XP-Pen Artist 22HD Review

1 - Tablet

XP-Pen AC 19 Shortcut Remote sold separately.

The XP-Pen Artist 22HD is a tablet which has been out for a fairly long time. I’m sure there are already quite a few reviews on it, but since I got my hands on one as well, I decided to do a review on it too.

This will be my first properly thought out review of a drawing monitor (as I’ve only been reviewing screen-less tablets up to this point) and I will try my best to cover all the important aspects of the XP-Pen Artist 22HD as a tablet, and as a monitor.

I apologize in advance for the long review, but I believe reviews should cover all the aspects of the product to give the most information possible to any potential buyers, so I do not intend to leave out anything just to make the review shorter.
If you notice that I have missed an important aspect of a drawing monitor, please feel free to remind me in the comment section.

As a side note, I was able to get my hands on my XP-Pen Artist 22HD through XP-Pen’s Facebook creativity challenge here: https://www.facebook.com/xppen/photos/a.869716696438984.1073741830.838115022932485/1306636806080302/?type=3&theater
If you have the time and live in one of the qualifying regions, I suggest you give it a try since you really can get a free XP-Pen Artist 22HD out of it if your entry impresses XP-Pen.

Anyways, onto the review!

Please note!
-I am not a Mac or Linux user!! I only tested this tablet on Windows 8 and Windows 10.
-Prices may have changed since I wrote this review.
-Check when a review was written. Some aspects may improve or change over time, so it is in your best interest to concentrate on reviews which are less than 1 year old.



Table of Contents



How good is this tablet?

Design: Decent.
Build quality: Good!
Screen quality: Not fantastic, but satisfactory.
Tablet drivers: Basic, but satisfactory.
Drawing experience: Very good!

Overall: Worthwhile, but clearly an older tablet.

My verdict:
-If you are considering this tablet, it is a completely worthwhile option, however, the quality of the IPS screen is not amazing using current standards (more about that in the screen quality section). You should also take into consideration the amount of desk space that a 22-inch monitor will take up before deciding on it.


Important specifications

Price: 479.99 USD (when this review was written) Amazon.com
Active Area: 18.7 x 10.5 inches, 21.5 inch diagonal

Resolution: FHD 1920 x 1080 (16:9 ratio)
Display Type: IPS
Pen Type: Recharging
Pen Buttons: 2 side buttons, no eraser
Pen Pressure: 2048
Pen Tilt Sensitivity: None
Expresskeys: None
Multi-touch: No


What’s in the box?

2 - Box

The XP-Pen Artist 22 comes in a simple brown box. It was shipped in another close fitting brown shipping box.

3 - Contents

The things that come in the box:

  • Tablet
  • Pen x2
  • Pen stand
  • USB type-A to USB type-B cable
  • HDMI to HDMI cable
  • VGA to VGA cable
  • Power cable
  • HDMI to Mini Displayport adapter
  • Pen charging cable x2
  • Pen nib replacements x8
  • Screen protector (useless)
  • Screen cleaning cloth
  • Anti-fouling glove
  • Driver installation CD
  • User manual
  • Warranty card
  • “Thank you” card

4 - Tablet

In the box comes… the tablet! What a surprise!

Jokes aside, the tablet is fairly heavy so be careful not to drop it while trying to pull it out of the box.
And as you can see from the photo, the smooth glass screen is extremely reflective. I had no problems with the reflective glass because I draw in a dark room with minimal lighting, but you should make sure to check your own room for bright lights if you are considering this tablet, or take into consideration buying an anti-glare screen protector.

5 - Ports

The XP-Pen Artist 22HD needs a USB cable for pen input, a video cable such as HDMI, VGA, or DVI to display the screen (or an adapter if your computer has a different port from those three), and a power cable to power the display.
My power cable is the US plug type, but the power cable should be different according to your region.

Three cables is the standard for a 22-inch display as it is still impossible to power a 22-inch display from just USB supplied power. Some tablets may combine the USB and video cables together, but the power cable is still a necessity for 22-inch devices.

6 - Adapter

The XP-Pen Artist 22HD comes with a free HDMI to Mini Displayport adapter if your computer uses that video output.

 

 

This tablet comes with two recharging pens which is very convenient for people who forget to charge their pens every now and then. Basically, even if one pen runs out of power while drawing, you can simply pick up the other one and draw while charging the first.

The pen is fairly comfortable with a bulge near the end to catch your fingers, although the rubber grip should be enough to give you a proper grip.

There are also two charging cables in case you lose or break one. The charging hole is at the top of the pen.

8 - Screen protector case

The tablet does come with a screen protector, but it is literally just a sheet of plastic you lay on top of the screen. One edge of the screen protector has adhesive to hold it in place, but the rest doesn’t actually stick on.
The biggest problem about this type of screen protector is that it makes big “oily” looking patches which you can get rid of for around 5 minutes by lifting the screen protector off the screen before it starts appearing again. It is way better to use the tablet without the included screen protector because of this.

