Sunday, May 11, 2014

Product Review - Huion GT-190, an Affordable Cintiq Alternative!

Ever since I got into digital art, I have wanted a graphics tablet where you could draw on the screen. Initially the only tablet that met that criteria that I was aware of was the Wacom Cintiq. The Wacom Cintiq is a fantastic product, however it is quite pricey, with the most inexpensive one being around $1000. Unfortunately that was a bit out of price range so I began looking into an inexpensive Cintiq alternative. That's when I discovered the GT-190 by a Chinese company called Huion. Huion, like Wacom, makes drawing tablets of multiple types and sizes, however at a fraction of the cost. After doing some research into the company, I found that the GT-190 was exactly what I was looking for. I got in contact with the company through their facebook page and within a little over a week the GT-190 was at my door. I have to say that even before the tablet arrived I was quite impressed with the company as they were very fast at responding to all of my messages and were extremely helpful when answering questions. With that being said onto the review!

I own both a PC and a Mac, however for this review I only had access to my Mac at the time. I will post an updated review when I'm able to use this with my PC, however I feel that the experience will be very similar to that on the Mac. When the package arrived, it included the following: the GT-190 with adjustable stand, the tablet pen, a USB charger for the pen, a pen stand, a USB to USB cable, a VGA cable, and a power cord. Now despite the fact that it included a VGA cable the GT-190 has a DVI port as well, which is what I chose to use instead. I purchased a DVI to HDMI cable to use and have had no problems with it whatsoever.


The GT-190 hooked up to my MacBook Air

Now before I give my thoughts on everything, let me provide you with a few stats about the tablet. The GT-190 is a 19 inch monitor. It has five buttons on the front; Menu, down, up, Auto, and power, which are used to calibrate the monitor. The resolution is 1440x900, which is the same resolution as a 2011 MacBook pro, so the quality is crystal clear. It has four ports in the back, USB, VGA, DVI, and a power port. It also has an adjustable stand attached to the back which allows you to angle the GT-190 at various angles. This can also be removed so that you could attach the tablet to a stand or a monitor arm (something I plan to do in the future). The tablet works with both PC and Mac. However at the moment only the PC has drivers specifically for the GT-190. When speaking with Huion they told me which Mac driver to install instead. As this driver was not intended for the GT-190, I'm not exactly sure how much it differs from that on the PC, however I can say that I have had zero issues with it on my Mac. The only thing I've noticed is that there isn't a section to calibrate the tablet with the pen as I suspect there is one on the PC, though as I've mentioned I haven't had any issues with this driver. When speaking with Huion I was told that in order to use the GT-190 I would have to uninstall my Wacom drivers to use it, now I'm not sure if this is the same case with the PC but I have both Wacom and Huion drivers on my Mac and have had zero issues whatsoever. I'm able to use both tablets with no problem at all, which is a HUGE plus in my opinion.


The driver you are going to want to install if you are using a Mac.

Until this tablet, the only tablets I had used previously were a Wacom Graphire and my Wacom Intuos 5, so I hadn't had any previous experience using other tablet monitors. As a result of this I can't compare this to a Cintiq as I have not used one, so I can only compare it to a normal drawing tablet. Anyone who has used a drawing tablet will tell you that one of the things that takes the longest to get used to is the disconnect. By that I mean you'll be drawing on the tablet while looking at the screen, so you aren't watching your hand draw as you would traditionally with pencil and paper. Since the GT-190 is both a tablet AND a monitor, you can see exactly what you are drawing as you draw it. Now from what I understand, all tablets like the GT-190, including the Cintiq's, have something called parallax. Essentially, it's where the position of an object appears to differ when viewed from a different position. In this case I'm referring to the cursor and the tablet pen. Since there is a layer of glass between you and the screen, that means there is going to be a little bit of a difference. Be that as it may, it's not hugely noticeable with the GT-190. The cursor is pretty much exactly where you place your pen and there is virtually no lag. I have to saw I was pretty impressed as I know other similar tablets have a big problem with this. Additionally my lines were very smooth with no jitter outside that of my own hand.

