Yiynova MSP19U Tablet Monitor: First Impressions and Unboxing

Background

For many years, I’ve dreamt of owning a Wacom Cintiq. It’s the rockstar equivalent of owning a legendary Fender Strat.

Like many a digital artist, I have been lusting after a device that will let me directly draw on a pressure sensitive screen. I’ve been using Wacom tablets for 15 years – and while they have been excellent – they’ve never been a truly natural way to draw.

Drawing with a tablet takes practice – and even with experience, it’s not a completely seamless process. The reason for that is simple: when using a tablet, there is an inherent disconnect between mark making and observation.

Prior to the Yiynova, the only viable option available to me was the Wacom Cintiq. With prices starting at $1999 for the 22HD model, moving all the way up to $2800 for the 24HD model, the Cintiq was just too expensive for me to consider. Unfortunately, up until recently, there weren’t any alternatives.

Then, about two months ago, I read Ray’s review of the Yiynova MSP19U (retail $569US at Amazon). His review really made an impression on me. Could this device really be good alternative to the Wacom Cintiq?

Determined to learn more, I searched the Internet. And then I re-read Ray’s review. Multiple times. Finally, on December 31st, I pulled the trigger and ordered my Yiynova MSP19U (hereafter referred to as Yiynova 19U, for brevity). I was nervous and excited. But mostly nervous. In my mind, the Yiynova sounded too good to be true.

The Yiynova 19

Would this be a worthwhile purchase? Or would I have just blown close to $600 on a device made by an unfamiliar company? With credit card in hand, I decided to take a bullet for the Internet.

Unboxing the Yiynova 19

I ordered my Yiynova 19U from Amazon for $569 + $25 in shipping on December 31st. At that point, there was already a two week backorder on the device. (I’m sure this was a direct result of Ray’s review.) Finally, a week and a half later, my Yiynova 19U arrived. Inside the Amazon box was a sturdy box labeled 19 inch Tablet Monitor.

Yiynova 19

There was a small sticker affixed to the seam of the box showing that the unit had been tested on January 5, 2013 – presumably to minimize the likelihood of sending a defective product. (I’m assuming all Yiynova units are manually tested before they are sent out – but I can’t confirm that.)

Tested

Inside the box was the tablet monitor itself, a warranty sheet, documentation, a stylus (with AAA battery), two replacement nibs, a nib puller, a stylus “clip” that affixes to the back of the tablet monitor, a power cable with power brick, and a quick start guide for both Mac and PC users. The Yiynova 19u comes with a 1 year parts and labor warranty, serviceable by The Panda City.

What's in the box

The Yiynova 19U has a reflective surface, with an approximate 2″ bezel. The unit includes an adjustable display stand and a hybrid VGA / USB cable. The unit weighs approximately 9 lbs. It’s light enough to lift, and perfect for use in a desktop environment, but too bulky to take along as a portable drawing studio.

The Yiynova 19

If your machine has DVI or DisplayPort inputs, you’ll need to purchase an adaptor to connect the Yiynova to your machine. Fortunately, I had a new VGA to DVI cable laying around, so I didn’t have to go out and purchase an extra adaptor. The VGA / USB cord measures roughly 4 feet.

Yiynova 19

Yiynova installation - requires VGA to DVI adaptor (not included)

I skimmed over the User Guide and quick start guide. The important thing to note about the documentation is that it includes an installation guide and setup for both Mac and PC. If you have Wacom drivers on your machine, you want to uninstall them first before setting up the Yiynova.

Documentation that's included with Yiynova 19 tablet monitor

The packet below shows the replacement nibs and nib puller. I’m not sure about the nib’s longevity, or where replacements can be ordered from. But I do know that a regular Wacom nib replacement will NOT work with the Yiynova stylus.

Extra nibs and nib puller Yiynova

Setting It Up

There are three connections required to make the Yiynova 19U operational: power, USB, and display. It would have been nice to have more length on the VGA/USB cable, but for me, it’s not a deal breaker.

Plugged in - time to fire up the Mac.

The VGA/USB cable cannot be removed from the Yiynova side – make sure to give it some slack so that the chord is not under tension. There is a power connector next to this cable. I thought that the L shaped power connector was a little odd, because it has a tendency to crimp when resting on a flat surface.

Power connection Yiynova

The Yiynova stylus feels lighter than the Wacom Intous5 stylus. Unlike the Wacom stylus, the Yiynova stylus requires a AAA battery. It’s a perfectly serviceable stylus, but it definitely has a cheaper feel than the Wacom stylus. The Yiynova stylus has a clicker button on the side, similar to the Wacom stylus. The Yiynova stylus was comfortable to hold and draw with. It’s also important to note here that there is no eraser tip on this stylus. I rarely used the eraser tip on my Wacom, so I didn’t miss it on the Yiynova.

