An exclusive, early unboxing of the Monoprice 19” Tablet Monitor.
It’s lighter and smaller than the MSP19U with a better fit and finish to boot.
An exclusive, early unboxing of the Monoprice 19” Tablet Monitor.
It’s lighter and smaller than the MSP19U with a better fit and finish to boot.
In April of 2012, I wrote a review of Monoprice’s graphic tablets that went a bit viral. After being picked up by Drawn!, it was reblogged over 40,000 times.
I loved that little punk rock tablet so much that it inspired me to start ordering other relatively obscure hardware for review. There were undiscovered gems like the Monoprice tablets out there and I wanted to find them.
I’ve reviewed dozens of graphics tablets and tablet monitors in the time since and found that Monoprice’s tablet used UC-Logic digitizers. I tracked down other vendors selling UC-Logic-alike hardware such as Yiynova and Huion.
When reviewing the Yiynova MSP19U (the third Yiynova I purchased that year and the first to abandon its previous, terrible Waltop digitizer internals for UC-Logic tech), the dream of a cheap Cintiq alternative had come true.
Since, Yiynova has stumbled a bit. Their tech uses outdated VGA connections and their prices have raised significantly concurrent with their higher profile in the art community as result of the reviews.
With that history in mind, I’m happy to say that Monoprice is releasing a new, incredibly affordable 19” tablet monitor. Where other Cintiq alternatives in the category cost $700, this new monitor starts at around $390.
I’ve been in contact with Monoprice and hope to receive a review unit.
These alternatives were made possible by the vigilance and curiosity of the art community as a whole. So good on us.
The Bosto 22HD’s hardware is hit and miss with users and their customer support is awful.
I’d like to give you an indepth review of Bosto’s 22” tablet monitor. But I can’t. You can’t review something you can’t use. See, the unit I received didn’t work in OSX worth a damn and it fared even worse in Windows.
Most of the time, the tablet monitor didn’t recognize pen input. When it did, to describe the behavior of the cursor as jittery would’ve been an understatement. The cursor would leap half of the screen height randomly in either OS and shoot around like a ballet dancer in a paint mixer under the best of circumstances. It often took more than five attempts to hit menu icons or position the cursor in a fixed point with the intent of making an accurate mark. Even when it did, the results speak for themselves.
Drawing on the Bosto Kingtee 22HD was a nightmare on either OS with my unit. These were supposed to be circles.
I’ve never reviewed a single piece of art hardware that was this nonfunctional. But don’t take it from me. Take this statement from Bosto as the single best warning away from a product I’ve even seen a company release about themselves.
Bosto tells users that their units are too jittery to use for lineart.
I emailed Bosto about my issues. Anyone can get a lemon. In response, they assured me that new drivers were in development and that an update should come in about thirty days. In slogging through the dozens of angry consumer posts on Bosto’s official Facebook page (see Posts by Others there), they make this nebulous claim of driver support over and over again.
They contradict themselves often. They claim Mac support in one post only to tell another user that installing Windows on their Mac is an easy and recommended solution if you use OSX. You can’t tell consumers a product is compatible with an operating system only to pull the rug out from under them later. Subsequent promises of fictitious driver support don’t help.
New units purchased from Bosto have a fourteen day return period. If you wait for the oft-promised, but undelivered driver updates, you’re stuck with the unit. To say that this is a shady proposition is an understatement. And folks are getting stuck with units.
I emailed Bosto a number of times about my problems with the unit, but they’ve not returned a correspondence since October 16th.
In short, stay away. Even if my unit was abnormally defective, their business practices and customer support are awful. If you’re spending this much money on a piece of hardware it either needs to work without breaking or have excellent customer support in case it does. You can’t have neither and expect to take on the other players in the market.
If you’re looking to buy a tablet monitor, the MSP19U remains a great overall value and Monoprice has a 19” tablet monitor coming out in December that will sell for around $390 that I’ll be reviewing it soon.
With competent devices that work in both Windows and OSX available at the same or lower cost, why even take the chance on these units? Their official Facebook page is crowded with users complaining of unreturned emails and faulty units with half-baked, long-promised driver updates. It’s been more than a month and I’m still waiting for my return email.
