XP-Pen’s Artist 15.6 Pro nails it

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The new 15.6 Pro comes packed with features

XP-Pen has added another quality display tablet to their lineup with the addition of the Artist 15.6 Pro. Its larger than the Artist 12, more shortcut keys and packed with improvements. But is this new display tablet worth it? Should you upgrade to this tablet?

Let’s take a look at the new Artist 15.6 Pro and see how it performs.

What’s in the box

Artist 15.6 Pro comes with everything you need to get up and running. A 2-in-1 power and data cable is included with a USB extension cable as well as a variety of power plugs. An HDMI-miniDisplay port adaptor is also included which is a great addition. XP-Pen’s micro fiber cleaning cloth and artist glove is included as well.

The P05R battery-free stylus pen is included with a multi-function pen holder and 8 replacement nibs. Other tablets at this price point do not come with extra tips or a pen case. I’ve always been impressed in how much XP-Pen includes with their products.

With a bigger tablet you need a stand and Artist 15.6 Pro comes with one. The AC 41 stand is included. Its a ridged plastic stand with a simplistic design. Its a nice addition for artists without a stand.

Design, features and performance

XP-Pen is all about design and the Artist 15.6 Pro sports a sleek and rugged design. At a little over 17 inches long, the Artist 15.6 Pro has a screen size comparable to an 11x17 drawing pad. This gives the user a larger work space making it easier to work on larger projects. Eight programmable shortcut keys and a roller wheel are featured on the left side of the display. This is very helpful for keep your most used shortcuts close to your work area.

The power port, power button and brightness controls are all located in a recessed area on the right edge of the display. I like this design over other tablets as it keeps the buttons out of the way of “accidental presses”. The power port being recessed also give more stability the USB. I’ve found that some displays can be loose fitting and accidentally fall out.

Artist 15.6 Pro come with a replaceable anti-glare film on the display which is a great addition. It really does help cut the glare making it easier to see what you’re working on at any angle. It also adds protection to the screen and gives you a textured surface similar to paper. Display resolution is 1920x1080 which is fine for working digitally. I’d prefer more resolution to accurately display my work when zoomed in.

The new P05R has a pen pressure of 8192 levels which is comparable to similar tablets but offers 60 degrees of tilt. Having that tilt sensitivity is great for shading and gives users that real-world feel. The buttons on the pen are raised which makes them easier to find by touch and are also programable. Like with the other products in the Artist line, latency isn’t an issue. Latency is very low and you have great control and accuracy over your strokes.

The eight programable shortcut keys and the wheel keeps all those shortcut favorites close to your workspace. You can completely customize them to your workflow and can configure them for every program you use. I have different configurations for Photoshop, Illustrator, Sketchbook Pro and zBrush. I’ve set the buttons to the more complex shortcuts and use the keyboard for simple ones like “command z”.

Being bigger means the Artist 15.6 Pro needs more power. Unlike the Artist Display 12, you can’t just power the display through your computer. I’ve found that if I’m not plugged into a power outlet, I have issues with the display performing properly. I’ve gotten random lines, dimming of the screen and flickering. At first I thought the display may be defective but when I plugged it into the wall outlet those issues went away.

The verdict

Is it worth it. In a word… YES.

I’ve been impressed with XP-Pen’s products and this is a solid tablet. The Artist 15.6 Pro is very affordable and packed with features. The slim, rugged design features a larger screen which is great for working on projects at home or in the studio. With the new screen and pen, the user has a lot of control and accuracy when working on any project.

Like with all of XP-Pen’s products, you get a pen case and extra nibs, artist glove, micro fiber cleaning cloth and HDMI-miniDisplay port adaptor plus outlet adaptors. Plus the Artist 15.6 Pro comes with a foldable stand. You get a lot of extras.

XP-Pen has again delivered a quality product. Whether you're a hobbyist or professional artist, I highly recommend this tablet.

A note to artists with older Macs: You will need buy a Mini DVI to HDMI cable. You can find them on Amazon from about $6 and up.

Artist 15.6 Pro is available purchase at XP-Pen's Amazon store or vist XP-Pen's website.

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Scott Pickering has been on the East Bay Newspapers team for more than two decades, since starting as a reporter for the Sakonnet Times. He's been editor of most of the papers, was Managing Editor of all the papers for many years, and became General Manager in 2012. Today he can be found posting to EastBayRI.com, steering news coverage, writing editorials, talking to readers, working with the sales team, collaborating on design, or helping do whatever it takes to get the papers out the door. Reach him at spickering@eastbaynewspapers.com.