XPPen Magic Drawing Pad review: an affordable alternative to iPad for artists

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XPPen Magic Pad is simply a genuinely bully replacement to iPad for artists. This is simply a light, responsive drafting tablet pinch an awesome 16k of pen pressure, making it perfect for outdoor integer art.

For

  • Excellent integer drafting experience
  • Wonderful show designed for art
  • Lightweight and responsive

Against

  • Struggles pinch immoderate simulations

Why you tin spot Creative Bloq Our master reviewers walk hours testing and comparing products and services truthful you tin take nan champion for you. Find retired much astir really we test.

XPPen Magic Drawing Pad specs

XPPen Magic Pad review; a tablet resting connected a woody bridge

(Image credit: Future / XPPen)

Display 12.2-inch, 3:2 ratio, matte anti-glare finish, 60 Hz, 300 nits
Resolution 2160 x 1440, 109% sRGB, 82% Adobe RGB, 77% NTSC
Stylus 16,384 levels of pen pressure, EMR tech
Memory 8GB RAM, 256GB storage, expandable to 512GB via MicroSD card
Connectivity Bluetooth 5.1, WiFi, USB-C 2.0
Dimension 27.9 x 19.2 x 0.69 cm
Weight 599g
Processor 8-core MT8771
OS Android
GPU ARM G57 MC2
Audio 2 microphones, 4 speakers
Cameras 13MP (rear), 8MP (front)

The caller XPPen Magic Drawing Pad is simply a caller tablet pinch a difference; this is 1 of nan first drafting tablets to merchandise aimed squarely astatine integer artists who wish to return their activity connected nan road, literally. Designed for digital plein-air painting, this is simply a tablet that takes XPPen's desktop drafting retired of nan location and studio.

Digital artists person been looking for a bully tablet to return their creation outside, and for years now Apple has cornered this group pinch iPad and iPad Pro. Recently Wacom released nan One 13 Touch but this requires a smartphone to laptop to tally its software. There is besides nan Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 FE+ and nan caller Huawei MatePad Pro 13.2, and some are fantabulous but besides both, for illustration iPad, person glossy displays not designed for artists but tin beryllium utilized for art.

The caller Magic Drawing Pad is chiefly comparable to iPad (2022) successful position of price, though Apple's tablet is much costly. Also, while I emotion drafting connected my iPad Pro I person needed to upgrade it pinch extras specified arsenic nan fantabulous Rock, Paper, Pencil screen and nibs for a softer paper-like experience.

So that's nan competition, but what does XPPen's caller tablet connection that nan likes of iPad and Samsung don't. Basically, nan Magic Drawing Pad is simply a due drafting tablet designed for mobile use. It features a flexible, matte decorativeness anti-glare and anti-finger people show and a stylus pinch 16k levels of pen unit - this is nan aforesaid show and stylus tech you'd expect from a desktop drafting tablet, but successful a mobile device, and it's very good.

XPPen Magic Drawing Pad: successful nan box

XPPen Magic Drawing Pad review; a tablet, glove, stylus connected a box

The XPPen Magic Drawing Pad comes pinch everything you request to get started, including other nibs and drafting glove. (Image credit: Future / XPPen)

The container my XPPen Magic Drawing Pad comes successful is larger and bulky than I had expected, it's 3 times nan size of an iPad package. The logic is nan Magic Drawing Pad comes pinch a flexible, transparent lawsuit that doubles arsenic a low-rising guidelines and features a slot to clasp nan stylus. 

Accompanying nan lawsuit is everything you request to usage nan tablet, and includes: a USB-C charger, charging cable, XPPen X3 Pro Pencil, 4 integrative nibs and 4 felt nibs, a nib remover, SIM ejection tool, surface protecting mitt and personification guide.

XPPen Magic Drawing Pad review; a clear frosted integrative lawsuit for a drafting tablet

This drafting tablet comes pinch a frosted elastic lawsuit that clips to nan rear and edges. It features a slot to shop nan stylus. (Image credit: Future / XPPen)

What isn't included is simply a due lawsuit aliases tablet sleeve, which fixed nan mobility user-case of nan Magic Drawing Pad would look to beryllium a must. The included lawsuit clips onto nan rear and astir nan sides of nan tablet, but nan show is near uncovered successful your bag. A lawsuit for illustration that offered pinch nan Xencelabs Pen Tablet Medium Bundle would person been welcome. 

But, XPPen has still included a batch successful this guidelines package arsenic Apple asks you to salary other for Apple Pencil and Wacom charges other for a akin lawsuit arsenic included present for its Wacom One 13 Touch.

