(May 24, 2019) Update: I have updated this review with the new Drawing Tests section which I have recently started doing in my reviews.
The conclusion of this review is unchanged. I still recommend against small size tablets in general, but if you decide this is the tablet for you, then I have nothing against that choice.
The Huion H640P was released near the end of 2017 as Huion’s first ever tablet to use a battery-free pen. Up to that point, Huion had only offered tablets with recharging pens, so this was quite an exciting announcement for me.
Right away, I bought and reviewed the Huion H640P when it came out, but I noted quite a few issues with its drawing functionality such as non-linear pen pressure, wavy lines, and bad click sensitivity. This meant that the Huion H640P failed in aspects of its core drawing functions, which no drawing tablet should ever fail in.
However, all of that (finally) changed when I recently checked with Huion and found out that they had a firmware update for the Huion H640P which completely fixed the issues I had previously noted. Because this firmware update makes the Huion H640P so much better than before, I decided I needed to write a new review for it.
Anyways, with that backstory out of the way, onto the review!
The firmware update which addressed all my previous issues is version HUION_T173_181115 for the Huion H640P.
To check that your firmware version is up to date, open your Huion driver with your tablet plugged in, then on the “About” screen, press the keys Ctrl+V+E+R. The firmware version of your tablet should now be displayed.
To get the firmware update, you can send your tablet serial number, order number and your OS version to email@example.com and they will send you a firmware upgrade package. Please make sure to follow the included instructions precisely to install it properly.
Side note: It would be great if Huion could find a way to give users firmware updates through their drivers, because the only way to find out about new firmware updates right now is by pestering Huion support, and no one wants to spend time doing that.
-I am not a Mac or Linux user!! I only tested this tablet on Windows 8.1 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?
- Specifications at a glance
- What’s in the box?
- Tablet drivers
- Drawing tests
- The drawing experience!
- Places to buy the tablet
Design choices: Very good!
-Nitpicks: Direction of L-shaped cable
Hardware quality: Quite sturdy!
Tablet drivers: Well featured!
-Nitpicks: No anti-ghosting on shortcut buttons
Drawing test results: Really good results!
Actual drawing experience: Fantastic!
Overall: A very good tablet for 50 USD!
-This tablet is a completely worthwhile buy for anyone who is looking to get into digital art for a fairly cheap price.
If you are experienced with tablets and know you like the small size, then this tablet should work great for you.
My personal opinion is that beginners should try to get tablets with bigger drawing areas if they can afford to as they are easier to get used to and use, but this tablet is perfectly capable of drawing high quality art if you decide this is the tablet you want to get.
Price: 49.99 USD (when this review was written)
Active Area: 6.3 x 3.9 inches
Pen Type: Battery-free
Pen Buttons: 2 side buttons, no eraser
Pen Pressure: 8192
Pen Tilt Sensitivity: None
Expresskeys: 6 Buttons
Special features: None
The Huion H640P comes in a simple white box with a cool looking drawing printed on the front. The whole Inspiroy series comes with cool designs on their boxes like this, and I think they look great. Certainly shelf-worthy if they ever decide to try selling them in stores.
The things that come in the box:
- Huion H640P tablet
- PW100 battery-free pen
- Pen stand
- Tablet cable (USB type-A to Micro-USB)
- Pen nib replacements x8
- Driver installation CD shaped instruction card
- User manual
- “Thank you” card
The Huion H640P has a simple design with most of its surface being covered by a single sheet of plastic. It has a dotted border along two sides which gives it a unique design. The tablet itself is quite small overall so it will fit in basically any bag for taking it around with you.
The tablet does not flex much at all when grabbing both sides and doing a twist test. It is surprisingly hard for its thin size.
The surface of the tablet has enough texture to prevent your pen from slipping and losing control, but it is quite smooth. As a result, it will not eat your nibs for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Is it like paper? No. Is it a good texture? Yes.
The underside of the tablet has the usual information sticker and four rubber feet. The rubber feet do a good job of keeping the tablet in place while drawing.
All the edges on the tablet have rounded corners. It is round enough that it does not dig into your wrist when working on the tablet.
The shortcut keys along the side of the tablet are very good and feel really nice to use. They have very good feedback when they are clicked and do not require much force to use. I think these are the best shortcut keys you will find on a 50 USD tablet.
One thing to note is that Huion shortcut keys do not have anti-ghosting capabilities. In other words, you cannot use two buttons at the same time. In most cases, this does not matter, but you should keep this in mind if it affects you.
As the cable is Micro-USB, that is the only direction the cable can be plugged in, so it may get in the way of some left-handed users.
There is a switch on the right side of the tablet which locks the shortcut keys when in the lock position. This physically disables the shortcut keys so that they cannot be activated.
If you don’t intend to use the shortcut keys, you can leave this in the “locked” position so that you don’t accidentally activate any functions.
The battery-free pen is made of a matte plastic with a semi-hard/semi-soft rubber grip. It has a nice shape with a bulge at the bottom of the grip to help keep your grip even more, even though the rubber already does a plenty good job of preventing sliding.
