Logitech MX Ink stylus for Meta Quest gives creators a new tool for mixed reality

Mixed reality platforms, or spatial computing as Apple calls it, try to seamlessly blend digital objects into the real world, but that illusion quickly breaks down when it comes to manipulating those virtual pieces directly. Yes, tapping on buttons in thin air or pinching the corner of floating windows might feel a little natural, but creating content, especially 2D and 3D objects, is less believable when all you have are two “wands” in each hand. For decades, the stylus has been the tool of choice of digital artists and designers because of its precision and familiarity, almost like holding a pencil or paintbrush. It was really only a matter of time before the same device came to mixed reality, which is exactly what the Logitech MX Ink tries to bring to the virtual table.

Designer: Logitech

The Logitech MX Ink is practically a stylus designed to work in virtual 3D space, but while that description is simplistic, its implications are rather world-changing. It means that creators no longer need to feel awkward about waving around a thick wand, making them feel like they’re playing games more than painting or modeling. Artists, designers, and sculptors can now use a more convenient and intuitive tool when moving around in mixed reality, bolstering not only their productivity but also the quality of their work. Admittedly, the MX Ink is bulkier and heavier than most styluses, closer to a 3D printing pen than an Apple Pencil, and drawing on air is still going to feel unnatural at first, but it’s significantly better than even drawing with your finger.

What makes Logitech’s implementation a bit more special is that it works in both 3D and 2D spaces. The latter means that you can still draw on a flat surface and feel the same haptics and pressure sensitivity as a Wacom stylus, for example. This means you can easily trace over a sketch or blueprint on paper and bring that up to a 3D space for fleshing out. Or you can paint artistic masterpieces on a physical canvas without actually leaving any mark on the paper.

The MX Ink is a standalone product, but Logitech is also offering optional accessories to further reduce the friction of working in mixed reality. The MX Mat offers a low-friction surface for drawing with the stylus in 2D, though the MX Ink can actually work on most flat surfaces anyway. The MX Inkwell is a stand and wireless charging station for the device, letting you simply lift it from the dock to start drawing and then put it back without having to worry it won’t be charged and ready for your next work session. Without the MX Inkwell, the stylus will have to charge via a USB-C connection, and Logitech doesn’t even ship a cable with it.

As promising as this new creativity tool might sound, its use is limited to the Meta Quest 2 and Quest 3 headsets, ironically leaving the Quest Pro out of the party. This is boasted to be the first time the Quest headsets support more than two paired controllers at the same time, which means you can connect the MX Ink and simply switch between it and the regular Quest controllers without having to reconfigure anything every time. The Logitech MX Ink goes on sale in September with a starting price of $129.99.

The post Logitech MX Ink stylus for Meta Quest gives creators a new tool for mixed reality first appeared on Yanko Design.

Moto G Stylus 5G 2024 lets you play with a pen without breaking the bank

The announcement of the new Apple Pencil Pro has put the stylus in the spotlight again. This input tool isn’t just limited to tablets and large screens, though that’s where they have the most use because of the bigger digital canvas. Thanks to the Samsung Galaxy Note, now the Galaxy S Ultra series, it has been demonstrated that there is also some benefit to having a stylus on smartphones. Unfortunately, Samsung does seem to have a monopoly on that design or is at least the best-known example, but it isn’t the only game in town, and Motorola just revealed its latest contender that makes an admittedly attractive offer, at least if you’re not too intent on making pro-level artwork on it.

Designer: Motorola

The stick inside the Moto G Stylus 5G (2024) is exactly that: a stick that works in place of your stubby finger. Unlike the Wacom-powered S Pen of the Galaxy S Ultra phones, it doesn’t have pressure sensitivity, rotation and tilt detection, or Bluetooth-enabled button functions. That’s actually not a big deal-breaker if all you really want to do is scribble notes, annotate pictures and documents, or even start a rough sketch that you’ll continue on a computer or laptop. For these purposes, the Moto G Stylus is more than sufficient, especially with upgraded sensitivity and new software arriving in this model.

The rest of the smartphone is a bit of a mixed bag, though thankfully leaning more on the positive side. It runs on a Snapdragon 6 Gen 1, which is the same processor it used for last year’s model. It does have more memory this time around, with 8GB offering a bit more wiggle room for apps. Another thing that is the same is that it still has a headphone jack, though no one will probably complain about that.

The fourth-gen Moto G Stylus 5G does bring some considerable upgrades to the table, starting with a larger 6.7-inch 120Hz screen, though it’s still stuck with a 1080p resolution. The 5,000 mAh battery might still be the same, but it now supports 15W wireless charging on top of fast 30W wired charging. The main camera still has 50 megapixels but has upgraded specs. It is joined by a new 13MP ultra-wide camera, while a new 32MP selfie shooter is on the front.

