Graphic tablets allow photographers to work with precision when it comes to editing and retouching. Let’s take a look at how a large but cable-free tablet can affect your workflow and comfort.
It is without a doubt that pen tablets are among the most useful photo editing and retouching tools for photographers, graphic artists, and illustrators. The ability to use it as a precision tool to make specific changes in the same way that we illustrate with pen and paper has an irreplaceable value. Graphic tablets have been around for a while, and through the years, they have evolved into many variants that offer unique features and benefits to the workflow of the user. Pen tablets come in a wide range of sizes that aim to fit the preference of individual users. They have also evolved into tablets with built-in displays like the Huion Kamvas Pro 16 that we reviewed not too long ago, and even further, they also come as standalone tablets with built-in computers all in one device. However, the advanced technology doesn’t necessarily mean that it is a better option because in creative tools, user preference and experience is still the most important factor.
The Huion Inspiroy Giano G930L is the first of its own line of graphic pen tablets. This is currently the largest tablet in Huion’s wide range of creative tools and offers both common and unique features that can improve your creative editing and retouching process.
Physical Features and Design
The Huion Giano G930L is a 16.9 x 10.5 inch tablet with a thickness of 0.35 inches (9.1mm). It weighs 1.1 kilograms and takes the form of a very slim slate tablet. While its size is one of its main advantages (considering work area and precision inputs), it can still be considered a portable device for various reasons. For one, the lightweight and slim body makes it easy to carry and can fit inside a laptop sleeve or compartment beside the laptop itself. The Bluetooth connectivity allows the user to place it on whatever surface available even with significant distance to the computer itself.
Within the above-mentioned size, there is a 13.6 x 8.5 Inch working area that is entirely functional and sensitive to inputs made by the pen. This surface is a dark gray matte metal anti-finger print surface that remains dry and smudge-free even after long periods of use. The tablet comes with a digital pen that requires no batteries for use. This lightweight pen is thin on the distal end, which gradually bulks up for better grip towards the tip. This pen is similar to older variants of Huion tablets and also comes with 10 extra nibs that are stored inside the pen stand. Overall, the combination of this pen, the choice of plastic or felt nib, and the matte surface of the tablet’s effective area offers a drawing experience that feels very similar to that of pen and paper.
The left side contains 6 customizable buttons that can be set up and assigned for specific functions and shortcuts. On top of the buttons is a 1.0 x 0.6 inch LCD that displays connection status, battery status, and the Huion logo. On the side is a single power button and on the adjacent corner is a single USB-C port that can be used for alternative connection or for battery charging. Considering the size of the tablet, it would have been great to see a couple more buttons for better options.
Connectivity and Setup
The Huion Giano G930L is equipped with Bluetooth 5.0 technology. Various classifications of Bluetooth devices offer different speeds, stability, and power requirements. Bluetooth 5.0 is one that uses power very minimally, which is perfect for anything that is used for long periods of time and requires constant connection.
Setting up the tablet is very easy. As you turn on the tablet with a long press of the lone button, it powers on and begins the pairing process. You then connect the device and pair it like how you would pair Bluetooth keyboards and mice. Once paired, it will automatically be detected by the Huion tablet app, which is universal for all versions of Huion pen tablets and pen display tablets.
Using the app is straightforward and allows you to set and customize the buttons as you wish. These buttons can be assigned as hotkeys and app shortcuts, navigation tools, media access, and even as shortcuts to switching between applications. The same shortcut options also apply to the buttons on the pen. On the app, you can also set the effective area and the fraction of the page that is affected by inputs from the tablet. This can be rotated 90, 180, and 270 degrees as needed and desired, which can now be done freely since there are no cables in the way.
Application and User Experience
The most basic implication of this tablet still comes from its size. The large 13.6 x 8.5 inch working area gives the user a more realistic and proportionate sense of space when making inputs using the pen. While it does mean bigger movements when drawing or brushing something relatively large, this also means that the smaller movements are more precise. With the right combination of the large surface and proper brush sizes, retouching becomes more straightforward. Manually blending and brushing in elements in composite work also becomes more definite in a meticulous manner without having to zoom in and change brush sizes so much.
The Bluetooth connectivity is a huge convenience. The fact that there are no cables to restrict how you use the tablet and how far from the device you use it means more freedom and more potential for comfort when working with the tablet. Using the tablet for about 3-4 hours a day allowed me to use it for over a week without having to charge the battery, and even then, it can be used while charging, so it is barely an inconvenience. The LCD indicator is also a very attractive feature. While it does its job in displaying various indicators, it has a lot more potential for added features in the future.
What I Liked
- Large tablet with significant working area
- Easy setup
- Cable-free with Bluetooth connectivity
- Convenient status LCD indicator
What Can Be Improved:
- More custom buttons
- Possibly a touch bar or dial