I’ve been a fan of pen displays and graphics tablets used for drawing in computer software for decades (my first was the Koala Pad on an Apple II in the 1980’s), so it’s really great to see some competing products and Huion is one of those companies that has been bringing some great pen displays and graphics tablets to the market. Huion is a China-based company that has been making pen displays since 2011 now and their products have improved a lot since then. The Huion Kamvas Pro 16 (2.5k) is the latest 16″ pen display with a higher pixel density, better resolution, and a new design. It’s less expensive than Wacom’s Cintiq 16 entry level 16″ pen display but more-expensive than XP-Pen’s 16″ pen displays and there are plenty of reasons for that. Read on to see how the Huion Kamvas Pro 16 (2.5K) holds up.
Huion Kamvas Pro 16 Specifications
The Huion Kamvas Pro 16 (2.5K) pen display is 436.2 x 247.3 x 10~11.5mm in dimensions, with a 349.6 x 196.7mm screen workspace area and 1.28Kg weight. The IPS LCD screen has a 2560 x 1440 QHD resolution with anti-glare etched glass, a 1200:1 contrast ratio and 14ms response time. The color gamut is 145% sRGB and the pen digitizer has 8192 levels of pressure sensitivity, 60 degree tilt sensitivity, 5080 LPI resolution, and 300PPS report rate with accuracy within around 1mm at the corners. Computer-wise, the Kamvas Pro 16 is compatible with Windows 7+, MacOS 10.12+, and Android USB3.1 DP1.2 or later. There is also a bit of Linux support.
What’s in the Box
The packaging looks great with just enough informative graphics while maintaining enough negative space to still look simple and clean.
The pen display itself has some protective plastic on the screen with an important sticker showing the proper way to plug the wires into the side.
For accessories, we’ve got a lot of wires. There’s a USB-C to USB-C wire which is going to be all you need if your computer has a USB-C thunderbolt port for displays. If you have an HDMI port on your computer, you’ll need the double wire that has a male HDMI port and a USB-A cable on one end and the double USB-C connector on the other end. There’s also a USB-A cable extender and a power adapter. The cables with red plastic ends are meant to be used to power the display, so those can be plugged into the power adapter or a powered USB-A plug. You’ve also got a USB-C to USB-A power cable if you need extra power when using a USB-C thunderbolt display port.
Of course, we’ve also got the Huion pen included. It’s got two barrel buttons for programmable controls. Nicely, Huion included a donut shaped pen holder that you can use to set the pen down in a consistent position when not in use. The pen holder does not have much weight to it though compared to other pen holders from the likes of Wacom. That means it might be easy to knock off the desk accidentally.
I love that a drawing glove was included in the package too! These are great for keeping the screen clean of palm and finger grease while drawing on the display, but unfortunately the one Huion included is way too small for my hands. If you’ve got big hands, you’ll probably want to order a drawing glove that fits for a few dollars on the internet somewhere. Or just use the pen display without a drawing glove. It’s no big deal.
Pen & Display
Obviously the big reason to buy a Huion Kamvas Pro 16 is for the pressure sensitive pen interface and 2.5K screen.
The display looks great. We’ve got gorgeous colors and contrast, but there are no hardware controls for changing brightness, contrast, or color gamut.
The pen interface is very similar to what we’ve come to expect from high-end Wacom pen displays. It’s very accurate and responsive, and much better than the older N-Trig technology that Microsoft bought and used in the Surface 3+ devices.
Pressure sensitive drawing is smooth and accurate, thought it feels slightly different from Wacom’s tech. I think it’s the default pressure sensitivity range, but this can be tweaked, or you can simply get used to the pressure range.
Hardware & Design
The new Huion Kamvas 16 Pro has an updated design with a cool glossy side panel for tactile buttons in the bezel. There are two USB-C ports on this edge as well, one is to be connected directly to you computer while the other is mean to be connected to a power supply for electricity. However, if your computer’s USB-C port is able to output enough power, you can use the Kamvas 16 Pro with only one USB-C to USB-C Lightning cable connected to your computer.
The screen itself is not too glossy, it’s actually pretty good at reducing glare, but if you’ve got ceiling lights, there will still probably be some glare interfering with the display. Also note the little pen-holder donut that can be placed on your desk to keep the pen from rolling around when it’s not in use. The pen holder could use more weight to it though. It seems a little light.
