Monoprice 12 x 9 Graphic Tablet
NOTE: LOTS O' IMAGES!
and lots o' text too!
Update: While Monoprice are still good tablets, unless you absolutely need a 12x9 tablet, I recommend getting a HUION or a UGEE tablet from places like Amazon.com. Huion and Ugee update their drivers and tend to be more compatible, plus they're pretty good at responding to questions.
I ordered directly from Monoprice's website, and received my item in 4 days using UPS ground. They accept Paypal and Google Checkout, so no credit card required!
12x9 Tablet: $87.00
Extra Pen: $9.60
Wacom Bamboo Connect (Small Size) $65.00+
Wacom Bamboo Create (Med Size) $170.00+
Wacom Intuos5 Touch (Medium) $330.00+
The Box: It's Square!
They packed the box well and I like that they used easy-to-recycle paper instead of that stupid peanut stuff... Danny approves.
Yeeeep. There's the stuff in the box.... Even Ichigo is bored with this picture.
Everything was nicely packed inside the tablet box. Danny thought so too.
Tada! The TABLET! It's big... so very big...
The back! Interesting... what are these black things for...?
Warning: These suckers are tough to get into place and then remove. You gotta be rough. (I had to ask Aremke to get them on AND off.....) If that scares you, just leave 'em alone!
3) Japanese Fan
4) First Generation Wacom Bamboo Fun Medium Size.
Monoprice Tablet WINS!
Supposedly this flap thing is for you to put your hand drawn art under and then digitally sketch over on the computer. I'm dubious about how well this would actually work in practice. On the upside, it gives the tablet a nice texture and will likely help keep it protected.
Reviews online constantly mention the cheapo pen that comes with Monoprice tablets. It's true. It does feel like cheap plastic! But unless you get a defective one, I think it'll hold up alright.
(If it turns out to be defective, Monoprice will stand by it's product and replace it for free.)
Also, I have man-sized hands for a girl so keep reading to see a better pen-size comparison...
WARNING: The Start Guide specifically says (in it's wonderfully Engrish way) not to put pressure on the tip when you're not using it. So set it on it's side or have the tip pointing up or use the pen holder included. Just don't ruin your pen by being an idiot because you didn't read or take the advice of the Guide.
Still the thought of getting a defective pen or having it break on me long after the warranty expires did not sit well. SO I BOUGHT AN EXTRA! I call it "The Fancy Pen"!!
This pen works with all the Monoprice Tablets!
Extra pen nib, nib remover, and battery....
Both the default pen that comes with the tablet and this pen have programmable clicky things. The default pen has a lame hard plastic clicky thing, but the Fancy Pen's clicky thing is underneath the rubber grip. A nice touch!
PS: The Start Guide calls them "buttons", not "clicky things".
Quality wise, the Fancy Pen is definitely a step up. The plastic doesn't feel as cheap, the rubber grip feels firmer, and it's slightly smaller.
These are BATTERY POWERED PENS. You need AAA batteries for them to work. The batteries that came with my pens worked just fine BUT I've heard of some batteries being Dead On Arrival (DOA). A dead--or almost dead--battery in your pen will cause your tablet to not work, or not work very well. If your tablet doesn't seem to be working, the first trouble-shooting step is battery replacement!
1) Don't bend the spring or metal battery connector doodad. BE CAREFUL when you changing batteries!
2) To open the Default pen you pull the top black part. It pops right off! Do NOT twist it off. Gently put it back on, if it gives you a hard time, you're doing it wrong. The "wavy" parts of the rubber and the black plastic need to match, so check that first.
3) The Fancy Pen screws on and off... do NOT try and pop it off. You also need to be gentle screwing it back on. (Side Note: The AAA Rayovac refused to work with this pen... I have no idea why. Using the knock-off AAA battery that came with the pen worked though. Go figure...)
DUH: Wacom pens have no batteries. They use a proprietary technology that they have no intention of sharing with anyone. It goes without saying, Wacom Pens won't work with Monoprice Tablets.
Here we can get a better idea of the size of these pens.
The Default Pen: The widest and the longest, but a little lighter than the Fancy Pen. Obviously heavier than the Wacom Pen. No eraser nub. Programmable Buttons.
The Fancy Pen: Shortest and only very very slightly wider than the Wacom pen. Heaviest. No eraser nub. Programmable Buttons.
Regular Ink Pen: Look at it sitting there, all old fashioned and non-digital! Tch! No eraser, no batteries, and no programmable Buttons.
Wacom Pen: Thinnest, lightest, second longest, and comes with eraser nub. Programmable Buttons. (Am I the only one who never used the eraser nub? o_0)
From the Left: Default Pen, Fancy Pen, Regular Ink Pen, and Wacom Bamboo First Generation Pen
"Heavy" is a very subject term with these pens. None of them are so heavy or wide they'd feel uncomfortable. But if you've got small hands (unlike me =n= ) you might prefer the Fancy Pen over the Default Pen simply because it's more compact. My husband found the Wacom pen's annoyingly light. I found the transition between the Wacom pen and the Fancy pen the easiest, though using the Default Pen wasn't very hard either.
Note: If you find both the Fancy Pen and the Default Pen uncomfortable, consider buying these. They look nice and would perhaps feel nicer in your hands. (I'm considering getting some in the future. If I do, I'll let you know how they work.)