XPPen Magic Drawing Pad: creation and specs

XPPen Magic Drawing Pad review; nan rear of a drafting tablet, it's grey metallic

The XPPen Magic Drawing Pad feels coagulated and premium, and nan rear is simply a bully matte vanished silver-grey. (Image credit: Future / XPPen)

The first point I announcement erstwhile unpacking and holding nan XPPen Magic Drawing Pad is really coagulated and ray it is; this feels for illustration a value tablet. This tablet has a coagulated metallic chassis, soft curved corners, slim bezels and a soft-to-touch display. There's a subtle curving distant from nan show astir nan edges which ends successful a bully angular separator astatine nan rear. 

The Magic Drawing Pad is besides notably larger and a different magnitude to tablets for illustration iPad (2022). It has a unsocial 3:2 ratio and 12.2 inch display, meaning it's a small taller and wider than different modular tablets. I find this makes it easier to clasp successful 1 manus and leaves room to spot nan drafting area, thing iPad for illustration lacks.

This drafting tablet is super-thin too, astatine 6.9mm, and and weighs just 599g, which is ray for what is fundamentally a 12-inch tablet, for illustration Wacom One 13 Touch is astir 898g while nan iPad (2022) 10.2-inch is somewhat lighter astatine 477g (but besides smaller overall).

XPPen Magic Drawing Pad review; a camera connected nan rear of a drafting tablet

The rear of nan tablet features a 13MP camera and pinch an automatic brightness sensor. (Image credit: Future / XPPen)

The rear is simply a matte decorativeness metallic pinch a ray texture, which feels good. The rear 13MP camera is aligned to nan extremity correct area while nan front-facing 8MP camera is astatine nan apical wherever expected, nary surprises here.

The powerfulness fastener is to nan apical near erstwhile held horizontally, nan measurement power is apical near (just for illustration iPad), and location are 2 speakers astatine nan bottommost and a further 2 connected nan different side, pinch a USB-C 2.0 larboard and microSD paper slot for upgrading representation to nan side.

From a creation perspective, XPPen Magic Drawing Pad is what I expected and what I would want from a mobile drafting tablet. It is worthy noting this is WiFi only truthful there's nary cellular option, but for illustration a batch of XPPen products there's ever a clear equilibrium of request and cost, and present I deliberation it's conscionable right.

XPPen Magic Drawing Pad: capacity indoors

XPPen Magic Drawing Pad review; a drafting tablet pinch a doodle of a female character

This tablet has a elastic show that tin pushed into, which is perfect for integer sketching and painting. (Image credit: Future / XPPen)

Before I caput into nan Cotswold hills astir wherever I unrecorded to trial nan Magic Drawing Pad connected nan go, I first springiness it a spell successful nan comfortableness of my home. After all, if you're looking to walk $500 / £450 connected a drafting tablet you'll apt beryllium utilizing it astatine location arsenic overmuch arsenic outdoors. 

Firstly, I emotion nan small guidelines that sits connected nan rear of nan Magic Drawing Pad erstwhile nan lawsuit is attached. It's a mini emergence of astir half-an-inch but it does connection a flimsy perspective to tie onto. Obviously, erstwhile utilized vertically successful image nan emergence becomes a thin truthful you'll request to region nan case.

I'm testing this tablet utilizing ArtRage Vitae arsenic it's an Android app I'm astir acquainted with, and nan Magic Drawing Pad comes pinch a free paired-back type called ArtRage Oils pre-installed. The tablet besides comes pinch a free three-month subscription to ibisPaint X. Both apps look successful my guideline to nan best drafting apps Android, and are excellent.

XPPen Magic Drawing Pad review; nan broadside of a drafting tablet

The lawsuit surrounds nan tablet and offers protection for nan bladed edges. (Image credit: Future / XPPen)

So, really is this tablet to use? It's incredibly easy and fun; mounting up dates minutes and you tin adhd a Google relationship aliases link nan tablet to a smartphone and transportation your apps and relationship complete successful a modular setup process.

Once up and moving I unfastened up ArtRage Vitae (the afloat version) and statesman doodling. There's elasticity from nan show you don't get connected an iPad, making for a bully drafting experience. The stylus is responsive and there's nary request to link utilizing Bluetooth arsenic nan magnetic EMR tech useful seamlessly.

One flimsy rumor is nan stylus doesn't support tilt, dissimilar Apple Pencil 2, truthful occasionally it fails to link pinch nan show and location tin beryllium a flimsy resistance connected nan cursor (I'm told this is thing XPPen is moving on, truthful watch this space). This is mostly an rumor erstwhile utilizing nan tablet level connected a desk, erstwhile holding I people tilt nan tablet arsenic I go. 

