The XP-PEN Artist 15.6 Pro is one of the trickiest drawing tablets currently being sold. Make sure you read this article thoroughly before buying yours otherwise you may end up making a huge mistake.
In this article I will talk about everything that is important about this graphics tablet, especially those aspects that may cause trouble for those of you who are unaware of certain characteristics of this device.
What you should know about the XP-PEN Artist 15.6 Pro
The XP-PEN Artist is not a standalone device
This basically means that you will definitely need a computer in order to use this drawing tablet.
That’s right, if you don’t have a computer to connect the graphics tablet to, you simply will not be able to use it.
Most beginners believe that every drawing tablet is a standalone device, meaning they can simply turn it on and start using it right away. This is completely false.
More than 90% of the drawing tablets in the market need a computer to be connected to. It is in that computer that the user needs to install an operating system, such as Windows, and all the software, like Photoshop, Illustrator, Maya, Zbrush and so on.
The XP-PEN Artist 15.6 belongs to this category. It’s simply an input device, like a super advanced mouse, but just an input device nonetheless.
If you want a drawing tablet that works by itself, that doesn’t need any external hardware, make sure to see this list of the best standalone drawing tablets. There you will surely find something that fits your needs.
You need an HDMI port
As with any other drawing tablet, you will need a USB port to make a connection between the device and the computer. That being said, the XP-PEN Artist 15.6 has another very particular characteristic: it also requires an HDMI port.
Just a few years ago it would have been insane to release a product that needed such a specific port in order to work. Nowadays things have changed and it’s increasingly more common to ee computers that come with these ports by default.
While not all desktop computers have an HDMI port, it’s nearly impossible to come across a laptop that doesn’t have one.
All you need to know is that you will need a computer or laptop with an HDMI port otherwise you will not be able to use the XP-PEN Artist 15.6 Pro.
Tricky driver installation
Most drawing tablets simply require you to click on “Next” multiple times during installation and it’s all good. Well, this one requires a little more effort than that.
You must uninstall any other drivers from other drawing tablet devices (whether they’re from Wacom, Huion or any other) in order to get the XP-PEN Artist 15.6 to work properly.
I know that you will feel tempted not to do it, just to test it, right?
Go ahead and you will see that your drivers will be in conflict and non of your drawing tablets will work until you do what I just said.
Please, do uninstall other graphics tablets’ drivers before installing this one. It will save you time.
Tip for Windows users
Remember to close all drawing programs and install the XP-PEN Artist 15.6 Pro driver as an Administrator.
Simply click on the driver with the right button of the mouse and select the option “Run as Administrator”.
If you don’t do this, it won’t work.
Is the XP-PEN Artist 15.6 worth it?
(Click the image to see it on Amazon)
After reading all of the observations above you may be questioning whether it’s worth going through all of this trouble instead of simple buying a more convenient drawing device.
Well, all of the intricacies of the XP-PEN exist for a reason. The manufacturer didn’t add an HDMI port requirement just to make your life harder, it’s actually the opposite.
While it’s true that getting this graphics tablet to work can be a little annoying at first, once everything is settled, the XP-PEN Artist 15.6 Pro work marvelously well. It has been receiving incredible reviews and some even say that this is the best drawing tablet that they have ever used.
I don’t own one of these, but I had the pleasure to use one of them to draw for a few minutes.
I was very impressed with the precision of the strokes and the crispness of the image in general. It’s hard to explain, but due to the full-laminated and anti-glare properties of the screen, the drawings seem so real that it feels like they’re being drawn with real-life materials like paint.
This is an amazing characteristic, especially if you come for a more traditional background in fine arts. Either way, even if you don’t like traditional art at all, you will still feel like the user-experience that comes long with this drawing tablet surpasses what’s seen in most other similar devices.
What I’m trying to say is that the X-PEN Artist 15.6 Pro is unique, in a good way.
Good characteristics of the XP-PEN Artist 15.6 Pro
Large active drawing area
Ok, this is not the largest drawing tablet out there, but it has a noticeably good size if you compare it to any other device within the same price range. At 15.6 inches, the active area is more than enough to offer the user a comfortable drawing experience.
If you need a tablet that is large, but that can still be carried around without much hassle, this one fits the bill perfectly well.
This is where the XP-PEN Artist 15.6 differs from the others. The glass/screen is easy to look at and yor eyes won’t feel as tired even after working for consecutive hours. That doesn’t mean that you’re supposed to draw for 12 hours in a row without looking away. Everything in moderation, please!
Easy brightness adjustment
These days, nearly every tablet that comes with a screen allows you to regulate brightness, but this is usually done through the software. The cool thing about the XP-PEN Artist 15.6 Pro is that brightness can be increased or decreased through a little button that’s easy to access.
The zoom feature is, without a doubt, the most used tool when it comes to digital art. In order to get all those tiny details in, it’s necessary to zoom in and out of the canvas hundreds if not thousands of times.
By observing this behaviour, the XP-PEN Artist 15.6 came up with the idea of adding a zoom dial to the drawing board. This is simply a red circle that mimics the way volume buttons work, but instead of raising and lowering sound, it does the same for the zoom.
