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The Huion GT-220 is a budget alternative to the Wacom Cintiq 22HD. The Huion retails at about $1,000 and the Cintiq is $2,000. So from a pure cost standpoint, at half the price, it’s already an attractive option, but how does it actually stack up?




Above is video review summary of what I’ve written below. In the written review, I’ll dive a little further into my thoughts about the tablet, including some of its issues and quirks.

The Build

The tablet itself is a really nice size, it sits comfortably on my desktop and offers plenty of room to draw. It’s substantially smaller than my Cintiq 24HD, which is a nice change, considering the Cintiq is like putting a desk on top of your desk.

It looks like it might be built out of metal, but it’s actually plastic. The unit itself is quite thin, but it has some nice weight to it, so it doesn’t feel cheap. The build isn’t quite as good as the Wacom products I own, but it’s not bad either, totally acceptable for a cheaper alternative.

The most obvious thing though, is the lack of buttons on the tablet. Wacom users will be used to having hotkeys, but you’ll have to do without them here. I personally don’t use them anyway, I just have a small keyboard I keep off to the side. It provides me with way more functionality than physical tablet buttons, it’s just a matter of learning the shortcuts.

The stand it uses is easy to operate, and typically fairly sturdy, but I’ve found that there’s a bit of wobble occasionally if you go at the unit too hard on the upper corners. Another issue is that the cords attach at the bottom of the unit, which means they have a tendency to get in the way. They’ll sometimes try to peek through the front, which makes the unit uneven, and if you lay the unit down too far, it’ll rest on top of them and become wobbly. It’s more of a minor annoyance than anything, but I do wish they had the cords attach from the top or side.

The last real issue I have with the build is with the buttons. The power key and the the menu buttons are on the bottom of the unit, so it ends up resting on them if you tilt it too high. I haven’t had an issue with accidental presses, but it makes them very difficult to get to.

The unit I got also came with a screen protector, which I believe you’ll have to purchase separately. Unlike Cintiqs, the screen is actually quite glossy, and the screen protector minimizes that, as well as gives you a slightly rougher surface to draw on, which is comparable to a Cintiq. I prefer to work with it on, but otherwise, it’s still not a bad feel.

Display


The display itself is solid, and probably the GT-220’s strongest point. The screen is an IPS panel, which means it’s higher quality than most LCD displays. This means that you’re going to get solid color reproduction, crisp pixels, great viewing angles, and often higher brightness. This is a definite upgrade from Huion’s last display. Plus, this screen is definitely brighter than my Cintiq 24HD and main monitor, so I really appreciate that.

And, like any new display, you’re going to have to do some color calibration, but I found getting the colors right to be fairly easy compared to other experiences I’ve had. Out of the box, the display was a little too cool, and a little desaturated, so I tweaked it for about 5 or 10 minutes until I was happy.


The Stylus

The stylus is decent. It doesn’t feel cheaper, but it doesn’t feel expensive either, it’s kind of middle of the road. In terms of drawing and painting, the stylus works quite well, the pressure sensitivity is nice and it offers consistent feedback. It has 2048 levels of pressure, just like the latest Wacom tablets. One of the key features it doesn’t have is tilt sensitivity, which I missed at first, but soon realized it’s not something I use terribly often, so it’s not super hard to work around.

It also doesn’t have an eraser like Wacom styluses, and instead has a port so you can charge it via USB. The lack of eraser might bother some, but for me it’s not a problem. As far as the battery is concerned, it does seem to last quite a while, so I wouldn’t be too concerned about it dying while you’re working.

There are a couple problems I encountered with the stylus though. The first, is that while you can program two keys on it, for some reason it likes to press the wrong one about half the time. This could be a driver issue, or more likely just poor manufacturing. So ultimately, I had to set both keys to be the same button press.

Another issue is that the stylus has to be fairly close to the screen for the button press to work. At first it was annoying, but I quickly got used to it, just something to be aware of. The last issue I had, and hopefully they’ll fix this with a driver update, is that it doesn’t register when you’re holding a key down. So if you do any functions that require you to hold one of the stylus buttons down, it might not work as it seems to register it as a single click, rather than a constant press. Minor issue, but worth noting.

You also might notice a bit of jitter/shaking when you’re holding your stylus towards the outer edges of the screen, but this is common to many screen tablets. I found it to be almost negligible, plus you’ll typically be working in the center of the screen anyway, not the corners or edges.

Overall, it’s pretty good, and I’m sure they’ll work out some of the kinks as time goes on.


