The Insides of Some Tablet Pens!

1 - All

In this post, I will talk about the insides of the tablet pens I have taken apart (for fun because I had extras). This is not really supposed to be a big topic, however, the post itself ended up becoming pretty long anyways. Whoops.

I am writing this post to give you a little bit of insight into the differences between how each company models their pens, and it will show you why the springiness of some pens feel very different than others (mainly, the difference between Wacom and competitor pens).

If you do not understand how battery-free pens work through EMR, please go Google it as this post will not talk about how EMR technology works.

*Please note that any bad soldering you see on the board was caused by me playing with the solder. All these boards came in perfect condition and they had no issues with how they were originally soldered.
**Also, please don’t try to re-solder anything unless you know what you are doing. I rendered a few of my PW100 pens useless by trying to swap parts between them, even though they were the exact same model.

Wacom LP190K Pen (for Intuos Draw CTL-490)

2 - Intuos LP190K Pen

The first pen I would like to show you is the Wacom LP190K pen, which is the pen for the Wacom Intuos 2015 series (Intuos Draw/Photo/Art/Comic/3D). It is a very basic and simple pen with a plain plastic body, and the inside is just the circuit board and EMR coils.
Since I could not get a good enough grip on the end of the pen to pull it out properly, I resorted to crushing the plastic grip to take the pen apart. In the process, I ended up shattering the metal rod within the coil which is why the coil area is bent in the middle.

There is a metal rod wrapped with a coil at the end, which in turn attaches to the white plastic piece with a rubber stopper. The pen nib goes all the way through the metal rod to the white plastic which holds the pen nib.

4 - Pen nib stopper

The pen nib is held in place by this white plastic part which connects to the rubber stopper. Inside the white plastic part is another smaller metal coil and a plastic contraption which allows slight movement when pressing very hard against the pen nib. The small coil inside the white part moves, while the metal rod and coil outside stay stationary.
This plastic contraption is what gives Wacom’s pens the “Wacom feel”, which is how their pen nibs have very little movement from 0% to 100% pen pressure.

  • The pro of this design is that it feels fairly close to how traditional pens/pencils act, which is that their pen tips do not move at all when pressing harder or softer.
  • The con of this design is that your small changes in hand pressure result in larger changes in pen pressure. Without practice, the changes in pen pressure will feel hard to control, but that goes for any tablet, really.

This pen costs 30 USD per replacement as given here: Wacom Store
This price seems fair for the effort Wacom has put into the technology inside, but for this model in particular, the amount of effort put into the outside of the pen was very lacking.

Huion PW100 Pen (for Huion H640P, H950P, H1060P, H610Pro V2, etc)

5 - Huion PW100 pen

The second pen I would like to show you is the Huion PW100 pen, which is the pen for many Huion tablets including the H640P, H950P, H1060P, and more. It is a nice pen with a wide rubber grip design that is very similar to the Wacom Pro Pen design. The inside consists of the circuit board and EMR contraption held together by a plastic case.

This pen can be pried open by bending the pen back and forth in the middle. Unfortunately, Huion uses glue to hold the two parts together, so sometimes it will take quite a bit of effort to get the two sides apart. I broke the top casing of one pen because it wouldn’t come apart at all, but the other one I was able to take apart without breaking anything.

The EMR mechanism for the PW100 uses a moving metal rod within the coil area. You first put in the metal rod, then the rubber stopper, and then the spring. Once those are put in, you screw the white piece into the black circuit board casing, then snap the circuit board into place with the latch on the back of the black plastic casing.

With that, the circuit board section is completely assembled, and all that’s left is to slide it into the bottom half of the pen and it will click into place.
If you feel it getting stuck while sliding it in, make sure not to force it through as you will break the coil cable because that is what is getting caught. Just twist it gently to a different angle and it should slide in easier.

Luckily, the fact that the top part is glued on is not a problem because the circuit board is held in place solely by the latching mechanism in the grip part of the pen.

If the circuit board was held in place by the top half of the pen (as it is in the XP-Pen P05R pen I will show later in this post), then removing the glue on the top part would cause problems where the top piece would not be able to hold the circuit board in place while drawing.
However, since the circuit board is contained in just the grip part of the pen, there are no problems with removing the glue and having a slightly loose top piece.

  • The pro of this design is that it is fairly easy to check the inside of your pen if you accidentally let small particles or liquid in. The springiness of the pen nib can also feel more intuitive because the pen nib moves a decent bit from 0% to 100% pen pressure, meaning the pen pressure will be easier to control with slight changes in hand pressure.
  • The con of this design is that the pen will not feel like a “traditional” pencil/pen as the pen nib will move and “spring”, in contrast to how the pen tip of a “traditional” pencil/pen does not move at all.

Personally, I find that being able to feel the pen nib move and “spring” is more intuitive for digital art than having the pen nib move very little. It feels like it makes pen pressure control that much easier.
However, this is from my mindset that traditional art is a whole different artform than digital art, and vice versa, so I do not expect digital art to feel like traditional art in the first place, which is why digital art feeling different from traditional art does not bother me at all.

This pen costs 22 USD per replacement as given here: Huion Store
This price seems more than fair as it performs exceptionally well and seems to be quite robust. Honestly, this is a ridiculously low price for a rubber grip pen with seemingly no downsides as far as I can see. It even supports tilt on some models like the H1060P!

Huion PW507 Pen (for Kamvas Pro 12/13)

9 - Huion PW507 pen

The third pen I would like to show you is the Huion PW507 pen, which is the pen for the Huion Kamvas Pro 12 and 13. It is nice pen with a wide rubber grip design that is very similar to the Wacom Pro Pen design. The inside consists of the circuit board and EMR contraption held together by a plastic case. It appears to be a variation of the PW100 pen which I mentioned above.