A battery operated stylus comes with the Yiynova 19

The Yiynova includes power and adjustment controls on the lower right hand side of the unit. The adjustment controls work, but in my opinion they aren’t particularly intuitive. You can adjust the color values (RGB), whether the display is standard or widescreen, brightness / contrast, and horizontal / vertical position. The display is 1440 x 900. Out of the box, the colors are a little on the cooler side – but these can be adjusted. Unlike the Cintiq, the Yiynova does not include custom buttons on the side of the unit. Again, I rarely made use of those buttons, so the lack of buttons on the side weren’t important to me.

Yiynova 19

Here’s how the Yiynova 19U fits with my overall setup.

Darth desktops

Time to test this puppy out!

Hands On with the Yiynova

The first thing I noticed after powering the unit on is the display itself. The viewing angle is limited – the optimum viewing angle is when you’re looking directly over the screen. The Cintiq has a better viewing angle than the Yiynova, but as I’ll be using it first and foremost by working directly ontop of it – the limited viewing angle isn’t a problem for me. The specs that come with the device mention that the viewing angle is 85 degrees on the left and right and 80 degrees up and down. The display type is TFT color LCD with an LED backlight. If you’re coming from an IPS or Retina Display you’ll notice the difference. It’s not a deal-breaker – but something you want to be aware of.

Let there be power!

It’s recommended to reboot your Mac after installing the Yiynova driver. The driver itself appears in your Application folder, in a subfolder called PenTabletSetting. Launch the TabletSetting.app and you are presented with a window. The first tab of the window is a barebones info panel. The second tab lets you assign custom functionality for the stylus’s upper and lower button. In this section, you can also map the monitor. The third tab includes a slider that allows you to affect the amount of pressure sensitivity (light to heavy), with a small panel to test your stylus pressure. Your test marks in this panel can be black, red, green or blue strokes. To be perfectly honest, Yiynova’s driver is pretty bare bones compared to Wacom’s – but it gets the job done.

Pen tablet setting app to adjust pressure sensitivity Yiynova

The surface of the Yiynova is made of glass – the stylus glides across it without any resistance whatsoever. This took me a few tries to get used to, but I’m very comfortable with it now. In my testing, I used a SmudgeGuard 2 glove (shown below) to keep the glass surface clean.

Smudgeguard is nice to have when drawing on the Yiynova

The glass thickness creates a slight parallax situation (very much like the Cintiq does), but again – having been used to drawing with a Cintiq, this wasn’t really a problem for me. The tablet resolution is 4000Lpi, and there are 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity. The Yiynova can only be used in landscape mode.

Here’s a sample of what I created using the Yiynova:

croc

Based on two days of on and off testing, the Yiynova works great with two apps I use all the time: Manga Studio and Photoshop. My drawing stokes were smooth – there was NO LAG. In short, drawing with the Yiynova was a pleasure. The tablet works with Sketchbook Pro 6, but the pressure sensitivity is more coarse. Pressing down slightly creates a super thick line. I’ve tried adjusting the settings on both the Yiynova and Sketchbook to improve the coarseness – but that hasn’t helped. It’s more than likely a driver issue on the Yiynova side, and I’ll follow up on this with The Panda City to see if a fix is in the works. Also: I haven’t tested Illustrator (only because I rarely use that app) or other drawing apps.

Conclusion

Yiynova and portrait display for Mac Pro

I really like the Yiynova 19U tablet. It’s satisfied my Cintiq craving in a way I never thought possible. To be fair, the Yiynova is not perfect. But it more than satisfies my expectations. Drawing directly on a screen (as compared to using a tablet) is simply faster for me, and that translates to improved productivity. With the Yiynova, I’m not hitting the Undo key nearly as much as I used to – because my strokes are more accurate.

As far as long term reliability, it’s still too early to tell how reliable over time the Yiynova will be. I also don’t have any data on the stylus battery life or how fast the nibs wear. I’m hoping to get at least 5 years of usage from this device. Its build quality is solid, so as long as I continue to take care of it, it should last me a good long while. Here’s hoping!

For future hardware updates, I’d love to see a miniDisplay or DVI output (instead of VGA) and a better IPS panel – ideally at the same price point. The drivers, while functional, could use a bit more polish. But for this price and for what the Yiynova can do out of the box, I’m happy with what I have. I’ll post an update in 6 months…

As of this writing, the Yiynova is out of stock on Amazon. Hopefully The Panda City will restock more soon, as I believe they have a hit on their hands. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please add ‘em to the comments below and I will attempt to answer them by updating this post.