Drivers


The first issue you might run into after getting this unit is the installation. I found that my drivers simply wouldn’t install because they couldn’t overwrite a couple of Windows files. Apparently this is a common problem, and Huion support was super helpful with it. The solution was to simply delete the the files it was trying to replace, and it installed fine. However, if you still have any sort of Wacom product, deleting those files means it’ll no longer work. Below is a quick video I made to show you how to work around that.





And as far as the driver options are concerned, you’re basically limited to pressure sensitivity settings and setting up the keys on the stylus. This is a bit of a letdown considering the amount of options the Wacom drivers have, but without all the hotkeys, it does make a little bit of sense. I do wish there was more control over the pressure curve though, and that you could map the stylus buttons to specific programs rather than having a global setting. I also wish you could set a button to switch to another monitor, but the only way to switch which monitor you’re working on is manually in the driver window.


Painting


Overall though, aside from some minor quibbles, painting is a pretty solid experience and it behaves pretty much how you would expect it to. I’d say it’s very comparable to working on a Cintiq, so it’s pretty easy to sort of push those little nitpicks to the side.

The one thing I did notice however, is sometimes the pressure input seems to be inconsistent. You can watch the review above to see what I mean. It’s actually fairly minor, it’s like a very small jitter in the size/opacity of your brush strokes. The fix I found for this is the Lazy Nezumi plugin, which I show in the video. You might not notice it at all, but I tend to be picky about technology.


Final Thoughts


If you’re looking for a solid Cintiq alternative, I’d say the Huion GT-220 is worth looking into. It’s not without some flaws, but at $1000 less than the 22HD Cintiq, it’s definitely an attractive option. I didn’t find any of the issues I ran into to be anything that would make me throw up my hands and quit using it.

Overall it feels pretty good and looks great, so if you can get by without some of the bells and whistles that the Cintiq offers, I think you’ll find that it absolutely gets the job done.

I hope you found this review helpful, and feel free to ask any questions you might have!

You can see the Amazon listing for the tablet here: amzn.to/1pdPJws

Add a Comment:
 
:iconblakjak21:
blakjak21 Featured By Owner Jun 7, 2016  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Thanks
Reply
:icondigizap:
DigiZap Featured By Owner Mar 17, 2016
Good review. I think the best alternative to the cheaper Cintiq's is the ARTISUL D13
Reply
:iconnuovahealth:
nuovahealth Featured By Owner Nov 19, 2015
Hello, How thick is the glass for this tablet?? How possible is it to pop the screen or crack the glass from pressing down/ squeezing with thumbs and fingers on it... specially around the corners of the screen. I have busted up so many lsd monitors before from just pressing down on the edge of corner of it currently I am using a hard glass monitor to stop that from happening which If I can find a tablet like this then I would be okay...but I cannot really find any information on how well the gt220would cope under my heavy hands.

thank you!
Reply
:iconepatnor:
epatnor Featured By Owner May 4, 2015
Excellent, thanks for the Review. I was thinking about a Cintiq but really can't justify the cost! I am a dummy! 
Reply
:iconcarlpearce:
CarlPearce Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2015  Professional
I need a pad that I can draw directly onto the screen for work and with a baby on the way, there's no way I could justify shelling out over £1000 for one. I'm currently eying up the Huion GT 220 and the Wacom 13HD, which both come in at around £550. Which do you honestly think would be the better purchase out of the two?
Reply
:iconmax--powers:
Max--Powers Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
can it transfor art studio programs im thinking of buyin one in a few weeks, cus i have paint tool sai on my lap top and photoshop wondering if it will go too it
Reply
:iconaerograffiti:
aerograffiti Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2015
I use a  Cintiq at the studio but take my iPad when I'm out. I use Procreate and a Jot Touch and that gives me a very fluid, fast painting experience. Pinch, zoom, rotate and panning are all gesture based. The Jot I have is pressure sensitive so the overall experience is similar to a touch based Cintiq on the go. I'm used to drawing on a smaller surface anyway so it works perfectly for me. So if anyone feels like they need a mobile solution for drawing on the go, consider the setup I have. 
Reply
:icongreenviggen:
GreenViggen Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2015  Professional General Artist
Great review Rahll ! .. Im also trying to deside to buy or not  this gt220( or maybe bosto or yiynova alternatives .?) ..   I heard good review/comment about bosto 22U ..but meh.. Some say bosto is crap ..     What I want to ask to the good folks here. Is .. Does anyone tried this huion or any other brand bosto, yiyona ,etc.. With corel painter? 
   It would be awesome to have some comments  about this software and hos the performance with this chinese brand cintiqs . 
Thankns 
Reply
:iconmcabaniuk:
Mcabaniuk Featured By Owner Jan 20, 2015  Student General Artist
any tips on how i can get a nice and exact brush flow in sai and photoshop using the gt-220? 
Reply
:iconlucak-desu:
lucak-desu Featured By Owner Jan 20, 2015  Student General Artist
Does it ship to europe countries if you buy it from the official website (from china I belive)
Also is it working correctly with windows 8?

