On this blog, we often write reviews for individual tablets, coming from several different brands. Our favorites remain the XP Pen, Huion, and Wacom brands, and several of our reviews are about individual models of each of these. But we’ve never directly compared XP Pen vs. Huion vs. Wacom.
We often mention that Wacom is the Apple of tablets, emphasize the affordability of both XP-Pen and Huion, and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each tablet model as we review it.
What we haven’t quite done yet is a general review that compares these three popular brands on different traits to determine which is best, or at least which is best for different needs. That’s what this article will be about.
Who are they?
Who are XP-Pen?
XP Pen is a Chinese-Japanese brand that develops and distributes graphics and drawing tablets. It was founded in 2005 in Japan started small, gradually improving its models through intensive research and development.
XP Pen is known for offering great value for money, with excellent low and mid-priced tablets, each featuring far more features than you would reasonably expect at that price.
Who are Huion?
Huion is a Chinese brand that develops and distributes graphics and drawing tablets. It was founded in 2011, several years after XP Pen. Huion’s main focus has always been to produce affordable tablets for beginning and intermediate artists, with lots of extra features and complimentary additions with each product, such as an artist’s glove.
Who are Wacom?
Wacom is a Japanese brand that develops and distributes graphics tablets, drawing tablets, and several other related products. It was founded in 1983, making it significantly older than the other two brands on this list.
Wacom is most popular for its focus on premium build quality and user experience design, making it the Apple of the drawing tablet industry.
Having been around longer, Wacom has also perfected several drawing tablet technologies and continues to refine them with each new model, making their performance significantly superior to that of models from the younger XP Pen and Huion brands.
XP Pen vs. Huion vs. Wacom
As you might have gathered from the short introductions above, each of the brands in today’s article is known for something it does well. A common theme you’ll notice in this comparison is having to chose between very high quality and an affordable price tag.
In so far as we consider this, Wacom features quality while both XP Pen and Huion feature affordability. For the most part, you’d be hard-pressed to choose between XP Pen and Huion, though there are certain subtle yet important differences that might sway your decision. We shall explore these in detail below.
XP Pen vs. Huion vs. Wacom – Design & Build Quality
Let’s start with the design. Tablet design is much simpler than it looks, especially when you compare it to, say, smartphone design. There are certainly a lot more considerations to make when comparing the design of an iPhone to a Samsung than when comparing a Wacom tablet to an XP Pen one.
In fact, considering how simple drawing tablets are, you will find a lot of similarities across all the brands.
Take, for example, the XP Pen 15.6 Pro and the Wacom Cintiq. They are both quite hefty, with the 15.6 weighing 1.5kg and the Cintiq weighing 1.9 kg. This isn’t a huge difference. Okay, it will start to matter when you carry your tablet everywhere you go. In that case, those 400 extra grams will mean a lot. Other than that, not much difference.
Another subtle difference is in the display area. The Cintiq 16 is all screen, while the 15.6 Pro features shortcut keys on one side. The Cintiq works best by being plugged in via its 3-in-1 cable, while the 15.6 Pro is more flexible. The Cintiq’s screen also lacks touch functionality to make it cheaper than it otherwise would be.
Meanwhile, the Huion KAMVAS Pro 16, the closest we can get to the other two models, also has shortcut buttons. The biggest difference you get is a touch bar in the KAMVAS 13 vs. a dial in the 15.6 Pro. The dial is customizable; the touch bar isn’t.
Wacom’s also have superior build quality than the other two. The plastic is often of higher quality, the feel more premium, and the heft greater, both in the tablet and stylus.
XP Pen vs. Huion vs. Wacom – Display
Wacom is the clear winner here when it comes to the higher-end models. I don’t yet know o any XP Pen or Huion models that have a 4K display. And yet, the Wacom Cintiq Pro 32 offers just this, with over a billion color options.
That Cintiq 32, however, costs 4 figures and is in a class of its own. If you were looking for the kind of features it has to offer, I am fairly confident you wouldn’t be interested in this comparison article. If you’re looking for the things only the Lamborghini Aventador can offer, what on Earth are you doing reading a comparison between it and a Toyota Supra?
Let’s come a little closer to Earth, and compare the Wacom Cintiq 22 to the XP Pen Artist 24 Pro. The Cintiq 22’s display has a 96% sRGB display, while the Artist 24 Pro has a 90% Adobe RGB display.
