Graphics hardware manufacturer Xencelabs has announced the Pen Display 24 Studio Series, a new display drawing tablet designed for creative professionals. The 24-inch display is the company’s first drawing tablet with a built-in display to join its range of standard pen tablets and comes equipped with features that rival Wacom’s Cintiq series.
The biggest advantage that Xencelabs has against Wacom is affordability — at $1,899, the Pen Display 24 is considerably less expensive than the $3,500 Wacom Cintiq Pro 27 and includes accessories like a stand and a shortcut remote that Wacom doesn’t include as standard.
Like the Cintiq Pro 27, the Xencelabs Pen Display 24 features edge-to-edge tempered glass that’s been etched to provide friction for a more natural drawing experience and to reduce glare in brightly lit environments. The glass screen is bonded to the sensor without an air gap to reduce parallax (that gap between the pen nib and the cursor), and there are three buttons with customizable LED backlighting located on the top of the tablet’s otherwise uninterrupted surface, each of which can be programmed to quickly access device settings like pen sensitivity.
The screen features a 3840 x 2160 resolution, a 60Hz refresh rate, and 330 nits of brightness. It’s capable of delivering up to 1.07 billion colors, with 99 percent Adobe RGB and 93 percent DCI-P3 color gamut coverage. That’s reasonably close to what’s offered on the Wacom Cintiq Pro 27, which would make this a decent alternative for folks on a tighter budget. The color accuracy and Pantone support could similarly mean some creatives could get away with not needing a dedicated reference monitor. And like the Cintiq Pro 27, the Xencelabs Pen Display 24 is also validated for Pantone and Pantone SkinTone for accuracy when reproducing Pantone colors and diverse skin tones.
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The large bezels around the display aren’t exactly sexy compared to those found on modern standalone reference monitors, but they serve an important purpose, providing a sizable wrist rest and allowing users to clip the included Quick Keys accessory — Xencelabs’ alternative to Wacom’s ExpressKey Remote — on any side of the tablet without covering the workspace area. The Quick Keys accessory is essentially a specialized, removable macro pad that features an OLED display, eight programmable keys, and a programmable dial that can scroll through up to 40 shortcuts in creative applications.
There are also two different pens included in the box to support different hand sizes and drawing preferences: the “3-Button Pen v2,” which resembles the Wacom Pro pen, and the “Thin Pen v2,” which features a slimmer design closer to that of an Apple Pencil. Both pens have a built-in eraser on the end, 8192 levels of pressure sensitivity, and an initial activation pressure that can be adjusted to as low as three grams.
The Pen Display 24 is fanless, relatively lightweight (13 pounds versus the Cintiq Pro 27’s 16 pounds), and comes with a tilt stand that can be single-handedly adjusted between the angles of 16 and 72 degrees. The tablet can also be mounted on a standard VESA mount arm, and Xencelabs said a multi-axis stand that can freely orientate the tablet vertically or horizontally will be available to purchase separately (though no price or release date has been mentioned). Ports are located on the rear and include both HDMI and DisplayPort connections. Drivers are available for Windows, Mac, and Linux.
There’s nothing here that’s especially innovative. The Xencelabs Pen Display 24 shares many of the same features as the Wacom Cintiq Pro 27, and Wacom has been setting the industry standard for display graphics tablets for years since it first released the Cintiq series. Competitors have been trying to match Wacom on quality ever since, typically being more affordable but not quite as reliable or feature packed.
But Xencelabs is worth keeping an eye on. Its standard pen drawing tablets were extremely well received, and if its first display tablet can deliver similar results, then Wacom might finally have a real market rival to contend with. The Xencelabs Pen Display 24 costs $1,899 and can be preordered today, with full availability and shipping expected in the second quarter of 2023.