For artists, photographers and professional creatives, having a drawing tablet adds precision and speed to their workflow.
However, drawing tablets can be quite expensive. But Xencelabs, the new kid on the block, is seeking to change that. We reviewed the Xencelabs Pen Tablet Medium Bundle that costs S$549.
This bundle includes the Xencelabs Pen Tablet Medium, a Quick Keys Remote and a stylus pen case. Inside the pen case, there is a 3-button stylus pen, a thin stylus pen, 10 nibs, a nib extractor, a wireless dongle and a USB-A-to-USB-C adapter.
In addition, there are two USB-A-to-USB-C cables, a drawing glove and a tablet sleeve. Compared to its competitors in which you have to fork out extra money to get some of these accessories, this Xencelabs bundle offers great value for money.
From the drawing tablet to all the accessories, everything comes in almost all black out of the box.
The Xencelabs Pen Tablet Medium itself has a very clean and minimalist design with a thickness of only 8mm. There are no unnecessary keys with only three buttons on top of the 16:9 drawing area, which is clearly demarcated by four lighted markers. Furthermore, it features an integrated gently-curved palm rest to allow you to draw comfortably.
According to Xencelabs, this drawing tablet is the only model in the market that comes with two battery-free stylus pens of different diameters. These two pens are the Xencelabs Thin Pen and Xencelabs 3-button Pen. Both support 8,192 levels of pressure sensitivity and tilt recognition up to 60 degrees.
The Thin Pen comes with two customisable buttons and an eraser on the other end, while the 3-button Pen comes with an extra button that you can customise for an additional function like Undo or switch application.
However, the major plus point is that Xencelabs has put all the essential items for the stylus pen into a handy pen case for easy transportation. It also helps to keep things neat and tidy.
In this bundle, Xencelabs also included the Quick Keys Remote, which is a remote accessory that gives you five sets of eight keys for a total of 40 customisable shortcuts.
The OLED display on the remote shows you the set assignment of each key. The dial click lets you zoom, rotate, adjust brush size or add new layer. Furthermore, you can also set the orientation – portrait or landscape – of the remote depending how you use it.
The included tablet sleeve is a sign Xencelabs has thought this through. Many artists and creative professionals work anywhere they go, from studios to cafes. Having a sleeve that is able to slot everything they need is invaluable.
In case you don’t feel like reading on, you only need to know one thing about the Xencelabs Pen Tablet – it just works.
Setting up the drawing tablet to my iMac is a cinch. Download the software (available on macOS, Windows and Linux), connect the wireless adapter or connect the cables to tablet and remote. And voila! You can start drawing or sketching using whichever applications you prefer.
Moreover, the Xencelabs software allows plenty of customisation on the tablet, the remote and the two stylus pens. For example, you can set the tablet to work for only one display – great for people like me who have multiple monitors.
+ Comes with plenty of accessories including sleeve
+ Pen case lets you store the essential stylus stuff
+ Easy installation
+ Software offers plenty of customisation
+ Great performance
+ Superb value for money
– Wireless connectivity requires included dongle
– No multi-touch functions
The two pens have slight differences apart from the number of buttons they have. The 3-button pen is thicker and a bulge near the pen tip, which allows for better grip. Furthermore, you can set each pen for different usage, like one for painting with greater pen and one for sketching with lesser pen pressure.
And regardless of which pen you use, the drawing on the tablet is as smooth as silk. It feels like using a real pencil to draw. I also like that I do not need to charge these pens like I do with my Apple Pencil (2nd-generation) for my iPad Pro.
Despite the tablet being pretty lightweight, it is strong and sturdy. It does not move around or buckle no matter how much strength you put in when drawing with the pens.
For the sake of nitpicking, there is a lack of multi-touch functionalities. This is something its competitors have, but not a must-have for me.
The drawing tablet is rated at 16 hours of continuous use when charged full, while the Quick Keys Remote is supposed to last up to 52 hours. After using them for around 8 hours in a day and see the battery level dropped proportionately, I can say the battery performance is as advertised.
However, I prefer the wired connection. The last thing you want is to have the connection broken due to a flat battery.
In addition, the wireless connectivity requires the use of the included Bluetooth dongle even if your computer has Bluetooth.
If you are a creative professional depending on a drawing tablet for a living or even a parent who has a kid really interested in drawing or graphic design, this Xencelabs Pen Tablet Medium bundle will be a superb investment. Plus, with its abundant accessories (even a sleeve) being included, it offers plenty of bang for its buck.
VALUE FOR MONEY: 9/10
BATTERY LIFE: 8/10