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.
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 188.8.131.52 which was downloaded from their website. The driver on the USB thumb drive provided was 184.108.40.206.
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.
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.
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.