The Moto G Stylus 5G 2024 isn’t going to win awards when it comes to specs, but its $399 price tag is easily a fourth of the launch price of the Galaxy S23 Ultra. Motorola’s stylus-toting smartphone, however, does score points when it comes to looks, with a vegan leather material, a clean, minimalist rear design, and two colorful options that aim to inspire your creativity just by looking at it and touching it. The Moto G Stylus 5G (2024) goes on sale on the 30th of May.

The post Moto G Stylus 5G 2024 lets you play with a pen without breaking the bank first appeared on Yanko Design.

The new Apple Pencil Pro is a death-sentence for Wacom

Wacom was once an industry leader in the sketching tablet PC market. However, it’s no match for the deadly combo of the new iPad Pro M4 and the Apple Pencil Pro. Announced at the iPad keynote yesterday, the new Pencil Pro packs features so unique, it makes regular capacitive styluses look like tools from the Stone Age. The new Pencil Pro has a new squeeze gesture to activate quick menus, can track rotation to have objects and brushes rotate in real-time (known as barrel roll), and even has a haptic motor for feedback – while still packing features from previous models like the hover feature, pressure and tilt sensitivity, and low-latency. If all that wasn’t enough, the Pencil Pro even has Find My support, allowing you to locate your stylus if it ever gets lost. The Wacom Pro Pen 3 on the other hand, has buttons.

Styluses have existed for decades at this point, and if you asked anyone ten years back which was the most well-designed stylus and tablet combo for creatives, the answer would invariably be something from Wacom’s lineup. The company had three options back in the day, the budget Wacom Bamboo, the mid-range Wacom Intuos, and the flagship Wacom Cintiq. Apart from the Cintiq, none of the other tablets had screens – they were just massive trackpads that you could only draw on with styluses. The Cintiq was the closest thing to an iPad – it had a screen, allowed multi-touch gestures, and came with controls galore… the only problem was that it didn’t work independently, it needed to be tethered to a desktop or laptop to work. The Cintiq, along with the Intuos and Bamboo, came with a stylus that featured a pressure and tilt-sensitive tip, along with programable buttons that let you undo or redo tasks, and a stylus tip on the back of the pen also that activated the eraser, mimicking how most pencils come with erasers on their reverse tip. The styluses also operated without batteries, allowing for hours of sketching without needing to charge the pen periodically.

The Wacom Cintiq Pro is anywhere between 5-8 times thicker than the 2024 iPad Pro

Cut to yesterday when Apple dropped the iPad Pro M4 and the comparison is incredibly stark. For starters, whenever anyone asks me whether they should buy an iPad or a Wacom, the answer is almost always the former… because when you’re not sketching on the Wacom, it’s useless, but when you’re not sketching on the iPad, it’s still an iPad. The difference seems even greater with the new iPad Pro being Apple’s thinnest device yet at just 5.1mm thick, while the 16-inch Wacom Cintiq is a whopping 25mm thick – 5 times thicker than its competitor. Cut to the larger 22-inch Cintiq and it’s a staggering 40mm thick, or the equivalent of 8 iPad Pros stacked one on top of the other.

However, a hardware comparison between a trillion-dollar electronics giant and Wacom, that’s valued at just half a billion dollars doesn’t seem fair. What does seem fair, however, is to just look at one singular product to see how far Apple’s outpaced its competition – the humble stylus. Wacom played a critical role in perfecting its EMR stylus technology, which was game-changing a decade or so ago. The pens ran without batteries, could sense pressure and tilt with stunning accuracy, and an eraser on the rear, becoming the creative industry’s go-to for digital sketching. When Apple debuted the Pencil, it had the same features except without any buttons. The Pencil 2, on the other hand, got a tap feature that let you swap between brush and eraser, and a unique charging mechanism that allowed you to charge your stylus simply by snapping it to the side of an iPad (it subsequently also got a hover function with newer iPad models). Apple’s newly announced Pencil Pro, which dropped yesterday, however, is an entirely different beast.

The new Pencil Pro has the hover function, lets you squeeze to activate a quick menu, and even supports barrel rolls that allow you to rotate brushes or objects simply by rotating your stylus. In true Apple fashion, it doesn’t have any buttons on it, but you can still tap to alternate between brush and eraser, and you even get a brush preview when your stylus is near the screen, letting you know how your brush is oriented. If all that wasn’t enough, the new Pencil Pro even packs Apple’s Find My feature, letting you locate a lost pencil through your iPad or iPhone.