was about to get the cintiq 13hd but paying about the same price for a 21.5" is just too much of a difference, thanks in advance to the person that can answer me.
Reply
:iconlenlenlen1:
lenlenlen1 Featured By Owner Jan 8, 2015  Professional General Artist
great review. thanks!
Reply
:iconoriginalkitten:
originalkitten Featured By Owner Sep 6, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Hi there
Thank you for the review. I need a professional tablet for university. I already have a basic $200 bamboo but due to neuro issues I have I lack hand to eye coordination. It was suggested I buy a cintiq. I
Studying VFX animation so am learning 3d modelling in maya and composition in ps and nuke. Would a cintiq be suitable for this type of work. I was thinking of getting the cintiq companion hybrid. As that way it is portable too as I don't have a laptop and will have to take back and forth to Uni. I have a mac at home and we use windows workstations in Uni (have no idea why we don't use macs. )
Reply
:iconsebastienhoule:
SebastienHoule Featured By Owner Sep 4, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
thanks you for the review ! I was very disappointed with the Cintiq 12wx, many problem with the color calibration or Mac/Windows issues. And now I'm thinking of a new tablet. Did you have any problems with the color calibration between the GT-220 and you're main screen ? That was a major problem with the Cintiq 12wx for me.
Reply
:iconmrmanofyo:
mrmanofyo Featured By Owner Sep 2, 2014
Hey Reid, thanks for the review. I really can't decide between this and the cintiq 13hd, i like the idea of this larger screen size but on the other hand i trust wacom more. I am wanting it for line work, do you think there is any difference in terms of drawing between this and cintiqs? Which would you buy if you only had a budget of around $1000?
Reply
:iconmattymoomangaka:
MattyMooMangaka Featured By Owner Oct 2, 2014  Student Artist
I'm also considering whether to get the Cintiq 13HD or the Huion GT-220. I do trust wacom more but again the size is a bit of negative. When i think about it though i'm pretty sure 13.3 inches is enough drawing area to use. 21.5 inches would take up too much room for me and since wacom is better quality and has hotkeys, i think I'd rather go for thr Cintiq 13HD. What do you guys think?
Reply
:iconqzkills:
qzkills Featured By Owner Aug 28, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
The Cintiq 13HD retails for about the same price. May be physically smaller, but the resolution is the same as what you get here. I've had mine for about a year now and I love it. 
Reply
:iconrahll:
Rahll Featured By Owner Aug 30, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Yeah, some people have a hard time with such small displays though. I used a 12wx for many years, and it always felt cramped. Part of that was due to the fact that it was a smaller resolution, but it's still quite restrictive. The 13HD definitely isn't a bad option, they really improved on the 12wx, but for people who need more screen, the next option is $2k, which is steep.
Reply
:iconjarrettonions:
JarrettOnions Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2014  Professional General Artist
Ive been looking for something like this as the cintiq is out of my price range. great reviewas always, thanks man
Reply
:iconrahll:
Rahll Featured By Owner Aug 30, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
No worries, thanks a lot :)
Reply
:iconholijay:
holijay Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2014  Student General Artist
Though I already own a Cintiq, I just wanted to say you are such a personable, enjoyable reviewer.  Thanks for doing this.
Reply
:iconrahll:
Rahll Featured By Owner Aug 30, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks a lot, glad you think so! I'm usually a bit goofier, that's my true nature, but I really wanted to keep the video under 10 minutes, otherwise people quickly stop watching, haha. 
Reply
:iconevanbdesigns:
EvanBdesigns Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Interesting find. I'm actually using a Monoprice 9x12 basic tablet right now, for 100 dollars its actually performing better than my old bamboo fun. I do want to get a cintiq alternative at some point, and the cintiq 13inch doesn't seem like the best deal personally, I'll probably look into huion. Cheers
Reply
:iconrahll:
Rahll Featured By Owner Aug 30, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
The 12 inch Cintiq I had always felt too small in terms of screen space, and that's partially because it wasn't full HD. The 13 inch adds another inch as well as gives you 1920x1080 resolution if I'm not mistaken, so although I haven't used one yet, it looks like it's light years beyond it's predecessor. At $1k, it does still seem a little steep for the amount of real estate you get, but if you're using a laptop or need to take it places, it's probably your best option. 
Reply
:iconjoetheone:
Joetheone Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks for this mate!
I'm really under a rock about this topics and IDK about models or distributors... how many of this tablets exist on the market?
Reply
:iconrenmiou:
Renmiou Featured By Owner Aug 30, 2014
A good place to go to get a general idea is Ray Frenden's site, and click on the 'Reviews' menu item there. The most well known alternatives so far are Huion (which seems to be the best alternative so far), Yiynova, Monoprice and Bosto (this last one seems to offer poor customer service and products, though). I've also heard of other brands but I've not read reviews about them. UC-Logic (the people who make the digitisers for all of these Cintiq alternatives) is also producing their own 13-inch tablet monitor, but I've not found reviews so far - they've also told me that they plan to produce their own larger tablet monitors if sales of the smaller ones go well, probably next year.
Reply
:iconjoetheone:
Joetheone Featured By Owner Aug 30, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
I see!
thanks for the reply, I'll check that guys site ;)
Reply
:iconrahll:
Rahll Featured By Owner Aug 30, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
x-Ren-x gave you more info than I could have, haha. But yeah, Ray Frenden's site is the place to look if you want input on the alternatives, he also did a GT-220 review. 
Reply
:iconjoetheone:
Joetheone Featured By Owner Aug 30, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Hahaha! Every piece of advice is a good advice ;)
You started the post and without it I'd be still knowing nothing
Reply
:iconshanesemler:
shanesemler Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Good review! I almost never use the hotkeys on my Intuos either. Every once in a great while I use the rotate canvas function.
Reply
:iconrahll:
Rahll Featured By Owner Aug 30, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
I used to use it for the rotate, but it's hard to be precise. If you hold down the R key on the keyboard, do the rotation, then release, it'll jump back to your previous tool. In fact, it works for any keyboard tool shortcut, super useful.
Reply
:iconshanesemler:
shanesemler Featured By Owner Aug 30, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Cool, I'll have to try that!
Reply
:iconmick2006:
Mick2006 Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2014   Digital Artist
I was thinking about getting one of these but I dont know if I should considering I am so used to using hotkey buttons on my current graphics tablet. Is there any software for setting hotkeys to a mini gaming keyboard or any other alternatives? How are you able to paint digitally without hotkeys Rahll? Could you please explain how this is done?
Reply
:iconrahll:
Rahll Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
The hotkeys on your tablet are typically just keyboard shortcuts that are mapped to buttons, so I simply use the actual keyboard shortcuts. It's just a matter of learning which keys do what. For example, in Photoshop, the B key is Brush, the E key is Eraser, Alt is color picker, and Ctrl + Alt + Z is step backwards. Those are all things you might normally have mapped to your tablet, but it's just as easy to use them on the keyboard once your hand learns the movements.