Just like the PW100 pen, the pen can be pried apart at the middle by bending the pen back and forth to loosen the glue.

The EMR mechanism for the PW507 uses the exact same EMR contraption as the PW100, using a moving metal rod within the coil area.
The only difference is that the white plastic area is made of grey plastic, and weirdly enough, you cannot screw the grey plastic part all the way if you want the wires to be able to reach the circuit board while it is snapped into place. I believe this was done purposefully to put less tension on the spring because the PW507 is used on a screen tablet, and you don’t want as much pressure to be put on a thin screen like the Kamvas Pro 13’s fully-laminated screen.

Exactly like the PW100, the PW507 latches into place on the grip piece of the pen using the same dot-to-hole mechanism.

This is a repeat of the previous section, but:

  • The pro of this design is that it is fairly easy to check the inside of your pen if you accidentally let small particles or liquid in. The springiness of the pen nib can also feel more intuitive because the pen nib moves a decent bit from 0% to 100% pen pressure, meaning the pen pressure will be easier to control with slight changes in hand pressure.
  • The con of this design is that the pen will not feel like a “traditional” pencil/pen as the pen nib will move and “spring”, in contrast to how the pen tip of a “traditional” pencil/pen does not move at all.

This pen costs 50 USD per replacement as given here: Huion Store
This seems like a pretty fair cost… until you realize it uses the exact same parts as the PW100 which is only 22 USD. Please read below for how I can tell they use the exact same parts.

11 - circuit boards

As you may have noticed, the PW507 pen seems to have very similar inner mechanisms to the PW100. Well, the thing is, it’s not just similar, it’s almost completely identical!
The above image shows you 3 circuit boards, 1 taken from the PW507, and 2 taken from the PW100. As you can see, all 3 of them have the exact same code and name on the back, meaning they use the exact same circuit board.

The only difference here is that the PW507 board is tuned to have a slightly different wavelength than the PW100 board. This prevents you from using the PW507 pen with a PW100 tablet, or the PW100 pen with the Kamvas Pro 12/13.

Aside from the different tuning and slightly different length of the coil piece, everything else is identical, from the metal rod, to the coil material, to the spring, rubber stopper, and circuit board. The outer materials and construction, such as the rubber grip and plastic, also do not feel significantly different.

I cannot see any differences that would warrant the 28 USD price difference between the PW100 and PW507.

XP-Pen P05R Pen (for Artist 15.6 Pro)

12 - xppen p05r pen

The fourth pen I would like to show you is the XP-Pen P05R pen, which is the pen for the XP-Pen Artist 15.6 Pro. It is a nice pen with a wide rubber grip design like the Wacom Pro Pen design. The inside consists of the circuit board and EMR contraption, just like the two Huion pens before.

13 - pen connect bumps

This pen can be pried apart at the middle just like the Huion pens. However, unlike the Huion pens, there is no glue so it is much easier to open without breaking anything.
It appears this pen was made with serviceability in mind as there are bumps which hold the pen together quite tightly, despite the lack of glue. I really like this design which doesn’t depend on glue.

The EMR mechanism for the P05R uses the moving metal rod design, with a metal rod, rubber stopper, and spring inside the plastic coil piece. Unlike the Huion though, this coil piece is attached to the frame with a latching mechanism instead of a screw design.
After latching the coil piece into place, the circuit board is attached to the rest of the frame using a single screw.

14 - metal backplate

I am not sure if this metal backplate on the plastic frame is there for a reason. Maybe it’s there to add extra support for the circuit board? Maybe to prevent outside electrical interference? I have no idea.

15 - indent

For this pen, the top piece of the pen actually holds the circuit board in place, so try not to open the pen too many times, otherwise the top piece may eventually become too loose to hold the circuit board and pen nib in place once the plastic latches become worn down.
If you are using the pen normally and never opening it, there will be no issues with this.

You may have noticed, but the circuit board has UGEE written on it. This is not a cause for any concern because it is officially known that UGEE works with XP-Pen on tablets now after UGEE stopped developing their own tablets.

This is a repeat of the previous section again, but:

  • The pro of this design is that it is fairly easy to check the inside of your pen if you accidentally let small particles or liquid in. The springiness of the pen nib can also feel more intuitive because the pen nib moves a decent bit from 0% to 100% pen pressure, meaning the pen pressure will be easier to control with slight changes in hand pressure.
  • The con of this design is that the pen will not feel like a “traditional” pencil/pen as the pen nib will move and spring, in contrast to how the pen tip of a “traditional” pencil/pen does not move at all.

This pen costs ?? USD per replacement.
XP-Pen does not offer replacement pens on their official store yet, so I do not know the exact price. However, the other P05 models appear to be 30 USD, so I assume the P05R will probably be around the same price as well. (It’s completely possible that it will be pricier though.)

I cannot speak on the fairness of the price as I do not know the actual price, but as long as it is not way pricier than the standard P05 pen, it will not be “unfair”.

XP-Pen P06 Pen (for Deco 02, Artist 12)

16 - xppen p06 pen

The fifth pen I would like to show you is the XP-Pen P06 pen, which is the pen for the Deco 02 and Artist 12. Or well, I would show you the insides if I could figure out how to open it.

The only spot I could somewhat grip properly was the middle area, but no matter how much I pulled, it would not come apart until I had snapped the circuit board in the middle. If that isn’t the right place to open it from, I have no idea how else to open it, so this is as far as I got with it.

