Xencelabs Pen Display 24 Review: Finally a Worthy Wacom Competitor

Xencelabs 24 Pen Display

Xencelabs 24 pen display

4.5/5 Buy in B&H Photo

Xencelabs' Pen Display 24 is a dream for artists looking to enter the professional world, and it gives Wacom tablets a run for their money.

If you've been following graphics tablet reviews over the past few years, you already know that several pen display tablets have been taken for extensive test drives in my day-to-day work. Despite their courtesy, these were tests with many mixed results.

From the cheapness and disappointment of the XP Pen Pro 24's software, to the near-impossible experience of the Huion Pro 24, to the crushing personal disappointment of the Wacom Pro 24, it just doesn't seem to live up to the established quality standards. previous Wacom Cintiq models. Companies were on the verge of greatness, but none of them seemed to succeed.

This is confirmed by many years of first-hand experience. For almost two decades I have been working on a selection of Wacom Cintiq tablets.

I'm currently on my third Wacom Cintiq 22HD, and there was a time when I would recommend it to anyone who asked. It's a workhorse, but it lacks some of the modern standards we're used to seeing in current-gen tablets and displays, so the 22HD will show its age here in 2023.

So, when I tell you that there is another company and tablet on the market that not only competes, but exceeds the standards set by Wacom, know that I am speaking from experience and joyful surprise. The company name is Xencelabs and the display is Pen Display 24 from the Studio series.

Xencelabs provided us with their new Xencelabs Pen Display 24 for review, allowing me to use this new tablet for extended daily use for several weeks. It was an eye-opening experience.

Xencelabs pen display Review 24: Hardware and Specs

This review uses a 2018 Mac mini with a 6-core 3.2GHz Intel Core i7 processor, 32GB DDR4 RAM, and Radeon RX Vega 64 graphics via eGPU. This Mac Mini is my everyday machine and can handle any project without issue.

Xencelabs Pen Display 24 review: inside the box

The Pen Display 24 arrived from the seller in excellent condition using foam inserts, instructions, and an anti-static bag for safe shipping. This is a complete kit, and if you are planning to purchase the Pen Display 24 from Xencelabs or another online retailer, know that it will be delivered in secure packaging.

Xencelabs 24 Pen Display Setup Instructions

Inside the box: 24 Pen Display, Hotkey Controller, Hotkey Clip, Pen Case, 3- Button pen/eraser, fine pen/eraser, pen clips, USB-C to USB-A cable, USB-C to USB-A cable (0.6 m) (for shortcuts), USB-C to USB-A cable C, HDMI cable, DisplayPort cable, power adapter, pen nibs, operator gloves, and cleaning cloth.

Xencelabs Pen Display 24 review: tablet Specifications

  • Dimensions (W x H x D): 24.4 x 15.3 x 1.4 inches
  • Active area size: 20.75 x 11.7 inches
  • Screen resolution
  • 3840 x 2160 pixels at 60 Hz (4K UHD)
  • Weight: 6.0 kg/13.3 lbs (6.9 kg/15.2 lbs with tilt stand and rubber feet)
  • Security: Kensington MicroSaver 2.0 (lock not included).
  • Displayable colors (maximum): 1.07 billion colors.
  • Color gamut ratio: 99% Adobe RGB (CIE 1931) (typical) 93% DCI-P3 (CIE 1931) (typical)
  • Surface: edge-to-edge tempered glass with Super-AG etching
  • Brightness: 330 cd/m2

Xencelabs Pen review Display 24: Pen Features

  • Pens: 3-button pen v2 + eraser/fine pen v2 + eraser
  • Pen technology: EMR
  • Pressure levels Pen: 8192 levels (finely tuned pressure curve)
  • Pen angle: 60 degrees
  • Pen resolution: 5080 lpi
  • Pen type: pressure sensitive , cordless, no battery
  • Pen type: pressure sensitive, cordless, no battery
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Xencelabs Pen Display 24 Review: Specifications shortcut keys

  • Product Dimensions (W x H x D): 6.2 x 2.46 x 0.47 inches
  • Product Weight: 142g
  • Display: 3.12-inch OLED display; Clearly displays key functions.
  • Directions: 4 directions (0 degrees/90 degrees/180 degrees/360 degrees); text characters can be read horizontally or vertically.
  • Security: Kensington NanoSaver (lock not included).
  • Hours per charge: 25–53 hours (charging time 1. 5 hours).
  • Custom buttons: 8 included. There can be 5 sets, giving a total of 40 shortcut keys.
  • Dialing: up to 4 modes (user defined)

For physical connectivity, the 24 pen display has two USB-A ports on the top of the display near the center power switch. It is designed for Quick Keys and wireless accessories depending on your preference.

