Xencelabs (pronounced “sense-labs”) is a brand new firm, launched earlier this yr, that’s moving into the graphics pill sport, and their first product is a medium pill, paired with a Fast Keys Distant and two pen choices. I found that their North American workplace is right here in Portland, and so they dropped off a pattern for me to check out!
The evaluate pattern I obtained is the Xencelabs Pen Tablet Medium Bundle with Quick Keys Remote, which is priced at $359.99.
Right here’s what’s included within the bundle:
- Xencelabs Pen Pill
- Xencelabs Fast Keys distant
- 3 Button Pen
- Skinny Pen
- Pill sleeve
- Pen case
- Bluetooth dongle
- USB-A to USB-C Adapter
- Further pen nibs (6 commonplace, 4 felt)
- Nib extractor
- Drawing glove
- USB cable (USB-A to USB-C)
Many of those parts are additionally out there individually.
Let’s take a look at the pill first! The size are 12.61″ x 9.16″ x 0.3″, with an energetic space of 10.33″ x 5.8″ for a 16:9 side ratio. The graceful floor extends slightly exterior of the energetic space, in order that your pen doesn’t hit a bodily edge, and the entrance edge tapers down for a wrist relaxation. (Previous to this, I’ve used some Wacom tablets, together with a really giant Intuos, although it’s a couple of decade previous now.)
The pill may be plugged in with a USB-C cable, or you should use it wirelessly with a Bluetooth dongle. There are 4 nook indicators on the pill that gentle up when the pill is on, and you’ll alter the sunshine colour with the app. The pill additionally has three buttons centered on the high—the capabilities may be custom-made within the app as effectively.
There are two pens to select from. The three Button Pen is loads like what I’m used to from my previous Wacom set: it tapers a bit from the purpose to the eraser finish, with the drawing finish about as massive round as a Sharpie. There are three buttons close to the tip: one spherical button and an extended rocker swap above that. The “eraser” can also be a button—the default driver settings will swap to the eraser operate in most apps routinely once you use this finish. The Skinny Pen is, effectively, thinner—it’s sized a lot nearer to an everyday pen or pencil, and it contains simply the rocker swap and the eraser with out the third button. It’s a pleasant choice for many who need one thing that feels extra just like the analog instruments they could be accustomed to.
There are additional nibs included for the pens—they’re designed to put on down over time (relatively than the pill), and there are two sorts. The usual nibs are onerous plastic, just like different graphic pens I’ve used earlier than, with a clean glide. The felt nibs have that slight scratchy edge to them that you just get from felt tip pens; I think about these could be good for many who are used to drawing with markers and felt pens, although I’ll admit I get a tiny little bit of that “nails on chalkboard” really feel once I use the felt nibs, so I desire the usual.
The pen case is sweet: a tough clamshell with a magnetic lid and a foam insert. It holds each pens, the Bluetooth dongle and adapter, the nib extractor ring, and ten spare nibs within the lid. The pill sleeve is padded with velvety inside to guard the pill from scratches, and has a large velcro strip to maintain it shut. There’s one giant pocket for the pill, after which a shallower pocket on high of that with two side-by-side pockets inside it—the smaller pockets are good for the pen case and the Fast Keys Distant, plus no matter else you wish to throw in there.
There’s a drawing glove that matches round your wrist and over your pinky and ring finger, so that you just hold the grip of your thumb and two fingers, however your hand slides over the pill extra easily. It additionally retains your pill clear of oils out of your hand. However, admittedly, it seems and feels slightly unusual at first.
The Fast Keys Distant is a separate system, concerning the dimension of a big TV distant. It has two rows of buttons bordering an LED display screen, one button close to the tip, after which a big dial on the opposite finish with a button within the middle. If you join this to your laptop (through USB or Bluetooth—the dongle can pair with each the pill and the distant), the display screen activates, exhibiting the capabilities of every of the eight buttons. These, in fact, may be custom-made utilizing the app.
The dial has as much as 4 modes—you possibly can cycle by modes by tapping the middle button, and the mode will likely be displayed briefly on the display screen. There’s additionally a coloured gentle across the dial, and you’ll set completely different colours for every mode. You could possibly use the dial to zoom, scroll, alter brush dimension, or select a layer, as an example.
The button on the tip allows you to cycle by units of controls, with as much as 5 units. So in case you have explicit controls you need easy accessibility to whereas portray, however a special set for picture retouching, you might simply customise the Fast Keys Distant to change between these settings at a faucet of the button.
The app offers you loads of management to customise settings. You possibly can set varied choices, as you’d anticipate, each for the pill and every of the pens, from stress sensitivity to the button capabilities. You possibly can change each the usable space of the pill, and what a part of the display screen it’s mapped to. One particularly good characteristic is that you could create profiles for particular apps—so if you would like a selected button combo and pen habits in Photoshop however one thing else in Illustrator, that’s doable.
The one draw back to the Xencelabs for me was that I’m a bit old-fashioned myself. My day-to-day graphics software program remains to be an previous model of Photoshop CS3 that I purchased again in 2007 and am nonetheless utilizing, as a result of I haven’t felt like paying Adobe a subscription payment (and I’m not even certain if my previous iMac would run the newer variations anyway). It’s nonetheless limping alongside and I’m nonetheless utilizing the identical previous keyboard shortcuts which have change into muscle reminiscence. However, alas, CS3 is now not supported, and the pill drivers didn’t wish to play good with it, so I attempted out the pill in Autodesk Sketchbook as an alternative, which I’m not practically as conversant in. You possibly can see the straightforward robotic I drew above utilizing the pill. The pill was nice to make use of, although Sketchbook will take me a bit longer to determine.
It was fairly cool to have the ability to use the dial to zoom out and in shortly or change the comb dimension, and the pill is a pleasant dimension to be used on my present desk. I’ve additionally by no means had a wi-fi pill, however having the ability to sit again from the display screen and draw with the pill in my lap can also be a brand new expertise for me. At some point I’ll in all probability be upgrading my laptop lastly, so hopefully with that I’ll be capable of get a bit extra follow with some new software program, and actually benefit from the Xencelabs pill a bit extra!
For extra info or to purchase any of those merchandise, click here to visit the Xencelabs website.