Post Review Schadenfreude
There are some choice exchanges between Bosto and users or insightful complaints about the hardware and customer support below.
The drivers are coming, we promise!
We can’t support you - you should’ve bought a more expensive tablet if you expected that!
Our tablet can’t possibly be defective. You must be a scammer!
Is Bosto even going to be around to support products in the future? Their comment above is nebulous at best.
I’ve taken screens of dozens more of their awful customer support exchanges that I could post, but you get the idea.
A few months ago Yiynova sent me review hardware for the MVP22UHD. (Read that original, in-depth look here.) Drawing on the unit felt on par with its cheaper and smaller MSP19U, but the LCD panel’s viewing angles were poor and the image quality was sub-par.
Panda City, the US distributor for Yiynova products, reached out to me for advice. They wanted to do right by their growing userbase. They decided to take the MVP22UHD back to the drawing board.
Fast forward. I’ve received the second revision of the MVP22UHD for preview. What’s changed?
The MVP22UHD’s LCD has been upgraded to an IPS panel. Viewing angles and color accuracy are vastly improved.
The display adapter is still, oddly, a VGA plug, but a VGA to mini-displayport adapter is now included in the box.
The digitizer’s chipset has been upgraded to the latest tech UC-Logic has to offer. Some users of UC-Logic tablets and tablet monitors experienced line jitter when drawing at slow speeds. This update addresses that problem. Slow strokes felt much more natural. Diagonal strokes, also affected with jitter on some tablet models, are also improved. Drawing feels fast and accurate. The MVP22UHD feels very natural to draw on as a result.
The stylus previously required a little too much effort to actuate to full pressure. After reading my review, Yiynova took a look at their tech, saw the flaw, and corrected it. The pressure curve (the amount of pressure required to go from resting pressure to full pressure variance when pressing down on the stylus tip) is best in class.
Fonts rendered poorly with little to no hinting. I looked into what could cause such an issue in OS X. Some monitors improperly report themselves as CRTs and font smoothing is turned off by default. By using the following terminal command, I was able to force font smoothing and things seemed better.
defaults -currentHost write -globalDomain AppleFontSmoothing -int 2
You’ll know the terminal command worked if your LCD smoothing option changes from a checkmark to a dash in System Preferences.
Taking a screen capture doesn’t, and can’t, show you this effect. Only taking a photo with a camera can. Unfortunately, it’s very hard to get a clean photo that gives a sense of the scope of the problem. The images included are my best attempts.
Note the inconsistency in the font-rendering of the i’s and l’s in Willing.
This is sort of a hard problem to combat as I suspect the relatively low pixel density of the display has a lot to do with it. I’ve been taking macro shots of various monitors and the way they handle font smoothing in OS X for weeks and I’m just not coming up with a satisfactory answer for specifically why text looks subpar on the MVP22UHD.
It’s a shame that, with all the great improvements to drawing and screen quality, this single flaw keeps me from giving the tablet monitor a glowing recommendation. If it weren’t for the font rendering problems, the LCD panel quality and drawing feel were about on par with Wacom’s Cintiq 22HD at half the cost.
Which budget Cintiq alternative should you get? As it stands, I recommend the MVP22UHD over the MSP19U if you don’t mind slightly wonky font rendering in trade for a large display and an improved feel to drawing. If you’re not one to make slow, labored strokes and can deal with worse color accuracy and viewing angles, the MSP19U is cheaper and a totally viable option.
I have both the MVP22UHD v2 and MSP19U in my studio and, despite the odd way fonts seem to be smoothed, I’ve been gravitating to the MVP22UHD. The larger screen, better color accuracy, and vastly improved viewing angles are nice additions.
It’s times like these that I wish Wacom would correct the terrible light-pressure blowout in their pressure curve. I would gladly pay top dollar for their hardware if making light strokes didn’t feel so god-awful. The lightest of taps register at nearly half pressure on all their tablets and tablet monitors.
Yiynova is attempting to match the drawing feel and image quality, if not the industrial design, of Wacom’s tech. Yiynova isn’t there yet, but, with each hardware iteration, they’re getting closer.