The bottom of the Pen Display 24's back panel has a variety of ports: an AC adapter, one USB-C port, a full-size HDMI port, and a display port. All ports are located behind the built-in stand, making cable management much easier than other pen displays on the market.

Xencelabs Pen Display 24 review: assembly Quality

The 24 pen display looks solid right out of the box: it's a great 24-inch pen display that's big on size and weight. Be prepared for this display to take up a significant portion of your workspace.

There's nothing cheap about the Pen Display 24. No component can fall apart in your hands or break under the occasional strong impact in everyday life.

That doesn't mean this pen display can be carried around like an iPad or considered a full-time solution while traveling, but know that it's durable.

People are clumsy. I'm clumsy. Build quality is important to me.

Xencelabs Pen Display 24 review: setting up hardware and installing drivers

Setting up Pen Display 24 turned out to be incredibly simple. Unpacking all the components, opening the stand, connecting cables, and turning on the display took a few minutes.

After downloading the proprietary Xencelabs driver, a quick and easy process of calibrating the pens, screen brightness, and pen pressure followed, and I was drawing in no time. The entire initial process took about fifteen minutes.

Review of Xencelabs Pen Display 24 — Xencelabs driver

Beyond this initial setup, you can usually fine-tune the settings to suit your specific needs and comfort levels. The Xencelabs driver is phenomenal, has a neat appearance and offers the deepest level of pen display customization I've ever seen.

For example, adjusting the brightness and contrast of the display screen is carried out through the driver. Not with awkward menu buttons on a tablet.

Color profiles are processed in the same way in the driver. Deep micro-adjustment of tilt and pressure to suit your needs? This is the best driver I've ever seen.

Review of Xencelabs Pen Display 24 — The driver software is highly customizable.

With three built-in buttons at the top of the screen panel, you can use the driver to customize their functions and change the LED colors to suit specific user profiles and functions.

That's one of the keywords for this pen display: customization.

From the driver to the keyboard shortcut controller and styluses, everything about the Pen Display 24 is designed to provide a fully customizable workflow and environment tailored to the individual user. Pen Display 24 offers comfort and ease of use, as well as professional-quality tools.

Pen Display 24 is equipped with a durable and comfortable stand that allows you to adjust the working angle of the tablet according to the user's needs. This stand is removable, and the Pen Display 24 also includes VESA mounting options for larger stands, swing arms, and monitor mounts.

Xencelabs Pen Display 24 Review: Stand

Keep in mind that this pen display is massive and may require something more expensive to safely support the weight .

Xencelabs 24 Pen Display: Tablet Hardware

The Pen Display 24 makes efficient use of its space and displays images in true, stunning 4K resolution that is super bright, clear, and great at reducing glare for people working in bright studios and offices.

This may be strange, and maybe it's my old eyes being used to a 22HD pen display, but I had to go into the driver and turn the display brightness down a bit. This is good as I always prefer to have too much rather than not enough, and if you like a bright display you'll have some space to spare.

The screen is double glass and laminated, so you won't see that weird gap you see on some cheaper pen displays.

The anti-reflective coating is perfect for daily use. There were no instances of annoying glare, even in an office flooded with daylight. Never.

Review of Xencelabs Pen Display 24 — The front of the tablet

Another quality of life feature is the lack of fans. The Pen Display 24 does not make any fan noise, which will definitely help users concentrate without buzzing.

It is worth noting that the Pen Display 24 is not a touch screen. I know a few artists who like the pinch, zoom, and rotate features of the touchscreen, so know that the Pen Display 24 doesn't offer that.

This isn't a deal breaker for me here since I don't like the touchscreen functionality on my pen displays. I always turn them off whenever I can, and at this point I feel like I'm overpaying for a feature I'll never use.

Xencelabs 24 Pen Display: Pens

Xencelabs provides two batteryless EMR pens with 24 pen display.

The first is a chunky three-button pen that will be familiar if you use Wacom, Huion, or other pen displays. It's a weighty pen that feels good in the hand and features an eraser with a wide tactile grip.

Xencelabs Pen Display 24 Review – Pens

I prefer this pen to the slim style as I find that I don't need to hold it in my hands for dear life and acceleration of hand fatigue with prolonged daily use.

The second pen is a thin model, reminiscent of the Apple Pencil in size, shape and weight. It's more elegant and overall better suited to smaller hands for daily use.

It is lighter than other pens, but still feels durable.

The advantage is that both the pens and their buttons can be fully customized individually. This means that each pen can serve a different purpose for different purposes without having to globally reconfigure the pens in the driver.

