Ugee 2150 Review – Best Low Cost Alternative to Cintiq?
After looking at the Yiynova MSP19U and MSP19U+ and Huion GT190, I continued to search for a good replacement to a Cintiq. While the MSP19U+ and GT190 are great efforts at trying to satisfy the direct-draw tablet market, they are not the same size or resolution as the medium-sized Cintiq 22HD. Ugee released the 2150 with a 21.5″ LCD screen, so I wanted to give you guys the rundown of how this tablet compares to the Cintiq 22HD and see if I can save you some money.
The Ugee 2150 looks like a larger GT190 with a few differences. The color scheme is entirely black, unlike the GT190’s black and silver scheme. The stand is similar, but the Ugee 2150 has a stand with two horizontal feet, instead of the GT190’s one foot. This makes it a more stable and is necessary because of the extra weight of the larger screen. The Ugee 2150 is about 4 lbs heavier than the 19″ tablets, which are around 9-10 lbs. Similar to the GT190 and the MSP19U+, the 2150’s cable ports are all at the bottom, and I’ve said before that it really gets in the way of the tablet’s full range of motion. In the promo photos for the tablet, they never show the tablet’s tilt with the cables on, but you will find that when you attach them, it blocks the tablet from tilting all the way up.
Besides this, it adjusts the tilt by sliding the stand up and down a vertical groove and has a level to lock the motion in place. This is a simple and effective way to do it, though the all-black 2150 looks a lot cooler than the black and silver GT190. The stands are also not as cool as those on the Cintiq‘s which are designed to be unusual shapes, like the 13HD’s nesting tablet stand.
For this review, I didn’t include a photo of the product packaging, because I literally received this tablet in a plain cardboard box. A little graphics on the box can go a long way to improving their image as a premium tablet, especially since the product in the box is worth $600-800, and ranks up there with the price of certain Wacom tablets, which come in much fancier boxes. But then again, companies like Ugee and Yiynova are known to skip the box art in favor of the stuff inside the box.
It feels a little sketchy to get the tablet in an unmarked box, but let’s go ahead and see how this tablet ranks.
I personally tested on: Photoshop CS6, Painter 12, Zbrush 4R7, and Illustrator CS6. Didn’t try it in Maya or Sketchbook.
You can get the latest drivers for the 2150 HERE.
Controls and Functionality
The active area on the 2150 is the same as on the Cintiq 22HD, as they both have a 22″ LCD screen for a drawing surface. Like the Huion’s 22″ direct draw tablet and the Yiynova direct draw tablets, the Ugee 2150 has a UC Logic digitizer. For those of you who don’t know, the digitizer is what enables the tablet to read pen pressure and location input to allow you to draw lines on the screen surface. In my Yiynova MSP19U+ review, I mentioned that the old version (MSP19U), has a Waltop digitizer, which had a lot of problems including jittery cursor and lag. After switching to the UC Logic digitizer for the 19+ version, all these issues went away. Other companies like Monoprice also use them, and they are great digitizers.
I really don’t have a preference, as long as my tablet works right. So it goes without saying that I hated the Waltop digitizer. Some people like the UC Logic digitizer so much, they’re trading in their Wacom products for a Yiynova, Huion, Ugee or Monoprice. I really like my Wacom products, so I won’t be switching to these other brands full time, but even so, I’ve had no serious problems with these other tablets and think they are great alternatives.
The 2150 is only a few inches larger diagonally than the 19″ tablets like the GT190, but with those extra inches comes greater resolution. It has 1920 x 1080 resolution, at around 100 PPI (pixels per inch), equal to the Cintiq 22HD. The tablet will come uncalibrated in the box, and you will need to complete your physical tablet setup and put it in it’s permanent position before you start calibrating. Viewing angles are not listed, but I tested it side by side with the GT190 and MSP19+. It looks similar from the various angles, so I’d say it’s around 170 degrees as well. I recommended that you finish your physical workspace setup first because vertically, the viewing angles are not as good as horizontally.
Ideally, you should put something under the tablet or raise/lower your work table so that the tablet is perpendicular to your line of vision. This helps with ergonomics and calibration, because you know you won’t get distorted colors from being out of the optimal viewing angle. The brightness controls still suffer from the same issues as the GT190 and MSP19U+, where turning down brightness only makes the screen dimmer instead of turning down the backlight. This ends up muddying your colors, so maybe set the brightness of the tablet to what fits your work room and leave it. If you don’t change the lighting in your workspace, it should be alright, but it’s definitely not a tablet that you can move around without recalibrating every time.
