In the retouching world, graphics tablets are pretty much a standard. I don’t know of many retouchers that only use their mouse to get the job done. Graphics tablets allow for a more precise, and thus refined, work. They also used to cost a fair amount of money, but that was until Huion came along.
Let’s be honest here, the digital art board market is dictated by Wacom, and only Wacom. Most photographers and retouchers I talked with about my upcoming review of the Huion graphics tablet looked at me weird, as if I didn’t pronounce Wacom correctly. Well, Wacom now has a couple of competitors, amongst which, Huion. A Chinese based manufacturer that offer good quality products at a very affordable price. Much more affordable than Wacom. Huion was kind enough to send me an H610 Pro to review for you, and see if it is worth your money.
When I opened the box, the tablet was well packaged. I didn’t expect that at this kind of price point – $76.99. It was well packed, well protected, and looked good right away.
Once I had thrown away the plastics and box, I started to inspect the product in every angle possible. I didn’t want to believe I had spent three times more for my Intuos Pro and that this tablet could be as good. The size is very close to that of my Intuos Pro Medium, but a tiny bit smaller. It is slightly lighter as well, but only marginally (my Intuos is the version without the touch).
Then, there are the buttons on the side. No touch scroll/ring. Only clickable buttons that have a glossy finish and have encrusted logos. They feel more plasticky than the well-finished buttons of the Wacom Pro 4 I own. However, I found them easier to use when working. With that said, I don’t use these buttons a lot. I’ve never managed to get used to it.
More important than the buttons: the coating. When you spend long hours retouching, you want a surface that feels great. The Huion H610 Pro felt great but a slight bit too slick and slippery for my taste. The Wacom Intuos stays ahead with a coating that is closer to paper, where the pen doesn’t slide as easily. I personally prefer that to the one found on the Huion. But then, this is a matter of personal preference and someone who’s never drawn on paper will probably not even feel much difference or might prefer the Huion surfacing.
Last but not least, the pen. Slightly thinner, it felt good my hand. But then, just like the surfacing, it was good, even great, but not as great as the Wacom. But this is personal taste as well. Because as far as usability goes, I cannot complain. It gets the job done, offers 2048 pressure levels, has two shortcut buttons, and the nib is quite decent. I wished there were more nibs choices though, because some professional might actually want to use something softer or harder. My only real issue with the pen is that it works with a battery. Although you can work while it charges, it is not very practical. So just be sure to plug it before going off to bed, and the issue is nonexistent.
When I connected the Huion H610 Pro to my laptop for the first time, I had to uninstall my Wacom driver before installing its driver, in order for everything to work. No issue whatsoever, the tablet then worked right away. Looking at Youtube videos reviewing this same product, I found that the driver seems a bit better on Windows than on Mac. On my Macbook Pro, the interface of the driver was very rough. Not much refinement here. But who can complain at that price? Especially as you are most likely to open the driver software once to set everything up and never open it up ever again.
Despite the poor interface, it was very easy and quick to get everything to work like I was used to with my Wacom. Remapping the usable surface (I always make it smaller to work faster) was done within seconds, changing the shortcuts was easy, testing the pressure as well.
I worked with the tablet for about two weeks before writing this review. So plenty of time to retouch and see where the product fell short and where it shined. And well, even though my wallet doesn't want to admit it, it mostly shined! I noticed just one tiny issue. For some reason, sometimes, the alt/option button didn’t work properly when the tablet was plugged in. A bit annoying when you are cloning and healing. But either a restart of the system or unplug/replug of the tablet was enough to overcome the problem – note that this might as well just be on my computer.
At $76.99 it is very affordable. More than affordable actually, but I don't want to say that too much, or I am afraid Huion might raise their prices. You may have noticed, I compared the Huion H610 Pro to my Wacom Intuos Pro a fair bit. But the reason behind this comparison is very simple. I wanted to emphasize the fact that this product is available at a price lower than the "cheap" Wacom Pen & Touch while offering a quality and size close to that of a Wacom Intuos Pro Medium! For some people the Huion might actually be even better, depending on the pen and surfacing you like best.
What I Liked
- Price – It’s an absolute steal
- Build quality
- Size & Weight
- Friendly and quick to answer support service
- 2048 pressure levels
What Could be Improved
- Pen – no battery would be awesome
- Nibs choices, or even different pens
- Driver – a more refined interface would be appreciated
- Not wireless – however, there are other models that are
Should You Buy One?
I couldn’t believe the price of the Huion H610 Pro when I first discovered it, and this is actually the whole reason behind this review. Now that I have tried it, I still can’t believe how cheap it is! It has got everything 90-95% of the retouchers could ever need, for a third of the price of a Wacom equivalent.
I am pretty sure some of you are wondering if they have other products. The answer is: yes, they do! Larger, smaller, cheaper, touch screen, and even tracing boards for the avid drawers. They've got you covered no matter what your needs are! You will – probably – find everything you could hope for on Huion's website.
If you want a perfect driver interface, a very nice pen, and overall well-designed everything, Wacom is probably best, but also much more expensive. On the other hand, if you don’t own a tablet yet, don’t have the budget for a Wacom, looking for a smaller and cheaper digital art board to travel with, do not look further, this is most likely the solution for you. For people that give workshops and do not have a partnership with Wacom, this could also become a solution to get a tablet for every attendee! Including a small 25-50$ tablet isn’t all that expensive, is it?
One last thing, when getting in touch with Huion, they offered me a coupon to share with all of you. You won't be able to complain about a nice 5% off using the code OFF-H610PRO when ordering from their website. Note that you can also order Huion's products from Amazon, but the coupon won't work.