Huion H420 review

Someone drawing with a Huion H420

The Huion H420 is literally the most sold drawing tablet in the world. This does not mean it’s the best and it also doesn’t mean that it’s suitable for every task. It simply means that when we take into consideration price and features, this graphics tablet offers the best deal currently available.

Although this device is not necessarily innovative, since it’s an upgrade of the also incredibly popular Huion 420, the fact that it costs so little (see price on Amazon) makes it an obvious choice for those who are still testing the waters before deciding on whether they should invest any money on a more expensive graphics tablet.

This is precisely why the Huion H420 sells so much. The price is so incredibly low that anyone who buys it can rest assured that even if they don’t love the product, they don’t have much to love.

It’s very important to note that categorizing this graphics tablet as a drawing tablet is a bit subjective because even though it works perfectly well for drawing and painting, the Huion H420 wasn’t necessarily created for this purpose.

Due to the rather small size of the active drawing area, this tablet is known as a “signature device”, meaning that its main function is to allow the user to sign on the board and transfer the signature to the computer in order to use it with digital documents, mostly in PDF format.

Just like what happened with its predecessor, the Huion 420, artists soon realized that the hardware and software used in these devices were exactly the same being used in much more expensive drawing tablets, the only difference between them was the fact that the expensive ones had larger drawing areas.

For someone who’s just getting started in the digital art world, it makes perfect sense to get an extremely cheap device at first in order to get used to how things work before moving to a more professional graphics tablet and, again, this explains the success seen in the Huion H420 sales.

 

Who should get the Huion H420?

(Check price and reviews on Amazon)

Huion H420 drawing tablet with pen

 

This is possibly the best device for anyone who has never even used a drawing tablet before. Although the drawing area is small, it works exactly the same way as all the other graphics tablets in the market. Which basically means that, if you have fun drawing with this one, it will only get better as you purchase better devices.

Another great reason for getting the Huion H420 is if you’re an artist, a designer or a photographer who already has a graphics tablet, but would also like to have a device that you can literally carry in your pocket wherever you go. Yes, you read that right, this tablet is so small that you can even carry it in your pocket.

Those who would like to have a “throw away” drawing device would also be very happy with what the Huion H420 has to offer. Since this tablet has very few moving parts, it’s extremely durably and will withstand a few crashes against the ground without being seriously damaged. Although the stylus (pen) that comes with this tablet is quite fragile, the drawing board itself is pretty tough.

 

Who shouldn’t get the Huion H420?

 

People who are already experienced and would like to get a secondary drawing tablet for professional reasons should not get this device. Unless you plan on carrying it around, the Huion H420 is not a great tool for professionals due to the size of its drawing area.

It’s the same situation experienced by owners of the Huion 420 (the older version of the Huion H420). Getting such a small device means having to use the zoom tool hundreds of times, a task that will consume valuable time for anyone who uses drawing tablet for a living.

The Huion H420 will be able to perform nearly any task that larger tablets do, the difference is that it’s going to take much longer. Drawing on a small plastic surface is similar to drawing in a small piece of paper, it’s possible, but it gets annoying pretty fast.

What I’m trying to say is: if you’re a professional who has no need to carry a drawing tablet to other places, this one will not have a positive impact in your life, you don’t really need it.

 

What are the advantages of the Huion H420?

 

It’s cheap

This tablet is unbelievably cheap, I’m not exaggerating, the first time I saw its price, I thought it was wrong (see price on Amazon). The price is so low that even those who don’t actually need a drawing tablet would be better off by getting this one just in case.

I like to explain things through analogies, so…I think this is a good one: I’m not a particularly big fan of sneakers, I don’t think about them, but if I could get a decent pair for, say… 10 dollars, I would simply go for it.

The same goes for the Huion H420, it’s o affordable that it doesn’t make sense not to own one, especially if you’re interested in art, design, photography or the visual industry in general.

 

It’s portable

Many graphics tablets require the user to install a certain driver on the computer in order for them to work properly, but the Huion H420 is ahead of that.

The people who developed this drawing tablet knew that their target audience would most likely take this tablet everywhere, so they made sure that the device is “plug and play”. You don’t have to worry about installing anything. All you need if the drawing tablet, the stylus (pen) and a USB cable to connect the tablet to the computer.

Everything works. It’s as simple as that.

 

It doesn’t break easily

Drawing tablets are extremely fragile things, even more than laptops I would say. This is particularly true if we analyze those tablets that have a screen. All it takes is one fall and your device will be ruined forever. And it’s so expensive to replace the screen of a graphics tablet hat you would be better off by buying a whole new device.

