Versatile Editing Tools for Photo and Video: We Review the Xencelabs Quick Keys and Pen Tablet

Pen tablets and controllers for modifying and retouching positively assist photographers, particularly when engaged on massive batches of photos. These modifying instruments from Xencelabs appear to increase that to an entire new degree.

Tools which might be used for modifying, retouching, designing, and creating graphics are usually made common. Nonetheless, making a software that can be utilized by extra individuals typically limits how it may be made extra environment friendly for particular workflows. Most pen tablets are made with a few buttons and a pen, and these ought to work sufficient for the usage of graphic artists, photographers, retouchers, and the whole lot in between. Just like how it’s with digicam gear, essentially the most useful instruments are these that you may customise to make your workflow extra environment friendly and, on the similar time, make working with the software extra environment friendly. That’s the reason most digital instruments popping out lately provide not simply higher efficiency but in addition goal to permit as a lot customization as attainable. The Xencelabs pen pill and Quick Keys combo are exceptional examples of such instruments.

Construct and Design

The Xencelabs pill is available in three sizes: small, medium, and enormous, relying in your private choice. The small pill takes up 9.21 x 7.27 inches of house in your workspace and has a width of 0.3 inches. Inside that, the energetic space is 6.93 x 3.89 inches that’s marked by a customizable LED indicator on all 4 corners. On the highest edge is a USB-C port and an influence change. In the midst of the higher a part of the pill floor are three customizable buttons, and the underside edge tapers step by step to present a greater relaxation floor for the consumer’s wrist. Inside this can be a built-in battery that may last as long as 16 hours and cost absolutely in 2.5 hours.

The Xencelabs Quick Keys Distant is a 6.2 x 2.48 inch pocket-sized software with a width of 0.47 inches and weighs simply 142 grams. On one finish is a dial with a diameter of 1.41 inches and a central change button inside it that takes up 0.6 inches. On the opposite finish is a single set button for altering modes inside a delegated modifying app. Taking over the center half of the floor space is a 3.18 x 1.0 inch OLED display accompanied by 4 customizable buttons on both sides. On one aspect is a single USB-C port for charging and connectivity, whereas on the opposite aspect is an influence change.

Inclusions and Packaging

Together with the pill, the field features a comfortable padded carrying case, a USB-C to USB-A cable, a half-glove, and a software case with a tough silicone mildew to soundly maintain its contents. The case comprises two pens, six further plastic nibs, 4 felt nibs, together with a USB-A dongle, a USB-A to USB-C adapter, and a software to take away and change nibs. One of many pens is a thinner one with a 0.37-inch diameter, two customized buttons, a pen tip on one finish and an eraser tip on the opposite. The second is a thicker pen that’s 0.55 inches on the largest diameter and tapers for a greater really feel. This second pen has 3 customizable buttons in addition to the identical double-end configuration for a pen tip and eraser tip. Altogether, it’s fairly spectacular to see that customers are given a alternative between two pens in addition to safe and environment friendly carrying instances for higher portability.

The Quick Keys comes out of the field with its personal arduous shell carrying case, a USB-A dongle, a USB adapter, and a USB-C to USB-A cable. The case has room for all of the stated equipment and some further.

Maybe one other necessary side about these instruments is the packaging. Each the pill and Quick Keys barely have any plastic concerned of their packaging, aside from the wrap that protects the whole cardboard packaging when model new. Sustainability and avoidance of plastic waste technology are steps that many manufacturers have not too long ago been taking, and it’s spectacular that this comparatively new model appears to be going through that route as properly.

Setup and Connectivity

Organising each gadgets is straightforward and easy. Step one is solely to obtain the driving force from obtainable on their web site and plug it in via the cable. This step additionally units the product up for wi-fi connectivity utilizing the dongle, which signifies that as soon as the cable is eliminated and the dongle is plugged into the USB port, the gadget mechanically pairs and connects with the pc.

Organising the pill means that you can customise the three buttons on the highest a part of the pill in addition to the buttons on the pen. These buttons may be designated for keyboard shortcut mixtures, mouse buttons, navigation instruments, in addition to shortcuts to numerous apps. The identical configuration steps apply for the short keys. Nonetheless, it clearly includes extra buttons that may be personalized for a similar options. The shortcuts inside a selected app may be personalized into units that may be designated to particular workflows, similar to sketching, retouching, or drawing. Every app can have as much as 5 units and every set has eight completely different shortcuts providing as much as 40 capabilities per app. Every operate on every button may be labelled in another way because the consumer needs and makes the label obtainable at any given time that the gadget is on. The dial may also be personalized to scrolling, zooming in, switching layers, and brush sizes by urgent the operate button on the dial. The orientation of the gadget may also be rotated relying on what the consumer prefers and the textual content of the show can be adjusted together with it.

Performance and Software

Like all different pen tablets, the Xencelabs pen pill works as a extra exact enter software as an alternative of a mouse or a trackpad. The 8,192 stress degree sensitivity and 60-degree tilt performance are certainly spectacular. Along with the three or two buttons obtainable relying on which pen you favor to make use of, the performance of the opposite finish of the pen as a customizable eraser tip is kind of distinctive and spectacular. Typically, the pill is suitable with any app. Nonetheless, the customized buttons are, after all, depending on shortcut capabilities obtainable in no matter app is getting used.

The Quick Keys is the a part of this mixture that maybe brings within the modularity. Similar to the pill, the buttons are customizable to any app operate or navigation software so long as a shortcut is obtainable inside the app or on the pc’s most important system. This makes the gadget not only a software that photographers can use, however just about anybody with any want for helpful shortcuts.

At first look, I used to be personally intrigued on whether or not this gadget might additionally double as an modifying console not only for pictures associated apps but in addition for modifying movies and it’s a pleasure to see that each one the mandatory instruments I would like on my Adobe Premiere and Davinci Resolve shortcuts may be arrange on the gadget. I personally use a Tourbox Neo that has been useful for effectivity in modifying movies but it surely took fairly some time to memorize all of the shortcuts I assigned and I ended up utilizing solely about half of the buttons as a result of I couldn’t instantly keep in mind the place I put the capabilities I used much less. The Quick Keys took that drawback out due to the customized labels on the display and has a extra travel-friendly construct for the reason that dials and buttons protrude much less and it comes with a devoted carrying case.

The pill and the Quick Keys controller can be utilized collectively or independently because the consumer prefers. Typically, the performance expands when the pill is utilized in mixture with the controller. The dongle may also be configured to operate for each gadgets, although they might positively be far more handy if Bluetooth was an obtainable possibility.


Total, the pen pill affords comfort and a very good vary of choices with the extra buttons and ideas. The choice between a thinner pen with much less buttons and a extra tactile pen with extra buttons is a considerate bonus along with the well-made carrying instances. By way of my private use of those gadgets, the Quick Keys controller expands the performance and effectivity of the pill and is a really useful gizmo, even by itself. Due to how the buttons and capabilities may be personalized to a variety of capabilities on just about any app, this software may be useful for photographers, digital illustrators, designers, architects, and may (probably) be even used for video video games.

What I Favored

  • Spectacular design and performance
  • Considerate inclusion of equipment and pen choices
  • Surroundings-friendly packaging
  • Expansive modularity to be used in a variety of workflows

What Can Be Improved

  • At the moment, no bluetooth connectivity
  • Dial on the Quick Keys controller doesn’t retract for safer storage
  • Probably much more performance via wheels or perhaps a contact slider on the edges