If you are a professional and your livelihood depends on your work quality, I suggest you get the Cintiq 22HD or 27QHD because Wacom has an add-on tool called the Wacom Color Manager which helps sync the irregularities of color across multiple devices. This way you can make sure that the colors you see are the same as the final print and that your web material is the same color on someone else’s screen. If you are a hobbyist and don’t think this is important, the 2150 is probably a great fit for you.
Out of all the tablets I mentioned above, only the Cintiq’s have a textured screen. The others have a smooth glossy screen, including the 2150. I don’t have a have a preference, but some people like the Cintiq’s matte screen because it cuts out the distracting glare from the gloss finish. Other people hate the matte finish because it makes the screen a little darker and foggier than they are used to. It’s all a matter of preference, so just go with whichever you like. With the glossy screen, you have to wear the drawing glove all the time, since the bottom of your palm with leave oil marks all over your screen. If you don’t like the Cintiq and are adamant on getting a Ugee 2150 or similar tablet, you can always buy an aftermarket screen protector. They sell the matte ones that will cut down glare and make the screen a little textured so that it feels more like drawing on paper. Try doing a quick search on Amazon or eBay and you will find tons of sellers that stock them.
There are no hotkeys on this tablet, and as far as I know, Ugee doesn’t sell a remote to go with it. Wacom has a remote for their Wacom 27QHD that includes a handy touch ring for zoom and rotate. I only own the Cintiq 13HD, which has a rocker ring and not the touch ring, but I also have an Intuos Pro and Intuos 4 that has the ring. Personally, I love the touch ring and got so used to it that I’m always disappointed when I review a tablet that doesn’t come with a touch ring. To optimize your workflow, get a wireless remote to use with your Ugee 2150 so that you don’t have to reach across the table to do your shortcuts.
So far, I haven’t come across a tablet other than the Cintiq Cintiq that has tilt-sensitivity. There are some other reviewers who will say that a Ugee, Yiynova or Huion has tilt-sensitivity but THEY DON’T. Certain programs like Photoshop are able to detect the tilt of the pen and change the pen jitter to give you thicker or skinnier lines. This is how it works with real drawing instruments, so it’s good if you have it, but it’s also not that big of a deal since only certain programs support it and not even all the brushes in these programs are tilt-able.
In terms of pen sensitivity, it has 2048 levels, which is on par with the other LCD drawing tablets, and you’re able to change much of the same settings: pressure sensitivity, program the two pen buttons, and calibrate.
As far as support, there’s never really any guarantee that these non-Wacom companies will fix issues that you have. I’ve gotten pretty lucky so far with these Wacom alternatives, every company whose product I’ve tried has been good with customer service. Except maybe Turcom, but most of the ones I have tried from Turcom, I straight up returned because their problems were beyond customer service help…
With the good ones you still run into issues like bad english and reps who sometimes don’t have the expertise or training to help you though. With Wacom, they’re a large company that’s completed regionalization. Every rep I’ve talked to from Wacom had great English, understood my issue right away and was able to offer their advice. They make great products and give great service, but the big downside is they want money for everything…. lots of money.
What’s in the Bundle?
Comes with the tablet, cable pack (1 VGA, 1 USB, 1 HDMI), stylus kit (2 pens, 2 charging cables for pens), 1 pen holder (8 replacement nibs and 1 nib changing tool), welcome pack with driver CD.
- serious artists
- realistic painting
- anyone who wants the most intuitive experience
- people who want a real painting tablet on a budget
Click HERE to learn about our grading criteria.
This tablet is pretty awesome! It’s very close to the Cintiq 22HD, which is much more expensive and delivers about 90% of the same functions. The only thing that’s missing is hotkeys, rotate, tilt-sensitivity and the matte screen. The Ugee 2150 is a much better alternative than it’s 19″ counterparts for about $200 more. Still has some issues but a great buy for someone who knows their tech stuff and can fix problems by themselves. If you are a fixer-upper who is familiar with troubleshooting stuff by yourself, definitely give this one a try.