The center of gravity is much more towards the pen tip than the center. Most battery-free pens are known to be very light, but this pen has a decent amount of weight, most likely due to the rubber grip.
The pen is very comfortable to hold because it has a nice rubber grip. The pen is nicely weighted towards the front end so it doesn’t feel unbalanced when holding.
The pen buttons are flush with the surface of the grip, but they are surprisingly easy to find without looking because the plastic buttons feel noticeably different from the rubber grip. These buttons also click nicely and feel good to use.
The top of the pen does not have anything because it does not need a charging port.
The pen stand is a small plastic cone with a hole in the top. There is also a groove to place the pen on top of the stand sideways.
Oddly enough, the pen does not stand perfectly straight when placed into the stand. Is that a problem? No, it’s just something I noticed.
The bottom of the pen stand is purely plastic, so the pen stand does not have much grip on hard surfaces. However, the bottom is a matte plastic so it does not slide too much.
The inside of the pen stand houses the replacement pen nibs. The pen nib remover is built into the bottom of the stand with the instructions on how to use it engraved into the plastic on the bottom. For those who don’t understand the pictures, you stick your pen into the hole, lever it to the side a bit, and pull the nib out.
The tablet drivers are extremely easy to install. You don’t even need to have your tablet plugged in to install them! Just go download the latest version from huion.com and remove all other tablet drivers you have on your computer before installing it.
Once you’ve installed the driver, the icon shows up in your system tray, and there is also a shortcut to start the Huion driver on your desktop.
Although the installer doesn’t prompt you to restart your computer after it finishes, I wholeheartedly suggesting restarting your computer anyways to allow Windows to properly update the files necessary for the driver to run smoothly.
In the driver, you can configure your tablet shortcut keys, pen buttons, pen pressure curve, and work area. There’s also an option to save different profiles using the Export and Import buttons.
If you see a “Require Admin” button along the bottom of the driver when you first run it, click it to give your driver proper administrator privileges so that it can make changes to system files when necessary.
The Press Keys tab allows you to customize the functions mapped to your shortcut keys. As you can see above, the hotkeys menu has keyboard shortcuts, pen clicks, and some “switch” functions available.
Like I mentioned before, the Huion shortcut keys do not have anti-ghosting capabilities. In other words, you cannot use two buttons at the same time. In most cases, this does not matter, but you should keep this in mind if you think it well affect your workflow.
Every button will work at the same time as the pen nib though, including the pen buttons.
The Stylus Pen tab allows you to customize the pen buttons and the pen pressure curve. The pen buttons have the same amount of configuration as the shortcut keys.
Usually you will need to uncheck the “Enable Windows Ink” option to prevent Windows Ink from messing with your drawing. That said, some programs such as Photoshop usually do not work if it is not turned on, so play with that option as you see fit.
The Work Area tab allows you to customize the monitor your tablet is mapped to, and the size of the active area your tablet uses. Pick your monitor from the drop down menu, then click the Full Area button, and then click the Screen Ratio button to properly adjust your tablet area to match your monitor size ratio.
There is also the option to rotate your tablet input for left-handed use, but like I mentioned before, the USB-cable direction may be annoying for left-handed users.
These pen tests are all done with the same settings for both the canvas and the pens. These tests are only done in Clip Studio Paint as that is the only program where I totally understand how to remove all unwanted variables.
If you are worried about whether this tablet will work with your art program, don’t be afraid to contact support to ask them directly.
-The canvas will always be a 3000x3000px 300dpi page (the above test page is a 3000x6000px 300dpi page, so just two pages stuck together).
-The test pens are mostly all 100px linear pressure curve pens. Pen pressure for size and/or opacity is enabled based on the test.
-The slow ruler line test uses a 10px no pen pressure pen to clearly show wobble and jitter. I also use a 50px pen pressure enabled pen to see the visibility of wobble/jitter with pen pressure is enabled.
-The IAF (Initial Activation Force) test uses a 300px linear pressure pen to show the thinnest lines possible, as well as demonstrate the IAF of the tablet.
1) Scribble Test – Grade: Pass
Test pen 1 – 100px – pen pressure: size
Test pen 2 – 100px – pen pressure: size+opacity
For my pen tests, I always start out with a few pen pressure scribbles to see if I can do some nice squiggly lines with increasing pen pressure. I also do some back and forth shading and some spirals with increasing pen pressure.
With the Huion H640P, I had no problems doing nice little scribbles going from thin to thick. I didn’t have any problems controlling my strokes and making both thin and thick lines was relatively easy. This tablet gets an easy pass here.
2) Slow Ruler Line Test – Grade: Pass
Test pen 1 – 10px – pen pressure: none
Test pen 2 – 50px – pen pressure: size
The slow ruler line tests done with a no pen pressure pen were very good at normal or upright pen angles, and only became unacceptably wobbly at the most extreme pen angles.
This tablet does not have pen tilt, so I think it is safe to assume that most people will have no reason to tilt their pen over past the “normal” pen grip angle. This means that we can safely ignore the wobble in the max tilt test.
This tablet gets a pass here.
