xencelabs sketching tablet

Xencelabs sketching tablet launched

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Xencelabs have launch new sketching tablet which looks ideal for those looking for pen-based input and advanced pressure sensitivity.

Xencelabs look to be taking on the mighty Wacom in the pro-grade sketching tablet game, with backing from a Chinese manufacturer and headed up by several former Wacom executives.

The Xencelabs Pen Tablet Medium is its first product, described as offering a clean and minimalist design without unnecessary keys, it looks to let users to fully benefit from its 16:9 native aspect ratio.

With only 8mm thickness, it features a seamless and gently curved palm rest for comfort. The tablet can be used wirelessly or with a USB cable.

The Xencelabs device is the only pen tablet that comes with two battery-free pens of different diameters. The thin pen has two buttons, while the three-button pen accommodates users working in 3D.

Both pens come with an eraser, 8,192 levels of pressure sensitivity, 3g initial activation force, tilt recognition and a ‘virtually no lag’.

The Medium Pen Tablet has been developed for ergonomics, but we’re hoping that the USB to USB-C dongle daisy chain gets worked out in production models because we’ve not see that business since 1998. USB-C or death!

A key phrase to pick out here is ‘without unnecessary keys’: If you’ve used one of the various pen tablets around, you’ll know that at the upper end of the spectrum they tend to be festooned with shortcut keys, which some users love to bits; some simply assign a few functions to, and the rest absolutely despise (I’m definitely in the latter camp).

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To get over this, the Xencelabs team has developed a companion device called the Quick Keys. It’s a seperate device that features a 8 hardware keys (switchable into five sets) and a rotary knob.

The combination of these and LCD labels for shortcut keys look really interesting – in fact we’re wondering if there’s a market for this as an add-on for CAD applications on its own – particularly since the LoupeDeck integration with Fusion 360 never panned out.

Xencelabs Quick Keys Remote
Xencelabs Quick Keys Remote – potential for CAD users all on its own for $89.99?

Specifications wise, it has an active working area of 262mm x 147 mm (that’s a useful aspect ratio of 16:9), you’ll get 16 hours from a 2.5 hour charge (and can be used and charged simultaneously).

A good friend of DEVELOP3D, Glen Southern, reckons that the pens are “very Wacomy” so should slot straight into your workflows.

The device is supplied with both pens, a sketching glove (which is apparently a thing these days), 10 spare nibs (and extractor), all packaged up in a nifty little case. The Xencelabs Pen Tablet Medium costs $279.99.

The Quick Keys Remote is $89.99. There’s also a bundle that includes the Quick Keys device for $359.99.

We’re waiting on a review unit to be shipped out, but it’s good to see that someone is competing with Wacom.

We’ve had a look-see at some of the cheaper end of the sketching tablet products out there and they always miss the mark a little.