Review: XP-Pen Artist 13.3 Pro Pen Display

The review unit was provided by XP-Pen.

The XP-Pen Artist 13.3 Pro features a new design and better screen compared to the previous model, the XP-Pen Artist 13.3. Other than the Artist 13.3 Pro, there's also the Artist 12 Pro which was released at the same time. Both pen displays have the same features except for the size difference. Artist 13.3 Pro is US $299 while the Artist 12 Pro is US $249.

Specifications

  • Product dimensions: 39 x 25 x 1.29cm
  • Active area: 29.3 x 16.5cm
  • Screen: 13.3 inches with 1920 x 1080 resolution
  • Panel type: IPS
  • Colors: 16.7 million
  • Input: USB-C
  • Graphic ports supported: HDMI, miniDisplay
  • Pen does not require battery
  • Pressure sensitivity: 8,192 levels


The things included in the box are

  • Pen display
  • 3-to-1 data/power cable
  • USB extension cable
  • Mini-Display to full-size HDMI adapter
  • Power plug with international adapters
  • Artist glove
  • Cleaning cloth
  • Manual, warranty card
  • Pen and case
  • 8 replacement nibs
  • Stand for pen display


These are all the cables.


The most important cable is the 3-in-1 cable. The USB-C side will go to the pen display. The other side with the USB-A, HDMI, and USB-A Power will go to the computer. There's a Mini-Display Port to HDMI adapter included for those who have the Mini-Display or Thunderbolt port on their computers.


The power plug comes with all the various adapters for different regions. You may not need to use this if your computer's USB port can provide enough power to the black-coloured USB-A port. If not, then you'll need to connect the red-coloured USB-A port to the USB wall power.


Manual, warranty, driver download card, cleaning cloth and artist glove.


The previous Artist 13.3 non-Pro did not come with the stand. This time it's included.


The stand is made of hard plastic and has rounded corners at most places so that it won't cut your hands or create scratches. The flap can be pushed out and locked into place. There's only one position for this stand though.


Angle of the stand is comfortable to work with. If you need it higher, perhaps add a thick book beneath. Having a stand makes drawing on the pen display way more comfortable. It's much better for ergonomics compared to using the pen display flat on the tablet.


The pen case included is cyclindrical and can roll off the table easily. It's very well build and solid.


At one end, you can open it to reveal the pen. The cap of the pen case can be used as a pen stand. Both sides of the pen case have rubber base so they don't slip on tables.


On the other side are 8 replacement nibs and the nib remover.


The pen looks good and feels good in hand. It's not powered by battery so no charging required.


There's a large rubber grip and two side buttons. Weight is just right, not too heavy or light. Build quality feels solid.


The new 13.3-inch pen display now has 8 physical shortcut buttons, a wheel and screen with better colours

Design of the pen display looks good. I like the rounded corners and beveled edges. Bezels are thick but not an issue.


The pen display is just 1.29cm thick which is quite thin. But don't mistake this for a tablet because it's really a monitor so you have to connect it to your computer in order to use it.


Colour support was 100% sRGB, 78% NTSC and 84% AdobeRGB as measured by my Spyder5Pro colour calibrator. Colour accuracy is quite good, and colours look alright out of the box so no additional colour calibration may be needed unless you need this display to match your other displays.

Maximum brightness was measured at 195 nits which is alright for indoor use.


Parallax for the Artist 13.3 Pro is non existent because the display is laminated and there's almost no or no gap between the glass and the actual display. But there might be some misalignment between the cursor and pen tip, or the misalignment could be due to where your eyes are looking at the cursor and pen tip. To remove the misalignment, you can calibrate with the driver. After calibration, the cursor will appear directly beneath the pen tip.


There's also tilt sensitivity support. When the pen is tilted, the cursor will still remain directly beneath the tip.


There's a matte screen protector already applied. Do note that there's a protective film for the screen protector that has to be peeled off. But do not peel off the screen protector! This slight texture of the screen protector provides a nice feel to drawing with the pen, and it also prevents the squeaky sound some plastic nibs have on glass.