It appears this model has no user serviceability, but I can generally guess that it uses a similar EMR contraption as Wacom’s pens due to the pen nib it uses, and how hard the pen nib feels to push (meaning it does not use the spring design that the other pens do).
But that’s about all I can guess about this pen, really.


I hope this post was somewhat informative to anyone who was interested in seeing the inner workings of some tablet pens. This post kind of also works as the explanation as to why Wacom pens have a different feel compared to other companies, which is because Wacom doesn’t use springs in their pens.

Just as a side note, please don’t start going around opening your pens unless you absolutely need to. More often than not, you will break something when opening it making it unusable, so unless you are just playing with extras, please don’t take that risk.

XP-Pen Artist 15.6 Pro Review

(May 26, 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 believe this tablet is a very good option and performs very well, and just like I pointed out before, the XP-Pen drivers have a small issue drawing very quick tapers smoothly.
The only new thing to note is that I have done pen tilt tests and the results for the pen tilt are not particularly great. You can read more about that in the Drawing Tests section.

The XP-Pen Artist 15.6 Pro is XP-Pen’s newest addition to their Artist line of drawing monitors. This model is not to be confused with XP-Pen’s other similarly sized models, namely, the XP-Pen Artist 16 Pro and XP-Pen Artist 15.6.
I agree with many others that these names are too similar and have become quite confusing for people who are new to looking for digital art tablets. If you are confused by the names, just remember that XP-Pen currently offers 3 models of 15.6-inch drawing monitors: Artist 16 Pro, Artist 15.6, and Artist 15.6 Pro.

Problems regarding the naming aside, the XP-Pen Artist 15.6 Pro is an improved version of the non-Pro Artist 15.6 tablet, with improvements made mainly to the screen, added tilt function support, more shortcut buttons, and an included one-angle stand.
Everything aside from that is roughly the same as the previous version, but these improvements make this tablet a standout even among the many tablets available to digital artists today.

For this review, XP-Pen was kind enough to supply me with the XP-Pen Artist 15.6 Pro. As usual, this review is based on my honest thoughts and opinions about the tablet and I will never agree to review a product if I am required to say only good things about it.
If you believe receiving a review product for free makes a review biased, now is a perfect time for you to stop reading.

Anyways, onto the review!

Please note!
-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.
-Always check multiple reviews to cross reference their information before you make a conclusion about a tablet.

Table of Contents

How good is this tablet?

Design choices: Almost perfect!
-Nitpicks: Cable sticks straight out of tablet
Hardware quality: Very sturdy!
Screen quality: Absolutely gorgeous!
Tablet drivers: Good design!
-Nitpicks: Pen calibration doesn’t use tilt
Drawing test results: Mostly good.
-Nitpicks: Quick tapers are not smooth, pen tilt is not particularly good
Actual drawing experience: Really good!

Overall: An overall fantastic tablet! It has its small issues, but I really enjoyed drawing with it.

My verdict:
-If you are considering this tablet, it is an extremely good option and I can most certainly recommend it.

There are, of course, a few minor things about the XP-Pen Artist 15.6 Pro which can be improved with driver updates, but it should be emphasized that they are not major deal-breaking issues. I will mention them in their respective places in my review, so please continue reading for the full details.
XP-Pen has already been notified of these problems and will most likely be able to fix these minor issues with future driver updates, and I will be waiting excitedly to test these updates when they come out.

XP-Pen gave me a promotion code to share, so if you’re interested in this tablet, make sure you use the code to save some money!

10%off promo code:XPPEN156PRO, until Apr. 30th (only until Mar. 25th for, works on Amazon below.
Website store:

Specifications at a glance

Price: 399.99 USD (when this review was written)
Active Area: 13.5
 x 7.6 inches, 15.6 inch diagonal
Resolution: FHD 1920 x 1080 (16:9 ratio)
Display Type: IPS, gamut = 88% NTSC (120% sRGB) on product page
Pen Type: 
Pen Buttons: 2 side buttons, no eraser
Pen Pressure: 8192
Pen Tilt Sensitivity: Yes, levels unspecified
Shortcut Keys: 8 buttons, 1 red dial
Multi-touch: No
Other features: Single angle tablet stand included.

What’s in the box?

2 - Tablet Box

The tablet comes in an all white box with a slide-off cover that has a picture of the tablet and some patterning.

This box also has a handle, so you may want to consider using the box to carry around the tablet if you need to bring it out of the house since the tablet itself is quite large and will not fit in many normal sized bags.

3 - Tablet Contents

The things that come in the box:

  • XP-Pen Artist 15.6 Pro tablet
  • XP-Pen P05R battery-free pen
  • Pen case
  • Combined cable (USB type-C to USB type-A, HDMI, and USB type-A for power)
  • USB type-A extension cable (for power)
  • USB power adapter
  • Outlet adapters for international power outlets
  • HDMI to Mini-DisplayPort adapter
  • Pen nib replacements x8
  • Anti-fouling glove
  • Screen cleaning cloth
  • User manual
  • Warranty policy and warranty card
  • “Thank you” card

3.5 - Tablet Peel Off

When you first take out the tablet, it will have a little sticker on it. You will want to pull on that sticker to take off the protective film which is protecting the actual screen protector. If you do not take this layer off, you will not get to experience the nice matte texture of the actual screen protector beneath it.

4 - Tablet Overall

The XP-Pen Artist 15.6 Pro is designed in a standard way, with a screen surrounded by decently large bezels and physical shortcut keys along one side. The red dial on the side is really the only thing that is different from other similar tablets in terms of looks.

