Review: UGEE Q6 Drawing Tablet

2B or not 2B – making way for the stylus

Tablets aren’t a new thing – they’ve been around a while. I first used one over 15 years ago, with some frustration and numerous limitations. But they were new then and had basic functionality, requiring considerable patience and time to master. That was then. . . Let’s see how far they’ve come – and if the experience is more in line with expectations. From affordability (the previous generation were far too costly for most aspiring doodlers) to functionality – if the simulation of writing and drawing is as natural as it should be. The Ugee Q6 Drawing Tablet, at first glance looks like it may have answered some of the concerns. Let’s check it out.

In the Beginning

Our educational journey begins with learning and mastering the use of the pencil and once confident with letter formation and printing words, you learn to join your letters and begin script writing. That’s when you’re eligible for a pen license – that’s what happens at schools today, so my 8-year old daughters tell me.

With all the keyboard typing and button pushing, unless you’re studying art or design, I find many are losing fine finger dexterity movements because we are no longer using our hands for writing and drawing. I’m no expert, but looking at writing ability today, the fluent, calligraphic, consistent letter-formations and symmetrical consistencies are fast disappearing. Growing up I always laughed at doctor’s prescription handwriting, convinced that legibility was questionable even by them (today it’s all typed!). Today it’s almost the norm – ‘chicken scratch’ as I call it affectionately.

As a designer, using a sketch book to jot down ideas, notes or quick sketches of little inspirations I encounter is standard – there’s a pad and pen easily accessible at any moment. I’ve always found it easier to sketch in a notepad and develop and finalize the idea on my computer later. More of us are resorting to notes on our phones, tablets or laptops – so the use of pens and pencils is fast declining. Unless your signature is required. Even that is becoming a rarity since fingerprint ID, face recognition and other forms of identification are becoming more common. Touch screens you write on with a stylus or finger tips are supposed to be a good middle ground, but I am yet to find anyone who can use their fingers with the accuracy expected to form letters that closely resemble adult writing. Chicken scratch 2.0!

First Impressions

What’s in the box? As well as the tablet and stylus, there’s a USB C–C cable, extra nibs, nib extractor, Micro USB OTG adapter and the quick start guide. The USB C cable is conveniently integrated into the bottom of the tablet ensuring it’s always there with you – so no hunting for it. Small and light (only 250g), it’s apparent this tablet is meant to go places with your laptop or mobile device. No excuses for not having it handy then!

Easy as ABC

To begin you need to install the driver from the Ugee site – normal practice when integrating an external device to yours. Once downloaded, it’s plug and play, turning your device into a sketchpad or notebook for anything you choose to do on it really.

The tablet’s drawing area ratio can be easily adjusted appropriately to reflect the device you are using – phone, tablet or laptop. Handy, as screen sizes vary and ensuring proportions of the drawing area to screen size is critical. It makes it easier to coordinate hand movement on the tablet and cursor movement on screen. With 6 shortcut buttons, your favorite tools are a tap away, making it easier to move between preferred functions, which increases the tablet’s fluency, making it more convenient.

Putting Pen to Tablet

If it’s your first time using a stylus and tablet, it may seem a little awkward initially, but with a bit of practice it gets easier. We went from a mouse to roller ball and now tracking pads – they all had initial phases of unfamiliarity, which we overcame with persistence. Persistence does pay, so don’t give up too quickly. My daughter who’s 8, managed to get to a grip of it in about 15 minutes – she’s no pro by any means, but figured out the hand eye synchronization of stylus on tablet and cursor on screen movements. And in fairness she’s good with her writing skills – got her pen license a year earlier than most children her age – and she was writing and doodling quite effortlessly. The battery-free stylus is nicely weighted, similar to a regular pencil, but a little too smooth to grip – definitely something to improve on. In terms of responsiveness, it’s accurate and fluent in line with movement so there’s no delay in translation onto the screen. That’s a big plus as a delay in hand gesture to actual on screen realization would affect the entire experience. This is smooth and flawless. As far as the writing and drawing experience goes, it’s realistic and feels very natural.

The USB C cable is a little awkward as it sits in on one side of the tablet, making it a bit of a tight stretch to connect to the right side of my laptop. Perhaps a port on either side of the tablet will resolve this easily.

Compatible with multiple systems and software, its versatility is definitely more attractive as it’s shared amongst a variety of users – no hassle of incompatibility.

The challenge is familiarizing yourself with how to navigate the tablet with the precision you currently have with your hand on a mouse or tracking pad. But like all things new, it takes time to adjust.

Sign on the dotted line

It’s quite nice to be able to write and draw. It’s something I took great pride in – having neat handwriting and being able to sketch comfortably. Not the best at drawing but competent enough to draw with ease. A life skill that is quickly vanishing – it’s almost considered a non-essential. Reasonably priced at US$39 and very easy to use, if you’re keen to retain the ‘art’ of writing and drawing, then this is a good entry level tablet, that will give you as realistic an experience to the original sensations of using a pencil or pen.

If you want more information, check out the Ugee website at www.ugee.com

About Author
With design in his blood, all things aesthetically satisfying seem to tickle his fancy. Now combine that with his tech savviness – it’s a winning combination. In a world with so much available, aesthetics, functionality and value for money are the recipe to success! With a good take on what’s good to look at, versus how good its use is, is where he spends most of his thoughts... thinking how to make it better, if indeed it can be done.