A $17 Digital Paper Replacement: Howshow 12-inch Writing / Sketch Pad Review

Most of my videos are scripted, including the one found at the end of this article.  I can go through an entire notebook in a matter of weeks and almost all of what I write down is only needed for a few minutes.  After I finish the audio clip, I turn to the next page never to look at the previous page again.  This approach was a huge waste of paper and a huge waste of money.

My first encounter with these types of writing tablets was at work.  My branch got a shipment of them in and I saw some of the people in my office using them in place of their traditional notebooks.  I figured one of these would be a perfect paper replacement for writing scripts in the studio, so I had Gearbest send one over.  I opted to go with the 12” model because I wanted something I could fit a lot of writing on, as my scripts tend to be pretty lengthy.  However, if you are in the market for something a bit smaller, Gearbest also has several 10” and 5” models on their website.  If you are interested in picking one of these up after reading this review, the purchasing link can be found towards the bottom of this article.

The Howshow 12” writing tablet is only a few millimeters thick and weighs just under 180 grams making it a perfect companion for someone on the go.  It slides easily into a backpack or laptop bag and is durable enough to survive the daily abuse of a mobile workflow.  It sustained no damage during a 3ft corner drop test and a 6ft side drop test.

Writing on this digital writing pad feels a lot like writing on paper with a ballpoint pen, though the screen surface is a bit slicker than standard loose-leaf and the elliptical formfactor of the stylus began to hurt my hand after writing for 15 minutes. To my relief, the writing surface is only sensitive to sharp pressure, you can rest you hand on the surface of the tablet while writing without leaving any unwanted marks. Since the screen is pressure sensitive, the drawing line thickness varies depending on how hard you press down on the screen, the harder you press down the thicker the line will be and vice versa.

Since the tablet only requires battery power to clear the screen, its battery life is measured in erase cycles.  The manufacturer advertises the battery life to be 100,000 erase cycles.  I have not been able to confirm that, however the battery that the tablet shipped with out of the factory arrived nearly depleted.  I realized this when the 1-press screen erase button was not working.  After breaking the very fragile battery tray and tossing in a new CR2025 coin cell battery, the tablet worked flawlessly.  It was completely unacceptable to ship this tablet with a dead battery.  Based on other reviews of this tablet, I think this was just an isolated incident. Though if I am wrong, the DOA battery could indicate a short in the tablet or an issue with the company they are sourcing their batteries from.

Despite the battery issue (assuming it was an isolated incident), this is an excellent digital writing tablet to jot down some quick ideas, work out math problems, and draw some sketches on.  Coming in at nearly half the price of other more prominent name-brand writing tablets on the market and offering more screen real-estate, this is a great option for those with a tighter budget.

 

Get it here: https://www.gearbest.com/?lkid=15163363

 

See the video review below for more

 

 

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