The tablet feels sturdy when performing a twist test, where I grab both sides of the tablet and try twisting the tablet a bit with just my hands.

5 - Tablet Texture

The tablet comes with a pre-applied screen protector which has a nice matte anti-glare texture. The texture is on the smoother side but it has enough texture to not feel too slippery to draw on, and it also does not compromise screen clarity at all.

The advantage of a pre-applied screen protector is that you will be able to replace it in the future if it becomes worn down from lots of use. It also saves you from the hassle of having to go buy and apply your own screen protector.
I believe this screen protector will last you quite a while considering mine has absolutely no scratches from my month of testing.

6 - Tablet Side

The XP-Pen Artist 15.6 Pro is quite thin, so it is certainly portable in that way. However, it is very wide due to it being a 15.6-inch tablet, so it will not fit in standard bags. I don’t have any bags which it could fit in, so I intend to use the product box to carry it around if I need to.

7 - Tablet Back

On the back of the tablet, there are 4 rubber feet, 2 long ones along the sides, and 2 small ones to support the middle of the tablet. There is also the information sticker with the S/N number on it.

As you can see, the back of the tablet does not have any VESA screw holes so you will not be able to mount it to a monitor arm without some kind of adapter.

8 - Tablet Shortcut Keys

Along the side of the tablet there are 8 physical shortcut buttons and a red dial. All of the buttons feel absolutely fantastic to click, requiring very little strength to press but making very satisfying clicks as feedback. If I were to be extremely nitpicky, I would say that some of the buttons don’t sound the exact same as the rest, but honestly, all of them feel great to press and use anyways.

These shortcut keys also have anti-ghosting capabilities, meaning you can press multiple buttons at once and have them all work, the same way pressing multiple keys on a keyboard activates all of them at once. This also applies to the pen buttons, so you can use combinations of shortcut keys and pen buttons if you need to. This feature may seem like a given, but not every tablet company does this.

The red dial is a function wheel which spins extremely smoothly and is an absolute pleasure to use. It clicks quietly as feedback and clicks 24 times in a full rotation, meaning your assigned function will activate 24 times in one spin. Since there are so many activation points, you can control very precisely whether you want to go fast or slow with the red dial.
My complaint about the red dial on the XP-Pen Deco 03 was that I felt 6 buttons plus the red dial was lacking for all my shortcuts. The XP-Pen Artist 15.6 Pro on the other hand has 8 buttons alongside the red dial, so it does feel lacking. It may sound petty to make a fuss over 2 extra buttons, but in reality, it makes a huge difference to be able to map 2 more functions.

I used the shortcut keys for a while and they were very enjoyable to use, especially because there are actually enough shortcut keys on this tablet for most of my functions.
However, I am simply more used to using my keyboard, so I did most of my drawing with keyboard anyways.

9 - Tablet OSD Buttons

This tablet has 3 buttons along the right side of the tablet (in right-handed mode) which are for power, brightness up, and brightness down. The tablet itself does not have a dedicated OSD settings button, and you instead need to change screen colours through the XP-Pen driver software.

The power button will glow a dark blue to indicate that the tablet is powered on.

The XP-Pen Artist 15.6 Pro has a USB type-C port on it to connect to the combined USB/HDMI/power cable. I praised the choice of a USB type-C cable on the Huion Kamvas Pro 13, but the way it was implemented on the XP-Pen Artist 15.6 Pro really throws away the advantage that using USB type-C offers in the first place.

The advantage of using USB type-C on a tablet is mainly to make the cable flippable for use in left-handed mode. On the XP-Pen Artist 15.6 Pro, the cable is just a straight cable, not an L-shaped cable, meaning that it doesn’t take advantage of the multi-direction feature of USB type-C.

To give credit where credit is due, it is good that they created a tunnel in front of the port to better support the cable weight and prevent it from breaking the port over time, and the cable fits fairly snugly into that tunnel. However, making the cable L-shaped would have improved cable life (because people wouldn’t need to bend the cable out of the way like I did), and also would have made the cable much harder to break in general (because you wouldn’t be able to accidentally snag it on things).
The straight cable is such an easy way to accidentally break the tablet because it juts straight out of the tablet, whereas an L-shaped cable would be much harder to accidentally snag and subsequently break the port/tablet.

The cable is not so loose that it will just pop out accidentally. You need to purposefully try to pull it out to unplug it. And surprise surprise! Did you know a cable will become unplugged if you pull on it enough to unplug it?
I swear, I don’t understand some people.

11 - Tablet Cable

The included cable is a combined cable which goes from USB type-C on the tablet to USB type-A and HDMI on the computer. The tablet can be powered solely by the computer if your USB port can provide enough power, but if it can’t, the extra red USB type-A connector will need to be connected to another USB port on your computer, or a power outlet using the included power outlet to USB adapter.
I was using the tablet without connecting it to a power adapter for most of my review. As far as I could see, there were no noticeable differences between having it powered by a single USB port, or a power outlet.

The HDMI portion of the cable is where all the cables come together, so I will give measurements of the cable length from there.
-The HDMI to USB type-C is ~170cm.
-The HDMI to USB type-A is ~58cm.
-The HDMI to USb type-A power is ~200cm (this includes the USB extension cable).

Many people complain that a combined cable like this is bad because if one part of it breaks, then you have to buy a whole new cable. These people say that they would much rather have separate cables.
However, from what I have seen, just as many people complain about having multiple separate cables coming out of a tablet, saying it looks messy. These people say that they would much rather have a combined cable.

