Which Tablet is Better – Wacom or Huion?

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Pen Display tablets, also known as Display Drawing tablets, are powerful tools that plug into your computer and display your art software – like Adobe, Corel or Procreate – on their own high resolution screen, allowing you to use a stylus and work directly on your artwork.

People wonder if a Pen Display tablet is worth buying, if it really helps and supports the creative process or is just another gadget, which one is the best to buy and how much they should spend.

Wacom Cintiq 16 vs Huion Kamvas 16 - head to head!

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But maybe the biggest question these days is: How do Wacom and Huion tablets compare?

Huion Pen Display tablets are certainly becoming more and more popular. They are typically much cheaper than an “equivalent” Wacom, and – on paper at least – do the same things just as well.

Wacom, on the other hand, is the undisputed heavyweight champ of all things tablet.

They have been producing high quality drawing tablets for artists for more than 35 years, and are the de facto choice of professional digital artists, fine artists, designers, animators, studios and companies large and small.

My first thought was to just compare the two brands overall, but I thought it would be more useful for you (and more fun for me) if I instead narrowed it down to a direct comparison of two comparable products.

So I decided to try out what may be the most popular Display Drawing Tablet from Wacom, the Cintiq 16 Drawing Tablet.

I was intrigued by this model because it is less than half the price of their Pro version with the same size screen.

It doesn’t have as good of specifications as its costlier sibling, and is missing a few features, and yet so many people seem to love it, talking a lot more about what it has and does than what it’s missing.

And I was also intrigued by the Kamvas 16 Drawing Tablet, the Huion model clearly meant to compete directly with the Cintiq of the same size.

For less than half the price, the Huion offers the same or, in some cases, slightly better specifications, more features and a more complete user interface.

But I have seen again and again that specifications don’t always tell the real story, and features are important only as far as they support my creative process.

That said, I’m going to start this face-off between the Wacom Cintiq 16 and the Huion Kamvas 16 with a chart directly comparing features, specifications and retail prices.

Then we’ll get into a hands-on assessment.

Which Company Makes the Best Drawing Tablets?

By actually using each tablet – setting up, drawing and painting – I hope to answer a few questions that so many artists seem to have:

Is Huion a good brand?
Are Wacom tablets worth the money?
Is Huion better than Wacom?
Which tablet is a better value – Wacom or Huion?
Which tablet is best for artists – Wacom or Huion?

I’ll answer one question right now. 

Is a display drawing tablet a good tool for an artist? Without a doubt, yes! 

So many digital artists feel their work reaches new levels when they can work directly on a good, high-quality image of their creation, and even traditional artists are surprised by how good the best tablets and styluses feel, and how easy and intuitive the process is for them. 

Besides, these tablets are unbelievably cool

Huion vs Wacom Drawing Tablet Comparison Table

Wacom Cintiq 16

Huion Kamvas 16

Retail Price (USD):
Screen Size:
15.6"
15.6"
Aspect Ratio:
16:9
16:9
Resolution:
1920x1080 (full HD)
1920x1080 (full HD)
Contrast ratio:
1000:1
1000:1
Color Gamut:
72% NTSC
88% NTSC
Displayable Colors:
16.7 million
16.7 million
Pen Pressure Levels:
8,192
8,192
Pen Tilt:
±60
±60
Weight:
1.9 KG
1.5 KG
Compatibility:
Windows 7 or later / Mac 10.2 or later
Windows 7 or later / Mac 10.2 or later

As you can see, the specifications are nearly identical between the two tablets, and if anything the less expensive Huion has a very slight edge – the Color Gamut being slightly more complete.

But the more you read my articles and reviews the more you will understand that I don’t always put a lot of stock into numbers. 

I think specs can be helpful sometimes, and terribly misleading at other times, and they may not even quantify what is important to an artist doing his or her work.

So I want this head-to-head comparison of the Wacom and the Huion Display Drawing tablets to be based on just that – an artist doing (in this case) her work.