You also have the added benefit of having access to more functions than a limited set of buttons on your tablet allow. 
Reply
:iconmick2006:
Mick2006 Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2014   Digital Artist
Ok Thanks Rahll:)
Reply
:iconakaikane:
Akaikane Featured By Owner Aug 28, 2014
Sorry, couldn't help but to butt in... Hope you don't mind!

As far as keyboard shortcuts go, I actually use a gaming keypad (the Razer Synapse) for my hotkeys because my tablet monitor doesn't have any on them. You can assign different hotkeys to the buttons in both Photoshop's preferences menu, and the keypad comes with software to also let you edit the button functionality. Assuming you use Photoshop and already have a gaming keypad, then definitely go into the Edit < Keyboard Shortcuts to play around with the settings to your liking. I think you can do this with other programs as well, though PS is my default, so I'm not sure. Tablet keys can also be set to function as certain keyboard keys and from there, you can again edit what those hotkeys do within Photoshop.
Reply
:iconrahll:
Rahll Featured By Owner Aug 30, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Speedpads are definitely a great option, I considered getting one myself for a while, but I still find it easier just to use the keyboard, rather than having two methods of input. Keeping my hotkeys to the keyboard means I can also type things if I need to. However, I have remapped a few functions from the right side of the keyboard to the left to make things easier. 

On top of that, I use the Wacom radial menu pretty regularly, so I just never saw a need for a speedpad, but I know some people who swear by them.

 Wacom Radial Menu, Nobody Uses It! by Rahll
Reply
:iconakaikane:
Akaikane Featured By Owner Aug 30, 2014
Totally understandable. If I had room on my desk to use both my tablet monitor and a keyboard, I totally would. But it gets a little awkward if I try to use the keyboard, so I've unfortunately had to sacrifice it in favor of the speedpad when drawing. If I may ask, what kind of set-up do you use for your equipment?