Personally, I think a combined cable is better, especially because the replacement cable only costs ~25 USD on XP-Pen’s store.
Whether you have separate cables or one combined cable, when one cable breaks, you have to replace it. If it only costs ~25 USD, a combined cable seems like the better choice because it’s a cleaner one cable solution.
Of course, this is under the assumption that XP-Pen’s cables don’t die every month or something stupid like that. Has the cable broken for me yet after one month of usage? Nope. So I really doubt it’s going to break frequently enough that paying ~25 USD for another one is going to be a problem. Make sure you use the 1 year warranty (18 months if you bought it off the official XP-Pen site) if yours breaks within the first year.

This is the new XP-Pen AC41 stand which comes included with the XP-Pen Artist 15.6 Pro.

It is a simple all-plastic one angle stand which gives you a pretty low angle of around ~15 degrees (Correction: It’s 20 degrees). With the legs snapped into place, it is very sturdy and there is no fear of it collapsing under pressure.
As there is no rubber on the bottom lip of the stand, if you lean very heavily on the top half of the tablet, the bottom part of the tablet will dislodge itself causing the tablet to slide off the stand. However, this has never happened to me without purposefully leaning really heavily on the top edge of the tablet, so I believe this is a non-issue for this stand in particular.

This stand is quite a low angle so you may want to consider buying a different stand for a more comfortable experience as it certainly hurt my neck trying to draw for long periods at that angle. With that said, it’s better than nothing and it will do in a pinch by propping it up with other things like textbooks to get a better angle.

This tablet uses the XP-Pen P05R battery-free pen, which is a slightly modified version of the original P05 pen used on the XP-Pen Deco 03, XP-Pen Artist 13.3, and XP-Pen Artist 15.6.
It has a rubber grip with a plastic top, and has a nice shape with a bulge near the bottom to allow for an easy and comfortable grip on the pen.

The pen buttons are surrounded by a little plastic “island” which you can feel very clearly when trying to find it in your hand. The buttons themselves protrude slightly from the surrounding plastic and are quite easy to press. They also give a nice tactile click when pressed.

The top of the pen does not have anything.

14 - Pen P05R and P05

The visible difference between the P05R and P05 pen is the red ring in the middle of the pen, and a slightly wider and shorter pen nib. I was able to use the P05 on my Artist 15.6 Pro, but it was a bit glitchy in some programs such as Krita, so if you are ever buying a replacement pen, make sure you get the P05R which is made specifically for the Artist 15.6 Pro.

The one issue which I had with the pen is that my original P05R pen was defective and couldn’t draw the lowest ~5% pen pressure, whereas my P05 pen could draw much lighter pressures on the XP-Pen Artist 15.6 Pro with the same settings.

Thankfully, XP-Pen was kind enough to ship me a replacement pen and I was able to confirm that the issue was indeed just caused by a defective pen because the replacement pen could draw much lighter lines than the original one.

The tablet comes with a pen case which I like very much. The lid becomes a pen stand, and all the pen nibs are stored on the opposite side. The pen case also helps with carrying around the pen safely with your tablet if you take it out with you.

Screen quality

17 - Screen

The XP-Pen Artist 15.6 Pro has extremely vibrant colours out of the box and looks fantastic to look at. Due to this, it may not be immediately apparent, but the monitor colours are not calibrated to sRGB and are instead calibrated to some XP-Pen factory colour gamut which has more saturation in the colours.

With that said, at least the default settings are semi-decent unlike many of their previous tablets which had really skewed colours out of the box.

18 - Display Settings

To access the colour settings, you will need to install the XP-Pen drivers, then click the ‘Display Setting’ button in the bottom right. In the screen that pops up, you will be able to adjust the colours, brightness, and contrast. You can also rotate the display from this window.

Above are my settings which are roughly sRGB. You can use those settings to roughly calibrate your XP-Pen Artist 15.6 Pro if you get one, but I am not sure how similar the colours are between my device and others, so be warned that it might not be the right settings for all XP-Pen Artist 15.6 Pro devices.
*It should be noted that you should leave the Contrast as is if yours is different. I did not change my contrast from default, so if your default is different from mine, you should most likely leave it as is.

19 - IPS Angle

The IPS display on this tablet is very good and you can view the colours from basically all angles without any noticeable changes in the colours. The textured anti-glare screen protector does dim what you can see from the sides a bit, but there are absolutely no problems with colours when viewing the screen from any “normal” angle.

XP-Pen advertises this tablet as a 120% sRGB monitor, and from my measurements, it appears to be a truthful claim.

The above results are from my calibration using my X-Rite ColorMunki Display with DisplayCAL, and I measured that the tablet has a 126% sRGB volume, while my profile is set to 99% sRGB because I can only calibrate for use in the sRGB colour space using DisplayCAL. (The gamut volume being what the tablet is capable of, and the gamut coverage is what my color profile uses.)

These results are fantastic as this means that this tablet is suitable for use with colour accurate work (if you calibrate it). In my opinion, a drawing monitor without a decent screen is useless, so the fact that the XP-Pen Artist 15.6 Pro has a high gamut screen is a very big achievement in XP-Pen’s efforts to becoming more professional and reputable brand among artists.

21 - Color Accuracy Chart Youtube

The above is the chart Lisa from MobileTechReview shows in her Youtube review of the XP-Pen Artist 15.6 Pro.

You will most likely have seen MobileTechReview’s review of the XP-Pen Artist 15.6 Pro before ending up at my site, and I would like to clarify one of the points they made about the tablet’s “colour accuracy”.