  • How does the tablet feel? 
  • Does it support and flow with my process or does it pop me out of my zone and into reacting to problems, wondering why I can’t do something or – worst of all! – troubleshooting? 
  • Do I see the tablet, or do I see my artwork? 
  • Do I ever forget that the tablet is even there?

So, for an artist making art, which Drawing tablet is better – the Wacom Cintiq 16 or the Huion Kamvas 16?

HUION DRAWING TABLET

$ 309*

*This was the price, at the time of publishing

Overall I was quite impressed with the Huion Kamvas 16 tablet. It looks really nice, has good quality fit and finish and a great user interface.

The programmable keys allow me to mimic certain software functions, like color or tool selection, stylus or brush size, copy and paste and lots more. 

I didn’t really think that I would use them that much, but once I got comfortable and they came more automatically these shortcuts were really nice to have. I especially liked, and used, the zoom bar.

The Huion has a lot of other nice features as well, like a built in stand with a fairly wide adjustment range, a pen stand which holds the pen horizontally or vertically, and a combined cable system which needs only one cable to plug in at the rear.

That cable system, and the easily downloadable drivers, made setup a no-brainer, and I was up and drawing in no time. 

And how was it, drawing with the Huion Kamvas 16?

Quite nice actually, with good control and accuracy from the pen – both pressure and tilt were predictable and useful, and the parallax (the difference between where I draw and where the image appears) is quite low, even to the edge of the screen.

At the same time, I did notice sometimes that I was working with a less expensive pen display tablet. 

Every once in a while, for no apparent reason, there would be a little lag between my movement and the image on the screen. 

And sometimes – less often, but more disturbing – there was even a gap or break in a line or other detail I was laying down. 

The first was no real problem, even if it did jar me a little out of my flow, but the second… Well, you all know that fixing a flowing line doesn’t always work, nor does deleting and redoing it.

The color representation, and the overall look of the monitor, seemed to me a tiny bit off. 

Speaking of interrupting the flow, I frequently found myself looking away from what I was doing to check the display on my MacBook, which has – it must be said – better and more accurate colors and a more vivid and attractive display. 

I didn’t quite trust the Huion’s screen to tell me how things looked.

The resolution is lower than more expensive tablets, and seemed a little lower than the Wacom, but this really only mattered with the most fine lines, hatching and detail. 

And the screen, which has pretty nice glare-proofing, is a little too slick (or maybe I just need to get used to it) and – even at maximum brightness – a little bit too dark to use in a bright, sunny room or under typical studio lights.

Now, after such a laundry list of little issues, it may sound like I didn’t particularly like the experience of creating on the Huion Kamvas, but in fact I was surprised by just how much I did!

This is a quite affordable display tablet, after all, and the problems I had were either very infrequent and not a big deal (probably not even issues for many artists) or perfectly in line with the price and specifications. 

In fact, the machine performed quite well, and let me fall into the zone most of the time, with great results and very high productivity – especially considering I was just beginning with it. 

And I think that the more time I spend with the Kamvas, the smoother and more effective the work would become.

In fact, while the Wacom below is markedly better in several key areas, the Huion Kamvas 16 is nonetheless very highly recommended for the beginning artist or somebody with a limited budget. 

I haven’t seen anything else anywhere near this price that comes close.

Wacom Drawing Tablet

$ 1,199.95*

*This was the price, at the time of publishing

Why is Wacom Better than Huion?

I should mention that I used the Wacom pen display tablet with the optional Wacom Cintiq Adjustable Stand, which adds about 80 dollars to the price and makes this tablet nearly twice as expensive as the Huion.

So is the Wacom Cintiq 16 worth the extra money? 

Absolutely! 

The Huion is a wonderful tablet for the money, and a substantial bargain, but the Wacom resides at the next level of creative tools.

So many of the positive things I noticed while working with the Wacom Cintiq may seem quite small, even insignificant, but in fact each and every one of them made a big difference – bringing me closer to what I envisioned, keeping me in the work without interruption, giving me more control and making me more confident that what I saw was, in fact, what I was going to get.

Back to the stand, it is a strong and well built metal unit which has good adjustability, but more important is very stable.