Overall nan acquisition of utilizing nan Magic Drawing Pad is overmuch person to a modular drafting tablet than an iPad. There's nary action connected nan tablet to calibrate nan stylus but immoderate apps, for illustration ibisPaint X do characteristic options.

XPPen Magic Drawing Pad: capacity outside

XPPen Magic Drawing Pad review; a integer watercolour connected a tablet's surface successful a field

Sketching outdoors is awesome fun, and nan XPPen Magic Drawing Pad makes it easier than ever. (Image credit: Future / XPPen)

Heading outdoors to digitally tie has its ain unsocial demands that disagree from doodling connected nan sofa aliases coating astatine a desk; sunlight, weight, equilibrium each play a part. I was a small cautious astir slipping nan Magic Drawing Pad into a container without a due surface protector aliases slipcase, but moreover aft a 3 hr locomotion it remained unscathed.

Stopping to sketch, nan tablet performs really well. Holding nan pad successful my near manus I tin unclip nan stylus from its lawsuit holder and statesman drawing. The matte decorativeness show boasts an anti-glare decorativeness and it really helps; it whitethorn beryllium January but nan entity is clear bluish and nan sun is sparkling but there's small reflection connected nan screen.

Just for illustration XPPen's modular desktop drafting tablets this is simply a afloat laminated display, meaning there's nary spread betwixt nan LCD and nan aboveground of nan screen, which successful move dampens immoderate ray reflection.

XPPen Magic Drawing Pad; a integer sketch connected a tablet being held successful a field

Even connected a agleam sunny time nan show remained easy to position and use; there's small to nary glare aliases reflections. (Image credit: Future / XPPen)

The show is simply a agleam TFT LCD (IPS) surface pinch vibrant colours and nan lines look sharp; nan 2160 x 1440 solution impresses and is simply a bully fresh for a tablet utilized astatine arms length. The show supports 109% sRGB, 82% Adobe RGB, 77% NTSC and a brightness standing of 300 nits (less than iPad 2022's 500 nits) astatine 60Hz.

The show is micro-textured giving a softer drafting acquisition than nan descent of utilizing an iPad, that's not to opportunity it's nan Magic Drawing Pad is not super-smooth to nan touch but it intends erstwhile utilizing pinch nan stylus it feels much connected and person to drafting connected insubstantial than you get from non-drawing tablets.

There's a suppleness to this tablet too, which you don't get from Apple and Samsung. As I push for thicker strokes I tin consciousness nan show flex nether nan nib, again making for a much earthy experience. It tin besides consciousness a small looser but much tactile and little objective that utilizing my iPad Pro, which immoderate will prefer, it each depends connected your style and needs.

XPPen Magic Drawing Pad; scribbles connected a tablet

There are immoderate flimsy issues, peculiarly nan slowdown erstwhile utilizing taxing overgarment simulations successful ArtRage Vitae. (Image credit: Future / XPPen)

While nan show performs perfectly for me, I do find my manus cramps aft a while; nan X3 Pro Pencil has awesome unit levels (16k) but it's besides a small shorter and lighter than Apple Pencil 2, which for immoderate could beryllium an rumor (but I was sketching for 3 hours). On nan up side, arsenic this stylus is designed for integer creation it does characteristic a customisable Quick Key, which is useful for mounting up shortcuts to Eyedropper, for example.

One weird rumor is nan tablet's excitable automatic brightness controlled by nan rear camera's sensor. When utilizing nan tablet astatine a table it's not an rumor arsenic nan ray being absorbed is constant, but erstwhile outdoors and being held successful nan manus nan show is liable to automatically dim erstwhile successful use. (After speaking pinch XPPen nan sensor tin beryllium turned disconnected successful nan tablet's settings, truthful it's not a immense rumor but I'd urge doing truthful if utilizing this outdoors).

When outdoors and being held successful nan manus nan show is liable to automatically dim erstwhile successful use

I find an occasional stutter and slow down erstwhile utilizing immoderate of ArtRage Vitae's much taxing brushes and features, specified arsenic nan existent clip watercolours and spatula blend tools; inks, oils, pastels and pencils are a joyousness to use. This is apt much of an rumor pinch nan app and its optimisation than nan tablet, arsenic akin analyzable blending devices successful ibisPaint X were speedy and smooth.

Generally nan XPPen Magic Drawing Pad performed exceptionally well; I recovered it ray and easy to usage and emotion being capable to get nan aforesaid drafting tablet consciousness I'm utilized to astatine location erstwhile outside.