The chart which they show in their review is the colour accuracy test done without calibrating the XP-Pen Artist 15.6 Pro. In other words, the chart they give you only tells you that the default monitor colours are, as expected, not accurate.

22 - Color Accuracy Chart Default Settings-2

The above are my results from using the Spyder colour accuracy checker available on DisplayCAL, which is an almost identical colour accuracy check test sheet to the one the Spyder5 software uses (MobileTechReview uses the software which comes with their Spyder5 Elite).

I performed the above colour accuracy check with my XP-Pen Artist 15.6 Pro at default settings. As you may be able to see, I was able to get very similar results with large Delta-E’s as MobileTechReview with default settings on the XP-Pen Artist 15.6 Pro. This shows that they were most likely doing the colour accuracy test without calibrating the display.

23 - Color Accuracy Chart Calibrated Settings-3

This second colour accuracy chart is the result of doing the same colour accuracy test with the XP-Pen Artist 15.6 Pro properly calibrated to sRGB. This second chart reflects the actual quality of the tablet screen and how accurately it can display colours after it has been calibrated.
As you can see, all the Delta-E’s are much closer to 0 (closer to 0 is better) unlike with the previous colour accuracy chart, showing that the XP-Pen Artist 15.6 Pro actually has the ability to show very accurate colours when calibrated.

The reason I am pointing this out is because MobileTechReview’s review does not mention that they are showing the colour accuracy of the default settings, and unintentionally makes it sound like the XP-Pen Artist 15.6 Pro lacks the capability to display accurate colours, which is completely false.
This is misleading to anyone who knows little to nothing about monitor colours, because if they hear a reputable reviewer say “the colour accuracy is bad”, they’ll think that the monitor is bad and not realize that it’s actually just the default settings which are bad.

A Blurb About Colorimeters

If you are an aspiring digital creative working with colours, I wholeheartedly recommend investing in a colorimeter. Factory calibration can only last so long before the monitor colours start to drift and become less and less accurate, so it is extremely beneficial in the long run if you invest in a colorimeter. Even Wacom’s factory calibrated tablet monitors are no exception to this and their colours will drift over time because colour drift is an unavoidable aspect of monitors as they age.
Having a colorimeter to calibrate your monitor every month or so is vital if you want to have complete confidence in your colours at all times.

My recommendation for the best cheapest option is the Datacolor Spyder5 Express paired with the free software DisplayCAL. I do not recommend the cheaper X-Rite ColorMunki Smile because it is an old type of colorimeter which loses its reliability very quickly, whereas the Spyder5 Express and pricier models will work for many years to come.
You can read great reviews of these colorimeters at this site:
And here’s a really simple guide on how to calibrate with DisplayCAL:
As well as how to get the Spyder5 colorimeter to be detected by DisplayCAL:

24 - Parallax

The XP-Pen Artist 15.6 Pro uses a fully-laminated display, which is the screen technology that other brands such as Wacom, Microsoft, Apple, etc have used to reduce parallax (the distance between the pen tip and the screen).

As you can see in the picture above, the pen tip is really close to the cursor, with big reductions made to the thickness of the glass using the fully-laminated display. However, the glass is not thin enough to be completely unnoticeable.
If I were to give a rough estimate, the glass is still around 0.6-0.8mm in thickness, which is a very decent improvement from their non fully-laminated displays, but not completely unnoticeable.
Of course, this is to be expected as there are limits to how thin you can make the glass on a decently large tablet like this before the glass becomes too easy to break in the middle of the screen. The larger the tablet, the less the middle of the screen is supported, so you have to use thicker glass to compensate. Even Wacom’s Cintiq Pro series is no exception with the glass becoming thicker with each step up in screen size.

Just like many other fully-laminated displays, due to the thinness of the glass, you can cause ripples on the screen to appear when pressing hard. These ripples only happen when you press around 100% pen pressure or harder, and are only slightly noticeable on a very dark colour background. I believe this is not a problem as you will most likely never notice it and it will not affect your drawing.

25 - Light Bleed

The easiest way to see light bleed is by full-screening a black image. As you can see, there is some light bleed in the top left and top right corners of my tablet, but this is a fairly typical amount of light bleed and has no noticeable effect on other colours being displayed there.
If your tablet has much more noticeable light bleed (especially if it is noticeable on all colours, not just pure black), you may want to contact XP-Pen support to get it replaced.

Tablet drivers

The XP-Pen tablet driver are extremely easy to install. Just go download the latest version directly from XP-Pen’s site and remove all other tablet drivers you have on your computer before installing it.

Once you’ve installed the driver and plugged in your tablet, the XP-Pen driver icon should appear in the system tray in the bottom right. You can access the tablet settings by clicking on that. The installer will also create a shortcut on your desktop for opening the settings.

If the installer doesn’t prompt you to restart your computer after it finishes, I wholeheartedly suggest restarting your computer anyways to allow Windows to properly update the files necessary for the driver to run smoothly.

27 - Driver

The XP-Pen driver is a simple one page driver with all the important settings in one window. Here you can set the pen buttons and pen pressure, and choose which monitor the tablet maps to.

You may need to check the Windows Ink checkbox if you use programs such as Photoshop which require Windows Ink to be turned on for pen pressure to work.

The Barrel Button Settings section lets you choose the function assigned to the pen buttons.

You can set basically all keyboard or mouse shortcuts that you can think of using the function key option, but you unfortunately cannot combine mouse clicks with keyboard keys in the same function. This is one of the few small cons of the XP-Pen driver which has been around for a fairly long time now.