The Pencil Pro can be squeezed to activate a quick menu

A great stylus on the iPad Pro, which already comes with an industry-leading chip, laptop-grade performance, a brilliant camera setup and LiDAR sensor, and an app store, basically makes the iPad or Wacom question moot. The only true advantage Wacom’s tablets have at this point is that they’re bigger than iPads, starting at 16 inches and maxing out at 27 inches diagonally. They also cost MUCH more than the iPad Pros, with the Cintiq Pro 16″ starting at $1599, and the Cintiq Pro 27″ having an eye-watering $3499 price tag. That’s Vision Pro territory for a sketching tablet.

The haptic motor gives you feedback when you squeeze the Pencil Pro

There still is a market for Wacom products. They’re massive, preferred by the hardcore animation and visual industries, and are platform-agnostic, which means you can easily run Windows or Linux programs on them, which most power users will appreciate over being limited to the iPadOS. But for the most part, the iPad Pro and Pencil Pro are so far ahead of their competition at this point, that they’ve made Wacom’s tablets (an already niche creative-focused gadget) even more niche… almost to the point of obscure.

The post The new Apple Pencil Pro is a death-sentence for Wacom first appeared on Yanko Design.

Forget the iPad Pro… This Windows Tablet with a 13″ 2K screen and a Wacom Stylus is perfect for digital creators

Under most normal circumstances, I wouldn’t be talking smack about the iPad Pro like this… but the LincStudio S1 Tablet offers some distinct advantages over its Apple-based counterpart. It’s bigger, has a 2K touchscreen with multitouch input, also comes with a highly precise Wacom stylus, runs Windows on a 4-core Intel i7 processor, and lets you use a whole slew of desktop-based software and apps to create content. That means you can carry your existing PC workflow onto the LincStudio S1, use AI-based programs with your workflow, and even rely on the 12 customizable shortcut keys on either side to cruise through work. When all’s said and done, 65W charging comes in exceptionally handy, letting you quickly juice your tablet for another round of design iterations… because creativity never takes a holiday, right?

Designers: Xiaohui Li and Bernhard Geisen

Click Here to Buy Now: $895 $1,279 (30% off). Hurry, only a few left!

Can’t use my favorite drawing software on iPad? Try LincStudio!

The perfect hybrid between a tablet and a laptop, the LincStudio S1 was designed keeping artists, 3D modelers, animators, designers, architects, or anyone in the creative profession in mind. Slim enough to fit into most laptop bags and weighing a paltry 1.1 kilograms, the LincStudio S1 comes with its own kickstand that lets you prop it up, giving you the freedom to use it in a variety of angles based on the kind of work you’re doing. A companion Wacom Shinonome stylus gives you precise control over your workflow, whether you’re sketching, reviewing detailed blueprints, or just taking notes, but if you do want to switch to a more traditional laptop-inspired typing experience, a keyboard connector at the bottom lets you snap on any keyboard, turning the LincStudio S1 into a makeshift laptop.

Wacom EMR Shinonome Series Pen

The problem with current tablets is that they get one crucial thing wrong – the operating system. A tablet isn’t supposed to be an enlarged phone, so the fact that it runs a version of a smartphone OS like Android or iPadOS just doesn’t make any sense. Where the LincStudio S1 differs is in recognizing this and giving creators the familiar Windows OS but in the avatar of a touchscreen tablet. The LincStudio S1’s 13-inch screen is perfect for sketching, editing, modeling, post-production, or any creative workflow, with support for multitouch that lets you interact with the Windows interface in a new way.

However, a tablet is only as good as the stylus it comes with, and the LincStudio S1 packs Wacom’s cutting-edge Shinonome EMR stylus. The stylus runs on electromagnetic resonance technology instead of capacitive technology, which gives it a winning combination of precision, responsiveness, and resolution over most standard styluses. Designed to be just as precise as Apple’s own Pencil, the Wacom Shinonome has 10-millisecond instant input (without parallax), comes with 4096 pressure levels, 450PPS resolution, and even has tilt support, making it a game-changer in illustration or sculpting apps.

Meanwhile, the tablet sports dedicated shortcut buttons on its sides, allowing you to assign macros/functions to them that are specific to each program. Sort of like a Wacom tablet, you can use these shortcuts to perform certain tasks, toggle between brushes (in Photoshop), and play with parameters like brush size, opacity, screen brightness, volume, etc. The shortcuts are laid out on both the left and right side, allowing for ambidextrous use along with the stylus.

The LincStudio S1 itself comes with a sizeable 13-inch display boasting a resolution of 2160×1440, a 100% sRGB gamut, 16.7 million colors, and a wide 178° viewing angle. It’s powered by an 11th-gen Intel i7 processor, has 16GB RAM and 512GB storage, and comes running Windows 11 Pro right out of the box. In keeping with the ambidextrous design, the tablet has dual speakers, along with thunderbolt USB-C ports on both the left and right side. There’s also a USB-A port on one side for plugging in wireless peripherals or flash storage, and a 3.5mm jack for good measure, letting you connect speakers or headphones to your S1.