3) Quick Hatching Test – Grade: Pass
Test pen 1 – 100px – pen pressure: size
The quick hatching test is to check whether the tablet keeps up with pen inputs. Usually, the only way to fail this section is if the pen is noticeably laggy and causes unwanted inputs like fishhooks at the beginning or end of the line.
As you can see, this tablet appears to have no problems with fishhooks. I also never noticed the cursor lagging noticeably, so it gets a pass here.
4) Short Release Taper Test – Grade: Pass
Test pen 1 – 100px – pen pressure: size
This test is meant to see the smoothness of the pen pressure taper when going from max to min pressure quickly. Basically, you press your pen down hard then flick to the side to see how smoothly the stroke tapers.
With the Huion H640P, the tapers look very nice and appear to have no problems with jaggedness. This tablet gets an easy pass here.
5) Pen Pressure Control/Transition Test – Grade: Pass
Test pen 1 – 100px – pen pressure: size+opacity
This section is to test the smoothness of the transitions in pen pressure.
-The circles at the top are one of Youtuber Brad Colbow’s tests. It is used to check if you can properly control the pen pressure all the way around a circle. If there is a pressure jump, some circles will feel impossible to control due to that jump.
-The lines at the bottom are slow strokes done with smooth increases or decreases to pen pressure in mind. The arrow points in the direction which the stroke was done, and the smoothness of the gradients show how smooth the pen pressure transitions.
In terms of the pen pressure control circles, I had no problems doing all the different circles smoothly. They showed no signs of pen pressure jumping.
I will give this tablet a pass here since there don’t appear to be any noticeable issues.
6) Initial Activation Force & Lightest Pen Pressure Test – Grade: Pass
Test pen 1 – 300px – pen pressure: size
This test tries to demonstrate the IAF of the tablet, and also shows the lowest possible pen pressure the tablet is capable of producing consistently.
IAF is the amount of force necessary to cause the pen to output a line. Ideally, your tablet will have an extremely low IAF where the pen will output a line with the least amount of force possible.
A high IAF causes issues such as light pen taps not registering as clicks, and the inability to sketch very lightly, both of which become quite annoying the more you experience it.
For this test page, the squiggly lines should begin right on the start line.
-If the line begins right on the start line, this indicates that the IAF is extremely low (low IAF is best) and the line just appears naturally without effort.
-On the other hand, if the line does not begin on the start line and instead begins further along the stroke, this means that the IAF is high so I needed to search for the IAF by increasing my force little by little until I finally started outputting a line.
An example of the ideal test page is the Huion New 1060 Plus (2048) IAF test page which I included above for comparison. Almost all the lines begin right on the start line meaning it has extremely low IAF, and the lines are almost transparent showing that the tablet is capable of drawing extremely light pen pressures.
The Huion H640P has a fairly low IAF which I could find right away more often than not. As you can see, I was usually able to get the lines to start on the start line.
The IAF is low enough that I never noticed it when tapping options or sketching lightly.
In terms of the lightest pen pressure, I could get pretty thin lines with the 300px IAF test pen. It certainly isn’t as amazing thin as the Huion New 1060 Plus (2048) IAF test page which is the ideal, but this thinness is very good and is more than acceptable.
Overall, the Huion H640P has very good low IAF and is able to draw very thin lines consistently. This tablet gets a pass here.
So all in all, the drawing test results are:
1) Scribble Test – Pass
2) Slow Ruler Line Test – Pass
3) Quick Hatching Test – Pass
4) Short Release Taper Test – Pass
5) Pen Pressure Control/Transition Test – Pass
6) Initial Activation Force & Lightest Pen Pressure Test – Pass
Ideally, all the above tests should have at least a “Pass-ish” for their grades because the most vital function of a drawing tablet is to draw properly and predictably. Failing any of these tests means that it doesn’t do that.
My actual drawing experience with the Huion H640P was very good, especially when compared to how it performed before the firmware update. The pen pressure worked fantastically, and the feeling of drawing on the tablet was very nice despite it being a small size tablet.
The surface of this tablet is fairly smooth, but it feels great to draw on. It’s also great that the pen has a nice rubber grip which makes it comfortable to use for long periods of time.
Due to the surface being fairly smooth, your nib will basically never wear out, and even if it does, you have 8 replacement nibs in the pen stand.
The stroke control of the pen is also very good, and I did not have a hard time controlling my strokes and making thin and thick strokes. It is really helpful to have pen pressure which you can actually control, and thanks to the firmware update, this tablet now reminds me of my favourite Huion H1060P tablet in a smaller package.
Overall, I can now completely recommend this tablet to anyone wanting to start out in the world of digital art. It has the drawing capabilities of my personal favourite screen-less tablet, the Huion H1060P, in a smaller 50 USD form.
My only problem with this tablet would be that it is a tablet with a small drawing area. I always recommend beginners to try getting a tablet with a medium size drawing area if they can afford to because it is slightly easier to get used to, but a small size can be just as good if you use it long enough to get used to it.
Basically, if you have considered all your options and decided that the Huion H640P is the one for you, I certainly have nothing against that choice.
If you have any questions about the tablet, feel free to ask me!