Review: XP-Pen Star 06 Wireless Graphics Tablet

XP-PEN has provided me with another tablet to try out. This time it's the XP-Pen Star 06 Wireless Graphics Tablet.

The Star series graphic tablets are the budget tablets from XP Pen. They can be wired or wireless. These are the tablets without screens. XP-Pen also sells pen displays, monitors that you can draw on, such as Artist 10S, Artist 16 and Artist 22HD all of which have been featured on my blog before.


That's the packaging. Mine was pretty smashed up but thankfully the interior was padded so there was no damage to any items.


Inside this bag there are the stylus, manual and gloves.


If you want an extra one month warranty, you can follow XP Pen on their social media sites.



These are all the accessories included, namely the stylus, pen stand, charging cable for the tablet and a USB thumb drive that includes Mac and Windows driver.


The stylus supports 8192 levels of pressure sensitivity. It does not require any battery just like Wacom styluses.



You can put the pen horizontally or vertically on the pen stand.


Hidden within the pen stand are 8 replacement tips. You have to turn the back cover to open up the pen stand. The opening process is not as easy as I expect but it's minor issue since the tips won't be replaced that often.


The build quality is decent for a tablet in this price range -- currently USD 89 on Amazon USA. It feels solid enough.

The design looks good, very streamline. There's no unnecessary space wasted. Corners are rounded off nicely. Overall look and feel is great.

The XP-Pen Star 06 has a 10x6 inch working area. The drawing surface is a smooth matte surface, similar to Wacom Intuos, feels good when drawn with the stylus.


Physical shortcut buttons have audible clicks but feels a bit hollow, which is not really a big deal.

The scroll wheel has steps and audible clicking sounds during scrolling. It has the right amount of friction and control. Works well. This is great when it comes to changing brush sizes. For tablets without the scroll wheel, when you need to change brush sizes, you have to click on the physical shortcut key numerous times, as opposed to press and hold on a keyboard. Having the scroll wheel speeds up the changing of brush sizes.


There's a clothed pen holder attached to the side of the tablet.


That's the 1050mAh lithium battery that powers this wireless tablet. A full charge will provide an estimated 16 hours of use. You can also use the tablet while it is charging.

There's a little USB wireless receiver that's included in the back compartment beside that battery. That's the receiver you need to plug into your computer for it to recognise the tablet.

Driver installation

I tested the tablet on Mac only so I can't say anything about the performance on Windows.


The latest driver that I tested was 1.0.0.8 which was downloaded from their website. The driver on the USB thumb drive provided was 1.0.0.6.

These are some of the features you get with the driver:

  • Change the pressure sensitivity
  • Choose left/right handed mode
  • Map the tablet to selected area of the monitor
  • Customise the 6 physical buttons and scroll wheel

You can assign specific keyboard shortcuts to the six Express Keys on the tablet. However, the process is not that intuitive the first time. You have to click Express Keys tab -> Reset Customer Defined -> Hot Key and type in your keyboard shortcut.

Drawing performance

In short, drawing performance is excellent except for a glitch with Photoshop that I've found. But overall, the tablet is very responsive, accurate. Pressure sensitivity works great. The smooth matte surface feels good to draw on.

Strokes are smooth, transition well from thin to thick. One advantage that XP Pen has over other Wacom Intuos alternative is the strokes taper very nicely and gradually.


Sometimes when I draw with Photoshop, I will get dots instead of strokes. The workaround is to pick a brush from the brush palette first before drawing. Other than that, it works fine.


Pressure sensitivity does not work by default on Illustrator. You have to install Wacom Intuos driver for the pressure to work. Having two drivers on the system does not seem to cause any conflict though.


Medibang Paint Pro works great, as usual.


Other Mac graphic software that I've tested are Tayasui Sketches Pro (above), Krita, Affinity Photo and Mischief. All work fine.

Conclusion

There are only two minor glitches that I found but thankfully the workaround is simple so they are not deal breakers.

Overall, the tablet performs quite well. Drawing experience is very satisfactory. The build quality is great, buttons have nice tactile feel. Pen does not need to be charged. Wireless feature works well and you can keep the small wireless receiver on the tablet itself, making the tablet easy to transport. Even the clothed pen holder on the side is thick and feels durable.

In short, if you're looking for a budget wireless graphics tablet, this should be in the top three options you should look at.

Availability

Check out more reviews of the XP Pen Star 06 on Amazon (direct links below)
Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.de | Amazon.fr | Amazon.it | Amazon.es | Amazon.co.jp

Hello Theo,
Photoshop Elements (15) required the Windows-Ink tick-box marked for pressure sensitivity. The Wacom Drives was not required.

Like your work very much!
Theo

Dear Teoh,

Your reviews are much appreciated by us all who follow. Thank you for taking time to write. I hope you continue to receive products from the makers and share your thoughts in the future.

From your words it sounds like this is the best tablet for drawing within the $100 range.
It also supports wireless out of the box which is amazing.

I know you will be busy but when you have the chance can you please tell us here if you would agree that this is the best choice right now? for the price range of course :)

your thoughts mean a lot. thank you

In reply to by Phil (not verified)

@Phil
Yes, I think this is one of the better tablets right now. I'm actually quite surprised that it worked so well. The other tablet to consider is the Parblo A609 which is also very good. And of course there's the Wacom Intuos from 2015 which is also good but more expensive and does the same thing.