While right out of the box the images on the GT-190 look amazing, you will have to adjust the settings a bit. Initially I used the default settings and found that my work had a slight purple tint to it. However after going into the custom settings, I was able to get my screens to look pretty much identical. The menu system was fairly easy to use, and once I made those adjustments, everything looked fine. Now I will admit that the GT-190 does have some viewing angle issues, but for me at least, none of these were angles I normally am looking at. I could only really see this being an issue if you were working on a piece and had people around you all trying to look. What's nice about the GT-190 is that since it has an adjustable stand, you can change the angle to suit your needs.


This is what the adjustable stand on the back looks like

Now let's talk about the pen. The pen is very similar to my Intuos 5 pen, as you can see from the pictures below, the main differences being that A) it does not have an eraser,  B) you will have to charge the pen, and C) you don't have a tilt option with the pen. Now Huion does offer a pen that takes AAA batteries for around $17 if you're worried about constantly charging your pen, but I have to say since you can still use the pen while its plugged in to charge, I don't really see the need to buy the battery pen. Is it an inconvenience that the pen needs to be charged? Yes, but is it a huge issue?  Not at all. On the subject of the eraser, I know this a point of debate amongst digital artists. Some prefer not to use the eraser as it speeds up their workflow whereas others prefer to use the eraser as it feels more natural to them. I fall into that second camp, so I was a bit bummed to find out that the pen did not come with an eraser. However once I started to use pen, I found that it wasn't as big of a deal as I thought. Given the option to have an eraser, I will always choose it, but now I know that I can survive without one. On the subject of the pen having a tilt feature, I NEVER have used that when my Intuos so that was not an issue for me whatsoever. Like the Wacom pen, the GT-190's pen comes with a stand. At first glance the two stands are VERY similar. Both are black and a similar shape, both open up to reveal extra nibs and a nib removal tool, but thats where the similarities end. The Wacom's stand is a bit heavier, contains more nibs, and has hole in the top to place your pen. The Huion's stand is lighter, contains less nibs, and you lay the pen horizontally across the top. Both stands though work great at getting the job done, which when it comes down to it all, is to store your nibs and hold your pen.


The Huion Pen (top) compared to the Wacom Pen (bottom)


The two pens in their stands (Huion Left, Wacom Right)


A close up of the pen stands (Huion Left, Wacom Right)


The stands opened to reveal the extra nibs (Huion Left, Wacom Right)


The USB Charging cable for the Huion pen


This is what the pen looks like plugged into the cable.

Another difference between the GT-190 and the Cintiq are programmable buttons. The GT-190 has no programmable buttons whatsoever. With my Intuos 5, I take full advantage of my programmable buttons, so I admit I was a bit disappointed to see that the GT-190 did not have any. However as anyone who knows me can vouch, I'm very hotkey oriented when it comes to the programs I use, knowing all of the keyboard shortcuts, so that just means I have to use my keyboard a bit more than I would with my Intuos. For those of you who might be in a similar position as me, here are some Photoshop hotkeys I find myself using the most to replace the fact that I no longer have that touch ring that I have on my Intuos. By holding down the "Z" key, you are able to zoom in and out of your image by moving the pen around. By holding down "control" "alt" "shift" and moving your pen left to right you are able to alter the size of your brush, and by moving it up and down you can change the hardness. By using these two hotkeys in my workflow, I'm able to use my GT-190 just as fast as my Intuos 5.

One feature I really do love about my Intuos 5 that the GT-190 does not have, is the ability to set your buttons to be different for each program you use. That way if you are going between a 3D program and a 2D program you can navigate them very easily. As the only programable buttons that the GT-190 has are on the pen, I had hoped to be able to set my front button as my "alt" key for programs like Photoshop, so that I can use it to quickly sample colors, and the middle mouse button for programs like Maya or Mudbox, so I can navigate in 3D. Unfortunately you can't do that with the GT-190, you can only set the buttons for the pen in general, not on a per program basis. Additionally you are limited to setting the two buttons as the following options: right click, left click, right double click, left double click, and no action, so you aren't able to set them as specific keys. Also I find it a bit odd that middle click is not an option, as it seems pretty standard. Perhaps in a future update Huion could address this by allowing users to program the pen to act as different keys, or at the very least have a middle click option.