Since the Huion H420 is simple and almost doesn’t have any moving parts, it can take a few hits before actually breaking.

Does this mean that you can throw it around and let it fall inside the swimming pool? Of course not! But it will most likely keep on working if you let it fall from a table a couple of times.

In case you would like to buy a drawing tablet for a kid, this one is a great option because of all the reasons mentioned above.

 

It works will all the important software

Huion H420 software

While it’s true that these days most drawing tablets work almost perfectly with all the professional image-editing software out there, the same isn’t true for extremely cheap tablets such as the Huion H420.

But the guys working at Huion are smart and they’ve made a special effort to make sure that their device is compliant with majo programs such as: Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Fireworks, Corel Painter, Maya, 3D Studio, ZBrush and so on.

I have extensively tested the Huion H420 with a plethora of different software and I’ve never came across a program that it didn’t work well with.

This characteristic really makes a difference because it allows you to use this drawing tablet in nearly any computer with almost any software, all you need is the USB cable to make the connection.

 

It comes with a great stylus (pen)

The stylus that comes with the Huion H420, although fragile, is much better than the pens that come with other drawing tablets that are up to twenty times more expensive.

At 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity levels, this is objectively a digital pen for professional work. The only considerable disadvantage of this pen is that it requires an AAA battery (which needs to be bought separately).

As long as you’re OK with the fact that the pen needs a battery, you couldn’t ask for much more regarding functionality since being pressure sensitive is the most important attribute of any digital pen for graphics tablets.

 

 

It has express keys

Express keys are buttons located on the drawing board itself. They make it easier for the user to perform routine tasks such as: “redo”, “udo” and “save file”. All it takes is one click in the designated express key and the action is automatically performed.

These button increase workflow speed and improve the user-experience. Even though they are not exactly necessary, they do help the user to save a bit of time.

One of the biggest differences between the old Huion 420 and the new Huion H420 is exactly the presence of these buttons. Take a look at the picture below to understand it more clearly:

Huion H420 express keys

 

 

What are the disadvantages of the Huion H420?

 

The drawing area is way too small

Huion H420 drawing area size

In case you’ve never used a drawing tablet before, you’re going to have a great time with the Huion H420. If you don’t have anything else to compare to, the active drawing area may not feel that small. It’s only once you get used to working with much larger graphics tablets that this drawing area size issue becomes really annoying.

One thing must be said though, being so small is both a disadvantage and an advantage. Remember, if this tablet was large like the others, you wouldn’t be able to simply put it in your pocket and leave the house.

I’m mentioning the size of the drawing board as a disadvantage because for most people a larger active drawing area is one of the most important characteristics of any graphics tablet.

 

The stylus (digital pen) needs a battery

Huion H420 pen

Nowadays there are countless drawing tablets that come with battery-free pens. Although this battery thing may not be a deal-breaker, it’s annoying to have to worry about whether your pen is going to be charged in the morning or whether you will have to go out to buy a new battery.

To be completely honest, these pens do not use a lot of electricity. It’s not like you’re going to have to buy a new battery every week. It works pretty much like a TV remote control; it takes ages for the battery to actually stop working.

The thing is…when the battery does stop working, you need to go out and buy a new one. Sometimes this happens in the middle of night, sometimes it happens when you’re in the middle of a project. You get my point. It’s troublesome.

You should also know that even the pens that are not battery-free are usually rechargeable. You just need ta USB cable and you can recharge them at any time. Although this is not as good as a battery-free pen, it’s still way better than having to buy an AAA pen.

Another important detail: the battery for the pen does not come in the box with the drawing tablet. You must buy it separately. If you decide to get a Huion H420, I highly advise you to get the battery for the pen right now. You wouldn’t feel great to have this graphics tablet delivered to your door just to find out that you can’t really use it because you don’t have a battery.

 

The stylus (digital pen) is fragile

Drawing tablet pens are fragile by nature, some a bit more, some a bit less. But one thing you must know, and this goes for all drawing tablets, not only for the Huion H420, every pen that needs a battery to work breaks more easily, especially if you let it fall on the floor.

These pens are usually made of plastic and a group of frail metal linings. If things are really tight together, like what you would see on an Apple Pencil, then there’s not much to worry about.

But once you get a bunch of tiny parts that dangle inside of a plastic case, like what happens with the Huion H420, and you add a heavier component to the core of the pen, such as the battery, you have a perfect recipe for destruction on impact.

I know I made it sound much worse than it actually is, but letting your pen fall on the floor will most likely cause it to break. There’s no need to drop it twice, once is probably enough.

