In the retouching world, graphics tablets are pretty much a standard for everyone from students to professional artists. I don’t know of many retouchers that only use their mouse to get the job done. Graphics tablets allow for a more precise, and thus refined, work. They also used to cost a fair amount of money, but that was until XP-Pen came along. Here are seven things you didn’t know a graphic tablet could do:
Replace your mouse. Combine the flat surface of your tablet with your pen tool to completely take over the job of your mouse.
Reduce your chance of repetitive strain injury. Use the better ergonomics of your tablets stylus (compared to your mouse) to reduce your risk of injury and find wrist pain relief.
Draw with no lag. Todays graphic tablets perfectly simulate the experience of drawing with a pen and paper, with no delay between the movement of your hand and the results on the screen.
Provide incredible artistic versatility. The combination of a tablets digital platform and good pressure sensitivity lets you control enhancements such as brush size, opacity, flow, hue and texture.
Write on documents. You can use your tablet to draw on Word documents and make handwritten edits in different color ink!
Use touch capabilities. With a tablets touch features, you can move your cursor, and use gestures to rotate your canvas or make it bigger or smaller.
Create almost anything. With your tablet, you can make annotations, edit photos, illustrate comic books, draw animations, and render 3D models.
Recently, XP-Pen updated their Deco tablet line with a new version of the Deco 02. With many tweaks, the new version is definitely a step apart from the old. Find out if it’s worth the upgrade!
If you’re not editing with a tablet, you should really consider it. A mouse is great, but the act of drawing is so natural to photo editing that tablets are the perfect extension — the modern canonical tool, if you will.The XP-Pen Deco 02 Pen Tablet is a flexible graphical tablet that can be used to digitize your work, and by flexible, we don’t mean bendable. By itself, the Deco 02 is a standard drawing tablet that connects to your system via USB . It has eight customizable ExpressKeys and a Touch Ring to assist you with your workflow, and comes with the XP-Pen Advanced P06 passive pen, which has 8192 levels of pressure sensitivity.
The large versions XP-Pen Deco 02 come with eight customizable ExpressKeys and feature 8,192 levels of pressure, 5,080 lines/in resolution, 266 points/second reporting, USB connectivity, and a multi-function touch ring. What’s impressive is that at 1.54 pounds and with an overall footprint of 13.2 by 8.5 by 0.3 inches, it’s barely bigger than the older small version, making it highly portable and great for tossing in your laptop bag to edit on the go. Also included are 8 replacement nibs , a texture sheet sample card, color identification rings, a 1.5m USB cable , a Multi-function Pen Holder, a drawing glove,and documents.
Online shopping for XP-Pen Deco 02 at United States Of America : https://www.amazon.com/XP-PEN-Graphics-Battery-free-Shortcut-pressure/dp/B07DCS9D9Q .
The tablet is really gorgeous to look at. It’s sleek and sophisticated and a testament to the fact that black is always in style. It’s pleasingly light, enough so that I often grab it off my desk and curl up in my chair with it to edit. The ExpressKeys and touch ring button provide excellent tactile feedback with predictable travel, much like a good mechanical keyboard, which helps to keep you in the flow when working. The touch ring is responsive and smooth and forms a pleasingly deep indent: it guides your thumb through the ring very well, making it easier to keep your eyes on the screen. In addition, the USB connection point is solid and secure.
Most important, however, is the pen-to-surface interaction, which I’m pleased to report is excellent. The surface is a bit coarse, almost like resume paper, and I found in practice that the slight uptick in friction made my strokes more accurate. The best way to describe it would be moving from a gel pen to a good fountain pen. Keep in mind that you can swap out the texture sheet for one with a different feel should you so desire. The drawback to this is that the nibs do tend to wear down a bit more quickly.
The tablet did a perfect job of ignoring my palm, but was impressively responsive and accurate both with pen and multi-finger gestures, of which it can recognize up to 10 fingers (this can be turned off with the side switch), allowing me to also use it like a MacBook trackpad. The rubber feet that run the length of the tablet keep it secure when it’s on a desk. I found the active area of the medium to be perfect for editing photos: enough room to travel as needed, but contained enough to minimize unnecessary movement, increasing efficiency and decreasing fatigue. On a side note, you’ll be pleased to note that the tablet is vertically symmetrical, so left-handed users are not at any sort of disadvantage.
