XP-Pen Deco Fun Review Digital Drawing Tablet

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

The possibilities with digital art are almost infinite. You can undo mistakes at a click of a finger and share the art with people much easier. If you are someone who doesn't just want to spend all their day playing video games, a digital drawing tablet might just be the transition you're looking for. Drawing tablets such as the XP-Pen Deco Fun (pictured) require a similar hand-eye coordination as gaming with a controller, which in turn improves your sensorimotor skills.
The Deco Fun tablet measures 32cm long, 22cm wide and 12.5mm thick and, it has an active drawing area of approximately 25.5cm long and 16cm wide. Key features include 60 degree tilt function and 8,192 levels of pressure sensitivity, all of which create a more natural drawing experience. Deco Fun can be connected to a Windows or MacOS computer, as well as a Chrome and Android device such as a tablet or smartphone, although you will need an OTG adapter, which is not included.

A USB-C to USB-A cable (1.3 meters long) is included, which is designed to connect to a computer. Apple iOS devices (e.g. iPhones) are not supported. The included cable is made of rubber and has a right angle USB-C plug connector, which plugs into the tablet. The right angle design of the plug provides a low profile so, the connector lines up level to the side of the tablet, preventing it from sticking out, which in turn minimizes damage should you accidentally yank the cable.
Most digital drawing tablets use a wired connection and so does the Deco Fun. If you prefer not being tethered while drawing, you may want to consider a wireless alternative such as the Deco Mini 7W, which is both a wired and wireless graphics tablet. Drawing tablets are also designed with built-in screen, like the Artist Pro tablet, although this type of drawing tablets are substantially more expensive.

Included with the Deco Fun is a packet of plastic nibs, which are handy because the nib of the stylus pen quickly wears down and when it does, it will scratch the surface, damaging the tablet. How long the nib lasts depends on usage. For instance, if you plan to use the Deco Fun tablet in place of your laptop pointing device, the nib will wear down sooner than if you use it exclusively for drawing/colouring. Like most drawing stylus pens, the nib on the Deco Fun pen has a slight play so, the nib moves up an down (about 1mm) when drawing. That said, the slight play is not noticeable nor audible.

How strong you grind the surface of the tablet is also a factor in the longevity of the pen nib. If you draw or paint mostly, the nib may last up to two weeks. If you only use it for photo-editing, the pen nib can easily last several months. To extend the longevity of the pen nib, you can increase sensitivity so, you don't have to press as hard on the surface of the tablet. The only drawback though, you won't be able to get to the full pressure level of certain brush strokes. Replacing the nib is easy too. You simply use the included metal ring to hold the nib and twist it anti-clockwise to unscrew it from the pen. To install a new nib, you do the opposite clockwise. It's that simple.

Speaking of plastic, the Deco Fun tablet body is also made of hard plastic, including the drawing surface, which has a textured finish similar to real paper. The rear of the tablet has rubber feet on each corner to prevent the tablet from sliding off. There are also tiny rising bumps underneath the tablet, which elevates the tablet off the desk, allowing air to flow. On the front of the tablet, there is a small status led, which lights up white when the pen is within 10mm of the drawing area. Deco Fun weighs 565 grams.

The stylus pen that is included with the Deco Fun, it's a P01 model, which is battery-free and has a plastic construction with a small 2-button rocker on the side. Xp-Pen sells the P01 battery-free stylus separately, costing half as much as the tablet, making the Deco Fun a great deal. The nice thing about the P01 stylus is its construction similar to a pencil in shape, measuring 14.5 cm long and 9mm in diameter. The P01 pen weighs 10 grams, which is a bit heavier than a pencil. For short drawing sessions and jotting down things, the P01 pen works well. For longer usage, the P05D stylus pen that comes with the Deco Mini 7 is more comfortable because of the rubberized body.

The P01 pen buttons are responsive and make a subtle clicky noise when pressed. These two buttons are also the express keys. The Deco Fun tablet doesn't have any. Express keys are very useful as they allow you to assign functions to them such as zoom in/out, which is not supported by the Deco Fun tablet. Drawing tablets such as the Star G960S have several express keys built-in on the tablet. Because the Deco Fun only has two express keys, you are limited on just two assignable functions, which you can choose from pen/eraser and mouse controls (mouse right click, mouse left click, mouse middle click, etc). From the PenTablet software, you can also disable the express keys, pressure sensitivity and tilt. 

The Deco Fun works right out of the box, although you will need to download the PenTablet software from XP-Pen website, in order to change settings for the tablet and for the pen. The newer Pen Tablet software has a nice user interface, which looks sleaker than the previous versions. From the Pen Tablet software, you can change the orientation of the drawing surface (e.g. 90 degrees, 180 degrees, etc), as well as manually adjust the size of the drawing area. Deco Fun is compatible with a range fo drawing software such as Krita (the version used on this review is the krita-x64-4.4.0 - Windows x 64 version ).

As a beginner graphics tablet, Deco Fun does the job. Do bear in mind though, that the Deco Fun has a high initial activation force (IAF), which means you have to press down the pen nib harder in order to register pen strokes. High IAF isn't generally an issue. However, a drawing tablet with low IAF makes it easier to execute light strokes in lineart (line drawing). Deco Fun does have a resolution of 5,080 LPI, which is very high and useful for translating a clearer image from the Deco Fun tablet to a high resolution computer screen (e.g. 4k display)

Deco Fun would also be ideal for remote learning, sharing tutorials and presentations, sketching, signing documents digitally and play OSU! Deco Fun is compatible with Android, Chrome OS, Linux, Windows, and Mac OS and supports Microsoft Office, Zoom, Skype, Adobe, Photoshop, SAI, and more. Deco Fun is available in three sizes: extra small (4.83-inch x 3-inch), small (6.3-inch x 4-inch) and large (10-inch x 6.27-inch), as well as four colorways: blue, black, green and red. Deco Fun is available to buy from the following websites: US: , UK: , EU: XP-Pen also provides a 3-month trial of Explain Everything (whiteboard program) for users, which you can register through XP-Pen website.

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