At least there’s competition in the market place that listens to the art community and adjusts accordingly. I’m hopeful for the future, but stuck in the present.
If you want to support my digital art hardware reviews, buying anything on Amazon after visiting this referral link is greatly appreciated!
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I was talking a bit about the pros and cons of a Surface Pro 2 versus a Wacom Cintiq Companion yesterday on Twitter. I asked folks which they’d rather see me review first.
And then this happened.
Guess I’ll be reviewing one of those!
With the H610, K58, and W58, Huion’s industrial design leapfrogs Monoprice’s tablets and begs for comparison to Wacom’s offerings. While the Monoprice tablets I reviewed previously were the best bang for your drawing buck at the time, these new Huion tablets offer a significant bump in specifications and fit and finish without a huge leap in price.
Huion’s line of tablets use the same UC-Logic pen digitizer technology as Monoprice’s tablets. Monoprice’s hotkeys felt flimsy and the stylus was serviceable and utilitarian. No one would call the Monoprice tablets things of beauty, but it was easy to overlook these shortcomings given their price. At around ten percent of the cost of comparable Wacom tablets, with equal or better performance in many regards, the Monoprice line of tablets was my punk-rock drawing tool of choice when not using tablet monitors on my desktops.
Perfect for throwing into a laptop bag, and cheap enough to not have to worry about destroying during travel, the Monoprice filled a niche. Since that initial purchase, I’ve acquired more than two dozen additional UC-Logic based tablets and monitors for testing and possible review.
Aside from Yiynova’s U-designated line of graphics tablet monitors, few of those purchases have been noteworthy enough to warrant additional spotlight. I’m pleased to say that the Huion tablets reviewed here replaced my Monoprice tablets as my go-to, portable drawing solutions. You’d still have to pry my Note II or Yiynova MSP19U from my cold, dead hands, but, in the graphics tablet space, Huion’s tablet line won me over.
The H610, K58, and W58 all have a digitizer with 2048 levels of pressure, 5080 LPI, and a report rate of 233 reports per second. All tablets have detachable mini-USB cable connections and come with battery operated styli.
The H610 includes eight user-programmable hotkeys and has a 10” x 6” active working area.
The K58 and W58 have a smaller, hotkey-less active area of 8” x 5.” In the case of the W58, an internal Li-Ion battery claims 30 hours of use before needing to be charged via it’s included mini-USB cable. The W58 can be used as a wired tablet while charging via your systems USB port.
The P80 is a rechargeable stylus with an internal Li-Ion battery that comes bundled with the K58. It claims 800 hours of continuous use before needing a recharge. In practice, I found the stylus held a charge for a few days at a time. Recharging is done via a USB cable that has a proprietary connector on one end that plugs into the stylus.
The P80 can be used with the other Huion tablets, but must be purchased separately.
Installation and Setup for the H610 and K58
Like all the other UC-Logic hardware I’ve tested, the biggest obstacle is neither price nor drawing capability, but initial setup. Make sure to download Huion’s customized UC-Logic driver directly from their site. Install it before plugging your tablet in for the first time.
In OS X, the tablet can behave strangely if you have third party mouse-steering apps installed. Logitech drivers and USB Overdrive are repeat offenders. An engineer at Adobe contacted me when his UC-Logic tablet’s cursor stuck to the top left corner of his screen and, after a few days of painstaking processes of elimination, we determined that his third party mouse app had stymied the tablet.
In Windows, be sure to install the drivers before plugging the tablet in. Windows has insidious default tablet drivers it will install otherwise. They don’t work well and you’ll swear there’s something wrong with your hardware. There isn’t. Deleting your HID stack in Device Manager is the only help here and even it may not work. You may have to reinstall a fresh copy of the OS. Additionally, in Windows 7 at least, disable Tablet PC services from the services menu. Uninstall Tablet PC components. Uncheck “Support Tablet PC Features” from the tablet driver icon in the system tray. Minimally, disable Pen Flicks. All of these things impact drawing performance. I haven’t tested any of these devices on Windows 8 as yet.