The tablet starts at a heavily discounted $895, which includes the Wacom stylus along with a Windows 11 Pro subscription (and is also significantly larger than most other tablets). In contrast, Microsoft’s Surface Pro 9 has similar specs, but with a whopping $1700 price tag (and the Surface Slip Pen sold separately). Apple’s no different, with a sizeable $1200 price tag for the 256GB 12.9-inch model, but an extra $79 for the pencil, $299 for the Magic Keyboard, and the inability to run desktop programs. The iPad Pro also famously lacks a kickstand, which the LincStudio S1 proudly includes in its design, and while the iPad Pro maxes out at 20W of charging, the LincStudio offers 65W charging capabilities, letting you juice your battery much faster than the competition. Perfect for creatives looking to get more hands-on with their workflows, the LincStudio offers the best of both laptop and tablet worlds.

Click Here to Buy Now: $895 $1,279 (30% off). Hurry, only a few left!

The post Forget the iPad Pro… This Windows Tablet with a 13″ 2K screen and a Wacom Stylus is perfect for digital creators first appeared on Yanko Design.

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra flat screen design will improve the S Pen experience

Samsung has quite a large number of smartphone models in the market, but few have reached notable fame more than the Galaxy Note series. And yes, that includes the one that burst into flames. Although that brand of stylus-bearing smartphones has officially been retired, its spirit lives on in the “Ultra” model of Samsung’s Galaxy S flagship. Call it by any other name, these devices were designed with one unique feature that very few phones have to date: an active stylus for scribbling notes and even making art. That said, there is perhaps some irony that these phones’ screens aren’t designed to take full advantage of that feature, at least in some edge cases, literally. That might finally change with the Galaxy S24 Ultra next year which will be ditching a rather old design convention to hopefully give the S Pen an edge, pun intended.

Designer: Samsung (via David Martin)

Once upon a time, smartphone screens whose edges curved to the side were regarded as a sign of premium and stylish design. There was indeed a hint of elegance, not to mention manufacturing excellence, at seeing the screen disappear to edges, not unlike an infinity pool. It was also a visual trick to make at least the side bezels disappear, though in reality they’ve just been pushed down nearer to the frame. Today, however, that design seems to be showing its age and the trend is leaning more towards completely flat screens and edges.

On stylus-enabled smartphones like the Galaxy Note line and the more recent Galaxy S Ultra models, those curved edges are more liabilities than assets. Technically, a part of the screen “falls off” the edges and can’t be reached by the S Pen without sliding off. Depending on the app, that might be precious screen real estate wasted, and there have been awkward moments when the tip just slips off and ruins your momentum.

According to recently leaked photos, the Galaxy S24 Ultra next year will finally address one of the pain points of avid S Pen users. The screen seems to be completely flat on all sides this time around, which means that owners will have access to the full width of the screen. This design actually benefits all types of content since there will be no interface elements or images that will look distorted at the edges.

The rest of the phone, however, will retain the design from this year’s Galaxy S23 Ultra, at least based on those same photos. That meant it would still have curved left and right edges, while the top and bottom are completely flat. There’s also no change in the camera design, though the hardware is, of course, expected to see some upgrades. This goes in line with leaks last month that the Galaxy S24 series will take a more iterative approach to its design, largely keeping the same aesthetic while slapping flatter screens on top.

The post Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra flat screen design will improve the S Pen experience first appeared on Yanko Design.

Apple Pencil Killer? ZAGG’s Pro Stylus 2 comes with Tilt Sensitivity and iPad Magnetic Wireless Charging

Apple’s always had an incredibly locked ecosystem, limiting how other products integrate with its devices. Other wireless mice don’t have the smoothness of the Magic Mouse, other TWS earbuds don’t have Spatial Audio, and other styluses don’t boast of the same features as the Apple Pencil… but ZAGG’s Pro Stylus 2 comes incredibly close. Designed to work with both the iPad as well as the iPhone, the Pro Stylus 2 feels familiar in your hand given its slim design. It also has precise fine tip for accurate drawing, palm rejection to ensure your hand doesn’t accidentally tap the screen as you sketch or write, tilt recognition to alter your stroke style when you hold the stylus at an angle, and magnetic wireless charging that lets you snap the Pro Stylus 2 onto the side of your iPad Pro or even a Qi charger to juice its battery. The $75 stylus also has extra features in the form of a dome-shaped on-off switch on top, which also doubles as an IBM ThinkPad-style touch-sensitive ‘nub’ for navigating canvasses and scrolling pages…