-Krishna

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About the author

Krishna Sadasivam creates custom comics and illustrations for organizations, magazines and companies. A champion of comics advocacy, Krishna speaks, blogs, and writes articles on illustration and sequential arts techniques and the importance of the comics medium in both education and brand awareness. His clients have included Microsoft, Mashable, Other World Computing and EE Times. His work has been featured on many notable websites, including TechCrunch, Gizmodo and CNET. His portfolio can be found at krishnadraws.com.

  • http://twitter.com/johnbunger John Bunger

    I recently bought a Monoprice graphics tablet for my laptop (I have a Cintiq for my home pc). The Monoprice graphics tablet uses the same digitizer as the Yiynova, made by UC Logic. I love it’s responsiveness and how smoothly it draws a line. The one thing that I didn’t realize though, is that while the pressure sensitivity works fine, it doesnt’ read the angle you hold the stylus like a Wacom tablet does. This really isn’t much of a problem for me, but for those that do digital painting in programs like Corel Painter, these products might not do the trick. I am assuming that the Yiynova doesn’t read stylus angle or rotation. Am I correct? You can test it by trying to use the photoshop brushes that read angles.

    • http://www.pcweenies.com Krishna M. Sadasivam

      I just tested the Yiynova with a rotational brush (taken from Chris Wahl’s super awesome brush pack). It seemed to work fine – but yes, you are correct, John – there is no tilt adjustment settings for the Yiynova stylus. I never used this feature with the Wacom Intuos, so it’s not bothering me with the Yiynova.

  • xben86

    Hey there!
    Great review, love your workplace setup (especially the wallpaper you got there ;) )

    Are there any news concerning the life span of the stylus battery?

    Thanks.

    • http://www.pcweenies.com Krishna M. Sadasivam

      Hi xben86, no word yet on how long the stylus battery lasts. I hope to report that once I’m due for a fresh set. So far, so good.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=39604058 Justin Hamrick

    Between you and Ray, I’m 100% sold on this. Consider including Amazon affiliate links to these things! :D

    • http://www.pcweenies.com Krishna M. Sadasivam

      haha. Thanks Justin! I’ll let Ray take the Amazon credit – he’s the first one to write about it. He deserves it!

  • Andrea Futrelle

    Hello, I was wondering what kind of graphics card you have? You have three monitors hooked up, correct? I know it’s kind of off topic, but I’m just looking to upgrade. Also, thanks for the review. I think this might just be on my “To Buy” list.

    • http://www.pcweenies.com Krishna M. Sadasivam

      hi Andrea: I have an old ATI Radeon 2600 (256MB) card driving both the Yiynova and a 24″ display. Both displays are connected to my Mac Pro tower. The other 24″ display (on the left) is connected to a Macbook Pro.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mandeegrace88 Mandee Fisher

    So let me ask you this. for about $100 more you could have bought the Bosto which runs almost the exact same specs that the Cintiq does. from what I have seen it also has much better reviews than this. What drove you to Yiynova?
    Are you planning on testing the 22 they’re developing instead of restocking the 19 that is already in demand?
    Lastly, the inferior technical specs and gloss screen vs lightly textured don’t affect your work? When you look at your work in proper resolution does it show?

    Sorry if this comes off as rude it isn’t intended to was just curious and trying not to give a whole speech on the subject XD

    • http://www.pcweenies.com Krishna M. Sadasivam

      Truth be told, until your post, I’d never heard of the Bosto tablet before. (Maybe someone who’s actually used a Bosto can chime in?) I’m also not aware of the 22″ Yiynova model – again – that’s news to me. I don’t plan on testing the 22″ model – as I purchased the 19″ model for my own use.

      Outside of the limited viewing angle (which can impact accurate color selection), I’ve been extremely pleased with the pressure sensitivity of the Yiynova 19MSPu. The glossy screen doesn’t bother me as I’m working directly over the display. The resolution is more than adequate for what I need.

    • http://www.pcweenies.com Krishna M. Sadasivam

      important to note: the Bosto does not have Mac drivers. Reading through the reviews, it appears that Windows 8 is not supported as well. Not working with a Mac is a deal-breaker for me.

  • King Of Teddies

    Hello, I found more videos from profesisonnals drawers here : http://www.youtube.com/user/AlternativoMTG?feature=mhee

    • http://twitter.com/pcweenies Krishna M. Sadasivam

      Thanks, KoT! Always great to see other folks using their Yiynova. (wait. that sounded dirty.)