One side effect of doing these reviews is that I’ve become defacto technical support on a whole host of common problems associated with nearly all graphics tablets. I can’t help everyone, but I do try. Please take my advice. Install the drivers before plugging the tablet in. Don’t use third party mouse mods. Graphics tablets everywhere will thank you. And so will I.
Installation and Setup of the W58
The wireless capability of the W58 is unique. The tablet works in both wired and wireless modes, but the initial setup is the same as its corded brethren. Aside from being finicky about software-before-hardware installation order, I encountered no installation issues in Windows.
In OS X, I was completely unable to get the W58 to work. When drawing a stroke, the beginning and ends would blob out to full pressure regardless of how light I pressed. While in wireless mode, attempting to open the PenTablet driver app in Applications would result in system freezes and application crashes. I tested the W58 on three MacPro towers with OSes ranging from Snow Leopard to Mountain Lion, a 2012 MacBook Air, and a new Mac Mini with the same results.
I wrote Huion asking for advice and they sent a second piece of hardware along. During testing, they said to try and use the tablet without any drivers installed. Despite this sounding entirely counterintuitive, I gave it a shot. No dice. The same problem occurred. Strokes blobbed out at their beginning and ends while appearing to respond accurately in the middle of their marks.
As it stands, I cannot recommend the W58 for OS X users. It’s a shame. The hardware was small and light enough that tossing it into my laptop bag as my default, laptop-centric graphics tablet solution would’ve been a no-brainer otherwise.
Performance in Graphics Applications
The H610 and K58 performed well in both Windows and OS X. Slow, deliberate strokes showed some jitter and diagonal lines drawn at near 45 degrees seem to exacerbate the issue. This is a behavior common to all the UC-Logic hardware I’ve tested.
Post OS X Mountain Lion 10.8.3, some Mac users reported jitter issues with UC-Logic hardware. I found that installing Smooth Mouse to disable the cursor acceleration and alleviate the lag present in how the operating system handles mouse movement seemed to help. I personally haven’t had issues with jitter as I tend to draw fast and loose with long, sweeping strokes. I seldom hover slowly and deliberately while mark-making a single line. If you are a hesitant line-maker, bear this possible caveat in mind.
The bundled, AAA-powered stylus is a bit stiff out of the box. I’ve owned over seven of these Huion styli and a stiff pressure curve has been consistent among them all. The harder pressure curve is a welcome change from the mushy, easy-to-blow-out pressure curve of Wacom hardware, though is a smidge stiffer than I would like.
The Li-Ion, rechargeable, aftermarket P80 stylus has a pressure curve unique to any other UC-Logic styli I’ve tested. It feels in-hand like a Wacom stylus and has a pressure curve to match. Light strokes blow-out to full pressure without much effort. If their goal was to replicate a Wacom feel, warts and all, they’ve done it. The light pressure being so touchy is not a preference of mine and I didn’t use the rechargeable stylus much as a result. I’ve owned three of these rechargeable styli and all exhibited this behavior.
For the W58, performance in Windows was good. An occasional jitter or wonky mouse movement occurred with long use. I suspect those rare hiccups had to do with the 2.4ghz, wireless nature of the device. I enjoyed being less tethered to my workstation. I’m a big fan of workspace minimalism and the W58 appeals to the lizard cortex of my brain. If I’d managed to get the W58 working in OS X, I’d have been ecstatic.
The H610 has lived in my laptop bag for six months. Its hotkeys feel firmer than the Monoprice 10” x 6.25.” It boasts 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity. The report rate of the digitizer is higher. The LPI is better. It has a detachable mini-USB cable. The industrial design of the stylus and tablet surface is akin to the Wacom tablets I cut my teeth on. The overall fit and finish feels high-end and not at all indicative of the sub-$60 price tag.
In all measures save for price, the Huion H610 and K58 could be placed on a shelf next to Wacom tablets and the average on-looker would guess they were equals. If you’re in the market for a budget Wacom-alternative, the Huion H610 is now the one I’d recommend.