29 - Click Sensitivity

The Click Sensitivity section allows you to manipulate the pen pressure curve directly. For this pen, I didn’t find the need to change anything as the pen pressure was decent at default, but the pen pressure graph is extremely useful for making subtle changes to your overall pen pressure.

A cool thing to note is that the only other tablet drivers with this custom pen pressure graph is Wacom’s Intuos Pro and Cintiq drivers. Wacom’s low-end Intuos tablets do not offer you the pen pressure graph, and none of the Wacom alternatives aside from XP-Pen offer it either!

30 - Current Screen

The Current Screen section controls which monitor your tablet is mapped to, and what area of your tablet is used.

If you noticed earlier, there was a function called Switch Monitor among the functions you could assign to your shortcut keys. That function cycles through all the available monitors in the drop-down list at the top of the Current Screen section when used, so you can use that to quickly switch which monitor your pen input goes to.

If you click the Express Keys button in the bottom right, a new window will open up with the options for changing the functions assigned to the shortcut keys.
You can click the Dial tab to change the functions assigned to the red dial as well.

All the buttons can be assigned mouse clicks, keyboard functions, or the extra functions, just like the pen buttons.

The bar along the top of this window allows you to make program specific profiles which will only be active when the program you assigned is your current active window. It is a useful feature for people who want different functions for different programs.

Unfortunately, if you intend to assign multiple functions to the red dial, you will need to assign one of the shortcut buttons to the KL/KR Switch Function to allow you to toggle between the multiple functions assigned to the touch bar. This means that you effectively have 7 shortcut keys to work with instead of 8. In this case, 7 shortcut keys plus the red dial was enough for all of my functions though, unlike on the XP-Pen Deco 03 where I effectively only had 5 buttons to work with.
The “hints” also only show up on your main screen, not the screen assigned to your tablet, so they don’t help you figure out what function your red dial is on at all since you can’t see the hints on the right screen anyways.

18 - Display Settings

The Display Setting button pulls up the colour settings, and you can also rotate the display for left-handed use here.

33 - Calibration

The Calibrate button brings up the pen calibration which is a 5-point calibration using the 4 corners and the middle. You can click Esc on your keyboard to cancel and exit the calibration.

Also, make sure to export all your settings before doing the calibration as there is no way to reset only the pen calibration. You can export your settings with the export configuration button in the bottom left of the main driver screen.
To reset the calibration, you need to click the Default button in the bottom right of the XP-Pen drivers which resets everything, not just the calibration.

In the very first driver, the calibrate function was broken and was unable to cope with multi-screen setups. However, XP-Pen quickly fixed that issue and released a new driver with that issue fixed. If you have seen a review speaking about how the calibration does not work, it has been fixed already with the newer drivers.

Pen calibration nitpick

My nitpick about the pen calibration is that it does not compensate for pen tilt/direction, despite the fact that the XP-Pen Artist 15.6 Pro has pen tilt functionality. This means that the cursor will not always remain perfectly under the pen tip if you tilt the pen in a different direction than how you calibrated it.
I have already suggested to XP-Pen that they start incorporating pen tilt/direction into their calibration as it is a waste not to use their new pen tilt feature to make their pen calibration even better, but it may take a while for them to come up with something as precise as Wacom’s pen calibration.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, then you don’t need to worry about it. It does not impact the drawing experience at all unless you hold the pen tilted in a different direction every time you draw.

Drawing tests

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.

XP-Pen Artist 15.6 Pro Test Page-1

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 XP-Pen Artist 15.6 Pro, I had no problems doing my 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.

XP-Pen Artist 15.6 Pro Test Page-2

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 quite good at all angles, but you can clearly see some wobble when tilting the pen completely over.
However, this amount of wobble at max tilt is small enough that it shouldn’t be counted as a problem when drawing. It can be improved, certainly, but it is more than acceptable.

This tablet gets a pass here.

XP-Pen Artist 15.6 Pro Test Page-3

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 so far behind the pen that it was a problem, so it gets a pass here.

XP-Pen Artist 15.6 Pro Test Page-4

4) Short Release Taper Test – Grade: Fail
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 XP-Pen Artist 15.6 Pro, these tapers are not smooth and you can clearly see this. This issue applies to all very quick tapers that start from max pressure. In other words, it can also happen on longer strokes as well if you are drawing them very quickly.

Fortunately, this is not an issue that you often notice while drawing on the tablet, and most of the time you are not moving fast enough to cause this issue to appear in your longer strokes.
However, this tablet fails this section even if that is the case.

It appears that this is an issue with all of XP-Pen’s current tablets which use the newer drivers (Deco 03, Artist 12, Artist 15.6 Pro, etc). This issue did not occur on any of XP-Pen’s older tablets which used the old drivers (Star03 V1, Artist 22HD, etc).
I have notified XP-Pen about this and they told me they will work on fixing it, but there has been no update regarding a fix yet. This is one of the only issues I currently have with XP-Pen’s products, so hopefully they will move to fix it eventually.

XP-Pen Artist 15.6 Pro Test Page-5

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 and it was very easy to do all the different line weights.

I will give this tablet a pass here since there don’t appear to be any noticeable issues in the pen pressure transitions either.

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 XP-Pen Artist 15.6 Pro has a decently low IAF which I could find right away most of the time. As you can see, I was not able to get the lines to start on the start line consistently, but I was able to start them pretty close to it almost every time.
Basically, the IAF is low enough that I don’t consider it an issue. I never noticed it when tapping options or sketching lightly.