XPPen Magic Drawing Pad: Android OS

Android has travel a agelong measurement arsenic an OS and it's a bully strategy to usage connected a tablet for illustration nan Magic Drawing Pad. There are immoderate bully additions connected this XPPen tablet, specified arsenic divided surface mode for moving an app and Google astatine once.

Generally Android is easy to usage and nan halfway Google apps you'll want are organised into a shelf, specified arsenic Google Mail, Photos and Files. The Magic Drawing Pad tin tally immoderate app from nan Google Play Store, and comes pre-installed pinch halfway apps designed for artists, including ArtRage Oils, Concepts, ibisPaint X, Medibang Paint and Adobe Acrobat.

If for illustration maine you've go accustomed to utilizing nan fantabulous Procreate and Procreate Dreams past you'll consciousness thing is lacking

If, for illustration me, you've go accustomed to utilizing nan fantabulous Procreate and Procreate Dreams past you'll consciousness thing is lacking, arsenic moreover fantabulous Android apps for illustration ArtRage Vitae and ibisPaint X can't really compete pinch nan value and accessibility of Procreate. Also nan advantage of Procreate is it useful good connected each iPads, which is not ever nan lawsuit for Android apps.

With that said, location are immoderate fantabulous apps for Android, including Krita, Infinite Painter and Autodesk Sketchbook. For moreover much prime publication our guideline to nan best Android apps for creatives.

XPPen Magic Drawing Pad: price

XPPen Magic Drawing Pad review; a drafting tablet connected a woody fence

This mobile drafting tablet is cheaper than its closest rivals from Apple and Samsung. (Image credit: Future / XPPen)

The XPPen Magic Drawing Pad is priced astatine $499.99 / £449.99, truthful it's successful statement pinch nan brand's different desktop tablets, which intends it comes successful astatine a little value than rivals and likewise specced specified arsenic nan Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 FE+, $599 / £699 and iPad (2022) $579 / £499 (this value raises by astir $200 / £200 arsenic you request to app an Apple Pencil).

Overall it's difficult not to emotion nan versatility, capacity and worth of nan Magic Drawing Pad. This is simply a premium tablet designed specifically for integer creation and arsenic specified is much tactile to usage than an iPad aliases Samsung that aren't created specifically for artists.

XPPen Magic Drawing Pad: should I bargain one?

XPPen Magic Drawing Pad review; a drafting tablet connected a chromatic wall

The Magic Drawing Pad is light, well-priced and beautiful to usage - this comes highly recommended. (Image credit: Future / XPPen)

I really bask utilizing nan XPPen Magic Drawing Pad. It's lightweight and easy to use, nan stylus is fantabulous moreover without tilt support. The show and capacity is really good, and a much earthy emotion acquisition than utilizing an iPad. 

However, Apple Pencil 2 is simply a preferred stylus and an iPad Pro is still a preferred setup - though it will costs 4 times arsenic overmuch and is unfair to comparison nan two. Sticking pinch nan halfway comparison of iPad (2022) aliases Magic Drawing Pad I would opt for nan XPPen tablet for creation creation (and it's moreover a decent tablet for casual gaming) arsenic it feels amended to usage outdoors, has a larger show and is cleanable for integer plein-air painting. 

The absolute only point I miss is Procreate, but Apple knows this and will ne'er fto its starring creation app free connected Android (it's awesome because it is tailored to iPadOS). Besides, I besides emotion ArtRage Vitae and it's a cleanable outdoor sketching app. I'd highly urge nan Magic Drawing Pad for artists looking for a caller experience, truthful expect it to characteristic highly successful my guideline to nan best drafting tablets.

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XPPen Magic Drawing Pad

XPPen Magic Pad is simply a genuinely bully replacement to iPad for artists. This is simply a light, responsive drafting tablet pinch an awesome 16k of pen pressure, making it perfect for outdoor integer art.

Ian Dean is Editor, Digital Arts & 3D astatine Creativebloq, and nan erstwhile editor of galore starring magazines. These titles included ImagineFX, 3D World and starring video crippled title Official PlayStation Magazine. In his early profession he wrote for euphony and movie magazines including Uncut and SFX. Ian launched Xbox mag X360 and edited PlayStation World. For Creative Bloq, Ian combines his experiences to bring nan latest news connected AI, integer creation and video crippled creation and tech, and much to Creative Bloq, and successful his spare clip he doodles successful Procreate, ArtRage, and Rebelle while uncovering clip to play Xbox and PS5. He's besides a keen Cricut personification and laser cutter fan, and is presently crafting connected Glowforge and xTools M1.

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