Designer: ZAGG

A lot more colorful than the original Apple Pencil, ZAGG’s Pro Stylus 2 almost seems like the iPhone SE of styluses. It’s eye-catching, affordable, and gets the job done. It looks and feels just like Apple’s own Pencil, making it easy to use without that learning curve. The pointed tip is perfect for sketching, taking notes, and navigating pages – but don’t expect pressure sensitivity, a touch-sensitive grip, or that new hover feature on the iPad Pros. Instead, you could expect the accuracy you’d get from a pencil-shaped stylus, with the added functionality of being able to tilt it to affect your brush pattern. The Pro Stylus also snaps right to the side of the iPad Pro like Apple’s own writing instrument, and has the added benefit of being able to work with iPhones too.

A button on top is what sets the Pro Stylus 2 apart. Working like the nub found on old-school IBM laptops, it lets you navigate pages and scroll using your thumb (as shown above). It also serves as an on-off switch, allowing you to power down the stylus to conserve battery power. Moreover, the stylus powers down on its own with 15 minutes of inactivity, helping increase the stylus’ battery efficiency. Either way, the battery lasts a whopping 6 and a half hours on full charge… and if you ever run out, the Pro Stylus 2 snaps right to the side of an iPad Pro to charge, or even rests on any Qi charging dock to juice its battery.

Charge the Pro Stylus 2 by attaching it to the side of the iPad Pro

The Pro Stylus 2 looks quite similar to the Apple Pencil except for the fact that it comes in 5 different colors instead of the Pencil’s singular white finish. The tips are replaceable, allowing you to change colors as well as replace the pointer if and when it wears out. It starts at $75, undercutting the 2nd Gen Apple Pencil’s $129 price tag by a cool $54. Obviously, it misses out on some crucial features like pressure sensitivity and the hover ability too, but for someone looking for a multipurpose stylus with the right amount of basic functionality (and that sweet magnetic charging feature), ZAGG’s Pro Stylus 2 might just be the perfect alternative to Apple’s own offering. Oh, and it also comes with a 1-year warranty too!

The post Apple Pencil Killer? ZAGG’s Pro Stylus 2 comes with Tilt Sensitivity and iPad Magnetic Wireless Charging first appeared on Yanko Design.

Xencelabs Pen Tablet Medium Bundle SE Review: Every Little Bit Counts


  • Premium build quality and packaging

  • Includes plenty of extras, such as a glove, pen case, and two pens

  • Bundles versatile Quick Keys remote

  • Good performance and accuracy


  • Expensive compared to other pen tablets (except Wacom)

  • A few driver quirks with Quick Keys remote

  • Tablet has too few shortcut keys without extra remote




A formidable rival to the Wacom Intuos, the Xencelabs Pen Tablet Medium Bundle SE offers impressive performance, premium aesthetics, value-add extras, and a rather daunting price tag.

Plenty of designers love the simple joys and liberating functionality of pen and paper, but it gets harder and harder to escape the call of the digital realm. When it comes to tools for turning ideas and designs into digital artifacts, Wacom’s drawing tablets have long held the lion’s share of the market and continue to do so, at least on the high end. Plenty of alternatives have popped up in the past years, each trying to nibble at that large pie, especially with exponentially more affordable offerings. Almost out of nowhere, a new competitor jumps into the fray, loudly challenging the long-time champion on its own turf. The Xencelabs Pen Tablet Medium makes quite a few promises, especially with its special Bundle, but are they just empty words or something that can truly stand the test of real-world problems? We put our creative hats on and give the pen a twirl to find out if this is a tool that designers and creatives can learn to love.

Designer: Xencelabs


Even before you open the box, you already get the impression that this is no mere challenger. Granted, it goes back to the age of packaging that is more elaborate and sometimes wasteful than necessary, but it’s hard to deny that the quality of the Xencelabs Pen Tablet’s presentation definitely makes a good first impression. Fortunately, it isn’t just skin deep, and this high-quality trait continues to other parts of the product.

For one, you are immediately greeted by a tablet and accessories that are predominantly white with mixes of gray, a color scheme that is almost unheard of and unseen in the pen tablet industry. It’s definitely a nice touch that sets Xencelabs apart from its peers. Of course, not everyone will find this color appealing, and there’s a non-SE bundle that has the traditional black motif.

Although the Xencelabs Pen Tablet Medium is your typical plastic affair, you can definitely feel in your hand that it isn’t the cheap and flimsy kind of plastic. It has a solid build quality that will be important if you plan on bringing this along with you a lot. The white surfaces are smooth and shiny, while the grays have different textures, depending on their purpose. The drawing area, of course, has a frosted texture that produces a more realistic drawing experience, while the rubber grip on the pens makes them more comfortable to hold.

