New Pen Display Offers Studio Quality Drawing Experience
Review by Dave Clayton
In late March, Xencelabs launched their new 24″ Pen Display, the company’s first display product on the market. I was able to test drive the Pen Display 24 for five weeks prior to launch, and I have to say that I was mightily impressed. The moment you open the box you can see the quality and research that’s gone into this product, which, I might add, was designed by the man that originally designed the Cintiq for Wacom and who founded Xencelabs along with many ex-Wacom staff.
The build quality is impressive, it weighs about 13.3 lbs (6 kg); 15.2 lbs (7 kg) with everything attached. By everything, I mean the stand that’s included (something their competitor doesn’t include), which gives you between 16–72° adjustment by simply releasing a spring-loaded paddle on the rear. Also included are all the cables you’ll need to get up and running: USB-C, HDMI, and DisplayPort as well as the power cable. It also comes with the USB-C cable for the Quick Keys panel. Note that this device has a much lower power consumption than its competitor.
If you’ve seen Xencelabs’ Medium tablet, you’ll have seen the impressive Quick Keys, which is also included with the Pen Display 24. This is perfect for setting up to 40 shortcuts per program that you may choose to add. Quick Keys comes with a holder (Clip) that fits on the side or top of the screen without imposing itself in the main screen area; there’s ample bezel space to include this.
In addition, the Xencelabs Pen Display 24 comes with brackets for the two included pens: a three-button programmable pen and a thin pen (for those used to something more ergonomic such as the Apple Pencil). Each pen provides 8,192 levels of pressure sensitivity. Also included are the Bluetooth dongle (with USB-C to USB adapter) and a set of nibs for both pens, all included in a nice case. The display also comes with two heavy-duty, but not intrusive, rubber feet to keep it firmly placed on your desk.
Two things about this display with which I was really impressed: The anti-glare screen (under any lighting there were no spotlights or reflections); and the screen has a light matte-like finish to give a paper-like feel. The 4k display also gives you 1.07 billion colors! And, the Pen Display 24 has no fans: it’s super silent and stays cool.
The driver panel allows you to customize the display (there are three buttons on the top right of the screen for quick actions). It has easy shortcut setups for all apps on the Quick Keys panel, additional customization and calibration for both pens, and driver update notifications.
The Xencelabs Pen Display 24 worked well (an absolute dream!) with Photoshop, Lightroom, Illustrator, and InDesign as well as third-party plug-ins that rely on pen pressure accuracy.
Overall, the display is a perfect fit on my desk, easy to set up, and a joy to use. It’s priced cheaper than its competitor even with all the included extras. If you’re looking for your first pen display, then I’d look no further than the Xencelabs Pen Display 24.