Now, there’s no guarantee that your pen will break when it falls for the first time, but that’s a possible and quite common outcome.

You have two options here: either take good care of your pen or buy another one separately just in case your break.

 

What comes in the box of the Huion H420?

Huion H420 box

As if offering a fully-functional drawing tablet for an impossibly low price wasn’t enough, Huion has decided to step up their game and add a whole lot of other items into the graphics tablet’s box.

Here’s everything you will find inside the box:

  • Huion H420 Graphics Tablet

  • Stylus (Digital Pen)

  • 4 Pen Tips (Replacement Nibs)

  • Anti-Fouling Glove

  • Wool Liner Bag

  • Cleaning Kit

Huion H420 box content

 

When should you replace the pen tips of the stylus (digital pen)?

 

Huion’s pen tips are usually those off-white hard plastic ones. You’re probably never going to have to change yours.

The only good reason to change the pen tip (the Huion H420 comes with 4 extra nibs) is if they become deformed due to extended use. This usually happens with more expensive pens because their tips are made to wear out over time.

Why would a company develop a pen tip that wears out after some time?

Because it feels more comfortable to draw with this kind of pen tip. Their consistency seems more natural and they don’t slide through the drawing board very easily. In order words, they’re not slippery.

 

Why does Huion offer extra pen tips if theirs don’t wear out easily?

 

Huion will never say this, but I guess that they’re simply trying to make their tablet seem more appealing to potential buyers. They probably thought about some like this: “The more stuff we add to the box; the more people will be willing to buy this graphics tablet”.

And I think they’re right! Think about it. You’re already getting a pretty inexpensive device, but on top of that you still get a glove, 4 pen tips, a wool bad and a cleaning kit!

That sounds like a great deal. And it is!

The bottom line is: you’re probably not going to need the extra pen tips (nibs), but in case you do, there they are, right inside the box.

 

Is the Huion H420 anti-fouling glove really necessary?

 

I don’t think so. This goals have two very clear functions: avoiding the screen from getting dirty (if your drawing tablet has a screen, and avoiding your hand from messing up with the tracking of the pen, since it will be touching the board while you draw.

These are not real problems with the Huion H420 because firstly it doesn’t even have a screen, it’s simply a plastic drawing board. Secondly, the technology is already advanced enough to not recognize your hand as a drawing device.

The glove is simply added to increase the product’s appeal. It’s a cool item that makes you feel like a professional. It doesn’t do anything to objectively improve your experience though.

 

Is the wool liner bag any good?

Huion H420 Wool Liner Bag

Apart from the graphics tablet itself, the stylus (digital pen) and the USB cable, this is probably the only item in the box that’s actually useful.

I’m going to be honest with you, this wool liner bag feels pretty cheap. The thing is, it does help avoiding scratches to the surface of the tablet when you carry it with in a backpack full of stuff (like I usually do).

Between carrying your drawing tablet freely, without any kind of outside protection or using this wool bag, you should definitely go with the bag.

 

Is it a good idea to buy the Huion H420?

Huion H420 graphics tablet

Yes!

You have nothing to lose. This is a fully-functioning drawing device that can be taken anywhere without hassle. It’s a plug and play device that will allow you to draw nearly everywhere you go.

What else can I say? This graphics tablet costs as much as a meal, but it will certainly make you happier than filling your belly momentarily.

If you’re someone who likes art and likes to draw all the time, there’s not better deal than the Huion H420.

I used to recommend the Huion 420, but since the Huion H420 is an upgraded version, I think it’s a better idea to get this one instead.

Again, you will not find another device as complete as this one within the same price range. I have a whole lot of tablets, I write about them on a fairly consistent basis and I still haven’t come across a better deal than this one.

Make sure to read the reviews on Amazon and see what others have to say about this device, I’m sure you will find more useful information.

 

Conclusion

It’s not so common to find deals like this one. For sure the Huion H420 has its shortcomings. A small drawing area is a deal-breaker for a lot of people, but you should definitely consider having a cheaper tablet on your drawing tools arsenal.

The advantages of this drawing tablet far outweigh its disadvantages and…let’s be honest, at this price point, once you place your order you already won. There’s really not much to think about.

It doesn’t matter if you’re already an artist or if you’re getting started now, this is one of those situations that are nearly risk-free. If you buy a Huion H420 and you like it, great, you got a new device that will help you keep creating more artwork. If you don’t particularly like it, you’re still going to own a perfectly fine drawing tablet, even if you only use it sometimes. You win either way.

If you have any questions about this graphics tablet or any other art related stuff, make sure to leave a message. I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

 

Let’s keep on creating!

Bruno Santos

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