I have to say, the experience I have had so far with my GT-190 has been a dream. The pressure sensitivity works well, the picture is crystal clear, it responds very nicely, and it does exactly what I had hoped it would. Already I can tell that my art will improve as I've been able to do some nice line-art with this tablet, something that I've always had an issue with on other tablets. Now for this review I only tested the tablet with Photoshop, as I have the other programs I would use, Mudbox, Sculptris, Nuke, Maya, etc, on my PC, so I can't vouch for how it works with those programs, but I'm not too worried at all. When I do use this with my PC I will post an update covering that, the ability to have both sets of drivers, any differences the official drivers might have, and using the GT-190 with a multiple monitor setup.

I could not be happier with this tablet, Huion has done a great job making a product that is an EXCELLENT alternative to the more expensive Cintiq. To be honest, and again this is coming from someone who has never used a Cinitiq, I feel like that for the cost of a Cintiq, you are essentially paying for the name, the programable hotkeys, and a more customizable interface. However when it comes down to performance, I don't really think there would be much of a difference. The GT-190, at the time of this review, costs $655.99 which is a great price for anyone who wants to get a professional level drawing tablet. I love my GT-190 and have a feeling that I would enjoy some of the other options that Huion has available.

Here are my final thoughts for Huion. In a future update it would be nice to have programable buttons and a eraser on the pen, though as I stated in my review thats not a deal breaker. It would also be nice if it came with a DVI cable instead of a VGA cable, and maybe if they replaced the VGA port with an HDMI one. One thing I definitely would suggest though is adding a middle mouse click option in the tablet settings for the pen. This is something I think is very important. Additionally it would nice to be able to set the pen buttons, and if they're added the programable buttons on the tablet, on a per program basis, and have the ability to set them to specific keys as well. Other than that, I would have to say that the GT-190 is killer piece of technology.

Oh one thing I forgot to mention is that when using the GT-190 I utilized two piece of equipment that was not provided by Huion. The first were a pair of Gunnars, the second being a DIY Smudgeguard. Since when using this tablet your face is right next to a screen, I would suggest using Gunnars, which are specially made glasses for both gamers and digital artists. Essentially what they do is cause your eyes to strain less while looking at a screen for prolonged periods of time and help prevent damage to your eyes. A Smudgeguard is a special glove that prevents smudging on your screen and allows you to glide across the surface. Now when I got my GT-190, the woman who makes Smudgeguards did not have any available, so I ended up making my own. I purchased these gloves from Amazon and cut off the thumb, pointer, and middle fingers. While it might not look as professional as a Smudgeguard, it still looks good and it works exactly the same. I used the tablet with and without the glove, and I much prefer the experience with the glove.


My DIY Smudgeguard

I would like to thanks Huion for providing me with the GT-190, for having FANTASTIC customer support, and for making an AMAZING tablet. I know that this will be something that I will be using for years in both my professional and personal work. I would give this tablet a 9.5/10


A sketch using the GT-190 


Some line-art with the GT-190. If you compare this to my previous line-art you can see a huge improvement.


Adding in the color.


The final, finished piece. These are actually my Animation professors as the three Fairies from Sleeping Beauty!


You can find out more about Huion at the following links:

http://www.huiontablet.com/
https://www.facebook.com/huion
https://twitter.com/HuionTab
http://huiontablet.tumblr.com/

Thanks for reading and enjoy!

~Josh

After chatting with Huion, they wanted me to let everyone know that the GT-190 is even cheaper if you get it directly from their siteTMart, or DX. The prices are fantastic so there really isn't any excuse not to purchase one!