The package also comes with a pen case that fits the two bundled pens, replacement nibs, a USB cable, and dongles for wireless connection. A pen case is already a rare treat on other tablets, but one that looks stylish inside and out is an even bigger deal. All in all, both the tablet and its bundled accessories look as premium as Wacom’s high-end offering, which shouldn’t really be surprising considering how much this bundle costs.


As a tool that you’ll be using as much as pen and paper, it is critically important that this tablet and its pen are comfortable to use, especially for long periods of time. Despite the “tablet” being the main part of the product, it is actually the pen’s ergonomics that is even more important. Fortunately, Xencelabs doesn’t disappoint in this area either, with not one but two pens to fit your preference and style. One is the typical Wacom-style pen that swells near the bottom before tapering at the tip, creating a bulbous shape that is something uncommon with normal ink pens. The other pen is the regular barrel, which is more common among laptops and mobile devices that support a stylus.

While both pens are comfortable to hold, the choice won’t simply be a matter of preference. The larger pen has three buttons, while the smaller rod only has two, forcing you to decide between functionality and form. Fortunately, missing a button isn’t as devastating as it sounds since there’s a remote that comes with the bundle. Both pens also have erasers on the opposite end that you can map to other functions, a feature that, so far, only Wacom has been offering.

The ergonomics of the drawing slate itself boils down to two things. First is how light or heavy it is to carry around, which, in this case, is more on the heavier side, which adds to the weight of the laptop you already have in your bag. The other aspect is how well it supports your hand and your wrist while you draw on it. Unlike any other pen tablet, the Xencelabs Pen Tablet Medium has a gently sloping bottom edge supposedly designed to be an ergonomic wrist rest. For those starting out with this tablet, that might indeed be comfortable, but those switching over from existing brands might find the curve a bit unfamiliar.


Xencelabs entered the drawing tablet scene with guns blazing, claiming to challenge Wacom on multiple fronts, especially the price. Of course, a lot of other brands have already been shouting the same thing, and their focus on the price tag produced less than impressive results. Admittedly, they have improved significantly over the years, but there’s still a gap between them and Wacom, a gap that the former Wacom employees that have formed Xencelabs are now trying to fill.

The good news is that Xencelabs isn’t all talk. Whichever of the two pens you choose, you’ll be able to get smooth, crisp lines with no jitter. You can definitely feel that 8,192 levels of sensitivity to the point that you might even want to dial it down a bit to suit your style and hand strength. The tablet’s surface has enough resistance that it doesn’t feel like you’re gliding plastic on glass, especially if you switch to the felt nibs that offer more traction. It’s definitely close to what you would expect from Wacom, but other more affordable tablets from XP-PEN, Huion, and the like are already catching up anyway, making this advantage less significant as time goes by.

The tablet’s value, however, goes beyond its raw drawing performance. For example, driver installation and software management has always been a bane of these computer peripherals, including Wacom. Xencelabs’ software, however, is almost perfect, except for a few glitches involving the included Quick Keys remote. The drivers work without problems, and the software to configure the tablet, pens, and remote is clearly labeled and easy to use. There are definitely a lot of features, almost too many for beginners.

One small but nice feature is the lights on the corners of the tablet’s active area, whose colors you can set on a per-app basis. It might sound inconsequential, but having very visible cues on the boundaries of the drawing area, as well as which app you’re focused on, can help a lot in staying sane during a crunch. That same light-changing feat can be seen on the remote’s dial, which can also change its hue depending on the mode it’s in.

If the tablet and the pen are the stars of the show, the bundled Quick Keys remote plays the supporting role. An accessory that comes as an expensive add-on on other brands, the remote offers 8 keys that can be assigned to different functions and 5 modes that bump up the total to 40 configurable shortcuts. That’s not counting the LED-lit dial that can be used to, for example, zoom in and out or change the brush size with a simple twist. Unlike other similar remotes, it has an OLED display that doesn’t force users to memorize which button does which action. The remote definitely works great and is one of the highlights of this package. Although it’s technically an extra, it actually becomes a necessity because the tablet, unlike others of its kind, only has three buttons that are awkwardly placed at the top. That might be far too few for the professionals that Xencelabs is targeting, making this $99.99 remote an essential part of its proposition.

Another thing that sets the Xencelabs Pen Tablet Medium apart is that it can work both with a USB cable and the included wireless dongle. The latter offers more flexibility in setting up your workspace or when working away from your desk without having to deal with the instability of Bluetooth. It does mean you’d be giving up a USB slot even when going wireless, which can become even more problematic when you use up another slot for the Quick Keys remote.


