Ugee 19” Tablet Review
Find the tablet here– http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00NL4P3Y0
Before I go into any great detail I need to point out a few things about myself and my setup. Firstly I don’t have a lot of technical expertise. I know how to hook things up and get them working and I can troubleshoot up to a point but that’s about it. I also have a limited experience with graphics tables. I have owned an Wacom Cintiq 12WX since 2009 but I haven’t really used any other similar devices, therefore this review is going to be colored by that. I use a 2.5 iMac running OS 10.9.5. I draw almost exclusively in Manga Studio 5/Clip Studio Paint Pro (same application, different names). I’ve been drawing comics professionally for nearly 20 years and the last 6 of them I have been working digital only 90% of the time.
My Cintiq finally gave up the ghost after 6 years of hard work. The smaller Cintiqs now (13” HD) run about $1000 ($800 for the non-Touch variety) and I really didn’t want to spend that much if I didn’t have to. After doing some research I settled on the Ugee 19” because it had strong reviews in comparison to similar non-Wacom tablets and a very competitive price of just $430. In comparison to the tiny 13” Cintiq at more then twice the price I couldn’t resist. I did have to purchase a DVI/VGA to Thunderbolt adapter so I could plug it into my Mac, but I was aware of that having used the Cintiq.
What’s in the boooooxxxxxxx??
When it arrived I was impressed by the fact it included 2 styli and all the cables I needed to get going. It also included a cleaning kit and a protective screen cover (which I haven’t used).
The stylus is a bit fat and requires charging through a USB port, but it has been 2 weeks and I haven’t had to charge it again yet. The tip is a hard plastic so it has that smooth drawing-on-glass feel that tablets can have. Some people hate it, but I’ve gotten used to it over the years. The stylus has no erase like Wacom products do. I find myself sometimes trying to use the back end to erase out of habit. One problem is that the tip and the cursor are a bit misaligned and the Mac driver doesn’t have any way to calibrate it. It’s something I got used to very quickly, but I imagine it would drive some people insane.
The display feels huge to me. There’s ample room to put all my go-to tools and still have more room to work than my old tablet. The adjustment menu is a bit clunky. It took me a could of tries to figure out there isn’t a “back to previous menu” button. You have to wait for the menu to time out and then go back through the process if you want to adjust another setting. The screen is quite bright and I had to do a lot of calibrating after I’d completed a page because while it looked great on the Ugee, it was way too dark for print. One major drawback is the lack of programable buttons. You get used to it, but I still absentmindedly run my finger along the edge trying to get it to zoom or I’ll tap the side of it in an effort to undo. The tablet’s thickness and the adjustable stand on the back makes it uncomfortable to hold in your lap. The stand does have a wide range of angles and is very sturdy. Compared to my old Cintiq it’s a dream in that regard. No more hunching over to draw, it can stand almost vertically. Viewing angles are tricky. It does have problems when you start looking at it at an angle.
Now here’s where I encountered my first real problems. The Mac driver has no pressure sensitivity settings! All it’s good for is assigning actions to the stylus button. After 2 days on Manga Studio of going from a super thin line to a fat blob I was going insane. I finally was able to adjust the tablet settings inside Manga Studio (once I discovered they were there- I’m not all that quick sometimes) and got everything to my liking. I’ve had no problems with it since.
As I said earlier the Mac driver is useless for making any adjustments other than the stylus button. No pressure sensitivity adjustment, no tip calibration. Disappointing.
This is where we start veering from my area of expertise. With my limited knowledge I can see that color accuracy could be a problem for someone who needs things 100% accurate. I don’t own a calibration tool so I can’t say for sure if this can be overcome.
In the end I love the thing. There were a few bumps getting the display and pressure sensitivity calibrated, but now that those are taken care of I’ve got no problems with it. Be you a pro or someone just entering the world of digital art I think it’s a great piece of equipment to have. Not as reliable for people who need strong color accuracy or people who rely on lots of programable action buttons.
Bright, clear display
Stand has a wide range of angles
Potential color accuracy issues
Restrictive viewing angles
Too clunky to hold in your lap