XP-Pen Deco 02 Graphics Drawing Tablet – P06 Pen Stylus
The battery free pen stylus is another big plus for me. It is not as ‘clunky’ as a lot of graphics drawing pens I have reviewed are and has a nice thin profile with ergonomic shaping to the barrel. XP-PEN new advanced P06 passive pen was made for a traditional pencil-like feel! Specially designed for the Deco 02, it delivers a fashionable and technical sense. Comfortable grip and high efficiency! A unique hexagonal design, non-slip & tack-free flexible glue grip, partial transparent pen tip, and an eraser at the end.
The P06 passive pen is stellar. It’s ever so slightly less tapered and the center of mass is just below halfway up the pen, allowing it to naturally sit against your knuckle comfortably without feeling top-heavy and while gripping the surface well. Over the course of a long editing session, you’ll definitely come to appreciate the improved ergonomics. The buttons on the pen have good tactile feedback without being difficult to press. In particular, the top button sits a bit lower now, making it easier to access. I particularly appreciated that the side buttons are now much more flush with the body of the pen. This means you just have to slide your thumb up to use them as opposed to slightly lifting it. While that may seem minor, you can easily make this motion a couple thousand times in an editing session and keeping your grip consistent as opposed to constantly re-gripping the pen is significant when it comes to fatigue prevention.
I use LAMY Calligraphy pens for pen and ink drawing and they have a very similar design this makes the drawing experience much more comfortable. Round pens tend to make your hands hurt and often cramp up after prolonged use.The pen itself can stand vertically or lay flat on the base.
The pen stylus draws beautifully and is one of the best graphics drawing tablet pens that I have used. Due in part to the ergonomically shaped barrel and also to the excellent responsiveness.
The stylus has 8192 levels of pressure sensitivity which is a big step up from the general standards of 2048 LPS. As technology advances the drawing experience gets much closer to the real thing. On saying that a graphics drawing tablet can in some ways be better than the real thing!
XP-Pen Deco 02 Digital Drawing Tablet – Pen Stand and Spare Nib Store
With the pen is another great feature the pen stand. It has a nice weight so it’s not going to be rattling around the table and doesn’t take up much room.
XP-Pen.com have got it just about right with awaiting stylish pen on the holder.XP-Pen multi-function pen holder is included to keep your pen and pen nibs safe. You can use it as a pen stand or a pen holder, taking it wherever you go.
The stand is approx.1.5 inch square with a domed top. It has a neat feature as XP-Pen have designed this to store the 8 spare nibs. With a simple twist action the pen stand separated into two pieces with the bottom half securely containing the nibs. The base of the pen holder has a small slot to extract nibs and replace them in the pen stylus.
The software interface is quite good, offering a great balance of usability and customizability. Pressing the settings key brings up the Express View Display, which offers a quick rundown of all your parameters and the ability to click over to more advanced settings.
In the full interface, you can adjust most any setting globally or in application-specific styles. You can change the feel and sensitivity of the pen and eraser, create one-to-five-finger gestures, create multi-key macros to be assigned to ExpressKeys, and essentially customize the Deco 02 exactly as you please to match your workflow. In practice, I never had problems with it properly switching command sets between applications, and there was never any lag in doing so, allowing me to quickly jump back and forth between Photoshop and Lightroom while working.
Efficiency at your fingertips
The customizable ExpressKeys™ and Touch Ring on Deco 02 give you quick access to your favorite software shortcuts. The pen tablet recognizes application-specific shortcuts that you define. The on-screen Radial menu and Express View heads-up display help you stay focused on your work.
Since it’s a mid-range tablet aimed at those who draw digitally, it has a pretty good variety of hotkeys. 8 of them: undo, change brush size, pan, zoom and erase. The middle two that are set in a yin-yang pattern are for zooming. I’m not a fan of buttons for zoom because it makes photoshop either zoom in really fast or out all the way with no control for in between. It does kind of work better when your canvas area is really big though, like in the thousands of pixels. Still not the same feeling of control as a scroll-wheel. I zoom in and out very quickly to check my composition and rough values, so it was a big hassle taking my hands off the tablet to reach for the keyboard hotkeys. This is probably the #1 thing I dislike the most about this tablet. If they had just changed it out for a scroll-wheel or sliding control strip, something with incremental zoom, it would have been perfect.
XP-Pen Deco 02 Digital Drawing Tablet – Installing the Tablet Driver
Things that really bug me about any gadget, that requires some form of installation is the lack of information on how to install / program the device.
Thankfully the instructions for the Deco 02 were easy to follow and worked first time I downloaded the driver from the XP-Pen.com web site. It placed the Pen Tablet Setting application in my applications folder (program files in Windows) and a shortcut on the desktop (optional).
The Pen Tablet Setting App allows you to tailor the shortcut keys to different software that you may use. I find it off putting when any gadgets get so complicated that you end up being overdosed with technical capability. However, xp-pen.com have got it cracked.