Included driver CD with Quick Start Guide. They come in a plastic sleeve that includes batteries and 5 extra pen nibs!
And yes, you SHOULD read the Quick Start Guide before doing anything!
About the Drivers.....
1) The installer auto-started in Vista but not Windows 7. I had to go through Windows explorer to manually start it.
2) I originally installed "Support Dual Screen". It works, but I found many programs did not cooperate with this driver.
3) I installed "Support XP 64bit" to force the tablet to only see the main monitor. This worked much much better, though SAI still gave me problems. (It technically worked, but it forced my tablet into a dual monitor mode.)
4) Installing the UC-LOGIC drivers solved a lot of the weirdness I had with various programs when using the CD Dual Screen Drivers.
5) It is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT that you keep your tablet unplugged until after you installed the drivers and restarted your computer. If you plug it in first, Windows installs terrible generic drivers that are difficult to get rid of and a pain to uninstall.
6) Yes, it works with Mac OSX and Windows 7. No, I don't know if it works with Windows 8. (Contact Monoprice.com and ask...) The extra software doesn't work correctly in OSX/W7.
I spent a good ten minutes wondering where the Pen Tablet Settings window was for this tablet. Turns out it was "hiding" in the corner. Derp!
Note: Read your Quick Start Guide in all it's glorious Engrish to learn how to program your hotkeys and shortcuts on your tablet.
How does the Monoprice tablet compare? The MP Tablets 10x6.25 (which there are 2 of) and 12x9 fall between the Wacom Bamboo and Intuos in terms of specifications.
Resolution (LPI): 4000
Report rate speed (RPS): 200
Pressure sensitivity: 1024
Resolution (LPI): 2540
Report rate speed (RPS): 133
Pressure sensitivity: 1024
Touch: Yes (Excluding Connect)
Resolution (LPI): 5080
Report rate speed (RPS): 200
Pressure sensitivity: 2048
Tilt: +/- 60 degrees
It's always important to note that Intuos tend to stomp all over the competition. Monoprice Tablets (10 x 6.25 and 12 x 9) are some where in the middle in terms of performance. It's a nice upgrade for anyone using Graphires, Bamboos, or old Intuos.
These tablets make excellent, smooth lines. I detected no jitter or lag with this tablet. Some people like these better than their Intuos3 or 4. (I know one guy sold his Intuos and switched to these tablets.) You might not like them that much, but it's comforting to know they are good enough to be genuine competition for Wacom.
My husband really likes the 12 x 9 size and I hate it. I've spent my entire life drawing on nothing bigger than computer paper, and most of my Wacom tablets were small. It was fatiguing to draw on such a big space. My husband, on the other hand, works well on big sheets of paper and prefers a close 1:1 ratio with his screen. A bigger active area for him is much more comfortable.
When it comes to what size tablet you should get, you really gotta think about the kind of artist you are already. Are you use to working on big sheets of paper? Do you find moving your whole arm invigorating or exhausting? To me, a nice middle ground is the 10 x 6.25 tablet(s). They're bigger than Wacom Mediums without being so big as to be annoying. (For lefties, I recommend sticking to the WP1062-TAB10.)
The other thing to consider is the driver quality. I would say MOST of the time the drivers work just fine on MOST people's computers. But when they don't work--and problems usually start when you have dual monitors or old Wacom drivers previously installed--it is a real pain in the butt to fix them. The CD drivers worked PERFECTLY on my husband computer (Single Monitor, Vista 64bit) and on my laptop (Single Monitor, Windows 7) but gave me some real problems with my desktop (Dual Monitor, Bamboo Fun user, Win7 64bit). It took me some time, but I managed to find the most common problems (and solutions) to driver problems in Windows. I gathered the information I found into one place, in hopes of helping other Monoprice Tablet users. Please check it out if you have any problems!
Is this a good buy? Yes. Is this a good tablet? Yes. If you're a beginner or new to graphic tablets, someone looking to upgrade their Graphire or Bamboo tablet, or a professional that needs a cheap temporary solution, Monoprice tablets are all great choices! When they work, they work gloriously, and you won't even know you're using a non-Wacom brand.
For all those non-American artists out there, here's a tip to finding cheap tablets: Look for rebranded UC-Logic tablets. Companies in other countries give them different names, so I can't give you any specific brand names. But UC-Logic makes tablets for companies all over the world and there is a high chance there are some in your country too!
Lastly, if you're looking for something closer to Intuos, try the Huion P608N or Huion H610.
Here are other reviews for various Monoprice tablets I found online:
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Goodbye, for now!
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It is an OK product overall and has lots of links to it. Pretty easy to use as well and has lots of smooth architecture added. No problems, happy to say so. Better than alternatives but worse than My XP-PEN Deco 01 V2 https://www.xp-pen.com/product/461.html drawing tablet. I'm fine with this product overall.
Please Note: I have no experience with Windows 8 or up, and this is reflected in my FAQ. If that's the OS you're using, I'm not gonna be able to help much.
Also, please go to my FAQ to find out how to resolve driver issues, such as Windows Generics. There's a link to it at the top of this review.
An 8x6 Monoprice tablet might be ideal, although I feel 10x6.25 would be pushing it. Either way, the prices seem infinitely better than for Wacom!