Huion’s New Inspiroy KeyDial K200 is an Award-Winning All-in-one Solution for Digital Artists
Written by Krisztián Vértes
The Inspiron KeyDial K200’s combination of keyboard, multifunctional dial, and pen tablet into one compact device can provide the versatile studio setup for some
The well-established drawing tablet maker, Huion, recently launched its award-winning (Golden Pin Design, Good Design, and Red Star Design Awards) pen tablet and keyboard combo, called the Inspiron KeyDial K200. With its innovative design, the KeyDial promises to be a one-stop device for artists who are not particularly attracted to pen displays and don’t want to shell out extra money for a shortcut remote. Of course, most of the KeyDial’s functionality can be achieved in the “traditional” way, using just a keyboard and mouse. However, factoring in the drawing aspect, the five programmable keys, and the multifunctional knob, Huion might have an appealing combo on offer.
The KeyDial K200 (above) is compared to a “traditional” setup of a keyboard, Wacom’s Express Keys Remote, and Apple’s Magic Trackpad (below).
Drawing on a panel that doesn’t have a screen requires the artist to develop perfect eye-hand coordination, which might not be everybody’s cup of tea. Nonetheless, many of our colleagues work on pen tablets, drawing on a touch-sensitive surface while looking at a monitor or laptop screen, producing exemplar artworks. In her Wacom Intuos Pro review, regular digitalEPIGRAPHY contributor, Survey artist Dominique Navarro writes that one might find eye-hand coordination less challenging to manage than assumed. Still, it is easy to become disoriented while learning to use the pen as it relates to the tablet: the hovering mouse cursor on the screen when the pen is held above the tablet, the physical distance from pen-tip to tablet (about 1/4 inch to a few millimeters above), and how it all transmits to drawing a line on the screen.
Nonetheless, once drawing is mastered, Huion’s pen tablet has nothing but benefits for the artist. It can be connected to the computer wirelessly through a tiny USB dongle, using Bluetooth 5.0. It has 18 hours of battery life and delivers six months standby time (with 1-3 hours to recharge via USB-C), which should last through even the most prolonged drawing sessions. Huion bundles the tablet with its latest pressure-sensitive stylus using PenTech 3.0, providing a solid drawing capability with even brushstrokes and no wobble effect when painting long, curved sun-shadow transitions. The drawing panel is coated with a matte, paper-like texture that is scratch and fingerprint-resistant, making the drawing experience very close to using PaperLike on the iPad Pro.
The mini keyboard has a handy Menu button for cycling through dial functions. The pen is battery-free, tilt sensitive, and supports 8192 pressure levels. It registers 10mm from the surface
One can admire the tablet’s sleek design, but it must be pointed out that the K200 is aimed at right-handed users when it comes to functionality. This can be a real drawback for some. Additionally, there is another disadvantage for Mac users, as seen in the image above: the control keys are in reverse order compared to regular Mac keyboards with Command on the left and Option on the right. It is a shame that keys can’t be remapped, causing utter confusion for weeks before one remembers the layout. This minor annoyance aside and moving on to customization, there is not much to complain about. Keys have a pleasant, satisfying touch, great travel, and can execute a secondary command by pressing the Num key. Keys can also be held down for continuous adjustments, such as increasing and decreasing brush size, etc. The keyboard has a short chin at the bottom, providing a nice armrest for extended drawing sessions.
Programming the Shortcut Buttons and the Dial
(1) The five shortcut keys can be programmed to any expected functions, including keyboard commands, mouse clicks, multimedia controls, etc. One must click on the key and enter the appropriate combinations.
(2) The dial is pre-programmed to the following functions: zoom, scroll and adjust the brush size. It makes a clicking sound when rotated, helping with executing incremental changes.
There are three small LED lights to the right of the dial, indicating Bluetooth connectivity, battery level, and alternate key functions. There are two buttons further to the right: the so-called “Menu” button for easy switching between dial functions and the On/Off key. Despite accommodating 30 controls, a dial, and a 226 x 143 mm (8.9 x 5.6 inch) drawing area, the device is compact enough and relatively light at only 650 grams.
Maneuvering the dial and keyboard with the left hand while getting around the screen holding the pen in the right comes second nature
So, who this hybrid device is for? It is recommended for those who don’t like clutter on their desk, have a laptop and want a more precise input device than a keyboard and a trackpad. Those already accustomed to using pen tablets instead of pen displays can be among the Huion Inspiron KeyDial K200’s target audience. For us, having this elegant solution paired with a large monitor is a real upgrade for quick editing in Photoshop. Not just because drawing with a pen comes more naturally than hovering around on a trackpad but also because we just love the speed shortcuts add to our workflow.