I apologize, but the moment I realized it was this shoddy screen protector, I got angry at it and threw it out, so I actually don’t have any pictures I can show you of it aside from the package it came in… Just assume that you either have to use the tablet without a screen protector, or you have to order a separate one.
I used the tablet without a screen protector and there are no scratches at all, so there are no problems using it without a screen protector anyways.

9 - Goodies

The XP-Pen Artist 22HD comes with a cleaning cloth and anti-fouling glove included. The anti-fouling glove is especially helpful in letting your hands glide smoothly across the glass screen, and the cleaning cloth is a nice bonus.

The driver installation CD should not be used because the drivers on it are outdated. You should be getting the up-to-date tablet drivers directly from XP-Pen’s site instead.

You can get an extra month of warranty for the tablet if you like their Facebook, Youtube, and VK. (I’m not sure on the details so you should ask them directly if you’re interested.)


Design and build quality

 

 

The screen is made of an anti-scratch glass which seems to live up to its name as I see no scratches whatsoever from the few days I spend drawing on it.

11 - Tablet buttons

Thankfully the buttons are not placed on the front of the monitor, and are instead on the bottom edge. This means that they do not get in the way when drawing.

12 - Tablet stand

The tablet stand which comes with this tablet is very sturdy. The tablet moves when you press hard on the outer edges of the tablet, but those are places where you won’t ever be drawing on. The tablet does not move at all when drawing in the center area where your canvas should be on the screen.
The rubber feet on the tablet stand are incredibly good at keeping the tablet from sliding.

13 - Ports at bottom

The biggest concern about the build quality of this tablet is in the direction of the cable ports which are facing downwards. This means that the cables will get in the way when you try to use the tablet in its lowest angle. If you readjust the angle of the tablet a lot, then the cables may eventually break, however, I doubt the cables will break readily if you do not move the tablet often.

I had no problems with the placement of the ports on the bottom of the tablet simply because I use the tablet at a ~40 degree angle, but it would certainly be preferable if the cables came out from the side or top to make them easier to manage.

Overall, the build quality of this tablet is nothing to scoff at.


Screen quality

14 - Screen colours

The screen colours on this tablet do not come calibrated, so I suggest that you run Windows Colour Calibration a few times to manually calibrate it, or use a colorimeter. I used a ColorMunki Display with DisplayCal to calibrate mine.

 

 

To change the monitor colours through the monitor settings, you have to go to the Color tab in the monitor settings, click Color Temperature, and scroll down to User and select that. Otherwise, the individual RGB adjustment sliders are greyed out and not adjustable. You could probably just use the sRGB mode in the monitor settings if you can’t be bothered to try calibrating it.

Turning on Gamma in the monitor settings also helps to improve the colours on screen. Gamma was turned off by default when I received it.

16 - Screen side

I mentioned this in the “How good is this tablet?” section before, but the IPS screen is not as good as it could be on the XP-Pen Artist 22HD.

The selling point of an IPS screen is that you can view the exact same colours from all viewing angles. The colours on screen should look the same whether you look at the screen from directly in front or from the side.
However, the XP-Pen Artist 22HD screen colours look washed out when you move your head to view the screen from fairly shallow angles despite being an IPS screen. You can see the colours getting washed out in the photo above.

I can certainly understand why it’s not perfect considering it was released around 2+ years ago, but for artists I would suggest a proper all-angle IPS screen for accurate colour reproduction, so this tablet somewhat fails in that regard.

17 - Colour gamuts

Disregarding the somewhat aged viewing angles, this tablet has a decent colour gamut of around 92% sRGB and 70% Adobe RGB using DisplayCal and a ColorMunki colorimeter. Nothing particularly special, but certainly nothing to scoff at either.

Overall, the screen quality is not bad, but it feels like the age of this tablet is starting to show with the subpar viewing angles. Certainly use-able, but not ideal.


Tablet drivers

The tablet drivers are pretty easy to install. Just go download the latest version from xp-pen.com and remove all other tablet drivers you have on your computer before installing it.

18 - Driver icon

Once you install the drivers, an icon should automatically appear in your System Tray which looks like the above. You can access the tablet settings by clicking on that. (The System Tray is the area on the taskbar by the clock.)

If the installer doesn’t automatically prompt you to restart your computer after the drivers are installed, I recommend that you do anyways to allow the Windows files to properly integrate into your system.

19 - Driver info

In the Info tab, you have the option to hide the icon in the system tray and turn on/off Digital Ink (also known as Windows Ink).

If you accidentally hide the icon, you can find the tablet settings by searching for tablet settings, or looking for the tablet settings in the Control Panel.

The Digital Ink option is usually best left off, but certain programs such as Photoshop need it turned on for pen pressure to work. If your pen pressure isn’t working in a program, the first thing to try is turning on/off the Digital Ink option.

20 - Driver monitor setting

In the Monitor Setting tab, you choose which monitor your tablet is mapped to. That’s all.