  • Ashley Jin Kim

    Hello! I was just wondering, does your yiynova msp19u pen move kinda
    stick? It’s fantastic when using a brush in photoshop but when trying to
    transition from one button/tool to the other, i find that it ‘sticks’
    to whatever is used last and i have to either easily just lift the pen
    up several inches, or keep fiddling with it until it ‘unsticks’. I have
    been uninstalling and reinstalling drivers, playing with options, trying
    to get rid of the HID generic drivers but that just rendered the pen
    useless… aaaall day trying to fix this problem.

    • http://www.pcweenies.com Krishna M. Sadasivam

      Odd. I haven’t encountered that behavior. Does this happen only with Photoshop? Or is it consistently happening when you use the Yiynova with other apps? Mac or PC?

      • Ashley Jin Kim

        It’s happening all the time. I find it more difficult now doing anything in photoshop because i need to switch from paint brush to eraser or to use the ink dropper, and it is impossible.

        I’ve been trying to see if there are any wacom or tablet files left on my computer and I cannot find any. I uninstalled everything and am about to reinstall the latest yiynova tablet driver software (5.02C version) with the tablet unplugged and everything.

        I’m using windows 7, my computer is fairly new, and man … only reviews and youtube videos give me hope that this tablet can be much better than it is to me now.

        • http://www.pcweenies.com Krishna M. Sadasivam

          I first uninstalled all the Wacom drivers. Then installed the Yiynova drivers and then plugged the unit in. Not sure if that makes a difference, but it’s worth a try. Can you isolate the problem to the Yiynova or is it something else that might be causing it?

  • Hyperspace

    Is it possible for you to help me test whether it works in OpenCanvas, MangaLabo and Krita? And how much of sRGB and Adobe RGB can it display?

    • http://www.pcweenies.com Krishna M. Sadasivam

      hey there! Unsure of the gamut range – but it’s definitely not in the caliber of an IPS display. I mirror my image on my IPS display to check for color accuracy. I don’t have OpenCanvas, MangaLabo or Krita – but maybe someone else reading this with a Yiynova can test and respond back here.

  • http://twitter.com/Konginchains Jin Hao

    i have heard this had trouble working if you didn’t uninstall your wacom drivers beforehand? This is a big disadvantage for me since i am willing to get the yiynova for a lower price vs the cintiq because i know i still want to be able to use my intous. Would reinstalling the drivers for each products all the time the only way when you want to use one tablet over the other?

    • http://www.pcweenies.com Krishna M. Sadasivam

      I completely uninstalled my Wacom drivers. Truth be told, I haven’t had the desire to replug my Wacom Intuos tablet since I’ve started using my Yiynova. If you wanted to alternate between both, you may have to set up different user accounts on your machine. Install the Yiynova driver for one account (only for that account) and install the Intuos drivers on the other account (and only for that account). I’m not sure if this will work – but you can give it a try and report back.

  • Michael Gordover

    I recently bought the yiynova msp19u based on the positive reviews and comments from many people. Now that I have it, for the first few days it worked great, no issues at all.
    All of a sudden the pen now draws without even touching the screen. This is really frustrating as it does not allow for click on any files, it just drags them, or for drawing because it just makes one continuous line like an etch-a-sketch.
    I reinstalled the drivers, double checked that all wacom was removed, reinstalled, changed battery on the pen, changed the pen nib, fiddled with settings, ripped some hair out, yelled a bit. Finally I came here to ask you if you had similar issues and how you may have remedied them?
    I emailed the support in hong kong but they just sent me a curt reply saying “Your pen may be defective, contact reseller.” Before I go down that route and have to spend 45$ and another week waiting I wanted to see if you could help.

    • http://www.pcweenies.com Krishna M. Sadasivam

      Hi Michael – bummer about your Yiynova not working properly. Have you tried disconnecting all the cables and reconnecting them? Also, check to insure that the USB cable is going to a powered port (as opposed to a non-powered hub). Let me know how it goes… Good luck!

      • Michael Gordover

        Hey Krishna, thanks for the quick reply. I have tried that, the only thing I haven’t tried is a different usb port since it seemed to have worked fine in that one till now. I will definitely try that out. Hopefully I can get this issue sorted, if not, I may just return the yiynova and give you a review on the Bosto kingtee haha.

        • http://www.pcweenies.com Krishna M. Sadasivam

          Good luck, Michael! Keep me posted – and yeah, I’m up for reading a review on the Bosto if you happen to get one.

  • Alex Patrick Merrill

    Still loving your Yiynova, Krishna? I just ordered one and I can’t wait until it arrives!

