Huion VS XP-Pen tablets

Which of these very similar brands is best?

Written: 
September 17, 2021
Last Updated: 
September 21, 2021
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Huion and XP-Pen are relatively new contenders in the drawing tablet scene, but they have both quickly developed a name for themselves regardless. In fact, they have both risen to the front of the pack side by side, so it’s hard to tell which is actually the better brand.
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At first glance, Huion and XP-Pen look to be very similar brands - and honestly, after extended investigation, I can say conclusively that they are very similar brands

They are both targeting the exact same audience: those who want professional grade drawing tablets without having to pay the premium that Wacom charges.

Both Huion and XP-Pen offer great professional and hobbyist tablets - they are so similar that your decision for buying a tablet should come down to the functionality and reputation of a specific tablet, regardless of its brand.

I've heard more anecdotal evidence of faults with XP-Pen tablets than Huion, so to cut to the chase here are my personal top recommendations for balanced tablets:

Huion Kamvas 16

Recommended Screen Tablet
The Huion Kamvas 16 is a really solid and well balanced display tablet.  

I find the 16" display to be a comfortable size for painting, not so big that it takes up the whole desk, and it's even portable if needed.  As long as you use a keyboard with it, it's got all the functionality you need to make professional-quality art work - on top of being affordable and reliable.

<button-link>Check the price of the Kamvas 16<button-link>

Huion HS611

Recommended Drawing Tablet
The Huion HS611 does everything you need a tablet to do, in an inexpensive and reliable package.

The HS611 is a really good size for painting on as it's small enough to be able to move it around, rest it in your lap, or put it in a backpack, but big enough to be able to draw from the shoulder and elbow.  If you do a lot of linework, the lack of a screen might be undesirable, but otherwise it's a solid choice that you can also make professional artwork on.

<button-link>Check the price of the Huion HS611<button-link>

Read on for a deeper dive into comparing Huion and XP-Pen:

Brand perception

Huion and XP-Pen are almost indistinguishable as brands.

Both are relatively recent companies - XP-Pen was founded in Japan in 2005, and Huion in China 2011.  Neither were releasing particularly standout products at first, with their products being generic tablets unable to compete with Wacom.  In fact, you may even be able to find opinions online from years ago that echo these sentiments.

Both Huion and XP-Pen eventually started to rise above most of the other generic brands, and designed their own tablets.  Now they stand side by side as fairly equal, and can even hold their own against Wacom.

XP-Pen and Huion are now generally considered mid-tier brands, and Wacom looked at as high-tier.

Quality Differences

Reportedly, although both brands are really similar in their build quality, modern Huion tablets seem to be slightly more durable than comparable tablets by XP-Pen.

I haven’t personally had issues, but I have slightly more friends who have had problems with their XP-Pen tablets than ones who have had issues with Huion, but it's very close.

One friends XP-Pen screen stopped working after 2 weeks, and XP-Pen sent a free replacement.  Another friend had the same exact experience with a Huion tablet, also getting a replacement sent immediately.

A third friend, after about 2 years of ownership of his XP-Pen, is putting up with a loose display port, and the screen flickers when he moves the tablet.

Huion’s tablets are generally a bit more durable than XP-Pens.
In my friend circle I've heard of more XP-Pen tablet failures, despite more of my friends owning Huion tablets than XP-Pen.

There are certainly reviews out there that have reported that XP-Pen build quality is slightly superior than Huion's, but that doesn't seem to match up with the observations of my friend circle. 

Either way, taking a wide view of the build quality of each brand, there doesn't seem to be that much difference between them.

Functional Differences

The functional differences between these 2 are pretty minimal really, at least brand-wide:

All XP-Pen screen tablets include a stand.

All XP-Pen graphic displays include a stand already in the box, despite being the slightly cheaper brand.

Huion let's you choose if you want to receive the tablet with or without a stand, but always charges extra for it.
Huion stylus’ are all battery-free 

I haven’t found a recent Huion stylus that needs to be charged - most XP-Pen ones are also battery-free but some of their tablets still use rechargeable stylus’ with a little cable that plugs into the end of the stylus.

Both are only just dabbling in touch controls, in different ways

Huion have integrated a separate touchpad into a few of their tablets that sits alongside the main drawing area and lets you use multi-touch gestures. They haven’t made any tablets that have an actual touch screen or multi-touch drawing area.

On the other hand XP-Pen recently introduced their first multi-touch 16” screen tablet!

I expect both brands to dive much deeper into multi-touch in the future.

