Huion H420 Review – Entry Level Signing Pad
Interested in the best drawing tablet for you and looking at a Wacom Bamboo? You might want to consider this cheaper alternative. Read this Huion H420 review and decide for yourself if a Wacom is really worth the money. Perhaps you may decide that the H420 is the best cheap graphics tablet for you.
So at first glance, the H420 looks a lot like the Wacom Bamboo (or Bamboo Fun/ Bamboo Splash). The only difference between these Bamboo units is the software that’s packaged with it and whether it includes a mouse in the bundle. The box is actually pretty nice compared to the H610 box. The graphics make it seem a little more premium and less aftermarket. It says on the front that this tablet is for: signing, drawing, industrial design, writing and playing Osu! (a rhythm-based video game). Read on in the next section to see how this tablet measures up in those tasks.
I have to say, the design of the tablet itself is pretty sharp! It really appeals to my minimalist tastes– just a black rectangle with 3 hotkeys, a power light and the USB-mini port. The surface is similar to that found on more expensive tablets like the Wacom Bamboo, so the physical feeling of drawing on it is the same– kinda rough like paper, give it a nice bio-feedback so you don’t feel like you’re drawing on glass.
Compatible with these OS: Windows XP/Vista/7/8/8.1/10 and Mac OS X 10.8.0/later versions. Compatible with PDF, Excel, Word, PowerPoint. Claimed to be compatible with Photoshop, Corel Painter, Corel Painter Essentials, even Microsoft Paint. The unit I got did work with Photoshop but had a few quirks. The pressure sensitivity worked for me, but the preview for pressure sensitivity didn’t change in the pen options. So I could see what the effect of changing the jitter was when I drew a line, but couldn’t see any previews in the PS menu bar.
Ignore the driver CD and download the latest driver update directly from their website HERE.
Controls and Functionality
As far as a signing pad, it is fantastic. The small size makes it portable and it doesn’t take up much room on my desk at all. I hate printing out forms, signing and then scanning it in all over. I also don’t want to break out my full-size drawing tablet just to sign some stuff, so this was a great solution. It works as advertised on Adobe Acrobat, Excel, Word and PowerPoint, though the pressure sensitivity is pretty much wasted on these things. For example, signing in Acrobat doesn’t show any regard for pressure sensitivity. All the lines are equally as dark and thick no matter how you press. I did find out something cool though, in newer versions of Adobe Acrobat you can sign on a regular piece of paper and hold it up to your computer camera and Acrobat will capture the signature for you! It then turns into a stamp and you can use it to “stamp” your signature across as many places in the same document as you want, and save it for future documents so you don’t have to break out the tablet every time either.
I have never played Osu! until now, but I did a little research and played a suggested easy level. The song is by Orange Range called Ikenai Taiyou. To the backdrop of some Japanese guys running around town with their guitars, I dutifully tapped and dragged my stylus to the beat. Turns out this is a pretty fun game! But let’s get back on topic, as far as locational programming, this tablet is doing very well. Even when the song got faster and I felt like I was barely touching the surface of the tablet, it still registered as a touch. In fact, I’m pretty sure completely missed the surface quite a few times.
For the drawing test, I did a small 30 minute sketch in Photoshop. While the manufacturer promised 2048 levels of sensitivity, it felt less in practice. I have tried out other Huion tablets like the H610 and the 1060PLUS, and felt like they had much more responsiveness that this tablet. It’s entirely useable and not terrible at all, but I was unable to get some of the smaller gradations in “fuzzy brush” like I usually do with a dedicated art tablet. Depends on your style though, if you are into drawing things without a lot of shading, or shading with sharp demarcations (like vector), this is a good choice if you’re looking for a super inexpensive tablet. The size of the drawing area is really small though. It’s very light and portable but it forced my wrist to draw with really small movements. This is a big no-no… it causes wrist strain over time and your lines will look feathery and not smooth.
The three expresskeys were a nice upgrade from the Wacom Bamboo, which has no expresskeys, but it wasn’t nearly enough keys for all my functions, so I ended up not really using it at all. Also, I’m a lefty, and I ended up having to test the hotkeys with my right hand. They are non-reversible. Other Huion tablets have reversible buttons, you can flip the tablet upside down. But then the button mapping becomes upside down too…. This isn’t an issue with Wacom tablets as they pay more attention to the programming.
It comes with a stylus but not a stylus holder like their Mid-range and High-range offerings. The stylus has two buttons on it that you can map to any function. The area around the two stylus buttons are grey, and it looked like it would be rubber from the promotion photos, but they aren’t. It’s less comfortable than the Wacom ones with the rubber grips. The higher-end Huion tablets don’t have rubber grips either. The nib has that nice up-and-down play that creates the pressure sensitivity and you can change the nib in the same exact way, with the ring tool. There is one ring tool and a couple extra nibs with the bundle in a little plastic baggie. Unfortunately like I said, they don’t include a pen holder like with the more expensive models, but you can get one for under $10 HERE.
The pen runs on AAA batteries and must be turned on and off to avoid wasting the battery. Turcom tablet styluses are also like this. The only one I’ve seen that isn’t like this is the Wacom one.
What’s in the Bundle?
The tablet, a USB-mini cord to connect to your computer, a Driver CD, one stylus, ring nib changing tool, extra nibs. No extra accessories or softwares.
- first tablet
- signing, business or light office use
- playing Osu!
- light drawing like doodling or drawing with a lot of flat colors
Click HERE to learn about our grading criteria.
Some of you may feel that the grade and star rating I gave is pretty harsh since I said so many good things about it in this review, but keep in mind I’m reviewing it from a painting perspective. Overall, it’s a solid tablet for non-drawing use. You are welcome to try it even for drawing if you are on a strict budget and don’t have a lot of cash to blow. Maybe you might get it as a Christmas present for your kids who have been bugging you about getting a tablet. If they don’t stick with it and start obsessing over other things (as kids often do), you’re not left with a $500 piece of equipment. But if they are serious, they’ll probably grow out of this tablet pretty quickly and graduate to a medium level tablet. Something with a drawing area of at least 10in x 6-7in.