review

XP-Pen Artist 13.3 Pro Holiday Edition Review Pen Display Drawing Monitor

Friday, November 20, 2020

Having your second monitor being as versatile as possible makes a lot of sense, especially if you're a graphics designer or someone looking for their first drawing tablet. With a pen display like the XP-Pen Artist 13.3 Pro you can use it as a secondary monitor for your computer, as well as doodle with it in Photoshop and Adobe After Effects to do hand-drawn animations.
Being a pen display, the XP-Pen Artist 13.3 Pro needs the input of a computer in order for you to draw on it. The Artist 13.3 Pro is a USB-C device that connects to a computer via HDMI connection; hence your computers needs to have a HDMI port. XP-Pen includes a HDMI to USB-C cable, which measures 1.9 meters long and has two USB-A connectors built-in that are designed to provide power to the Artist 13.3 Pro. The Artist 13.3 Pro can operate with just one USB-A connection, supporting a maximum of 5V/2A input current. The included HDMI to USB-C cable weighs 110 grams.
If your computer doesn't have a HDMI port but, it has a DVI or USB port you can still connect via DVI or USB connection, using a DVI to HDMI adapter or a USB to HDMI adapter. There is no mention of this on the user guide but, you can use an adapter to connect. Getting a DVI to HDMI adapter works out cheaper and, it's probably better since it's electronically identical to HDMI; hence no compatibility issues to run into. 
Whichever DVI to HDMI adapter you buy, you need to make sure is "bi-directional" and that it supports 1080p so, you can run the native resolution of the Artist 13.3 Pro, which is 1080p. When connected to a computer, the Artist 13.3 Pro effectively becomes a HDMI monitor; hence you can duplicate your computer screen onto the Artist 13.3 Pro tablet, as well as extend your main monitor on to it.
The PenTablet software for the Artist 13.3 Pro needs to be downloaded in order to remap the pen's buttons and the table's hotkeys. The PenTablet software also less you adjust the pressure sensitivity, as well as display settings. One thing to keep in mind if you're a Windows user, it's the "Windows Ink" tickbox on the PenTablet software, which you may have to un-check if you're experiencing issues with the pen sensitivity not registering on the Artist 13.3 Pro screen. After installing the PenTablet software, it automatically forces the computer to shut down without warning, which it should not do as it can cause the user to lose unsaved work.
The Artist 13.3 Pro pen display weighs 1.1kg and features a 13.3 inch display that measures 30cm horizontally and 17cm vertically. The display has a fully-laminated glass screen with a FHD (full high definition) display that reproduces colors vividly and sharply (88% NTSC color accuracy), as well as wide viewing angles (up to 178-degrees). 
The Artist 13.3 Pro display supports 8192 levels pressure sensitivity, as well as 60 degree tilt without requiring too much pen pressure to activate drawing on screen. There is very little parallax and almost no lag or jitters when drawing with the pen; hence you can easily perform straight line brush strokes, curves and dots in Krita (krita-x64-4.4.0) and other graphics software. The Artist 13.3 Pro screen does not support touch screen or finger gesture.
The Artist 13.3 Pro display is able to recognize the pen's nib when hovering at a 2cm height. There are eight clicky plastic hotkey buttons and a zoom wheel on the front left side, as well as three buttons and the USB-C port on the right side's edge. 
Two of those side buttons are designed to increase and decrease the brightness, while the smaller circular button powers off the display into sleep mode. You can assign multiple functions to the zoom wheel (i.e. volume up/down, brush size, scroll up/down and redo/undo) and use the "function switch" hotkey to toggle between the zoom wheel functions.
The outer shell of the Artist 13.3 Pro display measures 39cm long, 25cm wide and 1.3cm thick and, it is made of ergonomic hard plastic without sharp edges or corners. The USB-C port is deeply recessed but the hole opening is large enough to accommodate a third-party USB-C cable. The back of the Artist 13.3 Pro is made of the same smooth matte black finish as the rest of the tablet. There are also two long and wide (3.7cm) rubber strips.
The Artist 13.3 Pro pen weighs 13 grams and measures 15cm long and, it has the characteristic artist pen design with a barrel shape and beveled end. About half the length of the pen is rubberized for grip and features a rocker button with two re-mappable buttons. The pen comes inside a rubber-cushioned barrel container for safely storing the pen for transportation. 
The barrel container weighs 87 grams with a 3cm diameter size and, it unscrews both ends, revealing the cap end of the pen on one side and spare pen nibs on the other. The barrel container cap is designed to be used as a pen holder similarly to a feather quill dip pen. Both caps of the barrel container are also rubberized.
The included cube power brick adapter weighs 60 grams and measures 4.5cm long and 4.5cm wide with a 3.5cm depth. The power adapter has two flat pin connectors built-in, which are also designed to slide in the included plug adapters for UK, US and EU countries. The included USB cable extension weighs 40 grams and measures 1.2 meters long. It features a USB-A connector at one end and a female USB-A connector at the other end. The Artist 13.3 Pro is the mid version of the Artist 12 Pro and the Artist 15.6 Pro, which are identical aside from their display size.
A riser stand is also included for mountain the Artist 13.3 Pro off of a desk at a 30 degree angle. The XP-Pen branded riser weighs 247 grams and measures 27cm long and 23cm wide. It features a ledge to support the drawing monitor, as well as rubber pads to prevent the tablet skidding off of the riser. 
The riser stand folds flat, thanks to the collapsible kickstand, which flips open, elevating the front of the stand to a 3-inch height. The kickstand only has a one-level adjustment and securely stays in place via a hard plastic locking snap hinge. It's nice that a riser stand is included, although the limit in height means you cannot raise the Artist 13.3 Pro upright enough like a monitor stand. Most pen displays don't seem to have a VESA mount, which would be useful for mounting the pen display onto a monitor arm.
The XP-Pen Artist 13.3 Pro you see pictured is the holiday edition, which comes with extra goodies and a colorful packaging box ready-made for a holiday/Christmas gift. The following are included artist glove (weighs 6 grams), an ARt Print Poster, shortcuts stickers and a Fenix Jigsaw puzzle, a cleaning cloth and the Line ArtWork software, which you can download for free. You can buy the Artist 13.3 Pro holiday edition from directly from XP-Pen or the regular version from amazon. Check out the review of the Star G960S drawing tablet and Deco Mini 7. download the line artwork for free

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