Nearly all of Huion and XP-Pen’s tablets are wired

Both brands have dabbled a little into wireless and Bluetooth connectivity, but still nearly all their tablets are wired - and this is actually where they most differ:

Most Huion screen tablets use a 3-in-1 cable, most XP-Pen do not

In recent years, 3-in-1 cables have become popular for screen tablets - they split from 1 end that you plug into your tablet, to 3 different ends that get plugged into a USB port, display port and power socket.

Huion has adopted this style of cable more than XP-Pen has, who usually rely on 3 separate cables coming out of the tablet for USB, display, and power.

These 3-in-1 cables, while looking cool and high-tech, can introduce some issues. Not only can the cable get pretty messy, it also restricts how you can setup your workspace, as the 3-in-1 cable must be able to reach both your computer and power socket.

There are also reports that they can prove weak and faulty, and if you move your tablet a lot the cable can quickly develop a spotty connection.

The biggest issue with a 3-in-1 cable is if you need to replace it - you can't get a replacement from anywhere but Huion or XP.  You can't pop out and grab a new USB or HDMI cable, you have to get a specific cable with the extra risk of it being out-of-stock, etc.

Its a good thing that both brands are very responsive and will replace the broken wire for free - if you send the wire back to them, and pay for the postage.

Software and Drivers

Huion might give you a worse first time set up than XP-Pen

I didn’t have any trouble setting up my Huion personally, but there are a lot more complaints of first-time setup troubles with Huion than there are with XP-Pen - usually difficulty finding the right drivers and getting them to work properly, and sometimes calibrating the stylus and screen colors properly.

XP-Pen isn’t immune to this stuff, but it seems like people are struggling to set up a Huion more.

Something that I find to be a point in XP-Pen’s favor is that it has a 3-point pressure calibration for the stylus, when Huion only gives you 2. I find it much easier to get stylus pressure settings I like with a 3 point calibration, than a 2 point.

Customer Service and After Purchase Care

In my experience of looking for spare stylus nibs, Huion’s own store isn’t always in stock of all the various nibs, and it’s a little hard to figure out which nibs you need for your stylus. 

There are also lots of fake and knockoff Huion nibs on Amazon and figuring out which ones would fit your stylus seems to require a bit of guesswork.

Nibs look a little easier to purchase on XP-Pen's store - they have a single nibs page on the store where you pick out the pen stylus you need nibs for

XP-Pen nibs are extremely cheap, for example 100 nibs for $9.99 in the USA, 50 for £9.99 in UK, and similar prices in the rest of the world.

As for Customer Service, I’ve not personally been in touch with Customer Service from either, but from what I can gather online: both will provide help in a timely manner if the solution to your issue is simple, but with complicated issues their customer support can be frustrating to deal with.

You’ll find with both companies, but more often with Huion, if you ask for a replacement component they will be willing to replace it, but you first need to send them the faulty component and pay for its postage yourself. If you will run into multiple issues one after another, they will generally not be as willing to replace parts.

Accessories‍

It’s unlikely that you’re reading this because you want to figure out which company offers better tablet accessories, but just in case:

Both XP-Pen and Huion provide many tablet accessories in their online stores - they offer lots of replacement accessories and components like replacement nibs, power chargers, stylus etc

Both Huion and so pen offer a very similar assortment of accessories, and similarly priced, including stylus’, artist gives, stands, screen protectors, replacement cables and nibs

Conclusion

There is a reason it's so hard to decide between Huion and XP-Pen - the quality and performance of their products is almost identical! Most of your decision between them will be figuring out which specific tablet would suit you best, as there are often small functional differences between their equivalent tablets.

I've heard more anecdotal evidence of faults with XP-Pen tablets than Huion, so personally lean slightly more toward Huion, and would recommend these as well-balanced tablets:

Huion Kamvas 16
The Huion Kamvas 16 is a really solid and well balanced display tablet.  

I find the 16" display to be a comfortable size for painting, not so big that it takes up the whole desk, and it's even portable if needed.  As long as you use a keyboard with it, it's got all the functionality you need to make professional-quality art work - on top of being affordable and reliable.

<button-link>Check the price of the Kamvas 16<button-link>

Huion HS611
The Huion HS611 does everything you need a tablet to do, in an inexpensive and reliable package.

The HS611 is a really good size for painting on as it's small enough to be able to move it around, rest it in your lap, or put it in a backpack, but big enough to be able to draw from the shoulder and elbow.  If you do a lot of linework, the lack of a screen might be undesirable, but otherwise it's a solid choice that you can also make professional artwork on.

<button-link>Check the price of the Huion HS611<button-link>

Hey, I'm Christopher

I started making digital art in 2009, and became a full-time freelance artist in 2016, able to work on my own schedule from anywhere in the world.

Now, I want to help young artists make the same journey!

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