21 - Driver button

In the Button tab, you can choose which functions your pen buttons are mapped to and the speed of double clicks.

Unfortunately, the buttons cannot be mapped to anything aside from right, left, middle mouse click, and the pen/eraser toggle.

22 - Driver pressure

In the Pressure tab, you can change the lightness or hardness of the pen pressure and test it.

The pen pressure starts at the lightest it can be though, so you can only increase the pen pressure to require heavier presses. I had no problems with the default light setting.

23 - Driver calibration

In the Calibration tab, you can calibrate the cursor using 4-point or 9-point calibration.

I personally do not see the point of calibrating the cursor on a drawing monitor as I find it is simplest to understand where the cursor will be by keeping the default machine calibration, in other words, cursor 90 degrees directly under the pen.

When you calibrate the cursor, you are basically forcing yourself to only be able to work with your head in a single spot so that the cursor appears directly under the pen from that angle. If you move your head even a little bit and look from a different angle, the cursor will no longer be where you expect it to be.
On the other hand, if you get used to the default machine calibration, you can draw the same no matter where your head is in front of the screen because the location of the cursor is constant in relation to the pen.

Overall, the drivers for the XP-Pen Artist 22HD are quite basic, but they have everything you would need for drawing on the tablet.


The drawing experience!

The drawing experience on this tablet was quite good for a tablet that was released 2+ years ago. Drawing on a smooth glass screen was not a bad experience at all, and the pen input as well as the pen pressure were smooth and predictable.

 

 

I only truly test my tablets on Clip Studio Paint because that’s all I use. You should contact XP-Pen support directly if you want to know if the tablet is compatible with the drawing program you use, but most major drawing programs should be compatible. Their customer support is also very kind so there’s no need to be afraid of contacting them directly.

You can see an extremely slight wobble in the lines I drew with a ruler on the testing page. The wobble is extremely minimal so it shouldn’t have an effect on your drawing. The pen pressure is extremely smooth as well.
There were no problems regarding the tablets performance at all.

Regarding the temperature of the tablet, no parts of the screen become even close to unbearably warm. The bottom middle area becomes slightly warm compared to the rest of the screen, but that is all.
There were no problems regarding extended use of the tablet.

The only problem I had regarding the tablet was figuring out a way to use it with a keyboard. On my 15.6-inch Ugee HK1560, I could easily reach my keyboard behind the tablet, but with the 22-inch XP-Pen Artist 22HD, it was impossible to reach over it to type on a keyboard behind it. Placing the keyboard to the side caused me to have to reach too far to the side with my left arm while drawing, and placing the keyboard in front of the tablet is impossible for me as I place my tablet right on the edge of the table.
To address my issue, I ordered an XP-Pen AC 19 Shortcute Remote and used it alongside a free program called RadialMenu (here: http://radialmenu.weebly.com/), and that was able to do the job of replacing my keyboard for drawing functions.

Once I had the keyboard issue figured out, I had a fairly smooth experience drawing on the tablet.

Another issue I had with the tablet was that FHD resolution of 1920x1080p actually looks kind of pixelated on a 22-inch monitor. FHD resolution is fine on a normal 22-inch monitor because your face is actually quite far from the screen while typing/working/gaming. However, on a drawing monitor, your face gets really close to the screen so the pixels become quite apparent, especially on a super clear glass screen with no texture like on the XP-Pen Artist 22HD.
The reason that this was never a problem with the Wacom Cintiq 22HD (which also has FHD resolution on a 22-inch screen) is because of the texture and how it blurs the actual screen below it. Because of the blur, no one sees the pixelation in the first place so no one complains about FHD resolution being too low for the Cintiq 22HDs 22-inch screen!

Overall, I couldn’t actually find an issue about the drawing during my drawing.


Conclusion

I can recommend this tablet to anyone interested in it. The IPS screen not displaying colours perfectly the same when viewed from different angles is certainly a con for an art tablet, and the fact that the cables come out from the bottom is a bit of a nuisance, however, all the other aspects of it are great. Anyone who is really intent on getting a 22-inch drawing monitor can certainly consider the XP-Pen Artist 22HD, especially for its low price in comparison to the other very similar 22-inch drawing monitors offered by the other Wacom alternatives.

I personally would suggest that you stick to more recent 15.6-inch drawing monitors as they have better colour reproduction, take up less desk space, and are more than big enough to work on. However, if you really want to have a 22-inch drawing monitor in your room no matter what, the XP-Pen Artist 22HD could be the one.


Places to buy the tablet

XP-Pen Store | Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | AliExpress
People living in other regions should check their regions Amazon or see if the XP-Pen Store ships to them.

If you have any questions about the tablet, feel free to ask me!

Author: Nikage

I am a hobbyist artist. Ever since I bought my first Wacom alternative tablet, I've become interested in finding out what other alternative tablets are good, and trying to guide people to see that there's more than just Wacom on the market.

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