Overview of XP-Pen's Innovator 16: The Slimmest Ever Graphics Display

Reasonably priced, the new tablet from XP-Pen packs enough punch to compete with much more expensive offerings on the market. It’s a quality tablet for artists and photographers, with lots of extra goodies to boot.

Founded in Japan in 2005, XP-Pen is a developer of graphics tablets, pen display monitors, stylus pens, and other tools aimed at visual content creators.

Overview of XP-Pen's Innovator 16: The Slimmest Ever Graphics Display

Why editing with a graphic tablet

Graphics tablets offer an enormous amount of control and precision in your retouching. They can also speed up your workflow a lot. If you’ve never used a graphics tablet for photo editing before, you may wonder if you need one.

But I will say, this is one of those pieces of equipment that, once you’ve used it for a week, you’ll wonder how you ever got on without it.

A graphic tablet will speed up your workflow, allowing for quicker and more precise strokes. The result is improved and faster retouching (and happier clients!)

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A device such as this will both make and save you a considerable amount of money and time as a professional digital artist. More precise, controlled results mean your retouching output is improved while the time you spend doing it can be reduced by hours every week.

Graphic tablet vs. display tablet

Graphics tablets and drawing monitors are designed to work with styluses to produce artwork through mimicking drawing or painting on traditional media digitally.

They are developed with the technology to sense the pressure or tilt that the artist puts on the stylus to produce line weight to replicate a pencil, paintbrush, etc. digitally.

Overview of XP-Pen's Innovator 16: The Slimmest Ever Graphics Display
Overview of XP-Pen's Innovator 16: The Slimmest Ever Graphics Display
Overview of XP-Pen's Innovator 16: The Slimmest Ever Graphics Display

Tablet PCs are generally designed to be mobile mini-computers similar to mobile phones to act like miniature laptops.

Graphic tablet benefits:

  • Express keys (mechanical keys you can assign functions to such as erase or fill)
  • More affordable
  • Great life span (years and years)
  • They are built to last
  • No parallax
  • You never block your vision with your hand
  • Active stylus
Overview of XP-Pen's Innovator 16: The Slimmest Ever Graphics Display

About the Innovator 16″

The Innovator 16 is the thinnest pen display XP-Pen has made so far. This is the first pen display in the new Innovator series, and the third 15.6-inch pen display, after the XP-Pen Artist 15.6 and XP-Pen Artist 15.6 Pro.

With its industry-leading 9mm profile and sleek black and silver design, the 15.6″ Innovator Display 16 is perfect for drawing and editing on the go.

Keep in mind that the Innovator 16 is not a standalone drawing tablet, though, and therefore it needs to be connected to a computer.

Overview of XP-Pen's Innovator 16: The Slimmest Ever Graphics Display

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 443.27×256.45x9mm
  • 125% sRGB, 92% Adobe RGB, 88% NTSC
  • 8 Express Keys
  • Battery-free stylus

What’s in the Box

  • 1x 15.6″ Graphics Display
  • 1x Battery-Free Stylus
  • 1x 3-in-1 USB Cable
  • 1 x Extension Cord
  • 1x Power Adapter
  • 1x Portable Stand
  • 1x Pen Holder (comes with eight pen nibs)
  • 1x Quick Guide
  • 1x Cleaning Cloth

Innovator 16 vs. Artist 15.6 Pro

Perhaps these could be the most comparable models that XP-Pen produces, with the Innovator being the most recent release.

The Innovator 16 comes with a fully metallic body from the front as well as the back. Even the shortcut dial and the power and brightness buttons on the side are metallic – giving you a very premium feel.

Overview of XP-Pen's Innovator 16: The Slimmest Ever Graphics Display

Both tablets have a very similar design, with the drawing area on the left and shortcut buttons on the right. But the buttons on the Innovator 16 look more mature and minimalist and have better tactility. The Innovator 16 also has smaller bezels, making it 24mm shorter in height compared to the Artist 15.6 Pro. Still, both tablets come with the same screen size. As I said before, the newest model is the thinnest.

On paper, the Innovator 16 comes with slightly better color accuracy of 125% sRGB compared to 120% RGB in Artist 15.6 Pro. The newest model offers a better user experience in general.

The XP-Pen Artist 15.6 Pro comes with a single rotating mechanical dial. The Innovator 16 comes with a mechanical dial as well as a touch-based virtual wheel. The touch-based virtual dial on the Innovator 16 works just like the rotating dial, but instead of rotating it, you have to move your finger over it in a circular motion.

Overview of XP-Pen's Innovator 16: The Slimmest Ever Graphics Display

The drawing pen

The pen is very responsive, and the sensitivity is fluid, but it’s hard to imagine that anyone could sense the 8,192 levels of pressure that XP-Pen claims ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

The Innovator Display 16 comes with a battery-free stylus that never needs charging, allowing for hours of uninterrupted drawing. The stylus supports up to 60 degrees of tilt action, helping you create natural and seamless shading.

Overview of XP-Pen's Innovator 16: The Slimmest Ever Graphics Display

The editing experience

Drawing on the tablet feels good. The matte coating gives a slight texture to the drawing surface, which is good news because some tablets can feel too much like drawing on glass.

That slight resistance when you slide the pen goes a long way towards an organic drawing experience.

On the other hand, if you’re one of those artists who dislikes having the “bite” of texture when you’re drawing, don’t worry. The matte coating is removable. It peels off easily and can even be replaced if you change your mind.

Overview of XP-Pen's Innovator 16: The Slimmest Ever Graphics Display

It’s easy to get consistent line widths and smooth transitions along the pressure curve with this product. In some tablets, the pressure isn’t smooth, and the line width will suddenly jump unexpectedly or feel difficult to control, but that’s not a problem with the Innovator 16.

The laminated display has no gap between the pen tip and the line beneath. When drawing, the lines look like they’re from directly beneath the pen tip.

The anti-glare matte screen protector will produce white haze when light is reflected off it. If there are no reflections, then there’s no issue. Viewing angles are good. Colors don’t shift much, even when viewing from different angles.

Overview of XP-Pen's Innovator 16: The Slimmest Ever Graphics Display

Pros

The Innovator 16 has a truly beautiful HD display with color accuracy of 125% sRGB. This is a huge bonus for visual content creators and other artists looking to print their work. I was impressed with the vibrancy and the clarity of the color.

There’s a lot of options for customization. The display has its own controls for color, contrast, gamma, brightness, etc.

Also, the stylus pen is highly responsive, and the tablet itself quite lightweight. This tablet works for both left-handed and right-handed artists too.

Overview of XP-Pen's Innovator 16: The Slimmest Ever Graphics Display

Con

The maximum brightness could be brighter since brightness tends to deteriorate with time. The other downside is not about the pen display but the stand. It’s sturdy but also limited to just one angle. That may impede its use as a main monitor unless you want to hunch over all the time.

Overview of XP-Pen's Innovator 16: The Slimmest Ever Graphics Display

Final thoughts

I found the Innovator 16 to be a truly solid product that shines in all the right areas. The Innovator 16 is a beautiful pen display with fantastic drawing performance. I did not experience any major glitches or issues.

The driver works well. Even though it’s thin, the build quality is solid. It certainly has a premium look and feel. What is more important, this is a quality product with a very affordable price tag.

Considering all these factors, it is easy to conclude that if you are looking for a mid-size quality drawing tablet – the XP Pen Innovator 16 is an absolute deal – and a great value for money.

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