As you can see this is pretty straightforward with 5 tab menus:
Pen , Monitor , Table Area,Express Keys,About.
The XP-Pen Deco 02 is compatible with Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows 10; Mac OS 10.8 and Mac OS 10.10. or higher.The XP-Pen works with most graphics software like Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, Corel Painter, Autodesk Sketchbook, Manga Studio, Clip Studio, Zbrush.
As with other electronics, forget about the driver CD and get it straight off the website Here, under the download tab.
A versatile size, Large Active Drawing Area ,without compromise
large size surface – This popular-sized pen tablet provides ample workspace, yet it still fits conveniently inside most laptop bags. Perfect for image editing, graphic design, and art interests, the Deco 02 medium is our most popular model.
On the top surface of the tablet are four white right angled markers which light up to indicate the active area thus defining your drawing space. These ‘landing lights’ are a nice feature as it allows you to see exactly where the active area is when drawing in lower lighting and even in pitch dark conditions. It also adds to the stylish look of the tablet.
The drawing area on this is 10 in x 5.63 in, which is very, very good at the same price point as a Wacom bamboo, which only has a 5.8 in x 3.6 in drawing area. This size active area is good for monitors around 15″-17″. It has 8192 levels of sensitivity and I have not noticed any difference between the sensitivity of this and my XP-Pen. The tablet is wired and hooked up to your computer by a USB-C connector .The cable is 1.5m in length which is a decent size to work with.
The default level of sensitivity works very well. It’s no different from any Wacom tablets I’ve used.
You can get the tapered strokes at the start, thick strokes, and tapered ends easily. The stylus is able to detect the slightest of contact on the surface. It supports 8192 levels of pressure sensitivity but not tilt.These are some hatching lines drawn very quickly with the stylus.A close up on those hatching lines shows that they are smooth. No jitter at all.The strokes also come out without any lag.
Graphics Tablet Anti Fouling Glove Included
One thing I really liked was the inclusion of the tablet glove in this set. For those on the tight budget it is one less item to buy amounts another tick in the box for XP-Pen.com.
For those who have never used a graphics tablet glove they are a fantastic asset to have as they keep your hand gliding smoothly with the pen (particularly when your hands get clammy in hot weather) and also keep the tablet surface dust free.
At almost $100 it is very affordable. More than affordable actually, but I don’t want to say that too much, or I am afraid XP-Pen might raise their prices. You may have noticed, I compared the Wacom Intuos Pro Medium to my XP-Pen Deco 02 a fair bit. But the reason behind this comparison is very simple. I wanted to emphasize the fact that this product is available at a price lower than the Wacom Intuos Pro while offering a quality and size close to that of a Wacom Intuos Pro Medium! For some people the XP-Pen might actually be even better, depending on the pen and surfacing you like best.
What I Liked
Extremely low price. It’s hard to overpraise the affordability of this tablet. If your budget is extra tight and you’re looking for a good entry-level tablet, look no further than XP-Pen Deco 02.
Excellent pen. An advanced number of pressure levels, good performance, and eight extra nibs. so you can create with the accuracy and precision of traditional brushes and pens. Control line width and opacity based on how lightly you touch the pen to the tablet surface.
Great set of shortcut buttons. Modern tablets are all about providing that extra value when you’re using a specialized software, and XP-Pen Deco 02 takes things even further. 1 Touch Ring + 6 more function keys = a dream-tier beginner’s tablet.
Solid build quality. I wasn’t expecting much from such a cheap tablet, but XP-Pen Deco 02 managed to surprise me – in a good way. The tablet looks and feels very solid, and its large active area is a huge advantage over other low-price tablets.
What Could Be Improved
Nibs wear out fairly quickly.
Overall, the new Digital Graphics Drawing Tablet XP-Pen Deco 02 is an absolute joy to use and saves me tremendous time in my work, which is why I highly suggest anyone add a tablet to their workflow, as it’ll pay for itself in the time you save. Interested in picking up your own? Grab it here.
The drawing functionality is more than satisfactory, very good.Not a perfect tablet by far, but probably the best you’re going to get for this price. Great performance that rivals the Wacom Intuos Pro , In many regards, this tablet is comparable to Wacom Intuos Pro, and I would like to pick the Deco 02, XP-Pen Deco 02 is an excellent pick for everyone. it is a good choice if you’re on a budget and looking for a cheap solution.
This pen tablet combines XP-Pen’s finest pen capabilities . Gain precision and control, speed your workflow, and take advantage of all the pressure-sensitive capabilities in your favorite creative software, thanks to the innovations built into the XP-Pen.