I didn’t notice the tablet moving, even when it was nearly upright and I was working on the edges.

The Cintiq 16 does already have nice built in legs, which raise it up a little, but I would highly recommend getting the stand.

The cable set, like the Huion, has only a single plug on the tablet, which also made the Wacom’s physical presence less distracting, as does the ability to turn off the power indicator light on the front panel.

The tablet has heat vents, but I never heard any noise (fan or otherwise) coming from it and it always ran perfectly cool.

And, speaking of less distractions, many of the little issues that I had had with the Huion simply did not arise when I used the Wacom Cintiq 16, and I could fall more deeply into my work, getting more done in a given amount of time and doing it better.

For example, while the screen/stylus interaction with the Kamvas was really excellent overall – again, especially at its price – the Cintiq 16 offered noticeably faster response, better control, no gaps or delays, and a better feel overall.

This last point, the nice feeling of drawing on the Wacom, seems to be due to the better surface finish, which offers enough resistance to feel like paper, and to help me better control the stylus.

And the stylus itself, the Wacom Pro Pen 2, is in fact Wacom’s best stylus, and the same one they include with their top of the line tablets.

It is wonderfully precise and expressive, and feels very good in my hand – not just the weight, thickness and rubberized feel, but the quality. I felt like it would last for years and years, and was one less thing I had to worry about.

The Huion pen is also really nice to use, but again the Wacom was at a bit of a higher level.

The Wacom Cintiq 16’s screen is brighter, which in a sunny or brightly lit studio will make a big difference.

There were times when I felt like I was straining just a bit with the Huion, but never at all with the Ciniq, which always gave a bright, vivid image.

The colors on the Wacon’s screen were also noticeably more, well, “right.”

Despite what the specifications say, colors were more accurate on the Cintiq 16, closer to my Mac, and offered similar depth and pop.

I am, to be sure, spoiled by my MacBook’s and my iPad’s beautiful screens, but the whole time I worked with the Wacom Cintiq 16 I was pleased with what I was seeing.

More importantly, I felt I could trust and rely on it.

Brightness, color, depth and energy, even resolution,all seemed better on the Wacom – much of this might have come down to the brightness itself, which can least apparently improve these other things.

But it wasn’t entirely down to a brighter screen – the Wacom showed me a little more of what I was doing, giving me a better idea of what I had done so far and where to go next.

All of these little things (ok, they’re not all little) added up to a creative experience, and a creative tool, which was beyond my expectations.

The Wacom Cintiq 16, then, is not just a beginner tablet, but a tablet which will allow a beginner to reach higher levels, and one that would satisfy and serve well even a professional artist.

Conclusion - Is Huion a Good Brand?

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There are a lot of assumptions and opinions about Huion and Wacom tablets posted all over the internet – some of them conflicting, contradictory and downright confusing.

People say that Wacom is over-priced, is resting on their reputation and is not worth the money. Others say that Wacom is simply better, that they have been the default choice for professional artists and illustrators and fine artists for many decades now for very good reason.

And people say that Huion can’t compete, that their products are not as well designed and not as well built, and even at lower prices aren’t worth it. 

Others say that they offer amazing value, and that in recent years especially the quality of Huion products has risen dramatically, even though their prices remain low.

I have spent a good amount of time with both of these tablets, and I would have to say that I agree with the latter opinion in both cases.

That is, I believe that Huion products are actually very well designed, with features and qualities that will beautifully support artists and their work. 

For the money, in fact, I would say that the recent Huion products I’ve tried offer amazing value, and are an easy choice in their price categories.

And I believe that Wacom really is better. I’ve said it before, and I will undoubtedly say it again – Wacom just understands artists better than their competitors. 

As good as the Huion Kamvas 16 is, the Wacom Cintiq 16 is a noticeably superior product and tool, and will more transparently and more effectively support and enhance your creative process.

So, my final word is that for the money you absolutely cannot find a better tablet than the Huion Kamvas 16, which for its price offers an incredible value and utility. 

It is not just the perfect entry level tablet, but it is much better than you could ever expect.

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