In your search for either a graphics or drawing tablet, you’re likely to be presented with a wide array of choices, which could be quite captivating. However, the extensive range can also make the decision-making process daunting.
Wacom and XP-Pen are two prominent manufacturers in this space (hence the title Wacom vs XP-Pen), offering both graphics and drawing tablets. Each of them has their unique set of strengths and weaknesses.
Typically, XP-Pen tablets are more budget-friendly and boast a higher number of features compared to Wacom tablets. In contrast, Wacom tablets are often seen as more high-end, offering superior durability and significantly more brand prestige.
In this piece, we’ll delve into a comparison between Wacom and XP-Pen, focusing specifically on their graphics and drawing tablets, and discussing their respective areas of excellence. By the conclusion of this article, you should have a clarified understanding of which one would better suit your specific requirements.
We have also carried out detailed comparisons between Wacom and several other top players in the market in our subsequent articles listed below:
- Wacom vs Huion
- Wacom vs. Gaomon
- Wacom vs. Surface Pro
- Wacom vs. iPad Pro
- XP-Pen vs Huion vs Wacom
- Alternative Options to Wacom
Wacom Intuos vs XP-Pen Deco Series: A Quick Comparison
In a rush? Consider these options…
Wacom Intuos S Wireless Graphics Drawing Tablet Wacom Intuos S Wireless Graphics Drawing Tablet This tablet is an excellent starting point for beginners, providing a rich, hands-on experience underpinned by Wacom’s steadfast quality assurance.
Check Price on Amazon Affordably priced for what it offers, this tablet is not only suitable for newcomers but also for professionals. Its lightweight, durable, and highly functional attributes, coupled with its multi-touch capabilities and compact size, make the Wacom Intuos S an ideal choice both as a desktop and travel companion.
XP-Pen Deco 03 Drawing Tablet XP-Pen Deco 03 Drawing Tablet Size: 14.2 x 8.6 x 0.35 inches | Display Area (Active Area): 10 x 5.62 inches | Weight: 1.34 pounds | Multi-Touch: No | Pen Pressure Sensitivity: 8192 Levels | Programmable Keys: 6 + Touch Dial | Supported Software: Windows, Mac | Battery Power: Yes | Connectivity: USB
Check Price on Amazon Check Price on XP-Pen This lightweight tablet offers an exceptional ergonomic design, predictable output, several programmable keys, and a convenient dial for workflow enhancement. The XP-Pen Deco 03’s build quality and specs are at par with the market leaders.
Pressure Sensitivity Analysis
The stylus accompanying the Wacom Intuos offers a pressure range of 4096 levels, whereas the XP-Pen’s stylus provides a significantly higher range of 8192 levels. At first glance, XP-Pen seems to have a definite advantage. More pressure levels are beneficial, aren’t they?
Well, it’s not as straightforward. Despite the XP-Pen having twice the pressure levels of the Wacom Intuos, the difference isn’t that noticeable in actual usage. Unless you scrutinize extremely closely, distinguishing a pressure difference between a Wacom stylus and an XP-Pen stylus would be rather challenging. Most artists find 4096 pressure levels to be more than sufficient, and 8192 can seem unnecessary. However, if your work requires the highest pressure sensitivity level, the XP-Pen Deco series might be more suitable for you.
Yet, there’s another factor to keep in mind: the pressure response. Even with an extensive sensitivity range, it’s crucial that the stylus responds accurately to the lightest touch. In this regard, despite having half the pressure sensitivity levels of the XP-Pen, the Wacom Intuos excels in capturing the subtlest lines at the lower end of the pressure sensitivity spectrum, outperforming the XP-Pen Deco series tablets.
Tablet Size and Work Area
Wacom Intuos tablets are available in two sizes: small and medium. The smaller version has a relatively lesser drawing space compared to the XP-Pen Deco series tablets. The medium variant, conversely, is similar in size to the Deco series tablets but is twice as expensive.
It’s worth noting that the medium-sized Wacom Intuos doesn’t offer any additional features compared to the small version. Therefore, if you’re working on a smaller monitor of less than 19 inches or a laptop, the smaller Wacom Intuos should suffice.