My contacts at Huion tell me they’re working on a new tablet monitor and, after spending half a year using their products daily, I’m very excited to see what they do next.
As per usual, shopping on Amazon using my referral link helps support my efforts to review digital art hardware.
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I just received word from my contact at Panda City that Yiynova wants me to consult on a revamped MVP22U that takes into account my early feedback.
The updated model slated for release near October may include an IPS panel and a new, enhanced UC Logic digitizer.
I’m editing my review to reflect the changing nature of the story.
Note: I just received word from my contact at Panda City that Yiynova wants me to consult on a revamped MVP22U that takes into account my early feedback.
The updated model slated for release near October may include an IPS panel and a new, enhanced UC-Logic digitizer.
The following review reflects the hardware in its current state before a possible update.
The MSP19U proved that cheap Cintiq alternatives were real and not relegated to the land of unicorns and fairies. Digital artists were given an affordable way to draw directly on screen.
The hero of the MSP19U (reviewed here) was its UC Logic digitizer (the panel that interprets your stylus movement and pressure and turns it into mark-making on screen). The villain was the screen. It had problems with color temperature and viewing angles. As the next generation in the Yiynova line of graphics tablet monitors, the MVP22U was poised to iterate on this hardware and provide real, direct competition for the larger Cintiqs at prices far more attainable. Its task was to pair the underlying UC Logic digitizer technology with a slightly nicer screen than its previous generation offering.
The MVP22U never capitalizes on the momentum of the MSP19U and feels like an entirely lateral move that an extra $300 doesn’t justifty. I don’t like writing negative reviews. I’d much rather be giving you the news that the MVP22U was the large, cheap, accurate Cintiq alternative we’ve all been clamoring to buy. It’s not.
The screen on the MVP22U is a 21.5,” 16:9, VGA-driven panel with atrocious viewing angles. The LED backlighting feels uneven leaving dark spots across the surface of the device. The screen of the MSP19U uses the same underlying technology, but the increase in size of the MVP22U means you’re seldom in a position where all of the screen can be seen at the optimal viewing angle at once, kneecapping the advantages promised by a larger screen. In addition, the difference between a 19,” 16:10 and a 21.5,” 16:9 monitor isn’t as wide a gap as you might think. The panel didn’t feel significantly larger, just skinnier. When using the MSP19U, I feel more of the screen is usuable with accurate color and value than when using the MVP22U.
The MVP22U’s included styli are have very stiff pressure curves. I’m a fairly burly guy. With all my strength, I can manage to push down the tips of the two styli I tested to a total of around 1800 of their 2048 pressure levels. Getting full width or full opacity marks on this unit would require me pressing so hard that I fear I’d break the glass.
The hotkeys on are precariously situated at the top of the monitor and feel a bit flimsy. The backlight from the panel leaks between them.
In OSX, rotating the screen isn’t an option at the tablet driver level. If you rotate the screen to a portrait setting at the OS level, the digitizer loses its ability to track your movments accurately instead sending the cursor in jumbled directions. Hitting the hotkeys in OSX is an awkward enough proposition that I opted to avoid them entirely.
In Windows, the tablet’s drivers support portrait mode. Using the hotkeys situated on the left side of the monitor was fine. The viewing angle problem of the display is exacerbated when used in portrait mode. The top or bottom of your screen is a dark shadow and a sliver of useable surface area resides in the middle unless you sit unuseably far away.
While thinner than and almost the same weight of the MSP19U, and despite being a larger monitor, the fit and finish feels cheaper. The screen’s front panel is held on by awkward plastic tabs that regularly popped out of place while moving the MVP22U around on my monitor arm.
The comptuers used for testing were three MacPro towers running Snow Leopard, Lion, and Mountain Lion, a 2012 13” Macbook Air, an 11” Macbook Air, an iMac, a 2013 maxed Mac mini, and a Win7x64 box.
In OSX, when using a Mini Displayport to VGA adapter being driven by Intel HD Graphics, the screen manifests overscan problems. Everything looks out of scale. I tried three different VGA adapters, but the problem persisted. After some digging, it appears it could be a problem with refresh rates on the Intel HD Graphics side that would’ve been sidestepped by a less archaic video connection type. Pushing 1920x1080 over VGA on a near $900 monitor is a ridiculous proposition.
