Thoughts on the XPPen Magic Drawing Pad (not a review)

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The XPPen Magic Drawing Pad is now available for sale, released on 22 Jan 2024. Price is USD 499 and there doesn’t seem to be any pre-order discount. Shipping will start on 30 Jan 2024.

I don’t have a review unit, yet, so what I’ll share below are my thoughts based on the specs and marketing I see online. And here are the specs:

Size
Dimensions 279 x 192 x 6.9 mm
Weight 599 g
Stylus
Technology Chip-powered & EMR
Pressure Levels 16,384
Reading Height 10~20 mm
Accuracy ±0.5 mm (center); ±1.5 mm (corner)
Resolution 2540 LPI
Display
Size 12.2 inches
Ratio 3:2
Resolution 2160 x 1440
Color 16.77 million colors, 77% NTSC, 109% sRGB, 82% Adobe RGB
Brightness 360 nit
Refresh Rate 60 Hz
Contrast 1200:1
Surface Technology AG (Anti-glare) + AF (Anti-fingerprint)
Display Technology TFT-LCD (IPS)
Viewing Angle 178°
Processor
CPU Octa-core MT8771 (2 x A76 2.4GHz, 6 x A55 2.0GHz)
GPU ARM G57 MC2
Operating System
OS Android™ 12
Memory
RAM 8GB
ROM 256GB
Micro SD Up to 512GB expandable
Camera
Rear Camera 13MP
Front Camera 8MP
Battery
Battery 8000mAh
Power Input 9V = 2A or 5V = 3A
Connectivity
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2×2)
WLAN Frequency 2.4GHz & 5.8GHz
Bluetooth Bluetooth 5.1
USB Type-C
Microphones
Microphones 2 microphones
Speakers
Speakers 4 speakers
Audio and Video
Audio File Format asf, wma, wax, wmx, wpl, avi, mp2, mp3, m3u, mid, midi, rmi, aif, aifc, aiff, au, snd, wav, cda, m4a, aac, adt, adts, flac
Video File Format asf, wmv, wm, asx, wvx, dvr-ms, wmd, avi, mpg, mpeg, m1v, mpa, mpe, ivf, wmz, wms, mov, mp4, m4v, mp4v, 3g2, 3gp2, 3gp, 3gpp, m2ts

Design


The XPPen Magic Drawing Pad is a 12.2-inch Android 12 tablet that weighs 599g and that’s a good weight as the more expensive 12.4-inch Samsung S9+ weighs 586g.

The size is somewhere between A5 and A4-sized paper and this is a good size to work with. There will be space to rest your palm. And even with drawing apps that have more UI elements, you should still be able to get a good amount of canvas space leftover for drawing.

This large 12.2-inch size also means the tablet will work great as an external display


The tablet is said to support 109% sRGB colour gamut so colours should look vibrant enough. The USD 249 Huion Kamvas Slate 10 I reviewed recently only has 90% sRGB colour gamut and the visual quality is affected by that.

Brightness is listed as 360 nits but chances are it’s probably gonna be around 300 nits in real life which is still decent. Contrast ratio is 1200:1


One main selling point is this tablet uses a 3:2 aspect ratio display. This aspect ratio is more useful especially with smaller displays, and this lets you use the tablet in landscape and portrait format more productivity. I love 3:2 displays because I use my tablets in portrait format often as external displays.

The display is TFT-LCD (IPS) with 2160 x 1440 resolution and that should be sharp enough for a 12.2-inch display. Refresh rate is 60Hz. TFT panels can have more noticeable IPS glow than high quality IPS panel, and this glow effect is more obvious at night or in dark rooms.

The response time is not listed so that’s a bit concerning. Typing response times for pen displays is around 15ms to 25ms. High end tablets such as iPad Pros and the Samsung Galaxy tablets have 10ms or less response time. Response time will affect latency, the gap you see as the line is catching up with the pen tip.

There’s no mention whether the display is laminated but it will be very strange if it’s not.


The display surface is matte glass which cannot be scratched by the pen. Matte anti-glare surface should work well indoors but I’m not sure how the glare will look outdoors, more specifically will the glare be too bright and blinding.

Matte drawing surface provides a tactile drawing experience, but matte surfaces will also introduce grain. It’s always a compromise of how much texture there is vs image quality of the display.

Pen


The included X3 Pro Pencil is said to use EMR technology and supports palm rejection, tilt and 16,384 levels of pressure sensitivity. There’s no mention whether it’s Wacom EMR technology. Most Wacom EMR pens that can be used with non-Wacom tablets have pressure sensitivity levels limited to 4096 levels. So XPPen could be using their own pen tech here, and hopefully it’s good.

The pen is not powered by battery so that’s great.


The pen has one side button.

There’s no mention of any driver so it’s very likely there won’t be any driver to customise the side button and pressure sensitivity. In other words, to customise the side button and pen pressure, you will have to rely on settings through your drawing apps.


Seems like XPPen has partned with Ibis Paint X to provide 3-months free subscription. There are many good drawing apps available from the Google Play Store so if you don’t like subscription apps, just go with those one-time purchase apps, Infinite Painter, Concepts, Sketchbook, Krita (free).

Performance

The processor is the Mediatek MT8788 which is only slightly better than the Unisoc T616. It’s an entry-level processor so don’t expect the best gaming performance with this tablet. For drawing purposes, workflow should be smooth.

There’s 8GB RAM, 256GB storage and a microSD card slot.

Below’s a video on the unboxing and things included:

Value for money?

So the only things we don’t know right now are latency and response time, and the actual performance.

Whether it’s worth the money really comes down to the drawing performance.

At USD 499, the Magic Drawing Pad will compete with the USD 519 Samsung Tab S9 FE+, USD 529 OnePlus Pad and pen and the Xiaomi Pad 6 with pen which is around USD 400-500.

Even the entry level iPads, after adding storage and Apple Pencil, are more expensive than the Magic Drawing Pad.

Availability

If you’re interested to get the XPPen Magic Drawing Pad, you can get it from XPPen online store.



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