Huion 420 (Everything you need to know)

Huion 420 Box

The Huion 420 is literally the cheapest drawing tablet for sale in the world. Even though you can still find a few devices that are cheaper, they can’t really be considered “drawing tablets” because they do not have some key features, such as pen pressure sensitivity levels.

The biggest advantage of this graphics tablet is that although it costs as much as meal, it’s perfectly possible to create professional looking artwork with it.

Now, you should take what I just wrote with a grain of salt because even though it’s possible to paint a whole piece with this tablet, it wouldn’t be that easy.
Why is that? I can hear you asking.

Simply because the drawing area is way too small!

Huion 420 drawing area size

Like I said before, the Huion 420 will work just like those expensive drawing tablets, the technology is the same and the end result can absolutely look just as good, but using this device to create artwork is pretty much like trying to draw on a very small piece of paper. You can do it, but it’s not as easy or comfortable as drawing on a larger surface.

That being said, when you use the tablet with professional software such as Adobe Photoshop or Corel Painter, you will always have the option to use the zoom tool in order to make up for the small drawing area. This is exactly why I can safely say that the Huion 420 is good enough for art creation.

However, you should note that having to zoom in and out of the image a few hundred times can be extremely time consuming and annoying effectively killing the creative process.

 

Who is the Huion 420 for?

Since the drawing area is so small, it’s safe to say that this tablet wasn’t necessarily crated for artists. Pay attention to my words: The Huion 420 can be used by artists, it’s just as good as most other drawing tablets and its only major constraint is the drawing surface size.

The goal of this tablet’s manufacturer was to create a signature device. This is why there was no need for a large drawing area. These days, since our technology keep on pushing barriers on a daily basis, it’s not uncommon for people to sign documents digitally through tablets such as the Huion 420.

The thing is, since the tablet has the same technology as the others created specifically for artists, why not using it for art as well?

Even though this is not the most recommended device if you’re looking for a tablet to use at work, as a professional artist or designer, it’s still a great product to own.

I have bought a Huion 420 a while ago and I absolutely love it. I keep it on my drawer for those days in which I’m in a hurry and I don’t want to take my expensive drawing tablets either because it’s raining or because I’m going on a trip.

This Huion is so small that you can easily fit it in a pocket or simply leave it inside of a backpack.

I’m the kind of artist who will use any spare time to create. I really enjoy the process of working on new characters and, more recently, some animation on Adobe After Effects. This is why I always like to have a drawing tablet at the reach of my hand, even if it’s a cheap one like the Huion 420.

 

Advantages of the Huion 420

Details of the Huion 420 drawing tablet

Price

It doesn’t really get better than this. The Huion 420 is so affordable that I would recommend that you get one even if you don’t really need it.

This is one of those gadgets that are great to have even if you only get to use it every now and then. Just think about it. Wouldn’t it be awesome to have a drawing tablet at all times so that you could plug it into any computer and start sketching immediately? You don’t even need Photoshop; Microsoft Paint will do just fine for practice purposes.

 

Portability

Huion 420 size comparison

As you may have noticed, over 90% of drawing tablets are at least as big as a small notebook. While this is great once you start drawing, it’s not the best when it comes to carrying it around.

I’m sure you’re too young to remember this, but once in the past people used to have these huge cellphones that were a nightmare to carry. They certainly wouldn’t fit in a pocket or even in a purse. You’d actually need a bag if you wanted to take your cellphone around. Come on! What’s the point of having a “mobile phone” if it’s not mobile?

At only 127 grams, the Huion 420 is so small that you can carry it in your pocket. Whether it’s raining or snowing, you don’t have to worry about it.

 

Durability

The simpler the device is, the fewer moving parts it has, thus the more durable it tends to be.

There are some amazing drawing tablets out there such as the Wacom Cintiq 22 HD or the Huion KAMVAS GT-191. But…do you know what happens if you let one of these devices fall on the floor? They’re gone! A glass-like screen coupled with a heavy and complex device such as these graphics tablets simply can’t resist the impact of falling on the ground.

There’s no way around it, once you get an expensive tablet that has a large drawing surface, you have to be absolutely careful with it. One little mistake and your tablet is broken forever. Don’t even get me started on replacing screens and trying to call customer support in order to get it fixed. These repairs are so expensive that you’d be better off by saving a bit more money and getting a brand new drawing tablet.

Once you get a Huion 420, there’s no need to worry so much about keeping it in one piece. I have dropped mine several times and it works just as well as the day I bought it. It’s as good as new.

I like to made this analogy: drop an iPhone from a considerable height than check its screen. After you’re done crying, do the same with one of those old Nokias! The Nokia can take several rounds of impact with only a few scratches to show for, the screen of the iPhone will probably be ruined the very first time it falls.

What I’m saying basically is: the Huion 420 is the Nokia of drawing tablets.

