So Huion is back again, this time sending me a whole different beast of a tablet for review. Bringing a whole new approach to multi touch input to the table, as well as a massive leap forward in build quality, is the new Inspiroy G10T their best yet? Let’s find out.
I usually tend to go through the design of Wacom alternatives rather quickly and matter-of-factly in these videos, but we have to take a moment to really appreciate what Huion has accomplished here with the G10T. It might be the most premium feeling tablet I’ve ever laid hands on, and that includes Wacom devices. My sister, who is a graphic designer, was with me when I first unboxed the G10T and we both audibly gasped when I pulled the thing out. Huion has seriously upped their design ante with this product, with a quality soft touch plastic face with almost ZERO bezel around the active area and trackpad, housed in a gorgeous, high end anodized aluminum chassis.Just the feeling of the device in your hand inspires confidence; it just feels like a tank. There’s no flex or give to the body and it is built to go the distance. The build of the G10T screams premium design, and could be mistaken for something out of Cupertino.
Equally as impressive is the pen presentation. Huion has completely redesigned their stylus for this release, replacing the boring cylinder with a striking combination of sweeps and angles that sits elegantly in the hand. The pen is nestled inside a similarly striking case with a magnetic clasp that uses a similar design language to the pen itself, and inside it includes a complement of replacement nibs for the pen, as well as a slot for the very compact wireless dongle to connect the tablet to your PC. I think if it had a bit more weight to it the pen would feel even more premium than it looks, but even as is it’s very comfortable, and a huge step forward compared to what came before it.
I only wish the pen redesign wasn’t merely skin deep. With other companies like Monoprice, Artisul, and even Microsoft adding stuff like tilt recognition, passive power, and eraser functionality to their styli to be more feature-complete compared to Wacom, Huion ignores the advancements and still only includes the basics with 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity in the tip, and nothing more. And still requires a recharge. Like I’ve mentioned before, the longer these features go ignored, the less acceptable they will be as the market starts catching up.
Looks are only going to get us so far though, and the G10T can be as gorgeous at it wants, but at the end of the day its a tool, and tools need to work well, not look good. So let’s take a look at using the G10T.
The first thing I did, like with any tablet, was driver installation. The driver for the G10T didn’t give me any problems when installing. I ran the driver on both WIndows and Mac and was up and running. The design of the driver is just as new as the device itself, keeping the majority of the features from before and adding a bit more to compliment the multitouch surface on the device.
Speaking of the touchpad, I think its time we address the elephant in the room. As premium as the design of the G10T is I think its the dedicated multitouch zone that is really the star of the show here. When I first heard about the split design I thought it was a stroke of genius. You know, a lot of devices that have both pen and touch capabilities have to go out of there way to try and program palm rejection into their touch software so that it doesn’t interrupt with the pen. And none of these systems, at least the ones I’ve used, are perfect. Whether it’s an Intuos, a Surface Pro, or an iPad, I’ve run into instances where my palm is recognized while drawing and have had it mess up my canvas.
Which is why the Huion implementation is such a great idea. By splitting the areas it completely eliminates the issue of palm rejection, your drawing arm will never interact with the multitouch surface, as its always being controlled by your off hand. And of course, the added benefit of that is that you don’t have to put down your pen or try to juggle it when using multitouch like you would on an Intuos. You have two hands, and now each hand has a task when using the G10T; One for drawing, one for gestures. Truly a well thought out alternative.
Where this feature begins to fall apart a bit though is it’s implementation. Unlike other multitouch solutions I’ve looked at, there are NO defaults built into the driver. Normally with an iPad or a Surface or an Intuos, if you go into a compatible app and pinch to zoom, the software knows what that gesture is and reacts, no setup required. Not so here with the G10T. Every last command has to be manually set up in the driver itself.
On top of that, you can only mirror keyboard shortcuts, so even if you want to emulate something like a pinch to zoom, the best you can do it map the gesture to Ctrl +/-, which isn’t NEARLY as smooth or reliable as a native pinch zoom, So a lot of this device’s potential is instantly kneecapped.
Not only that, but the functionality itself simply isn’t there. On Windows, and I hate to be this blunt, but it’s a complete crapshoot. Half the slots available for mapping simply don’t work, no matter how many times I attempted to program in commands, and the half that do don’t actually do anything in any applications I tested. So the touchpad is a complete waste of space under this OS.
Things are a bit better on macOS, since it uses a dropdown menu for mapping instead of a text field so commands can be registered, but the touchpad itself is pretty flaky. Simple things like two finger swipes that I set up to change brush sizes worked, but pinch to zoom was abysmal: zooming out seemed to work decently enough, but zooming back in was nearly impossible. Needless to say the multitouch support here is far from what you’d get from something like an iPad or Surface Pro, and that’s really disappointing.
Luckily for Huion though, this is a pen device first and multitouch surface second, and in this regard the G10T is as fantastic as ever. Huion’s non-display tablets have always been some of my favorite performers when it comes to pressure and the G10T continues to deliver a stellar experience, needing almost zero pressure before it starts registering a stroke, giving you excellent control throughout the entire curve. I never had any major issues with glitches in my time using it on OS X or Windows, and overall I was just really comfortable using the device. A lot of it has to do with the soft touch material used on the active area, it’s smoother than other tablets I’ve used, but has enough of a subtle bite to give some pleasant resistance while drawing, and combined with the spring loaded tip of the pen, delivers a stellar experience overall. This is one of my absolute favorite tablets to use for drawing.
So, conclusion time. Is the Huion G10T worth the asking price? For the $140 asking price, you’re getting a tablet that performs admirably with pen input, with a fit and finish far beyond what you’d normally get in this price bracket. The generous hotkeys and their placement allow for quick multitasking, and the built in wireless connectivity, which is still a $40 addon from Wacom at this price point, makes for a compelling package overall.
But, the multitouch is worse than lackluster, being borderline unusable in macOS, and literally unusable in Windows. That, combined with the biggest omissions in my book; the increasingly lackluster features in the pen, and a recommendation becomes a bit murky. An aesthetic redesign and a pretty case aren’t enough of a consolation prize to make up for no tilt, eraser, or passive power. Add it all up and you come out with a tablet that doesn’t deliver on everything that was promised, but what is there performs really well.
So it’s a toss up: What are you looking for in a tablet? If you just wanna draw stuff, and draw it well, and are okay with paying a bit more for a truly premium design, the G10T remains a solid offering to deliver just that. If the multitouch features were a big draw for you though, or you rely on the tilt or the eraser functionality a lot, this isn’t gonna fit the bill.
Personally, I’d still give a tepid recommend to the G10T. It’s a great device to draw on, and at the end of the day, that’s probably why you decided to take a look at the thing in the first place. And since the touchpad still works occasionally, I’m hoping that perhaps going forward we can get a driver update to iron out the bugs, it probably won’t ever be as good as a Surface or a Wacom, but there’s definitely room for improvement, hopefully we can get that. If we do, I’ll be sure to make an update for ya.
Until next time, I’m Tom Oliver, this is Rebel Pixels reminding you: We might be indie, but that doesn’t mean we’re alone. Catch you all in the next one.