Programmable bezel buttons are the best! The Huion Kamvas 16 Pro has 8 programmable buttons on the side and each one has a different textured to it. Well, there are 4 different textures rather, and they’re opposite on the top and bottom sides. So the two middle buttons will have a single bump texture, while the next two have a single line texture, then a large circle texture, then a smooth texture. This makes the buttons very easy to feel for and differentiate by simple touch without having to take your eyes off of what you’re working on with the pen on the screen. It’s a huge efficiency improvement to be able to use one hand for activating tools and modifiers while using the other hand to operate the pen.
Of course we’ve got a logo in the bezel, too. The thinness of the display is quite nice as well.
On the back is kind of a frosted silver alloy finish (but it feels plasticy) along with four rubber feet that help keep the display from moving around while it’s setting on a desk or table.
Of course there’s a nice shiny logo on the back too, and here you can get a closer look of the textured finish.
Some of the less expensive pen displays do not come with stands. Thankfully the Huion Kamvas 16 Pro does!
The stand has a few hinges and extension sections that fold out so that you can set it up to the angle you want. You’ve got two main height pieces but then a row of notches that will let you fine tune the height a bit.
The stand works quite well with an easel ledge and rubber trip to keep the pen display in position. This is all plastic though, so it won’t be as sturdy as a more heavy-duty metal stand. Still, the plastic is less weight to carry when you’re being portable.
On Windows, The Huion Kamvas Pro 16 will work fine simply by plugging it in. It will use the Windows Ink interface for the pen and the display will be recognized automatically. However, if you download the Huion Software, then you’ll have a lot more features including the ability to program those hardware buttons in the bezel.
You can enable or disable the side bar bezel keys in the software.
The functions that you can assign to the hardware buttons are very extensive. You can program keyboard key combinations, mouse clicks, program launches, mode toggles, etc. Whatever functions you think you use the most are going to be pretty easy to program into one of those hardware keys.
Another excellent feature that we see on many other professional level pen displays and graphics tablets is the ability to specify unique hardware button settings when a particular software programm is in the foreground. So if I’m using Photoshop at the time, I can have those 8 hardware buttons in the display have particular functions. Then if I switch to Premiere Pro or Blender 3D, I can have a totally different set of programmed functions be available for quick access from the pen display’s bezel while in those programs.
The pen buttons can be programmed in the same way with extreme flexibility. Again, you can make the pen’s functions different in different programs, too.
Of course you can customize the pen’s pressure sensitivity as well. All of the professional grade pen display features are here just as one would expect.
Pricing & Availability
Huion Kamvas Pro 16
2.5K Pen Display
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- Only 11.5 mm thick
- Decent price
- 8 programmable hardware keys in the bezel
- 145% sRGB color gamut and anti-glare screen with a 2.5K resolution
- Supports USB-C display, data, and power connectivity through one wire
- Includes both USB-C support and USB-A with HDMI wire connectivity
- Stand included
- Build quality and feel isn’t as premium as something that might cost 4 times more
- There’s no easy way to show an overlay of what each of the bezel Express keys is programmed to do while you’re working (in case you forget what you set them as.)
- No touch support
You might compare the Huion Kamvas 16 Pro to the XP-Pen Artist Pro 16 (see our review) which is $449… or the Wacom Cintiq 16 (see our review) which is $649. The XP-Pen Artist Pro 16 and Wacom Cintiq 16 are both entry level pen displays with only 1920x1080px resolutions and only HDMI connections, so if you want a higher resolution and USB-C thunderbolt display connectivity, the Huion Kamvas Pro 16 beats both of those. It is more expensive than the $49 XP-Pen Artist Pro 16, but the added expense is warranted considering the higher resolution display, USB-C Thunderbolt support, included stand, and USB-A/HDMI support. In terms of sturdiness though, the more-expensive Wacom Cintiq 16 probably wins since that has some more heft to it and can take some extra pressure when leaning on the display. Still, I might recommend the Huion Kamvas 16 Pro over the Wacom Cintiq 16 since it’s so much more travel friendly and has a better resolution screen.