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XP Pen Artist 16 Pro Review: A Pro Graphics Tablet For Hobbyists?

Despite the Pro part of the name, I can easily recommend the Artist 16 Pro to non-professionals who are passionate about their art. If you are looking to transition into digital art-making, this graphics tablet is ideal.

Key Features
  • New X3 Elite Plus Stylus
  • 8 Express Keys
  • Two customizable dials
  • Ergonomic 9mm screen
  • Anti-glare film
  • Full laminated display
  • Brand: XP Pen
  • Active Area: 13.42 x 7.55
  • Pressure Sensitivity Levels: 8192 Levels
  • Connection: 1x USB-C
  • Color Gamut: 99% Adobe RGB, 94% NTSC, 133% sRGB
  • Tilt Support: 60°
  • Resolution : 1920 x 1080
  • Pen : X3 Elite Plus
  • Compatibility : Windows 7/8/10, Mac OS X 10.10 (or later), Linux
  • Vivid screen
  • High color gamut
  • Beautiful new stylus
  • Easy to use drivers
  • Wide compatibility
  • Clunky cords
  • No stand (have to purchase separately)
  • Limited connectivity
  • Only 1080p

XP Pen is one of the leading names in graphic tablets, and their most recent release, the Artist 16 Pro, appears to continue their reputation of quality artist technology. This addition to the XP Pen family comes loaded with a 15.4-inch display, a true-to-life color range, with a new stylus that promises to convert non-digital artmakers.

While this graphics tablet claims to be a more professional device compared to their Innovator Pen series, its 1080p display paired with its express key limitations make us ask the question: who is this really for?

What’s in the Box?

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  • XP Pen Artist 16 Pro Pen Display
  • X3 Elite Stylus
  • X3 Elite Stylus Case with Stylus tip replacements
  • A black artist glove
  • Four international power adapters
  • Power cord
  • An HDMI and USB connection cable
  • Warranty Booklet
  • Quick Guide

A Sleek Design With Some Drawbacks

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The XP Pen Artist 16 Pro features a display measuring 15.4 inches—a considerably decent size for artmaking. The Artist 16 Pro is also very thin, measuring in at about 9mm. Overall its physical design is sleek and its width makes it so that those who are more used to canvas or paper painting can feel at ease with the transition to digital art.

The express keys on the left side of the screen have a nice pressure when pressed and the organization is well thought out, if not fairly standard. The dual dials have nice reactivity; the outer dial moves smoothly while the inner dial when connected to your computer has a good sensitivity to touch.

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On the left side of the graphics tablet, there is a port for a USB-C connection which is what connects the display to the computer and power outlet. There is also a power button, as well as a brightness adjuster. When using the brightness buttons, the screen has the potential to get considerably bright which creates a lovely, vivid image quality.

The screen itself is 1080p, but despite its downgrade compared to competitor 4K displays, it looks really clean and the colors are real-to-life. The lamination and anti-glare film make it so you can move around the tablet without pesky reflections covering the sight of your work of art.

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The first drawback is the limitation in connections that the Artist 16 Pro offers. The USB-C port serves its function to connect and power the device, but if you want to connect any other tool, such as a hotkey device, or even another monitor (especially for Macbook users, ports on can sometimes come in a limited supply), having the option to daisy-chain other devices would be ideal.

It also doesn’t come with a stand. This has to be purchased separately—and while XP Pen offers a great selection of stands compatible with the Artist 16 Pro, such as the AC 41 Display Stand, it does come at an additional price, despite it being arguably an essential item. While we would obviously recommend you buy a stand (it just makes the experience more pleasant overall), it’s the sort of thing we expect to be included—or at least designed with a kickstand built-in to the rear.

Easy Installation


The installation and setup was made easy by their quick set-up guide. The guide leads you to their website and the appropriate drivers that you will need to install in order for the device to run on your computer. The driver installation file comes with a written guide to help you install the PenTablet app, which is helpful for troubleshooting and making sure your computer is prepared for the program. For example, if you are running off of macOS, it is recommended that you upgrade to Big Sur before downloading.

There are multiple cords that you have to use to power and connect the tablet. Along with the HDMI cable, there are two USB cables that are helpfully distinguished through color; the red connecting to the power adapter, the black to your computer. While the black USB cable, along with connecting the device to your computer, provides the tablet with power, it’s the red cable that ultimately gives this device its juice.

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You can work without having the red USB cable plugged in, however, you cannot use maximum brightness without hearing a faint buzzing noise coming from the cable. It will also drain your computer’s battery quickly, giving you less time to work before having to plug it in.