    • http://www.pcweenies.com Krishna M. Sadasivam

      hi Alex! Welcome to the Yiynova fold. Yes, I still love mine. Great device and it’s really sped up my drawing workflow. I’ve been meaning to write an update on my Yiynova (and other products I’ve reviewed in the past.)

  • fauxshizzl

    Just to chime in with my experience. I bought mine about a year and a half ago and am still using the original nib and battery that shipped with it. I have noticed 2 pixels that have died since I bought it, but that is only because I switched to an all white screen to look for them (I do that on all my devices occasionally) I never notice them while I work though. The SmudgeGaurd is worth its weight in gold and I highly recommend them to anyone looking at buying one of these. All in all going on two years later for me, all is working as well as I could have hoped when going into the purchase. One other thing to note to other potential buyers is there is now a 22″ 1080p version available with better viewing angles, has user assignable hotkeys, and what appears to be a redesigned stylus. However that model is $880 after shipping costs vs the $630 for the 19U.

  • stone75

    quick question , imm looking to buy a 2006 mac pro what do you think and or know about those do you think its worth it and getting upgrades to it

    • http://www.pcweenies.com Krishna M. Sadasivam

      I have the 2008 model – which can be had for a modest sum now. You’ll have to weigh the options – if the machine is stock, you’ll have to spend more on upgrades. The 2006 Mac Pro does not run Mavericks, if I recall. That might be a big deal depending upon the software you run.

  • stone75

    Thanks for answering all my questions so quickly, so one more question for you… Since you have the 2008 Mac is it fast enough for you? Did you upgrade yours? Sorry for all the questions I’m on a budget and trying to get more bang for my buck

    • http://www.pcweenies.com Krishna M. Sadasivam

      I have mine upgraded to 14GB and also added an SSD. That makes it plenty fast. I also recently added a 1GB video card. I find it fast enough for my purposes. Speed is relative – it really depends on what you’ll be using your machine for…

  • stone75

    Hey bro im back with another question , have you tried using other styluses ( if such a word exists
    ) on this like a wacom stylus ?

    • http://www.pcweenies.com Krishna M. Sadasivam

      Wacom’s stylus won’t work on the Yiynova.

      • stone75

        thnx my wifes boaa had a wacom stylus (she said her son used to have it ) she offered it to me and so i figured id ask

  • stone75

    So after all this research and your help Ive opted to buy this , I will be putting my order in tomorrow … i just noticed that there isnt any expedited shipping …is this coming from China ? and how long did it take for you to get yours

    • http://www.pcweenies.com Krishna M. Sadasivam

      I ordered mine from Amazon. Mine came within a few days.

  • stone75

    so I finally got my yiynova it is so cool , only issue i have so far is how do i get the apps to open in the tablet instead of the laptop screen

  • Bunny Aug

    Hi! I just got the Yiynova msp19u. Its working well, but I have no pressure sensitivity in photoshop. Unfortunately all my googling for a solution is bringing up reviews. I re-installed the driver, with no success. I get pressure sensativity in the set up icon area, but not in photoshop. Any suggestions?

    • http://www.pcweenies.com Krishna M. Sadasivam

      Bunny: You need to enable pressure sensitivity within Photoshop itself.
      First, go to the Brush Tool and choose the Options menu. Then, locate the two buttons next to the opacity and flow settings. Hover help will actually tell you what each button does.
      Enable Pressure Sensitivity: If you enable pressure sensitivity in this menu, it overrides what you may have selected in the brush options panel.

      • Bunny Aug

        Thanks- that worked like a charm. i had assumed it was something with the installation of my drivers, but it was as simple as you described. Thanks a lot!

        • http://www.pcweenies.com Krishna M. Sadasivam

          good deal! glad to help :)

  • stone75

    Hey man sorry to bother you, but question do you use the mirror effect on your computer to get the wcreen to work with your apps? the reason why I ask is that when I dont use mirror i have to open the apps ie sketchbook pro or manga studio into the yiynova side its like i cant get them to open on that screen … Im having a hard time with illistrator and manga some of the tools stay on the laptop screen and i cant move it over … help please

    • http://www.pcweenies.com Krishna M. Sadasivam

      Have you checked the driver itself? You can make monitor assignments there. Worst case, you can drag the app windows to the Yiynova and work from there…

  • stone75

    im not sure how you mean driver itself , ?

    • http://www.pcweenies.com Krishna M. Sadasivam

      On the Mac, anyway, there is a Pen Tablet setting control panel. This panel lets you assign which monitor you want to map the Yiynova to. It won’t help with assigning apps, though. You’ll have to manually drag the app windows in (but again, no biggie).