we had configured a bunch of settings for Krita, a certified, open-source portray program, we had been completed with the set up and setup procedure.  It’s fascinating to notice that the guide ended right here; this is, whilst there are many directions on how one can setup the tool and configure the instrument, there are not any directions on how one can in truth use the pen itself and make the most of its functions.  For instance, it has tilt improve as much as 60 levels, however there’s no clarification of how one can allow that and use it in a program.  XP-Pen turns out to suppose that its customers are already skilled virtual artists.  To be truthful, the Innovator is a higher-end product; at $500, it’s not likely to be the primary graphics pill {that a} budding virtual artist will use.  Even so, I believe that if XP-Pen would supply some further directions, its customers would to find them to be very useful.

As I glance again on the set up procedure, I admit that I’m lovely disillusioned.  The English in those three paperwork is truly dangerous, and sadly that now and again ended in directions that made little or no sense; we had been frequently puzzled and pissed off.  More than after we merely had to check out issues till one thing in the end labored, or even then, we had been by no means in a position to determine all the settings for the wheels.  I want that XP-Pen would rent a technical creator who’s fluent in English, any individual who can mix those three paperwork into one unmarried coherent record, take a look at the whole lot to verify there are not any lacking steps, write obviously so it’s simple to know what to do, and supply further tutorials to lend a hand more recent artists.  To be transparent, I consider that the Innovator itself is a superb product; it’s simply the setup and set up that’s tough.

To end the setup procedure, I peeled off a skinny, protecting display from the show after which set Innovator on its stand.  The stand comes flat, and the legs come out and rotate all the way down to snap into position.  They can also be popped again and turned around into their unique shape, making it very moveable.  When arrange, it’s rather robust, maintaining the show in position with three rubber strips.  The best drawback to the stand is that the perspective (roughly 20 levels) can’t be adjusted.


The Innovator’s show could be very great.  It’s a 15.6-inch drawing floor, which is truly large.  There’s a lot of room to transport your hand round with out working the pen over the brink.  Despite its huge measurement, the Innovator’s show doesn’t get scorching, even if in use for a very long time.  Then approach it’s completely suited for drawing to your lap in case you to find that extra at ease than the usage of the stand.  The solution is 1920 x 1080, which is fine however now not superb.  (By comparability an 11-inch iPad Pro is 2388 x 1668 and a 13-inch MacGuidePro is a whopping 2560 x 1600.)  Individual pixels are visual at the Innovator, particularly when the usage of a smaller brush or when zoomed in.  The show isn’t very shiny, even if plugged in and set to max brightness; the whites aren’t rather natural white.  It’s lots shiny to attract inside of, even though there’s no approach it’s essential to draw outdoor, particularly if it’s a sunny day.  Even even though the Innovator doesn’t precisely have a Retina show, it’s nonetheless truly excellent for a show pill.

The floor of the show is matte, and it does a pleasant process combating glare and undesirable mild mirrored image.  The display itself, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to be very sturdy.  Within 2 weeks there used to be a scratch at the display, even if we had best used it a few dozen instances.  By comparability, I’ve closely used my iPad for a few years and haven’t begun to look any scratches.  You’ll need to just be sure you take care excellent care of your Innovator and stay in it in a case or a sleeve every time it’s now not in use.

The pen is superb.  It feels very at ease and herbal within the hand.  It’s a passive pen, thus it doesn’t run on a battery or require Bluetooth or the rest.  It’s simple to make use of and not calls for charging.  The tip of the pen seems to be very with reference to the skin of the drawing; it’s now not just like the glass feels thick or the pen far away.  It’s related to the usage of an iPad Pro with the Apple Pen.  XP-Pen says that the pens improve 8,192 ranges of power sensitivity, and it will definitely be noticed whilst drawing and pushing the pen a bit more difficult or a bit lighter.  The best factor that we’ve spotted with the pen is that it loses its calibration each and every so frequently.  This can in most cases be mounted through resetting the default calibration in PenTabletAtmosphere or through restarting the drawing tool.

Extra Features

The pen comes with its personal case that protects it when in transit.  It additionally accommodates 8 more nibs, in case the top of the pen is broken or wears out.  Unfortunately, I may just now not to find any directions on how one can exchange a nib, so I despatched a query to their improve e-mail, [email protected]. Two days later I were given a pleasant reaction with a hyperlink to a useful video.  The dangerous information is that XP-Pen’s on-line documentation, just like their set up directions, is unorganized and spotty; the excellent news is that their improve group is responsive and has useful data.

By default, the pill assumes that the location of the buttons and wheels will have to be on its left aspect, which is perfect for right-handed artists.  There are settings within the tool that permit it to be turned around 180 levels for left-handed customers or 90/270 levels when drawing a portrait.

The Innovator additionally comes with a half-glove, which helps to keep the oils out of your hand off of the show whilst drawing.  This is a pleasant more so as to add.

The Innovator is best as excellent because the tool that it helps, and XP-Pen’s web site lists 25 creative methods, together with stalwarts like fotoshop and Maya in addition to open-source gear like Gimp and Blender.  There are lots to choose between!

What I love

  • Nice, huge, light-weight show
  • Many buttons and wheels
  • Super versatile tool for configuration
  • Lots of supported tool

What I’d trade

  • Improve the guide
  • Write a person’s information
  • Update to a USB-C cable

Final ideas

The Innovator Display 16 is an excellent machine.  It has an enormous show that provides numerous room for drawing, but it stays mild and transportable with no need any warmth problems.  The pen feels very herbal in hand and is a excitement to make use of.  The tool that controls the Innovator could be very configurable, permitting a novel set of customizations for every of its many supported tool programs.  To transfer their product from “excellent” to “superb,” XP-Pen must replace their outdated cable and severely reinforce their set up directions and on-line lend a hand improve.  Even so, the Innovator is an excellent show pill that novices and execs alike will revel in the usage of.  If you’re taking a look to improve your virtual, creative abilities, this is able to be $500 price spending.

Note:  Look for Part 2 of this assessment, which is coming quickly!

Price: Normally $499.99, recently on sale for $399.99 from XP-Pen’s on-line retailer; $499.99 from Amazon
Where to shop for:  XP-Pen’s on-line retailer or Amazon
Source: The pattern for this assessment used to be supplied through XP-Pen.

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