Additionally, you will need an artist program installed on your computer in order to use the device. The Artist 16 Pro is compatible with most artist programs and with the purchase you get access to one free license of either ArtRage5 or Opencanvas—which is a nice perk, especially for those who are just starting their ventures into the digital artmaking world.

An App That Works Despite Its Limitations


The PenTablet desktop app makes the customization experience of the Artist 16 Pro simple. Along with being able to adjust the size of each of your screens, this app is also the space where you can assign commands to the express keys and dual dials. For each app you use you can have different presets saved which is definitely ideal if you are someone who works in multiple mediums. Setting up your express keys is pretty standard; you can either pick from their prebuilt express commands or record your own. All in all, it’s a great, clean app that makes the experience of using the Artist 16 Pro pleasant.

A New Pen Worth the Upgrade

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With a new edition of the XP Pen Artist 16 Pro comes a new pen– the X3 Elite Plus Stylus. Arguably, one of the biggest pros of this graphic display is the stylus. Physically, it has a soft surface that is comfortable to hold and weighs roughly the size of a pencil—perfect for any pencil-to-paper sketchbook veterans. It also works with both left-handed and right-handed—so no need to worry about purchasing an additional pen.

Its sensitivity has definitely improved. You can adjust your pressure depending on the type of strokes and details you want to draw and the stylus will adapt seamlessly. If you want to create strokes that alternate in size, the sensitivity of the stylus will allow you to use pressure to dictate the size variety in a single stroke, meaning you don’t always have to adjust the size manually on the artist program. This is another pro when looking at this device as a strong competitor with non-digital mediums.

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The 0.6mm retraction makes it easier to move around the screen while keeping track of the cursor. After calibrating the pen, there are rarely any lags in the strokes appearing on the screen and the glide of the stylus tip makes for an enjoyable tactile drawing experience. The 60-degree tilt function makes it so that you can mimic the actions of a real drawing utensil. Ultimately, this stylus is a total upgrade from their previous versions and definitely succeeds in making the artist’s creation experience on the Artist 16 Pro a delight.


On the other end of the stylus, you’ll find an eraser. This once again mimics real-life drawing tools and makes the instinctual movements of a non-digital artist transferable to digital artmaking. Alternatively, in the PenTablet app, there are settings that allow you to customize the right and left clicker on the stylus. You can set that to toggle between your artist tool and an eraser—which non-digital artists have to admit is pretty convenient!

On their website, they also advertise that their new X3 chip not only provides better performance but a more long-lasting pen, doubling the life compared to their original stylus. So is this true? Well, only time will tell.

What Do I Do if It Breaks?

This leads us to the warranty. While it’s the hope that there are no issues with the tablet, of course, this is not guaranteed. XP Pen offers a limited 12-month warranty, replacing and repairing any parts that are defective. This of course does not cover damage done by the user (i.e. dropping, smashing), so if this does become you, know that you’ll have to fork out some money in order to get it professionally replaced. What appears to be the item most likely to take damage is the stylus tip of your X3 Elite. Although you are provided with 10 extra tips, these will not last forever. But fear not! Despite these tips not yet being available, XP Pen plans to release replacement tips for the new X3 Elite Stylus later this year.

So Who Is This For?

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The Artist 16 Pro is a strong, quality graphics tablet– but it’s not without its cons. Its lack of stand places the artist in an awkward position: either you have to spend additional money on top of the amount you just used for the tablet, or suffer the consequences of hunching over a display for hours at a time. It’s especially tricky since this issue could have been easily solved with the addition of a kickstand. This would have allowed folks who are not ready to spend that extra penny the space to wait, while still making room for those who want a sturdier set-up to have the freedom to invest in a quality stand immediately.

With all of that being said, the important factor is it draws really well. The tactile experiences of the stylus to screen, along with the beautiful potential it has to create some gorgeous art, make this graphics tablet a worthwhile investment.

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Despite the Pro part of the name, I can easily recommend the Artist 16 Pro to non-professionals who are passionate about their art. Most of the cons emerge from the Artist 16 Pro’s limitation in functionality that could prevent a smoother workflow that many professional artists require. The express keys, while they work, may not be enough if you are an artist who has to create with deadlines. Although it’s by no means necessary, you may also prefer a 4K display.

For hobbyists, it comes down to the price. Though not the most expensive on the market, the Artist 16 Pro will still set you back a pretty penny. In the end, whether you’re a professional or just a passionate artmaker, the Artist 16 Pro is a beautiful device. If you are looking to transition into digital art-making, this graphics tablet is ideal.

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