The Adobe RGB is slightly higher than sRGB, so this should be equivalent to about 94% sRGB. This is geek-speak for ‘images made with the Cintiq 22 will look better in print than those made with the Artist 24 Pro”. Meanwhile, the Artist 24 Pro has a larger display than the Cintiq 22 at 23.8 inches vs. 22 inches
The Huion KAMVAS Pro 24 has a 23.8-inc screen, exactly the same as the Artist 24 Pro. It features 2 touch bars and 20 shortcut keys, compared to the 8 shortcut keys and single dial of the Artist 24 Pro.
There’s an additional difference to consider: parallax in the display. If you’re buying a drawing tablet (that is a tablet with a screen), you will want to find out whether that screen is fully laminated or not.
In a fully laminated screen, the display unit, the pen response layer above it, and the anti-reflective layer at the very top are bonded together, making them effectively a single composite piece. In a non-fully laminated screen, these 3 layers are separate. Not only does this make the display thicker, but it also means the drawing point on the screen won’t be directly under the stylus – what we refer to as ‘parallax’.
You can expect some parallax at the price level of the XP Pen and Huion tablets, but you won’t see it in the Cintiq. It’s not going to significantly affect your ability to produce high-quality work, but it may annoy you enough to be willing to fork out several hundred dollars more in the worst case just to buy a Wacom that doesn’t suffer from it.
XP Pen vs. Huion vs. Wacom – Features & Performance
All 3 tablets tend to come with their own styluses. You’d be hard-put to find universal styluses for these. The XP Pen and Huion Styluses tend to be lighter than the Wacom ones and often have more shortcut buttons.
They also have a less premium feel, which might matter for some artists more than others. Speaking of things that matter, some artists also prefer the heft of a Wacom stylus to the lightness of an XP Pen one.
At the same price level, the styluses also show differences in pressure sensitivity. You’ll almost always get a stylus with 8192 pressure levels, even on cheaper XP Pen and Huion models. At the same price level, you’re most likely to get a Wacom stylus with just 4096 levels of pressure sensitivity.
The XP Pen and Huion styluses will also typically have more shortcut buttons.
With the Huion, each stylus model tends to be shared across tablet models, while XP Pen typically features a dedicated stylus for every model. Most of them are battery-free, but there is the occasional one that needs to be charged via USB, both for Huion and XP Pen. These should be avoided where possible because they are less convenient.
Wacom software is also far superior to the other two. Wacom drivers perform better and have support for more operating systems than either XP Pen or Huion. This carries over to the shortcut buttons.
With Wacom setup software, you can program the shortcut buttons to whatever function you want, depending on the program you’re working in. This isn’t available in XP Pen or Huion, where you can only program one function per shortcut button, regardless of what software you’re drawing in.
XP Pen vs. Huion vs. Wacom – Long-Term Reliability
Due to the superior build quality of Wacom tablets, they tend to last far longer than either of XP Pen or Huion. We all here have Wacom’s that we’ve owned for almost 10 years, and they work very well.
Depending on the XP Pen or Huion you get (pricier models tend to have superior build quality), you may get something that lasts a little longer, but neither of them will last as long as a Wacom.
XP Pen vs. Huion vs. Wacom – Warranty & Support
XP Pen and Huion all offer warranties, which vary across models and territories. That said, given the more established nature of Wacom, support is more widespread, and help is easier to find online, thanks to the large community of Wacom enthusiasts.
Here the gap is narrowing fast as Huion and XP Pen catch up, so we wouldn’t consider Wacom’s lead to be significant.
Is XP Pen better than Huion?
The two tablets are similar in most respects, though there are subtle differences that you might care about. Huion tablets tend to have touch bars, while XP Pen tablets tend to have dial pads. The dial pads are programmable; the touch bars aren’t.
Which is better Wacom or XP Pen?
Wacom excels in build quality, performance, and longevity. XP Pen does better when it comes to price and value for money, offering several more features than a similarly priced Wacom.
XP Pen vs. Huion vs Wacom – Our Verdict
XP Pen and Huion offer great value for money and are great tablets for artists looking for their first tablet who don’t have deep pockets. That said, if you can afford it, we highly recommend buying a Wacom. The build quality and performance are superior, and so is the support. If you can afford a Cintiq 22, we’d recommend it any day over an Artist 24 Pro or Kamvas Pro 22.