XP-Pen Artist Pro 16TP honest review

We take a look at the XP-Pen Artist Pro 16TP, look at what's inside the box, how it works in use and other features.


In this review I take a close look at XP-PEN’s latest pen display tablet the Artist Pro 16TP. I’ll put it through its paces (using it as a digital painting tool) and consider it alongside some of the equivalent models I have reviewed in recent years.

I know that it is just a box, but it is a really cool box!

Pen display tablets

I’ve reviewed a long list of pen display tablets over the years. They have mainly been alternatives to Wacoms, made by companies like XP-Pen and Huion. I am about to be repetitious (if you’ve read any of my other reviews) and declare that these brands are absolutely credible alternatives which cost a fraction of the price. I’ve been saying that for about 4 years now, and in that time I’ve seen more and more of these excellent devices gracing the desks of the artists we work with at 3dtotal.

As I’m reviewing an XP-PEN on this occasion, I would like to start by saying very clearly – you can buy one of their devices knowing you are getting a quality product.

The XP-Pen Artist Pro 16TP is beautifully made and a fantastic quality product


As someone who reads a lot of reviews and appreciates a reviewer that cuts to the chase, I’m going to start with the conclusion and justify it throughout the rest of the review. This device is fine. By that I mean it is good, functions well and you will be able to use it effectively in combination with your digital painting or 3d modelling software of choice. The question I asked myself whilst using it though was “is this model necessary?”

Sitting on my little desk

Great XP-PEN alternative

A few months back I reviewed the quite excellent XP-PEN Innovator 16 Pen Display. It was similar in size to this and although the spec was ever so slightly different, it functioned in basically the same way – as a user I couldn’t tell the technical difference between the two. However the Innovator 16 had hotkeys which I’m a fan of, as well as a dial that could be customised. It was more portable, came with a stand and felt like an altogether more carefully considered device. See my review here.

This is a superb tablet and is priced very competitively.

The key features

The reason that device is relevant is because on XP-Pen’s website the Innovator is listed at £349.99 whilst the Artist Pro 16TP is listed at £799.99. I’m sure XP-PEN would list the touch screen capabilities and increased screen quality as the key features that justify the price difference. However, I don’t think I could tell the difference between the screen qualities with my naked eye, and when using a PC I’m so used to using hotkeys and the keyboard that the touch screen functionality just didn’t seem that valuable to me. I personally preferred the Innovator 16.

This image details some of its touch screen capabilities.

The Artists Pro 16 TP does have a beautiful 4k screen which is very desirable for those working professionally, but I also think the screen on the Innovator is superb, so you need to ask yourself how much you value the difference between the screens.

The device has a 4K screen which is great, but maybe not quite contrast you see in this image.

An important consideration

On the subject of touch screen, I feel there is something else that needs to be considered here, particularly when considering the £799.99 retail price. I am a huge fan of Procreate on the iPad. If you’re considering a device for the purpose of digital painting, I would suggest an iPad is a good investment for the money. Procreate is incredible software, and anyone trawling through Instagram would notice that it is increasingly the software of choice for professional digital painters. I’ve added a little demo below of something I consider very important.

Both devices are responsive to movement, but I feel the iPad Pro is more reactive and therefore more intuitive to use.

A pen display tablet is supposed to be beneficial to the artist because of how it mimics painting the real world. The measure of its quality is therefore in the accuracy of its registration on the screen, its responsiveness to strokes and its ability to represent the colours you want it to. The colour quality is superb, so I will skip past that one. In regards to registration on the screen and responsiveness, I think the iPad is a clear winner. It’s a subtle difference in reality, but one that has a large impact when you’re painting.

I started my journey into digital painting on a PC with a tablet – over time I have moved to an iPad with Procreate, as the software is superb and the digital representation of traditional drawing or painting is in my opinion unparalleled.

Here you can see the time I spent working on a sketch using the XP-Pen. It is a nice surface to paint on and a great tool to use.

My opinion

So my thoughts are that this is a good device that works well and that feels good quality. You will be pleased if you buy one. However, for me it doesn’t feel needed, or that it offers anything that feels new or particularly customised to certain tasks in a way that feels valuable. I prefer some of XP-PEN’s existing devices and for the money would invest in an iPad. I guess a ZBrush or 3d software user might like the touch screen rotation or zoom as it might feel more intuitive to them. They might find that a beneficial addition. I think the question they need to ask themselves is how much they want to pay for that capability.

XP-Pen have really improved their packaging and provide different plugs which helps you be confident that it will be a plug and play set up once it arrives.

XP-PEN’s selling points

So let’s spend a short while considering the specific features of the Artist Pro 16TP.

The display

It is a really brilliant screen. More specifically though it has a 4K screen with a resolution of 3840x2160. The colour range is also very good. In technical terms it boasts 92% RGB, 124% sRGB in colour gamut and 1000:1 colour contrast ratio. In a previous review I explained what that means, but a good way to get context for this specification is to look at competitors devices. Equivalent devices with this specification by other manufacturers could cost you almost £1000 more than this device.

To the naked eye I suggest these make small differences to the usability of the tablet. That said I generally do stylized characters and portraits. If I was working on matte paintings and realistic renders of 3d scenes, I would suggest this quality of display would be very beneficial.

The screen is really good, but I find it hard to compare it and explain the different to other comparable screens.

Touch controls

I’ve covered this to an extent already, but let’s consider it in a little more detail. On the side of the tablet there is a button that allows you to switch the mode easily to activate the touch screen features. These include the ability to zoom in and out and rotate your painting or 3d model. This works really well and will function exactly as you would expect it to. Touch screens are almost an expectation across technical devices these days so you will find this adds an intuitive edge to your creative processes.

There is an important caveat to this. Below you will see some information from the XP-PEN site where they demonstrate that some functionality is not supported in some operating systems. I wasn’t held back by any missing functionality, but I’ve included the list for full disclosure in case you decide you’d like to purchase one.

Touch screen compatibility

The stylus case

This is a really small thing for me to get so excited by, but the stylus case is really nicely designed. It is so robust and clean. It comes with a load of spare nibs which I would guess you might expect as standard.

The stylus box is pretty cool and great quality.

The stand

Well there isn’t one, simple as that. It looks like you can buy compatibly stands from the XP-PEN store for up to £50. This is a desktop item to work with a desktop PC.I can’t explain why they decided to not provide a stand with this tablet. Using it flat on the desk felt unusual to me and certainly isn’t the nicest way to use what is a pretty large screen. I guess if you’ve never used a pen display before that wouldn’t seem like a big deal but to e it felt like an oversight and like something I would want if I were to own this tablet.

What’s the verdict?

I’m going to give the XP-PEN Artists Pro 16TP 3 out of 5. It is a good device and works very well. The screen is very good and if you’re new to pen display tablets, I feel confident that it will revolutionise the way you work.

The screens surface is very satisfying to paint on.

It is only in the context of alternatives that it starts to leak points. I feel that the Innovator 16 offers more features likely to reflect the needs of a digital artist for a more reasonable price. The extra expense for the touch screen and improvements to the display wouldn’t sway me enough to try to persuade anyone to spend the extra money.

My final comment should reflect my feeling of positivity towards XP-PEN though. They are making amazing devices that are realistically priced and for that I applaud them. Their 3 out of 5 is less of a reflection of the shortcomings of this device, but is a reflection of the amazing quality of the digital art tools they have been producing for the last few years. They are creating very high quality competition for themselves, and the score has to be in context with their other superb tablets.

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