34 comments:

  1. Quick Question Josh! I just got the same tablet, and love it, but I am having problems adjusting the color to anything even remotely close to as vibrant as my main computer screen is, how did you get around this?

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    1. Hi Matthew! It took a while and a lot of tweaking but I finally got it. Here are my settings!

      Brightness: 35
      Contrast: 35
      Red: 65
      Green: 60
      Blue: 47

      Hope that helps!

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    2. I cant find the redm green & blue adjustments, where did you go to to change those?? my Huion GT 190 only has the brightness and contrast );

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    3. this was not helpful.
      the process of adjusting was rigth adjust the colors and contrast and brigthness. but what you seeting did to my monitor was just dim everything. with brigthness down to 35 white will be gray.

      I have my own setting.
      it not that accurate its dang hard.
      i use two monitors. so i based it on my true color monitor
      my setting is:
      brigthness: 100
      contrast 57
      Color temp : 9300K

      Delete
  2. Hi Josh!


    Not sure if you are active here still but I am purely thinking of purchasing a tablet the GT-190 but as I'm new to art would this be a wise choice? Do you get a software with the tablet or what drawing software would you recommend?

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    1. Hi Kim! I'm quite active actually! I post four posts every month! To answer your question, it really depends on what you plan to do. For years I used a normal drawing tablet for my art and it worked really really well. I graduated to the GT-190 because I felt that it would help me improve as an artist. Its a big investment, so if I were you I would look into getting one of the cheaper Huion tablets and trying it out first. I actually know some people who prefer using a tablet like that vs a tablet/monitor. As for software, you don't get any with that table. I personally use Adobe Photoshop for all of my drawing, but I know that Manga Studio, Corell Painter, and Autodesk Sketchbook are really good as well!

      I hope that helps!

      ~Josh

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  3. Hi Josh

    I have everything installed and all cables plugged in but my monitor will not appear to load even though the green light is on. My pen can be used as i can see on my PC monitor that it is moving but my screen on the tablet will not come on. Is there anyway you can help me fix this problem

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    1. Hey Matthew!

      I'm not sure why that is happening. Have you tried contacting Huion Support? They can probably give you a better answer than me! Sorry I wasn't much help!

      ~Josh

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    2. Hi Josh, all they have said is to make sure the the cables are in securely and they are. I cannot find any help at all on the internet and this is really frustrating me so badly.

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    3. Try contacting Euphemia through the facebook page. Send a message to the page and ask for help. Only other thing I can think of is maybe trying a different cable? It sounds like its an issue with your VGA or DVI cable is anything, so maybe try a different one?

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  4. Hi Josh
    I've done what you said by replacing both the VGA and DVI to see if it is them but it isnt, i have also tried re-installing the up-to-date driver and that hasnt worked either. I think my tablet inside has just broken. Quite annoyed!

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    1. Sorry! Wish I could help. Have you contacted Huion

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  5. i cant get the key scope too work when the huion tablet, display comes on, so my lines aren't as smooth any help?

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  6. Hi Josh
    I just wondered if you have any tips on the sensitivity of the pen when using photoshop. It seems to be much better when I'm using it in the testing area (pen display monitor settings) where you can change it to light or heavy but as soon as i go back into photoshop it hasn't made any difference.? Any advice would be great thanks Helen

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    Replies
    1. Run your driver as an admin, open photoshop, try it out, then close, and try again. Should work!

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  7. I bought one of these for my daughter, backlight failed within 18 months. Fault was that screen looked black but you could see a faint image, easier to see if you shone a torch on it. LED driver board looked to have a burnt out component but I wasn't sure if it had killed the LED backlight also. I purchased a generic board (exact same mouting hole positions were a bonus) and it came with 2 strips of LEDs (only one fitted originally) for $12 delivered. Now working great again. I would say you are probably best using the original LED strip if possible, as getting it out was fun, just swap the plug on the end.
    This is what I bought http://www.aliexpress.com/item/Dimable-LED-Backlight-Lamps-Update-kit-For-19-wide-LCD-Monitor-2-LED-Strips-420mm-4mm/32244824760.html
    The display came apart relatively easily, four screws and a little patience releasing the internal clips, I used the back of stanley knife blade to prize the monitor apart. There's not much inside just a main board and the LED driver board.