In terms of the lightest pen pressure, I could get fairly thin lines with the 300px IAF test pen. The thin lines on this tablet obviously pale in comparison to the Huion New 1060 Plus (2048) IAF test page which is the ideal, but this thinness is quite alright and is more than acceptable.

Overall, the XP-Pen Artist 15.6 Pro has decently low IAF and is able to draw acceptably thin lines consistently. This tablet gets a pass here.

XP-Pen Artist 15.6 Pro Pen Tilt Tests

7) Pen Tilt Test – Pass-ish
Test pen 1 – 100px – pen tilt: opacity
Test pen 2 – 100px – flat pen – pen tilt: direction

This test shows the smoothness of the pen tilt by gradually tilting the pen while slowly moving the pen to the side. This section also includes scribbles using the pen direction determined by pen tilt.

As you can see in the smoothness test, the pen tilt transitions on the XP-Pen Artist 15.6 Pro are clearly not smooth. You can see all the steps in the gradient and you can basically count how many levels of pen tilt there are.

Fortunately (or unfortunately), XP-Pen doesn’t specify the number of pen tilt levels they have on the XP-Pen Artist 15.6 Pro’s product page, so they aren’t lying about “having” pen tilt, but you can clearly tell it’s not on the same level as Wacom and Huion’s +-60 levels of pen tilt.

This tablet will get a pass-ish here since they have pen tilt, but it’s not very high quality.


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 – Fail
5) Pen Pressure Control/Transition Test – Pass
6) Initial Activation Force & Lightest Pen Pressure Test – Pass

Non-Vital Drawing Tests:
7) Pen Tilt Test – Pass-ish

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.

The drawing experience!

The actual drawing experience on the XP-Pen Artist 15.6 Pro was very enjoyable, despite it having a single “Fail” in the Drawing tests section. The pen pressure worked as expected for the most part and was nice to use, and the screen was just plain fantastic to look at because of how vibrant all the colours appeared on there.
It’s truly a tablet which can make you happy just by looking at it.

Honestly, this is one of the few tablets I have reviewed which I really enjoyed drawing on because of how good it is overall, despite the tapering issue I pointed out.

For most of my drawing tests, the XP-Pen Artist 15.6 Pro passes with flying colours. Even the slow diagonal lines test shows good results with only slight wobble appearing here and there.
It should be noted that the line wobbles a bit more when you hold the pen as far tilted over as you can, but when using the pen at any normal angle, the wobble is almost unnoticeable, so I believe this is a non-issue for almost every use case.

The biggest issue I noted about all of XP-Pen’s newer tablets (the ones which use the newer drivers) is that the pen tapering is a bit uneven when doing very quick strokes from 100% to 0% pen pressure.
As you saw in the Drawing tests section, there are some fairly clear bumps in the taper which make it not as perfect as it could be.

For the most part, this uneven tapering is not so bad that it affects the drawing process as I did not have a problem doing my review drawing with it, and it should be noted that the pen pressure is perfect in every other situation.
The worst it did was make me undo a few extra times during my shading process which involves using quick long tapers in some places, but it was not a massive problem with regards to the overall drawing experience.

It appears that the tapering issue is an issue with all of XP-Pen’s current tablets which use the newer drivers (Deco 03, Artist 12, Artist 15.6 Pro, etc). This issue did not occur on any of XP-Pen’s older tablets which used the old drivers (Star03 V1, Artist 22HD, etc).
I have notified XP-Pen about this and they told me they will work on fixing it, but there has been no update regarding a fix yet. This is one of the only issues I currently have with XP-Pen’s products, so hopefully they will move to fix it eventually.

With regards to cursor ‘lag’, I did not think it was anything worth noting. The cursor did not seem to lag behind the pen in any significant way. Seeing this much delay is completely expected of a 60Hz monitor. There was no “actual” delay as all my lines properly appear where my pen draws, even if the cursor appears to be trailing slightly behind the pen nib at times.
Perhaps if you are used to the iPad Pro’s 120Hz monitor, it may seem slower, but the cursor speed on the XP-Pen Artist 15.6 Pro is completely fine as far as my experience goes.

In terms of hot spots on the tablet, those would be the two bottom corners or the screen which… you actually can’t call “hot”. It’s just slightly warmer than the rest of the screen, so it certainly shouldn’t be a problem for anyone.
I also used the device for hours on end and can say for sure that the Artist 15.6 Pro will not have any issues with overheating. Overheating is honestly just an issue of the past at this point.

From what I could tell, the pen calibration does not get worse along the edges. It seemed to skew a bit to the right along the top and bottom edges, but it didn’t seem to be misaligned anywhere along the right and left edges. I believe no one should have any problems selecting options and tools along the edges with this tablet.


The XP-Pen Artist 15.6 Pro is a fantastic tablet which is very close to being an instant recommendation. If XP-Pen can update their driver and improve the pen tapering, I would recommend it to anyone and everyone who’s interested.

Honestly, I can’t believe this is a 400 USD tablet. I thought the Huion Kamvas Pro 13 was already a good deal when it was released for 400 USD, but then XP-Pen came out with this tablet with basically the same features in a larger tablet for the same price. Of course, the pen tilt is rather low quality, but even when leaving out pen tilt, it’s still a good tablet for the price it’s at.

If you’re looking for a good, fairly large drawing monitor for the low price of only 400 USD, this could absolutely be the one for you.

Places to buy the tablet

XP-Pen gave me a promotion code to share, so if you’re interested in this tablet, make sure you use the code to save some money!

10%off promo code:XPPEN156PRO, until Apr. 30th (only until Mar. 25th for, works on Amazon below.

Website store:

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!