 

Pen Pressure Sensitivity

Huion 420 pen

Despite the fact that this tablet is insanely cheap, it still comes with a rather good digital pen (stylus).

While the pen isn’t the most advanced, it still offers a remarkable 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity.

You will notice that more expensive tablets usually come with pens that express 4096 or 8192 levels of pressure sensitivity, which is great. But that doesn’t mean that 2048 levels aren’t a lot. Any decent artist will be able to create whatever he pleases with a pen like the one that comes with the Huion 420.

I have written an article about pen pressure sensitivity and you can read it right here.

What I need you to take from this part of the article is: don’t worry so much about the pen that comes with this drawing tablet because it’s definitely good enough.

You should only truly worry about a digital pen if it doesn’t have any pressure sensitivity at all. Which would equate it to a regular mouse.

 

Compatibility

Having a highly portable device that doesn’t run on common operating systems would render it virtually useless and Huion knows this. This is exactly why they’ve made sure that this drawing tablet runs on operating systems such as: Windows 7, 8, 10 and above, but also on Mac OS 10.8 or above.

As long as your computer is not eerily old, the Huion 420 will run just fine on it.

 

Disadvantages of the Huion 420

 

Pen needs a battery

Huion 420 pen battery

In the past it was extremely common for digital pens (styluses) to require a single AAA battery (that skinny one), but, over time, technology has moved forward and the new industry standard is the rechargeable pen.

This is wat you will find in over 90% of the drawing tablets for sale. Sometimes it’s also possible to find tablets that come with pens that don’t even require batteries or being recharged, the pens simply work.

Unfortunately, this is not the case when it comes to the Huion 420. This tablet’s pen does require that traditional AAA battery, which is probably one of the biggest disadvantages of this device.

Since the energy consumption of the pen is extremely low, a single battery may last for up to a couple years. The biggest problem I’ve had with this is that I kept a battery in my pen for such a long time that it went bad and started leaking.

One more thing worth mentioning is that the battery does not come included in the package, so, if you don’t have one at home, you won’t be able to use or tablet when it arrives in your house. Remember to buy the battery in advance.

Regardless of this battery issue, this is not a substantial problem and I don’t believe it takes much away from this tablet’s overall rating.

 

Pen is fragile

Even though the tablet itself is quite durable, the same can’t be said by the pen. As long as you avoid letting it fall on the floor, you will be fine, but due to the fact that there’s a battery inside the pen along with a couple of tiny moving parts, one single fall might be enough to cause irreparable damage.

 

Learning curve

Artists who have experience with drawing tablets, particularly the ones that don’t have their own screen, know that there’s definitely a learning curve. A rather steep learning curve that is.

However, things don’t get any easier with a smaller tablet like the Huion 420, in fact everyone agrees that, due to the size of the drawing area of this tablet, it takes even longer to get comfortable using it, let alone really mastering the digital painting craft.

I’m not saying that you should shun away from practicing with this tablet, I’m simply stating that it will take some getting used to and many hours of practice.

 

Drawing surface area size

This is a double-edged sword. If you’re looking for portability, if you like taking your tablet to different places, then its small drawing area can be a huge advantage. Like I’ve mentioned before, being able to simply put the tablet in your pocket makes things a lot easier when you’re on the go.

That being said, it’s much harder to produce any artwork rich in detail with such a small area to work with. Sure you can use the zoom feature to get things done, but it takes a lot time and, most importantly, a great amount of patience.

 

Not enough coverage

Some people have complained that, due to the size of the drawing board, they are unable to reach the corners of their screen with the pen. Meaning that when you drag the pen to the very corner of the tablet, the cursor doesn’t move all the way to the very corner of the screen.

I’ve never had this problem, but I do know that drawing tablets tend to behave slightly different depending on the operating system and on the screen settings.

I’m entirely sure that if you come across this issue, it can be solved through a little bit of configuration. Again, you’ll most likely be fine, the Huion 420 will probably work perfectly on the first attempt, but, in case it doesn’t, it’s really not a big deal. Everything can be fixed.

 

No express keys

First let’s get one thing out of the way: what are express keys?

Express keys are buttons that are located on the tablet itself, they can usually be found right next the drawing area, either on the left or on the right side and, in some cases, immediately above the drawing area. Take a look at the image below to understand better.

Huion H420 express keys
Express keys on the Huion H420, an upgraded version of the Huion 420

 

These express keys can be configured to perform certain actions that the user needs frequently. For example, you may choose one of the buttons to “save” the file you’re working on, so, instead of having to save the file like you usually do, all you need to do is click on the express key and the file will be saved automatically.

The more express keys a tablet has, the more buttons you can configure. Usually artists assign commands such as “save”, “undo”, “redo” and different types of brushes to these keys in order to save time while working.

In my experience, express keys can be helpful, but they are by no means a necessary feature. They are more useful in standalone tablets that can be used without a keyboard.

In the case of the Huion 420, since you will need a computer and a keyboard anyway, having express keys doesn’t make much of a difference.