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  8. Is it ok to use a dvi on tablet to an hdml on computer cord....ifso would you still use the vga cord?....I am getting no signal, would this be because the dvi is not hooked in?...I did however get an adapter with a female dvi end and a strange small connector with ten tiny female holes....should I use this instead?....ready to pull hair out!!!...maybe you can help?....pleeeeease

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    Replies
    1. If youre using a DVI to HDMI, you don't need the VGA. THat's how I use it. I just purchased a DVI female to male HDMI cable

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  9. I'm hoping you will answer...I feel so technology naïve... my daughter would like a drawing table for Christmas. She pointed out the pricey ones that you can draw see your drawing on the tablet but when I gasped at the price she then pointed me to the tablets that you don't see anything. Since then I have been trying to do some research but it's painful. I like this monitor that you recommend as her first choice is this style but do you need a computer to do something with the drawings? And if so, what type (we have both a laptop and PC) and I'm assuming software would be required too? Sorry...newbie!

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    1. Hey Ken! yes with this tablet you will need a computer of some sort. It doesn't matter which as long as you have the proper cables. As for programs, you will need a drawing program. I use photoshop, but you can download the free alternative GIMP

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  10. So what is the purpose of the computer? To transfer the drawing? Or just to work with it more with the software?

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    1. A drawing tablet isn't like a normal tablet like an iPad, it needs a computer to work. Essentially this is a computer monitor you can draw on. You wouldn't buy a monitor and not buy a computer. The tablet does not come with any software of it's own, as it won't work without a computer

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  11. So would it work well with the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 and the photoshop software?

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    1. Well seeing as the Surface pro comes with a drawing stylus, and allows you to draw on the screen, it would be a bit redundant. Also if you read the blog post, you'll see what connecting cables the Huion comes with, so unless your pro has any of those connections, it won't work

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  12. Thank you Josh, I'm sorry for asking so many questions. I really am a newbie! So is the Surface Pro just as good as a drawing tablet or drawing monitor like the Huion?

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    1. No. The Huion is designed for drawing, the surface isn't. The surface is good, but a drawing tablet will always be better

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  13. hello. the pen huion, works in Wacom PTK440 Black Intuos4 Small Pen Tablet?

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  14. how im supposed to connect huion gt190 with a regular laptop which has a hdmi and usb port?!

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  15. VGA is the oldest standard of the three, having been introduced in 1987. VGA handles video only and not sound, contains no security or digital rights management, and is an analog signal, meaning the quality of the cable, the quality of the pins, and the distance from the PC to the monitor can all have an effect on video quality. If your connector has little thumbscrews next to the cable, and looks like the left graphic, it’s VGA.

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  16. A fiber-optic system is similar to the copper wire system that fiber-optics is replacing. The difference is that fiber-optics use light pulses to transmit information down fiber lines instead of using electronic pulses to transmit information down copper lines. Looking at the components in a fiber-optic chain will give a better understanding of how the system works in conjunction with wire based systems.At one end of the system is a transmitter. This is the place of origin for information coming on to fiber-optic lines. The transmitter accepts coded electronic pulse information coming from copper wire. It then processes and translates that information into equivalently coded light pulses.Think of a VGA Cable in terms of very long cardboard roll (from the inside roll of paper towel) that is coated with a mirror on the inside.If you shine a flashlight in one end you can see light come out at the far end - even if it's been bent around a corner.

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  17. hi may i ask? if huion gt-190 need a cpu or that thing can operate using the monitor only? i was planning to buy for my work but i dont know if huion gt-190 is need a cpu thank you very much...

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  18. Can i plug the tablet into a hard drive and use it as a computer monitor?

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