Thanks for the tutorial drop! :) I completely forgot the radial menu was a thing, haha. Unfortunately though, it's a Wacom feature, and I'm using a Yiynova MSP19u. But my old Wacom had one, and it was such a great feature. Man, now I really miss that wheel.
Reply
:iconrahll:
Rahll Featured By Owner Aug 31, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
I used to use a Logitech G510, because it has programmable hotkeys, but I found it's just way too bulky to use with my 24HD, so I now use a cheap $20 mini keyboard that you can see in the video. If I'm using the Cintiq, I typically move it under my main display and set the keyboard to the left, and occasionally on the screen itself at the top or bottom. It has a little lip that lets it kind of hook on really nicely. If I'm using my Intuos5, I just keep the keyboard in place in front of my main monitor, and have the tablet slightly to the right.
Reply
:iconmick2006:
Mick2006 Featured By Owner Aug 28, 2014   Digital Artist
Cool I might get one of those if I get the Huion tablet thanks for the info:)
Reply
:iconerebus-art:
Erebus-art Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks for the review.
Prices are still a bit steepy for this kind of products, while I work professionally I have a good feeling of normal tablets after a lot of years of work on them, so I'm holding back on Cintiq and similar products since the market is moving toward tablets such as the Surface Pro and similar.
They cost less and give similar result BUT you also get a PC.

I think in the close future we can look at buying a good tablet whit pressure sensitivity that can substitute for an actual laptop for our work and at a reasonable price. That will be great for budget and for working everywhere: I hate going out holidays whitout a digital painting device, while it could be the time to take oils out I don't have the mind of carrying oils, canvases and art materials around during a voyage while I would gladly carry a light tablet were I can also paint :)
Reply
:iconluneder:
Luneder Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
here is a review someone did comparing the two frenden.com/post/90779846937/m…

For art the version of the Surface Pro 3 that runs for around $2000-$2500 is the one that works best due to the processor and RAM. The cheaper ones probably won't even run Photoshop to it's fullest.
Reply
:iconluneder:
Luneder Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Surface Pro is just a Windows version of a Companion for the same price, most of the stuff in the Surface Pro 3 is actually made by Wacom.

Also the Surface Pro 3 is definitely not cheap, they go for $2000-$3000
Reply
:iconrenmiou:
Renmiou Featured By Owner Aug 30, 2014
I thought that the Surface Pro 3 used Ntrig digitisers, rather than Wacom?
Reply
:iconluneder:
Luneder Featured By Owner Aug 30, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
had to do some reading but up till recently they were using wacom digitizer then went to Ntrig with pro 3. Basically a case of lowest bid won.

www.ticktakashi.com/2014/05/wa… good comparison. For people like me and Rahll the lower pen pressure sensitivity would make it bad for us. Hobbyists would enjoy the Pro 3 more than professionals.
Reply
:iconerebus-art:
Erebus-art Featured By Owner Aug 27, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Yep, at the moment they are still too pricey but they will become cheaper if the technology becomes more widespread and maybe even used on everyday products. There are already wacom and other companies stylus that "add" pressure sensitivity to normal ipads. There are kickstarter and other projects for similar devices.
Thus, I think the prices will drop fast. Or at least I so hope :D
Reply
:icondeadmanspixels:
DeadMansPixels Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2014  Professional General Artist
Well that's my mind made,My bamboo is on it's last leg's right now and wanted to upgrade but could never afford a cintiq.Cheers for the info
Reply
:iconrenmiou:
Renmiou Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2014
Lovely review, it was very thorough and balanced.
Reply
:iconrahll:
Rahll Featured By Owner Aug 26, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Thanks, glad you think so! 
Reply
:iconluneder:
Luneder Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
I have been keeping track of the reviews on it and so far quality has been the only issue such as dead pixels, overheating, scratches on the screen, and so on. I figure after a few months those issues would probably go away since some of that is probably related to shipping or not testing them for issues before hand.
Reply
:iconrahll:
Rahll Featured By Owner Aug 25, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
I've seen other reviews as well that have mentioned a bit of that, but my unit had none of those issues. The only problem I had was that the screen protector that came in mine had a couple tiny kinks in it, but they're not even noticeable when it's in use. I've noticed in the past that sometimes brand new products with screens will have an abnormal amount of dead pixels or particles in the very beginning. The Cintiq 12wx was like that in 2007 when it came out, mine shipped with a dead pixel right in the center and gained another 2 months later, so hopefully it's something they can look into and get sorted quickly.
Reply
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