If you believe that having express keys is a must, you should check out the Huion H420 because it’s virtually the same thing as the Huion 420, but with three added express keys.

 

What the most common issue with the Huion 420?

 

There are three very common issues and they can be solved precisely the same way. Here are the problems:

  1. The pen tracking doesn’t work properly; it behaves erratically;

  2. The pen pressure is turned off and the tablet works as a regular mouse;

  3. The driver that comes with the Huion 420 doesn’t work at all.

All of these problems are caused because the driver that is recommended for the Huion 420 seems to be outdated and it doesn’t always run smoothly as it should.

The good news is, when the Huion 420 tablet driver fails, the Huion H420 driver works just fine, even if you use it with a Huion 420.

In case you got a little confused with the statement above, let me clarify things.
There are two different tablets:

  1. Huion 420;

  2. Huion H420 (this one is a bit more expensive because it’s an updated version of the Huion 420).

What I was saying before is that the driver for the Huion H20 works for both tablets and it usually solves all the problems that might arise from installing the Huion 420 driver (because it’s older).

Before you go ahead and directly install the Huion H420 driver, you should know that it’s smarter to first give the Huion 420 driver a try. The device was created to be used with this specific driver and using it will decrease the probability of driver conflicts in the future.

If the Huion 420 driver doesn’t work for you, then it’s totally OK to go ahead and install the Huion H420 drive.

Here, let me this process easier for you. I will put download links for both drivers below:

 

Huion 420 Drivers

Huion 420 Windows driver download
Huion 420 Mac driver download

 

Huion H420 Drivers

Huion H420 Windows driver download
Huion H420 Mac driver download

 

If these drivers, for some reason, still don’t work, you may also talk directly with their customer support at: [email protected]

You may also find more relevant information about drivers and support at the manufacturer’s website.

 

What software does the Huion 420 work with?

The tablet works with two of the most popular operating systems: Windows and Mac.

Regarding image editing, drawing and design software, the Huion 420 also works with:

  1. Adobe Photoshop;

  2. Adobe Illustrator;

  3. Corel Painter;

  4. Comic Studio;

  5. Pixologic ZBrush;

  6. 3D Studio Max;

  7. Maya; among others.

I would like to make this very clear, this drawing tablet will work with virtually any image related software out there. The list mentioned above only includes the most popular software, but it does not mean that the tablet is restricted to them.

 

What comes in the Huion 420 box?

Huion 420 box content

Drawing tablet

 

USB cable

 

Pen (stylus)

Important observation! The pen requires an AAA battery, but the battery does not come in the box, you have to buy it elsewhere.

 

4 pen tips (nibs)

Each pen tip is extremely durable. Probably you won’t even have to use any of these extra pen tips, but in case you do, it’s really easy to change them.

 

User manual

 

Types of Huion 420 drawing tablets

In the past, graphics tablets were extremely simple devices. They were simply a drawing board with a pen, the user couldn’t choose any of the features of their device before purchase. Nowadays, as these tablets become full-fledges computers, there’s a myriad of choices to be made before ordering one.

Although the Huion 420 is still the simplest drawing tablet out there, you still get to choose one aspect of it: it’s color.

The tablet comes in all black or all white.

Huion 420 black version
Huion 420 black version

 

Huion 420 white version
Huion 420 white version

 

The black one tends to be much more popular and there’s a reason for this: it doesn’t look dirty after you’ve been using it for several months. A black drawing tablet look as good as new even when it’s used and it’s even hard to see the inevitable scratches on it after you’ve owned one for over a year.

On the other hand, the white ones get an “aged” look rather quickly. The plastic that composes most of the tablet gets darker naturally over time. Not to mention that tiny particles of dust tend to accumulate over time giving the device a slightly brown tinge after prolonged use.

My tip to you is: get the black Huion 420, not the white one.

 

Should you buy the Huion 420?

Absolutely, yes!

As I’ve said before, owning a cheap drawing tablet to take with you no matter where you go is better than not having it. Since the investment required is so low, the tablet is completely worth it.

There’s simply no other product in the market within this price range that comes even close to the quality of the Huion 420. You should manage your expectations though, this device costs as much as a meal, therefore you must be aware that it does have its limitations.

 

Conclusion

The Huion 420 is a great way to get started in the digital art world with virtually no risk. Even if you decide that this is not the best tablet for you, it will definitely give you the experience of drawing through a digital medium, which is completely different form using real life pencils and brushes.

This tablet is the perfect way to get used to drawing on a surface unlike paper and to practice hand-eye coordination, which are crucial skills for all digital artists.

You may check out the product’s price on Amazon and read more reviews written by people who have purchased the product.

If you would like to know more about other tablets that are also incredibly cheap, make sure to check out this article: Cheap Tablets for Digital Art.

 

Now let’s get back to work. It’s time to create!

Bruno Santos

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