Just got one and it works well, no wacom driver needed. Do note that pressure sensitivity does not work with Autodesk Sketchbook though (with or without the wacom driver)

Hello - I am planning to buy this tablet for my teen artist daughter for her birthday. She has a Mac Airbook; Will I need additional software also for her to be able to create with this tablet? If so, do you recommend a certain one to start with? Thanks so much -

Hi! Thanks a lot for all your great videos. I really enjoy very much always. Let me please know if you have seen any TILT facility in this model of XP-Pen Star 06 Wireless Graphics Tablet because XP-PEN customer service(through message from their website) informed me that 'all the star series tablets support 45 degrees of tilt'. Actually I want to buy a Tablet with TILT feature but not very costly as Wacom. Thanks and best regards.

In reply to by Joy Paul (not verified)

@Joy Paul
There's no mention of tilt on the product page of XP Pen Star 06, and I did not see any tilt ability in Photoshop, so I guess there's no tilt. Usually manufacturers will advertise all the features.
The only non-Wacom tablet that I know of that has tilt is the Parblo A609.

Hi there!
First of all, thank you for all your kind and nice reviews, so deep and thorough, we really appreciate!

There is one thing I´d like to ask you about this wp-pen tablet. Here it goes:
I´ve been using my old Wacom intuos2 for a very long time and it seems she´s starting to get tired, so I´m kind of considering a change. However, there is a feature I use SO much, and I´m not sure if the xppen features it: the possibility of switching between mouse mode and pen mode.
I don´t know if this is something silly to ask, but recently one partner of mine got a Huion and it didn´t feature it. Maybe it was only the model was too low, but it really was annoying and he had to give it back. May I ask you if this one features it?

Thank you so much, and best regards!

Hey thanks for your test, I have some questions:

- This is the forts tablet I bought (should receive it for Christmas) I would like to know if you had some advices for first use and god to not make it to much frustrating.

-Second question is : Is there a way to move throught the draw without using the mouse, on wacom's tablets i think its the double touch on the tablet. Is there something similar on this one?

Hi. Thanks for your review and blog!
I just bought Star 06. I'm using an iMac and macos Sierra.
The newest driver, 1.0.1.3, is a big nuisance. The one on the USB thumb drive, 1.0.0.6, works a little better. Do you have older drivers that you could make available on your blog or in email, the one you mentioned, 1.0.0.8, and others?

hi there...
I have bought this tablet and I am facing an issue with the pen or tablet I don't know yet. Whenever I hover the pen over the tablet it automatically selects all the folders without even clicking on them. The same problem is happening while using the photoshop too. Even if the pen is up in the air and it's not touching the tablet area it's still coloring the canvas. It would be really kind of you if you can help me out so that I can return it if it is some hardware issue.

In reply to by pankaj kumar (not verified)

@pankaj kumar
It sounds like the pen is behaving as if it is clicking even though it is not touching the screen. I don't think there's any setting in the driver that can fix the problem. So it's likely a hardware issue.

You might want to uninstall and install the driver again. If it does not fix the problem, contact XP Pen for an exchange or see what they say.

In reply to by Teoh Yi Chie

@Teoh Yi Chie

Thank you so much for replying. I have uninstalled and re-installed it again but it didn't work. So now I will be contacting XP for this issue.

Hi Teoh,
Love all your reviews on the tablets.
I just got the star 06 for Christmas. Having issues with it. If connected via the USB cable, if my computer goes into sleep mode or I restart, upon waking up the computer or rebooting, the mouse is frozen and the pen tablet application cannot find the tablet. Putting it into wireless mode gets things back in working order though. I've been going back and forth with xp pen support who said it's probably the USB cable and sent me a new cable. It didn't work. Do you think it's a driver issue rather than the hardware? I've reinstalled the latest driver numerous times as well. I'm running on Mac OS sierra 10.12
Thanks!

I'm not sure what's the problem.

So the problem of frozen mouse happens when you want to charge the tablet?
I'm also thinking there could be a problem with the cable.

Maybe ask them for an older version of the driver?
Or avoid charging it using the computer's USB port.

In reply to by Teoh Yi Chie

Thanks Teoh. XP Pen sent me a new cable, but it still has the issue. The cursor freezes while I'm using it with the cable plugged in. When I have to step away from my computer for a bit my computer goes into sleep mode and when I return and wake it, the cursor is frozen. Although, this doesn't happen when I'm working with it wirelessly. XP Pen support now suspects it might be the usb port on the tablet. I'm encountering other issues as well both when plugged in and wireless, like not being able to resize my windows, they always snap back to the default size, or if I try to move an open folder's window it minimizes it once I release the pen from the tablet (although I'm no where near the minimize button). XP support are going to issue me a replacement. I'll see how it goes.

Love your illustrations btw!

Dear Theo
thanks for this review, i have some question:
1. this doesn't support touch feature?
2. can i still using this without battery? (connected the USB cable)

thank you

In reply to by bram (not verified)

@bram
1. It does not have touch features, does not support finger gestures.
2. You can use it wirelessly or use it with the cable connected to the computer.

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