For those requiring a larger drawing surface, the cost-effectiveness of the XP-Pen Deco series becomes even more attractive, outweighing any potential benefit of the higher-priced medium-sized Wacom Intuos.
Shortcut buttons on a tablet are programmable physical buttons that can perform any action you choose. In drawing applications, these often represent simple yet frequently used tasks like undo/redo, zoom, and free transforms. They reduce your dependency on the keyboard and significantly speed up your workflow.
Advanced shortcut buttons like dials and rollers can execute more complex tasks smoothly, such as altering brush or eraser size or zooming in/out by rotating a dial or sliding a roller.
The number, variety, and layout of shortcut buttons impact their practicality. Wacom Intuos tablets come with 4 shortcut buttons, while XP-Pen Deco Series tablets offer 6-8 shortcut buttons, plus a roller. The recently launched Deco Pro even includes a mix of physical buttons, a mechanical dial, and a touchpad, simplifying the drawing process.
In this regard, XP-Pen holds the edge over Wacom Intuos.
The Wacom Intuos tablet features the latest Wacom stylus, offering 4096 pressure levels and two side shortcut buttons (which technically brings the total shortcut buttons to 6). The stylus also houses three additional nibs and comes with tilt support. What’s more, the stylus can be replaced with any other Wacom stylus for more functionality. Wacom also offers a variety of nibs separately, mimicking brushes, chisels, charcoal tips, and more.
XP-Pen Deco series tablets, on the other hand, provide styluses with 8192 pressure levels. While the Deco 02 features an eraser at the back, others do not, and only the Deco Pro and Deco 01 offer tilt support. Also, these styluses aren’t interchangeable with more feature-rich ones.
In performance terms, both styluses are commendable. The Wacom stylus, despite half the pressure levels, feels intuitive, lightweight, and responsive. Both styluses are equally proficient in terms of performance. However, the Wacom stylus offers greater functionality and versatility, even if XP-Pen offers double the pressure sensitivity.
The Deco 01 includes a stand for storing the stylus when it’s not in use, keeping it secure from rolling off the table. The Deco 02, Deco 03, and Deco Pro, on the other hand, feature a cylindrical plastic stylus holder that snugly accommodates the stylus, safeguarding it and making it particularly handy during travel. The holder’s front cap doubles as a stylus stand, while the rear end comprises slots for extra nib storage.
Wacom Intuos, however, does not come with a dedicated stylus holder. Instead, it provides inward-curved shortcut buttons that can act as a temporary rest for the stylus. The back end of the stylus can be unscrewed to reveal extra nibs. Wacom offers a separate stylus holder for purchase. Although it is an additional expense, it boasts a more premium, lightweight, and sturdier metallic construction compared to the XP-Pen’s holder.
Graphics tablets come with plastic surfaces, and the styluses used on them have plastic tips. To prevent uncontrolled stylus gliding, these surfaces include minute bumps, known as micro-textures in the industry, to provide friction and prevent the stylus from slipping excessively. This seemingly insignificant detail significantly enhances the drawing experience, as the tablet’s surface is where most drawing and writing actions take place.
Both Wacom and XP-Pen graphics tablets incorporate these micro-textures on their surfaces, ensuring satisfactory drawing resistance. However, after extensive use of both, I found the drawing experience on the Wacom tablet to be more intuitive and comfortable. Its texture simply felt superior. Moreover, the Wacom tablet’s surface exhibited higher scratch resistance than the XP-Pen over the long term.
Wacom Cintiq 16 vs XP-Pen Artist 15.6 Pro
Short on time? Here’s our pick:
Wacom Cintiq 22 Drawing Tablet
Wacom Cintiq 22 Drawing Tablet Wacom consistently leads in most of our guides, and in the fields of architecture, interior design, and landscape architecture, the Cintiq 22 excels with its outstanding performance and extensive high-quality drawing area.
Check Price on Amazon If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you. Designed to function as a secondary monitor, the Wacom Cintiq 16 is a tier below the pro version and consequently lacks certain key features that professional artists may need. However, this makes the tablet quite affordable for its capabilities.