That’s a genius idea is you ask me! Even better than touch screen.
Is the pen that comes with the XP-PEN Artist 15.6 Pro any good?
I’ve noticed that drawing tablet manufacturers have been paying special attention to the pens that are sold together with their devices.
This is a great thing because in the past it was quite common to see really good graphics tablets couples with horrible pens. Companies would do that only to release the same drawing tablet, a year later, but with a better pen.
Due to the highly competitive nature of the current market, manufacturers cannot get away with this kind of behaviour anymore. Nowadays either you sell a great product from every single aspect, or your competitors will annihilate you.
This is one of the reasons why the XP-PEN Artist 15.6 Pro has an amazing pen (stylus). Here are some of the most important characteristics:
8192 pressure-sensitivity points
This is more than enough for your to fully express your creative mind. More pressure points than this would simply be redundant.
60 degrees of tilt recognition
No matter how you choose to hold the digital pen or how you prefer to draw, this pen will accurately capture your hands’ movements and turn them into art in the screen.
Stop worrying about charging your pen after using it for extended periods of time. Simply use this stylus as you go, you will never have to recharge it.
What problems do the XP-PEN Artist 15.6 Pro have?
Like I mentioned at the beginning of this article, a troublesome installation process can be a problem to those who don’t know absolutely anything about computers. Having to deal with drivers even before you get to use the drawing tablet can make a lot of people feel discourage and even give up buying this product.
Another thing you should know is that some people, even after successfully installing the drivers, come across substantial software-related issues.
My take on this is that the manufacturers of the XP-PEN Artist 15.6 Pro worked so hard to create the perfect drawing tablet to work on an ideal environment that they neglected all the edge cases that are so common when you sell a popular device.
I mean, can you imagine how many people are going to buy this drawing tablet only to get home and realize that their computer does not support HDMI?
This is why it’s so important that you do take the time to read more about this tablet before deciding whether it’s for you or nor.
Make sure to read as much as possible on Amazon, especially the reviews, which are the most telling information about any product, drawing tablet or not.
Even though the XP-PEN Artist 15.6 Pro can’t be defined as an inexpensive device, if you have the money for it, it’s a great drawing tablet to have at home.
Just make sure that your computer has an HDMI port and you will be surprised by how great it feels to draw with one of these.
Make sure to read as many reviews on Amazon as possible before deciding to buy this graphics tablet and you’re good to go.
If you have questions, leave a message. I’m here to help!
Take care and keep on creating,
This Post Has 9 Comments
I just bought a artist 15.6 for my 11year old daughter. I’m trying to connect it to my HP chrome book but I’m having difficulties. I don’t know if that’s a good thing to connect to if I have to purchase a different computer. Please advice.
Unfortunately Chromebooks don’t usually work with drawing tablets. There are very few exceptions and even in those cases there is a ton of hacking needed in order to get even the most basic functionalities.
The XP-PEN Artist 15.6 Pro is a great drawing tablet and I think buying a regular laptop instead of a Chromebook would be great for you. Not only you would be able to use your drawing tablet with it, but you would also enjoy a much better computer overall. Chromebooks offer only the bare minimum, they’re not suitable for artists.
Thanks for leaving a comment =)
Hi Bruno, thank you for the very practical review of this product. Can you confirm that after the initial intstallation I can use this product without alone without connecting it with the PC I installed the software on? I intent to be mobile with the Drawing Tablet, must I also ensure I am with the installation PC all of the time to use this product ?
You absolutely NEED a computer to use this drawing tablet and you will only have access to the software / apps that are installed in said computer. Nothing is installed in the drawing tablet itself. For example, let’s suppose you install Photoshop in your home computer and use the XP-PEN Artist 15.6 Pro to create artwork, now…if you take the same drawing tablet to a friend’s house and try to use it in his computer, you will not be able to use Photoshop unless your friend also has it installed in his computer.
If you want a drawing tablet that does not need to be connected to any computer, you have to buy a standalone drawing tablet (click here to see a list of the best ones).
Thank you this is very helpful. Can I use the XP-PEN Artist 15.6 with a MAC Book Pro?
Thank you so much. This article was so helpful to me.
thank YOU for taking the time to leave a comment =)
I am considering buying Artist 15.6 for my 14-year-old daughter. She used to draw on her iPad before it became too old and broke. I read your review and comments about the necessity of having a computer to be able to use this drawing tablet. Will it be ok to use it with a quite simple HP laptop or we need to consider some special requirements for video card, processor etc.? The matter is that she needs something reliable which will give her possibility to create highly detailed drawings so I am worried if I buy her a cheap laptop the Artist 15.6 will not be efective. Or it will be ok?
You absolutely need a good computer or laptop if you want your daughter to have a good drawing experience. When it comes to drawing tablets, desktop computers are usually better because they don’t become obsolete as fast as a laptop does.
If your daughter plans to draw at home, focus on getting a decent computer, but if she wants some mobility, a large iPad (check out the best iPads for drawing) would be a much better option.