Imagine using a large pen for “big work” and a smaller pen for calligraphy or detailed work. Again, it's all about customization and offering the user a range of options.

Both pens provide 8,192 different pressure levels with a resolution of 5,080 lpi and can be used with a 60-degree tilt in any direction. This sensitivity makes a huge difference as other brands outside of Wacom tend to lack fluidity and responsiveness when drawing.

Xencelabs is the first company to take things to the next level and offer drawing capabilities, range of motion, and drivers that match Wacom in every way.

Xencelabs 24 pen display: shortcuts

The Shortcut Controller is a great wireless tool that can increase the speed and flexibility of your 24 pen display workflow.

The controller offers eight customizable buttons that can be assigned and are divided into five separate sets of shortcuts, commands and options for a wide range of software partners such as Adobe and Foundry. The large dial on the controller adds more customization options and allows the user to switch between configurations.

Review of Xencelabs Pen Display 24 — Quick Key Bar

All of this is monitored via a bright LED display that identifies the button functions for each set. It's all seamless and configurable in the Xencelabs driver.

The keyboard shortcut controller is a good idea and with continued use I will find my own ways to get the most out of it.

Shortcut keys installed on the Xencelabs 24 pen display

As someone who uses key commands and shortcuts with years of muscle memory, the efficiency of a controller is not required in my workflow. But I could see it being invaluable for those who aren't used to such shortcuts and are looking for quick, one-click options.

The shortcut controller attaches to the pen display 24 using an attachable holder that can be mounted horizontally or vertically in one of six positions along the edge of the pen display. It is ideal for both right-handed and left-handed people.

Xencelabs 24 pen display: work experience

I'll bring my experience to the last page: I really like the Pen Display 24.

From day one, this pen display has outperformed me in every way I have. This kind of hardware is great.

For years I've been lamenting that we need someone in the industry to rise to the level set by my Wacom and become a true contender for the throne. In my opinion, Xencelabs has not only stepped forward, but also shown everyone what large pen displays can do, superior to Wacom.

I created a commissioned piece of art on Pen Display 24's maiden journey and the entire process went smoothly from start to finish.

A custom piece of art created using the Xencelabs 24 pen display [Brian Patterson]

Being a veteran of pen displays, it didn't take me long to find new groove. From sketch to finished product, I was delighted with the smooth controls, sharpness of the 4K display, and feel of the pen.

Everything about the Pen Display 24 feels like Xencelabs took a look at the industry and several pen displays on the market and wondered what could be improved. Then he just went out and made the changes without muddying the waters or losing sight of the goal with a bunch of useless features or gimmicks.

From the build quality to the screen, pens, driver and full range of customization options, it feels like a graphics tablet suitable for both hobbyists and professional users.

Xencelabs pen display 24: A True Wacom Alternative

The Pen Display 24 from Xencelabs is great and represents the new gold standard for pen displays. However, this is far from a casual $1,899 purchase.

This is by no means “inexpensive” as it is serious equipment that should be taken seriously. This price means that this is not a casual purchase for most hobbyists and part-time illustrators.

As of this writing, the closest comparable tablet on the market is Wacom's Cintiq Pro 24, which can be purchased from the Wacom online store for $2,199. There's also Huion's Kamvas Pro 24, which sells for $1,179 on Huion's online store.

So, this means that Xencelabs' effort is cheaper than the extremely disappointing offering from Wacom, but more expensive than the pen display, which I think is 75% right.

However, the Pen Display 24 from Xencelabs is definitely worth the extra investment.

If you're ready to move from iPad or small tablet workspaces without a display to a workspace with a full-featured pen display, the Pen Display 24 from Xencelabs is something you might genuinely like. recommended based on overall price, quality and amazingly good experience.

Hardware like this requires an investment of time and money, so you need a tablet that not only meets those needs, but exceeds them. The Pen Display 24 from Xencelabs does just that.

Xencelabs is a relatively new company in the market compared to other companies in the market, and if it is there now, raising the bar, it will be interesting to see what the company does in the coming years. .

Xencelabs pen display 24 plus

  • Easy setup and driver installation.
  • Incredible screen image and large workspace.
  • Crisp, responsive lines.
  • Advanced customization options.

Disadvantages of the Xencelabs 24 pen display

  • Not a “cheap” option for a large tablet (see below).
  • Using a VESA mount for various stand/stand options can be expensive.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Where to buy the Xencelabs 24 pen display

The Xencelabs pen display can be purchased at the Xencelabs store and also at the B&H Photo store for $1,899 USA.

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