XP-PEN Artist 15.6 Pro Graphics Tablet
XP-PEN Artist 15.6 Pro Graphics Tablet Dimensions: 17.5 x 11 x 0.4 inches | Display Area (Active Area): 15.6 inches | Item Weight: 3.2 | Multi-Touch: No | Pen Pressure Level: 8192 Levels | Customizable Express Keys: 8 + Touch Dial | Supported Software: Windows, Mac | Battery Power: Yes | Connectivity Type: USB
Check Price on Amazon Check Price on XP-Pen If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you. The XP-Pen Artist 15.6 Pro is a solid pick for novice and hobby artists, boasting impressive color accuracy that matches many high-end tablets. It’s a cost-effective alternative to the Cintiq tablet, offering great value for money!
Design and Build Quality
In terms of design, the Cintiq 16 adopts a minimalist approach, featuring only a touchscreen on the front. Conversely, the XP-Pen Artist 15.6 Pro incorporates a screen along with a set of shortcut buttons. Both tablets are constructed of plastic, yet the Cintiq 16 feels heavier and sturdier, implying a more durable build. The XP-Pen 15.6 Pro, lighter and more flexible, feels somewhat less robust and resilient.
Both tablets facilitate straightforward setup and use a 3-in-1 cable for connectivity. The Cintiq 16 requires a bit more effort to plug in the cable at the back of the tablet and secures it more tightly. The Artist 15.6 Pro features a USB-C port on the side, which might be prone to disconnection if the tablet is abruptly pulled during use. On the downside, the Cintiq 16 lacks a USB-C cable, hence uses different cables for power supply and data transmission. On the other hand, the XP-Pen utilizes a USB-C cable for both power and data exchange.
Display Dimensions and Tablet Size
Both tablets feature 15.6-inch screens with 1920 x 1080p full HD displays. The Cintiq 16 offers 72% AdobeRGB, while the Artist 15.6 Pro covers 88% AdobeRGB, suggesting a broader color gamut. However, it’s worth noting that the Wacom comes pre-calibrated, while the Artist 15.6 Pro requires initial color calibration to eliminate any blue tint.
Brightness is another factor to consider. The Artist 15.6 Pro’s maximum brightness exceeds that of the Cintiq 16, but color accuracy diminishes at 100% brightness, with optimal performance occurring around the 60% mark. Conversely, the Cintiq 16 maintains color accuracy even at full brightness, providing ample illumination for work.
The Artist 15.6 Pro comes with a laminated screen, while the Cintiq 16 has a standard non-laminated display. A laminated screen reduces parallax, providing perfect alignment between the stylus tip and the cursor. With non-laminated screens, there’s a slight delay causing the strokes to appear a bit off from the stylus contact point. Therefore, the Artist 15.6 Pro exhibits less parallax than the Cintiq 16. However, this isn’t necessarily a disadvantage, as the practical impact of parallax on the Cintiq 16 is minimal, and drawing lag is greater on the Artist 15.6 Pro.
The Artist 15.6 Pro features eight shortcut buttons positioned above the screen, each with a unique pattern for tactile recognition, and all providing satisfying click feedback. There’s also a central roller for tasks like rotation, zooming, scrolling, and panning.
Contrarily, the Cintiq lacks built-in shortcut buttons, but users can buy the Wacom Expresskey remote separately. This remote is compatible with any Cintiq tablet, providing a touch ring similar to the Artist 15.6 Pro’s roller and 17 shortcut buttons. Alternatively, you can adjust the settings to get express keys directly on the Cintiq 16’s touchscreen, eliminating the need for a separate Expresskey remote.
Wacom is renowned for crafting top-notch digital pens, with its Pro Pen 2 heralded as the leading stylus on the market. The Cintiq 16 comes with this same pen, identical to the one included with higher-end Wacom tablets. This is a significant advantage as it allows you to swap the Pro Pen 2 with any other Wacom tablet pen, offering a range of features catering to diverse artistic needs.
The Artist 15.6 Pro comes with a fairly competent pen, though it lacks certain features found in the Pro Pen 2.
Both digital pens boast 8192 levels of pressure sensitivity and support tilt functionality up to 60 degrees. Both also feature two shortcut buttons, but neither supports a barrel roll. However, if required, you can purchase a separate Wacom stylus that does. Unfortunately, the XP-Pen stylus doesn’t offer this flexibility.
