You’re reading a historic review, my friend. This is the first time a drawing tablet’s reviewed on The Technovore! We’ve reviewed a ton of games, phones and more but we have NEVER, EVEEEEEEEEER reviewed a drawing tablet, despite me trying. Well, thanks to Xencelabs, that’s finally a reality. They sent over their new Xencelabs Pen Tablet Medium Bundle for me to try and then review!
So after a few weeks of using it, what do I think?
Read on and you’ll find out!
What is the Xencelabs Pen Tablet Medium Bundle?
The Xencelab Pen Tablet Medium Bundle is a package containing the Xencelabs medium drawing tablet, a Xencelabs Quick Keys remote, two pens (one with 3 buttons and one with 2), two USB-C cables and some replacement nibs (6 standard, 4 felt). There’s also an extraction ring to remove the nibs, plus a nifty glove to reduce friction and so that your hand movements don’t register on the board. The whole bundle retails for SG$589 and is geared towards intermediate and advanced users. Beginners should have no issues with it too, if you’re just starting out.
Right off the bat, I was really impressed with how sleek and cool everything looked.
I particularly love the case that the pens come it. It’s a cool looking heavy plastic (with a magnetic seal) case that holds the pens, spare nibs, the extractor and the dongle. Everything fits neatly into it, which means you can lug around the tablet and remote with no hassle. It just screams quality, despite it not being an essential part of the whole enchilada.
The tablet itself measures 320.5 x 232.85 x 8 mm with a usable surface area of 262.4 x 147.4 mm. With a weight of just 710.5 grams the tablet feels solid enough without being heavy. Underneath, it has 6 rubber feet to stop it from sliding around. It also comes with 3 reprogrammable buttons and can be used wired (via a USB-C cable) or wirelessly, with the equipped dongle.
I’ve used the tablet quite a bit over the last few weeks and it still hasn’t dropped to below 50% (from a full charge) so no worries on the batteries lasting. Even if they don’t, using it via USB-C is still an option, which is great!
While Xencelabs does have its own customization software (which you can download here), the tablet works as a plug and play device without any prior setup, as I discovered when I tried it out. The Xenlabs Quick Keys remote requires their software though, or it’ll just keep saying to connect it to your computer.
I’ve had some experience with drawing tablets in the past (mainly on Wacom ones) and the Xencelabs Pen Tablet is more than a match for them. For a new company, the product is very well made. It’s sleek, lightweight and functions exact as advertised.
I used the thin pen (2 button) and the motion tracking was dead-on 1:1. There wasn’t any lag and the pen movements were really accurate. You do need to put on the glove though as the tablet will pick up on your side of palm movements otherwise.
Weirdly (at least for me), there’s a bit of a squeaky sound whenever I do repeated motions (if I’m coloring something for example). I never noticed that before on other tablets I’ve used but perhaps its because the nibs are new. The squeaking doesn’t hamper functionality in any way so it’s not that a big deal at all.
Using Adobe Photoshop CC to test the tablet, I had no issues with the stuff I usually do on it. It did take a bit of time to refamiliarize myself with using a pen and tablet though. That’s mainly due to me using the mouse for years. After a day or two (you might adapt faster), I was using the Xencelabs tablet and its pens like a pro!
The Xencelabs Quick Keys remote is still something I’m grappling with however.
It’s not the fault of the remote. It’s just that I’m so used to doing things on-screen and via keyboard shortcuts that I forget the remote exists. When I do remember to use it, I’ve no issue whatsoever. The display was clear and the eight buttons with shortcuts that ringed the display were all responsive. Not happy with the shortcuts? Change them! All the buttons are customizable.
The device comes with 8 customizable buttons (with 5 different profile sets), and is also capable of being used wirelessly or with the included USB-C cable. About the size of an old school remote controller (157.6 x 62.5 x 12 mm), the tablet is pretty lightweight at just 142 grams.
I particularly love how smooth the dial is, along with how solid the remote is. The shortcut keys are awesome too, though unless you’re heavily reliant on them for work, it might be a bit too much for casual users.
There’s also another cool feature for the Xencelabs Quick Keys remote. It can be used horizontally or vertically with no issues. Also, unlike the tablet with its 6 rubber feet, the whole underside of the remote is rubber!
Even an earthquake’s going to have problems moving this thing! It’s a good thing too, considering how light the remote is. If it’s not secured, it’s liable to slide around as you use it.
The Bottom Line.
For a newcomer, the Xencelabs Pen Tablet Medium bundle is a really quality product. The tablet and Quick Keys remote are solidly built and very functional but it’s the pen case that stole the show for me. Despite it not being that important (you don’t buy a tablet for the carrying case do you?), Xencelabs still took the time and effort to make it a quality accompaniment.
That’s not to say the tablet and the Quick Keys remote don’t hold their own.
From my testing and usage, the tablet is very responsive with virtually no lag. Movement is replicated seamlessly on my laptop screen and all clicks, strokes and outlines I did had no detection issues. It really feels like you’re drawing on a physical piece of paper.
While I didn’t really get much usage for the Quick Keys remote (because I keep forgetting it exists), it’s still a great supplement to the tablet. The display looks nice and sharp, there are a ton of available customizable shortcuts and there’s even a built-in dial.
For SG$589, you get a lot of bang for your buck though it might be a bit much for those who are just dipping their toes and want an entry level tablet. If you’re an intermediate (or advanced) user who needs the flexibility though, the Xencelabs Pen Tablet Medium bundle is a damn good deal.
Great quality and solidly built products. A bit pricy but you get a ton of stuff for the money.
- Great build quality.
- Tons of items included in bundle.
- Responsive tablet.
- Quick Keys remote is useful.
- Premium carrying case for the accessories.