In this article, I give you my Huion Kamvas 13 Pen monitor review with specs included. And yes, it is correctly spelled Kamvas with the K, not with C. This device is not to be confused with the 13 Pro which is older, more expensive, and not as good as this one. I’ve reviewed several of Huions pen displays for drawing artists and I’ve always felt like, if you could afford it, Wacom was still the way to go. This time they’ve really done it right and I’m gonna explain how in this review.
So, this is a 13.3-inch pen monitor, which means it’s an IPS monitor and fully laminated too. For the price, I’m pretty impressed with that alone. 8,192 levels of pressure sensitivity from the battery-free pen. It uses an EMR electromagnetic resonance pen but it’s not Wacom EMR, as always.
Price starts at $239 which is pretty attractive considering the Wacom One, which is their competitor, is $399. And even more interesting thing is that this device is using one of those new one-watt low power panels that we’ve seen on some ultrabooks. That’s great because you don’t actually need to use a power adapter with this in most cases, it gets his power through USB-C.
This monitor comes with the usual (I call it a Hydra) cable. It’s a USB-C where it plugs into the Pen monitor and then you have three connectors. You have a USB-A for data, an HDMI, and a second USB-A for power which you may or may not need. But, if you want the single USB-C to USB-C solution, if you have a laptop or a desktop with a USB-C port that supports DisplayPort out, which most do these days, you can use that too. That’s a lot of tidier solution and, yes, it gets power through that too.
Looking at the market I see it’s $20 extra if you want the USB-C cable so that brings it up to $259. But, you kind of have to use their USB-C cable because it has a smaller connector head as the plastic around the connector is pretty thin, it’s not as bulky as the several different USB-C cables I tried that didn’t actually fit in the hole on the tablet. Anyway, $20 is a pretty good price for a USB-C cable.
If you want the stand, which is optional, that is another $25 and it’s a pretty good stand. I’ve seen some pretty weird stands in my day and this one’s pretty solid. It’s not gonna win any beauty in design awards but what I care about is a solid user experience. So, if you need a stand with it, well, that’s good given that it’s only 13.3 inches, and like 893 grams, it’s pretty light. You might not need a stand, you might just put it on your lap or something like that anyway.
It’s pretty wide gamut, it’s got almost 90 percent of Adobe RGB so you know we’re pushing into that territory here where it’s a lot like the Wacom Cintiq Pro 13 which is $799.
In terms of the color gamut, gamut, laminated display, level of pen pressures, support, and also having tilt on board I think this is a great package. And yes, the pen behaves really well too. You can calibrate it, of course, to make it track and the cursor offset, you can get rid of that sort of thing. There’s pretty much no parallax since is a laminated display.
Their drivers come a long way, they support Mac, Windows, and even Android. But, given the fact that lots of tablets or big-screen-oriented aren’t apps for Android well, it’s not so much of a thing.
The software has grown up in it. I’ve tested with the Mac where usually it works pretty well, in Windows where it’s gotten a lot better. I’ve tested it with the Gigabyte Aero 17 HDR, which is a wide gamut 4K display gaming laptop. It used to be if you had a high-resolution monitor as your main monitor it would screw things up. No problems anymore with it.
Also, we’ve got an Nvidia RTX GPU on the laptop because I want to make sure when I’m testing our programs any latency and line things and all that it’s not about the horsepower of the laptop. We used to sometimes see weird behavior with Nvidia drivers not anymore. HS actually works which is pretty darn good.
You can set the programmable buttons on the side. You’ve got the up and down rocker, which by default handle zooming. You can change that if you want. And, you’ve got six other programmable buttons so if you want to use it for undo, or for brush size, or any of those things you can. And yes you can flip it upside down so you can have the controls on the right side or the left side depending on your handedness.
The pen itself I like. It’s pretty much the same design they’ve been using. It’s the latest generation of pen and it’s got two buttons on it and you can program those as well like I always program one to be because I use it for sampling color all the time as I’m doing digital painting.
You’re going to use tablet PC-style drivers with this. This is not a Wacom win Tab product obviously. I tested it with Corel Painter 2020 with clip studio paint and Photoshop which is where I do most of my work and it works well in all those. You may have to switch over to make sure it’s using the tablet PC style input first before it works but good stuff really.
Good diagonal lines on this, no line jitter. After doing the calibration of the display there is really no pen tip cursor on set to speak of. Except on the extreme edges like when you’re going for menus but nothing too horrible not so different from Wacoms more premium products. Schwing.
It comes in three colors you probably don’t care about that much. It’s available and I’m with them they’re all matte finish on the back. Matte black or there’s a violet color which is what we have it’s pretty subdued looking and then there’s a midnight green color.
The build quality on it feels pretty good. Again it’s not going to win any beauty contests but it feels solid and well made. And I have some of their older products around and they they seem to hold up just fine. And the cables are completely modular which is another good thing.
Because typically the people are problems often is with cable failures. So you can just get another cable. So it’s full HD which is the same that you’re gonna see on the Cintiq pro 13 or the Wacom one as well. That’s fair for a 13-inch size.
And it’s got a matte finish which is actually a screen protector applied at the factory. And it’s not green it’s not aching it doesn’t degrade from the quality of the display. How well will the screen protector hold up I can’t tell you because we have only had it about a month. So far it’s okay.
You could replace it if it gets damaged eventually over time. As usual with their display pen display if you get a little stands like a little donut it’s kind of cute in your unscrew it and the nibs are inside. So to give you a whole bunch of nibs and but they’re all identical. So if you want to do what Wacom does and switch to a felt nib or something like that you can’t do that you only have the hard plastic nibs here.
So it all sounds pretty darn good right. So what’s the drawback here. And they’re not alone with this to walk in ones not very bright either. They claim it’s 220 minutes we measured it at 198 nits. But here’s the thing you really don’t want to max up the brightness there.
Because when I did that I saw the colors fade away it messes with the whole color balance of this play. At the default setting at 50% which is about 115 nits which is surprisingly bright and vibrant looking if you’re using this indoors you know don’t go into a super bright place with it and it looks really quite good.
Then the color balance and everything in the contrast on this very nice and it didn’t look particularly poorly next to the HDR display that we’re using with the gigabyte arrow built-in panel there. But if you go up to 70% it starts to look a little more milky.
If you go to 100% you start to also want to increase the contrast and then it starts to look poster eyes and stuff. So you have to kind of be okay with 50% brightness. So that’s the helium canvas 13. And finally they have really gotten it right.
And now I don’t feel like you know it’s secretly I’m thinking go get a walk in with you can’t afford. This is pretty darn good. Again don’t get the older canvas Pro 13 get this one. Less expensive actually better and very enjoyable for art.
Huion Kamvas 13 Pen Monitor