Huion HS64 + MediBang Paint Review

One of the problems I've faced as a digital artist is finding a means of drawing digitally while on the go. While I can draw with traditional media, I simply lack the level of flexibility that I have when drawing digitally. While there are different options and approaches to this problem, I find Huion has taken a very interesting approach to this with the HS64.


For a while I tried using my Cintiq 13HD with my laptop but despite the tablet's slim factor, hauling around a fairly bulky laptop, needing an outlet to power the tablet, and dealing with all the cables proved to be anything but portable. Down the line, I ended up acquiring a Surface tablet PC and honestly it's been serving me wonderfully. The problem with most tablet PCs however is that they aren't often designed for artists and tend to be pricey as you'll need to purchase the higher end models to insure your device is powerful enough to run your art programs. A tablet PC will easily cost you anywhere from $600 to $1200. So, I started looking into Android options.


The first option I saw was the Samsung Galaxy Note. With a built in pen and pressure sensitivity, this was and possibly still is, the best option for drawing on a portable device. Once again though, the price of one of these phones ranged anywhere from $500 to $1000 and for me, I already had a nice phone. Ultimately, I gave up on the idea of drawing on my Android device... until Huion came up with the HS64 Creative Pen Tablet. While the tablet's primary use was for PCs, it also claimed to be compatible with Android devices. Intrigued, I picked one up and decided to test it out while I was at Further Confusion. With that said, my focus was primarily on testing this tablet's capabilities with Android devices, not PC.


The Review: Huion HS64...



Upon unboxing the tablet, I received everything as shown above (with out my phone of course). There was the tablet itself, a small instruction pamphlet, a usb cable, and two adapters to convert usb to usb C and micro. Set up for Android was simple and required no installation, I simply needed to chose the right adapter for my phone and plug it in.


It's important to note, while the tablet is connected to an Android device the drawing space is limited to the left side of the tablet. Not only can you not change which side of the tablet is functional, this vertical drawing space will not change even when using your phone in landscape. This means that for the Android portion of the device, it much more suited towards people who are right-handed. Additionally, while the buttons do not function in Android mode, the pen's primary button can be held down when in use and the tablet will recognize this as a different interaction.


At first, adjusting to having to use the left-hand side of the tablet and using my phone in portrait mode was a bit of a pain but I was impressed with the overall experience. It was quite sometime since I used a drawing tablet that didn't have a screen but after some practice I was able to scribble out a few drawings that I was satisfied with.



While the pressure sensitivity wasn't really comparable to either my Surface or Cintiq HD13, it was well within the bounds of acceptable. What was most refreshing about this tablet though was having an ergonomic pen. With the Surface Pen, I found my hand getting fatigued much quicker than when using the Huion pen which had a very similar grip to my Cintiq's art pen.


I can honestly say a lot of my experience with using this tablet was improved by the program I was using, MediBang Paint. It's interface was fairly clean and straight forward but it also came packed with pretty much every vital feature I'd use in a full program like Clip Studio Paint. Layers, filters, rulers, stabilizer, color palettes, I was thoroughly impressed with what this Android app could do. I was particularly fond of the program's use of the volume keys as Undo and Redo buttons.


Conclusion...


For roughly $50, both the Huion HS64 and MediBang Paint made for a surprisingly pleasant and effective means to draw on the go, especially since most Android devices can charge off of portable battery banks. While the tablet itself isn't quite small enough to fit in a pocket, it's still extremely portable and easy to use wherever you'd use your phone. I'd really love to see a future variant where you can change the handedness of the device and enable a landscape mode but for now, if you're an artist who's used to drawing on art tablets that don't have screens, are right-handed, and want to draw on the go, you might really enjoy this little tablet.

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