The Wacom pen surpasses the XP-Pen in two ways – it has an eraser at the back and its tilt sensitivity is superior. When tilted, the pointer shifts off-center on the XP-Pen, a problem not encountered with the Wacom. Though not a deal-breaker, it’s noteworthy.
Both pens sport ergonomic designs and comfortable grips, but the Wacom pen feels weightier and more substantial. Its grip is more rubberized, whereas the XP-Pen pen feels more plasticky. When it comes to pressure sensitivity, the XP-Pen seems to require more force at lower pressure levels to make a mark. Its lines also tend to taper off and become wavy, even when using a straight edge. Wacom’s pen offers better pressure response, with the slightest pressure registering a mark, and smooth pressure changes.
Surprisingly, the less costly Artist 15.6 Pro comes with a pen holder made of plastic, lined with a soft material for pen protection. It doubles as a pen stand and houses eight extra nibs.
Conversely, the Cintiq 16 offers a fabric loop that can be attached to either side of the tablet to hold the pen. Removing the loop reveals storage for three additional nibs.
While the Artist 15.6 Pro provides more nibs, remember that stylus nibs for drawing tablets don’t wear out as quickly as those for graphics tablets. This means the three nibs provided with the Cintiq 16 should last quite a while. However, having more nibs is always better.
Both tablets feature matte screens that replicate the texture of paper via a scratch-resistant, anti-glare optical film. However, caution is advised when cleaning, as some products’ oils and chemicals can degrade the matte finish.
As for replacement or removal, the optical film on the XP-Pen can be removed by users, but on the Cintiq, it’s replaceable only through Wacom. If you prefer an etched screen, you’d need to invest in the more expensive pro edition.
Both manufacturers provide at least a 1-year warranty for their products. However, Wacom’s warranty varies depending on the sales region. They offer a 1-year limited warranty in the US, while a 2-year limited warranty is provided in other markets. XP-Pen grants a 1-year limited warranty worldwide.
Both companies are known for their efficient support, but Wacom also offers complimentary software like Corel Painter Essentials, Corel After Shot 3, and Clip Studio Pain Pro. Although they support the same Windows OS versions, XP-Pen accommodates Mac OSX 10.10 and later, while Wacom caters to Mac OSX 10.12 and subsequent versions.
Wacom products typically cost significantly more than XP-Pen’s, with the price sometimes being double for similar products. If budget is a paramount concern, XP-Pen could be the ideal choice.
Build Quality In terms of build quality, Wacom consistently outshines XP-Pen. This is not to suggest that XP-Pen products lack quality – they are well-constructed and are likely to endure for a substantial period. However, they simply cannot match the superior build quality and robustness of Wacom products, which often feel weightier and sturdier.
As a result of superior build quality, Wacom tablets are renowned for their scratch-resistant and well-textured surfaces, enhancing their durability and reliability for long-term usage. While XP-Pen tablets are commendable, they cannot compete with Wacom in this respect.
So, is XP-Pen better than Wacom?
This decision relies heavily on individual needs. If you prioritize an affordable product packed with numerous features, an XP-Pen tablet may be ideal. However, if your focus is on long-term support, higher build quality, durability, and a longer warranty term (applicable outside the US), Wacom, as an industry leader, is tough to surpass.
In conclusion, both Wacom and XP-Pen offer exceptional tablets, each excelling in their own areas. Your choice should be dictated by your specific needs, including your budget. What’s important is that you continue to cultivate your passion for digital art in the best way possible.
FAQ’s about Wacom vs XP-Pen
Is XP-Pen Wacom compatible?
XP-Pen and Wacom are two separate brands, each with their own distinct hardware and software. Generally, the tablets and styluses of these two brands are not cross-compatible. This means that you cannot use a Wacom stylus on an XP-Pen tablet or an XP-Pen stylus on a Wacom tablet. Furthermore, the drivers for these two brands are different, meaning you can’t use Wacom drivers for an XP-Pen tablet and vice versa.
However, both brands are compatible with most of the same software programs. For example, both XP-Pen and Wacom tablets can be used with popular digital art software like Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, Corel Painter, and many others.