As a device that needs to be thin and lightweight, it’s really no surprise that the Xencelabs Pen Tablet and its accessories use plenty of plastic, although the packaging thankfully doesn’t have that much. If that weren’t bad enough, the track record of these kinds of devices being repaired and recycled isn’t that good, and most consumers opt to throw away and replace broken products instead of getting them repaired, especially when repair costs far outweigh new purchases. In that sense, there is very little that Xencelabs does differently from its peers, at least nothing that it has proudly revealed yet.

As an extremely young brand, it’s probably not that surprising that Xencelabs is laser-focused on actually cementing its place in the market. It has pit itself against a giant, and its survival and success is currently the most critical aspect of its business. At the same time, however, it is a young brand that could have made a difference right from the start with a stronger and more visible sustainability commitment. Only time will tell if it can get up to speed in this aspect, presuming it actually makes it through its first products.


From a design and performance perspective, the Xencelabs Pen Tablet Medium is already quite a heavy hitter. It performs just as well as an equivalent Wacom Intuos Pro but also goes even beyond that with features like wireless connectivity, configurable LED indicators, and two pens right off the bat. The bundled Quick Keys remote definitely adds to the value, something that you’d have to buy separately with other brands.

Things get a little less clear-cut, however, when you start talking about the price. At $380 for the white Bundle SE or $370 for the standard Black version, it isn’t exactly the most affordable kit outside of Wacom. If you remove the remote, you’re still left at $280, easily three times the price of a medium-sized pen tablet from XP-PEN or Huion. Of course, compared to Wacom, you’re actually saving quite a lot, especially if you consider all the extras you’re getting. Needless to say, the Xencelabs Pen Tablet Medium is in a middle ground of sorts, muddling its overall value when compared against more affordable options, with or without an extra remote.


Although it is still the household name among drawing tablets, both with displays or without, Wacom is no longer the only player in the field. A lot of rivals have risen up and have eaten away at its bottom line. There might still be a discernible difference between Wacom and other players when it comes to performance, but that gap is closing after years of improvement and development. Suffice it to say, there isn’t any lack of “Wacom alternatives,” which is what makes Xencelabs’ arrival both surprising and a little bit questionable.

Make no mistake, the Xencelabs Pen Tablet Medium Bundle SE is impressive in almost all aspects. It looks and feels premium, especially with its uncommon white design, and its accuracy and responsiveness demonstrate its pedigree that can be traced back to Wacom itself. The bundle throws in plenty of nice extras, not least of which is the Quick Keys remote, which is still a great deal, even considering the price. It’s that price, however, that will cause many creatives to pause for thought when there are exactly many alternatives that can do just as well for a lot less. Xencelabs’ pricing makes a clear statement that it is aiming for Wacom’s throne, launching a premium device that puts it closer to the titleholder than other rivals. It remains to be seen, however, if this strategy will pay off or if the Xencelabs Pen Tablet will be a one-hit-wonder.

The post Xencelabs Pen Tablet Medium Bundle SE Review: Every Little Bit Counts first appeared on Yanko Design.

Adonit Star iPad stylus looks like your traditional fountain pen to give you an analog feel

I have to admit that I don’t have the best handwriting. But one of the things I’ve recently discovered is that I apparently have better handwriting when I use a fountain pen and so I am trying to start collecting them. Just the other day I was thinking how cool it would be if there was a combination of a stylus and fountain pen that I can use for my iPad and Kindle in the hopes I have more legible writing that other people (and myself) can actually read.

Designer: Adonit

Apparently, there is already one in the market and it won’t break the bank. The Adonit Star is a third-party iPad stylus that mimics the look of a classic fountain pen but is specifically created to be used as a stylus for the iPad. While the usual stylus, specifically the one sold by Apple, is just a white cylindrical pencil with a “writing tip”, this one looks like the pens that lawyers, journaling advocates, and other analog writers use to write prettily on their documents and notebooks.

The Adonit Star stylus has a black, metallic body with a removable cap to protect the tip of the stylus. The tip actually looks like the arrowhead design of a typical fountain pen except that it doesn’t have ink in those tips. But as a stylus, it has the usual functions you would expect from one. You don’t need any Bluetooth connection to use it on your iPad. It can last for 11 hours on a single charge and if you run out of juice, just plug it in through the USB-C port and a 4-minute charge will give it an hour of battery life.

The fountain pen stylus has a 1mm tip that should give you fine control and it also has good palm rejection so you can write on your iPad comfortably. You can use it to write notes and even to sketch. I don’t know if this will solve my handwriting problems but at least it’s just $49.99 compared to the $100+ Apple Pencil 2 so it’s a good, fashionable, and cheaper alternative.