The 8 physical shortcut buttons have firm feedback and the wheel is smooth. All these physical shortcuts are customisable with the driver that can be downloaded from XP-Pen's website.


13.3 inch is a good size to work with. It's about the size of an A4 sheet of paper. If you have more budget, I do recommend getting the 13.3 inch over the 12 inch model.

The display also does not produce much heat. The bottom will be slightly warm but not as warm compared to temperatures of typical LCD monitors. I can work on it comfortably for hours without discomfort.

I do recommend using the artist glove provided to prevent fingerprint smudges. Those oily fingerprint smudges can be difficult to wipe off.

Driver

With the driver, you can change the pressure sensitivity, assign functions to the side and physical shortcut buttons, calibrate the screen to compensate for parallax offset and switch to left-handed mode if you want to.


I like that the pressure curve can be adjusted manually rather than with a slider. This allows for finer adjustment.


If you use dual monitors, the driver also allows you to click a button to switch between monitors to use.

Drawing performance

Drawing performance on both Mac and Windows is pretty good with most of the drawing software I've tested, namely Photoshop CC, Krita, Medibang Paint Pro and Clip Studio Paint.

Main glitch I discovered are with Medibang Paint Pro (Win) where lines have weird effects, eg extra strokes, inability to maintain consistent pressure. Another glitch is with placing dots. Sometimes when clicking on the screen, dots don't appear. it's a minor issue but for those who draw a lot with dots it could be frustrating.

The initial activation force is low but you do need to apply some force to get a line. Having the pen tip moving on the display without applying pressure will not produce any lines.


Photoshop CC performs well. Pressure sensitivity works. Lines are able taper gradually, smoothly. Curves are smooth and not angular. Overall responsiveness is good.


Pressure works well with Clip Studio Paint (Win)


Pressure and tilt works with Krita (Win). However, tilt sensitivity does not seem to work when the cursor is about 2cm away from the edge of the display.


When Medibang Paint Pro (Win) works, it works well. But sometimes there can be problems with the lines.


When drawing, sometimes there can be stray strokes, inconsistent thickness due to the inability to maintain pressure, or there could be jitter in the lines. Starting the software or computer sometimes solves the problem, but sometimes does not.

The four drawing software on Mac OS do not have any of the problems mentioned above. So drawing performance on Mac OS is excellent.


Photoshop CC (Mac)


Clip Studio Paint (Mac)


Krita (Mac)


Medibang Paint Pro (Mac)

Conclusion

It's good to see XP-Pen has addressed many of those issues I've mentioned with the previous model, namely colour accuracy, parallax offset, glitches with some drawing software, stand not included.

Drawing performance now looks and feels even better, except for the problem with Medibang Paint Pro (Win). Pressure sensitivity works really well. Lines come out just the way I want. Performance is predictable and consistent.

So for its official retail price of US $299, it's really worth the money. This is a good improvement over the previous model.

Pros and cons at a glance

+ Good build quality and design
+ Pen does not require battery
+ Pen is quite sensitive
+ 8 replacement tips included
+ 8 shortcut buttons are useful
+ Matte anti-glare screen protector nice to draw on
- Matte screen protecter affects sharpness of the screen but a good tradeoff for the texture it provides
+ 1080P resolution on the screen this size is sharp enough
+ Screen has good colour accuracy and viewing angles
+ Laminated screen removes pen tip and cursor offset caused by parallax
+ Does not heat up significantly. Can be used for long periods of time without discomfort
+ Drawing performance generally good but depends on the OS and app that you use
+ You can power this display from a single powered USB port if your USB port has enough power
+ HDMI-miniDisplay port adaptor included
+ Stand included
+ Price is very competitive for a screen of this size
- Some issues with the specific drawing apps mentioned in the review

Availability

The XP-Pen Artist 13.3 Pro pen display is available via these links:
XP-Pen online store | Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.de | Amazon.fr | Amazon.es | Amazon.it | Amazon.co.jp

Check out more reviews on Amazon too. Purchases through those affiliate links get me a commission at no extra cost to you, and helps me put out more reviews like this.

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