Fuzzy, scaled images and text in OSX on the Yiynova MVP22U.
While not likely entirely the MVP22U’s fault, a large number of graphic designers and digital artists use Macs with Intel HD Graphics and I can’t recommend this monitor for use on such systems regardless of the underlying reason. In Windows, the screen faired better, but still suffered from a distinct lack of sharpness and the aforementioned color accuracy and viewing angle issues. Much like the DP10U (reviewed here), you’ll need to operate within a few degrees of the optimal viewing angle before screen darkening and color washout creep in.
The achilles heel of the MVP22U, its VGA connector.
Drawing felt fine. The report rate (the rate at which the hardware polls the position of the stylus and sends it to the OS) of the MVP22U is slightly higher than the MSP19U or DP10U and the UC Logic digitizer remains the single best aspect of this hardware.
Accurate, complex strokes are easy thanks to the UC Logic digitizer.
The total lack of improvements over their older monitors paired with new problems lead me to believe that Yiynova doesn’t understand the market they’ve stumbled into.
The MSP19U isn’t perfect, but it’s a good value. I don’t feel that the MVP22U manages even that. The near $900 price tag increases expectations of quality. If you’re in the market for an affordable Cintiq alternative, I recommend the MSP19U over the MVP22U.
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Hobo-style unboxing for the Yiynova MVP22U Cintiq-alike tablet monitor. Review forthcoming!
Special thanks to my wife for being my floating sky-camera. My usual head-mounted GoPro unboxing wasn’t an option today.
Yiynova’s new digital art hardware releases are just around the corner.
The newest stylus offered by Yiynova was designed with their forthcoming, 22” HD Cintiq alternative, the MVP22U, in mind. I have one on order that should arrive any day. I also ordered a backup stylus. It arrived first. I tested the new stylus on my existing UC Logic hardware. How did it fare on the MSP19U? Is it a big improvement over the previous generation Yiynova styli?
The new stylus, top, and the stylus that shipped with the MSP19U, bottom.
Some folks had issues with the previous gen styli. They held the pen in such a way that it would sometimes slip apart. Having owned around 12 UC Logic tablets, and even more styli, I never had an issue with them sepearating. But, if you did, this new stylus will keep that from happening.
The old stylus carried its battery in the middle via a fairly flimsy metal bracket. The two halves of the stylus’ body were held in place by the friction of the rubber grip alone. This new stylus screws together.
The new stylus is slightly thinner and longer. The battery is located in the end of the stylus and feels a bit top heavy as a result. It’s not a good or bad thing, just different. It took a little getting used to, but the overall improvement in the closing mechanism seems a fair tradeoff in that regard. While lacking the fit and finish of Huion’s rechargeable stylus (which sadly doesn’t work on Yiynova’s hardware despite both being UC Logic digitizer based), the build quality does seem improved.
The stylus’ pressure curve was a bit stiff out of the box. If Wacom tech is a bit loose and unweildy at one end of the spectrum, this stylus represents the opposite. It takes significant force to get the stylus to full pressure. In my experience, styli tend to loosen up over time, so it’s likely not an issue. I’d rather err on the side of stiff than loose. Further, it may have a curve more tailored to the new 22” model rendering this test moot.
I tend to order extra styli with all my review units for just this reason. Often, styluses from the same production run can be a little looser or heavier than each other. Sometimes you get a sable brush with good snap and sometimes you get a dud. The same has held true for styli in my years of testing.
Out of over a dozen UC Logic styli, I have three stiff models and two loose with the rest falling somewhere in the middle with very natural pressure curves. All, even the loosest, exhibit a better pressure curve than my Wacom equivalents, so it’s hard to be very critical. Even Wacom styli vary a heap in my experience. I bought six styluses for my Cintiq 20WSX before I had one I really liked.
My bank account is $849 lighter and my MVP22U is on its way. This stylus does little more than make that wait a smidge more bearable. Expect an updated opinion on this stylus when the review for that new unit drops soon.
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