The post Adonit Star iPad stylus looks like your traditional fountain pen to give you an analog feel first appeared on Yanko Design.

Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 8 is a powerful convertible for creative professionals

Although paper will never really disappear in our lifetime, our civilization today heavily relies on digital content, from graphics to videos to even documents. These digital artifacts don’t just appear out of thin air, of course, and somebody (or something) has to make them. Creating these assets, especially computer graphics and digital art, is a job in itself, and it requires the proper tools for the best possible output. Normal laptops, no matter how powerful they are, won’t always cut it because they lack both the form and the features to support more creative work. To address that particular market, Lenovo will be launching the new ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 8 with a sturdy 360-degree hinge and garaged stylus to deliver the power that professionals need, no matter their line of work.

Designer: Lenovo

The pen is mightier than the sword, as they say, and it is definitely more usable than the mouse for certain work. The stylus has become the tool of choice for those who need to draw or write in digital form, whether it’s for drawing art or signing documents. Although some laptops do support this kind of pen, most have it as an additional purchase that exists outside the body of the machine. In contrast, the ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 8 makes the pen a core part of its design and purpose to the point that it has its own silo inside the laptop, so you’ll never risk losing it while in transit.

Of course, such a tool would be almost pointless if the laptop didn’t support actually using it comfortably. As the name suggests, the ThinkPad X1 Yoga can bend backward completely, transforming the laptop into a tablet and anything in between. This flexibility in form brings flexibility in function, allowing the same laptop to be used for typing, drawing, watching, and even reading. Even better, the latest generation of this convertible PC has the muscle to support all those use cases and applications you need for work.

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 8 will run on the latest Intel Core processors, which would be the 13th generation at the time of this writing. The 14-inch screen not only supports resolutions of up to WQUXGA 4K but can also have a touch option, turning the laptop into a true tablet when fully folded backward. The laptop is also designed to support hybrid work arrangements, particularly with the Lenovo View suite of features that include privacy guards and alerts that detect unauthorized people looking over your shoulder, as well as auto-framing, background concealment, and video enhancements for stress-free video meetings.

This generation of ThinkPads also represents Lenovo’s continuing commitment to be a responsible company and reduce its negative effects on the environment. While the ThinkPad X1 Yoga itself doesn’t benefit from the use of recycled materials, save for Post Consumer Content plastic in some components, its packaging uses 100% bamboo and sugarcane fibers, and its box is made from plastic-free packaging with 90% recycled or FSC-certified content. The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 8 will be available starting April 2023, with prices expected to start at $1,859.

The post Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 8 is a powerful convertible for creative professionals first appeared on Yanko Design.

New Kindle finally lets you write notes on your ebooks

There are three kinds of book lovers (at least in terms of format): those who still prefer print above all else, those who are wholly digital, and those that can work with both. I am of course, the last one. And those that are ebook readers and hybrid readers, the Kindle is a holy grail. The E-Ink display is the closest that you can get to an actual book and is better for the eyesight and concentration of readers as compared to normal tablets. Now, we’re getting the next step in the Kindle evolution and it has got me reaching for my wallet and that pre-order button.

Designer: Amazon

It’s been a while since we’ve gotten a totally new Kindle and now, we have Kindle Scribe, a 10.2-inch device with the E-Ink screen we’ve gotten used to. This new model is not just a reading device but also a writing tool as you can use it with a stylus to take notes, edit files, and “write” on the margins of your ebook. Kindle users have been dreaming of a device like this as it actually mimics the action that some readers have been doing for years on their actual, physical books, only the notes you write here can be saved and accessed digitally.

The E-Ink display really is a blessing for those whose eyesight have been affected by the tablet or phone displays that we’ve been using for years. It is the first 300ppi, front-lit display and you’ll be able to adjust the light and the contrast that will best suit your preference. The handwritten notes that you’ll be adding to your book will be stored in your Kindle collection. You can even directly import word documents from Microsoft directly to your device and work on them using your stylus. PDF markup and display of saved webpages are also allowed on the device.

But don’t think this device can be your new tablet as it’s still basically a Kindle which means it’s built for reading and note-taking. The display is still black and white although a future device may sport a colored E-Ink display. In terms of design, the device is similar to the Kindle Oasis with a bezel on one side so you can hold it properly while reading. But the Scribe itself is not chunky at all as it’s only 5.8mm thick and may be thinner and lighter than the thinnest of tablets, the newest iPad Air.

I for one, cannot wait to get my hands on these and start writing notes all over my ebooks. It is still for pre-order but will cost you $339.99 while you have to add a few more dollars to get either the Basic Pen or the Premium Pen which can both be attached to the side of your Scribe.

The post New Kindle finally lets you write notes on your ebooks first appeared on Yanko Design.