Tablets for Osu!

This post was last updated: Feb. 20, 2018



Osu Tablets picture

I’m no master of the game Osu! since I only sit at around rank 100 000, only between the 5 digit and 6 digit ranks. However, I do think that I understand what is most important when it comes to shopping for an Osu! tablet after having tried Osu! on a bunch of these tablets (which I originally bought for art reviews).

For context, I play Osu! with either mouse + keyboard or tablet + keyboard, depending on my mood. I map my active area to around 2.7×1.5 inches and use the hover “style” rather than dragging.
I tested all these tablets with and without the most current tablet drivers installed.

From what I’ve experienced, I feel that accuracy, cursor delay, active area configurability, and hover distance are the most important aspects of an Osu! tablet. Pen shape and pen type are somewhat important too, but those are just preferences and are basically worthless if the 4 main aspects are not good. (For the most part, hover distance is not a problem with recent tablets, but some do have better ranges than others.)

Unfortunately, these aspects are not something you can find out about from looking at tablet specifications, and many reviews don’t actually cover the topic of built-in cursor delay. That is why I am making this post to talk about the tablets I have tried, and my recommendations for anyone interested in playing Osu! with a tablet!



Table of Contents



My recommendations

If you don’t want to bother reading, then my recommendations are as follows:

-XP-Pen Star G430
For anyone who only wants the tablet solely for Osu! gameplay. Not recommended if you intend to draw with the tablet as well because it’s so small.

-XP-Pen Star G640
For anyone who wants a tablet which can be used for Osu! gameplay as well as art.

-Wacom Intuos CTL-480/CTH-480
For anyone who can find this discontinued tablet, it is an amazing tablet that is fantastic for Osu! and drawing alike. A bit pricy because it’s a Wacom, but you might be able to find a good deal on it used.


Explanation of Accuracy, Cursor Delay, and Active Area Configurability

Here, I will explain the three main important aspects of Osu! tablets, and the “ideal” for each.

Accuracy

Accuracy is exactly as it sounds. It is how accurate the tablet is.
The “ideal” is that if you were to label a single point on the tablet, your cursor should end up in the exact same spot on your screen every time your pen goes to that point.

Of course, being off by a few pixels is completely normal and not impactful on Osu! gameplay, but if the cursor is wildly off every time you point at the same spot, it will completely ruin your ability to play the game consistently.

That being said, I have never seen a tablet with accuracy so bad that the cursor completely deviates from where you would expect it to be, so even though accuracy is an important feature for Osu! tablets, you most likely won’t have to worry about it at all.

Cursor Delay

Cursor Delay is how much time it takes for the tablet to react to your motions and move the cursor.
The “ideal” is that the cursor will move right when you move your pen.

It may sound like a really simple ideal, but it is important to realize that these so called Osu! tablets are actually made by art companies. This means that the tablet drivers are optimized for drawing, not Osu! gameplay.
Due to this fact, many tablet drivers have built-in cursor delay to aid with drawing smoother lines, but that slight cursor delay is very detrimental for Osu! gameplay because every millisecond matters when hitting those long jumps in a fast song.

Of course, if the tablet works without the drivers, then there will be no cursor delay at all, but if you don’t install the tablet drivers, you can’t change the active area size, so you will be stuck playing with the full tablet area.
If that’s the size you prefer to play at, then that’s completely fine, but I believe most people will want to at least have the ability to adjust the active area to fit them better.

Unfortunately, none of the tablet drivers I know of allow you to turn off the built-in cursor delay if they have it, so I suggest just going straight for the tablet that doesn’t have any built-in delay. This will save you the hassle of trying to find a method to turn off the built-in delay through regedit and other confusing computer tricks.
(Note: I did not try the Fix My Pen! tool as I am mainly keeping my tablets for art reviews, therefore I do not want to mess with any of their settings so I can review them how they are intended to be.)

There is a user on reddit who has tested and compared the cursor delay on many tablets here: https://www.reddit.com/r/osugame/comments/80pft7/measuring_tablet_performance_by_using_a_3d_printer/. This user does a machine test for comparing the actual performances of the tablets.
The results are pretty much the same as what I have found just through using the tablets, with the Wacom CTL-490 being bad while hovering but good while dragging, the XP-Pen being good in general, and the Huions being bad because of cursor delay.

It is important to note here that you will most likely not notice cursor delay with your first tablet because, simply put, you’ve never experienced anything to compare it to. Tablets with cursor delay are certainly useable, but tablets without cursor delay are easier to play with the further you get into the game.

Active Area Configurability

Active Area Configurability is the extent of the configuration for the drawing area.
The “ideal” is that you can easily re-adjust the active area to be as comfortable for you as possible.
Keep in mind that if you don’t install the tablet drivers, you can’t edit the active area size.

All the tablets I’m about to talk about allow you to change the active area size by clicking and dragging a rectangle area in the tablet drivers, so the issue isn’t really in whether you can do it or not, but rather how to do it.

With every tablet, make sure you use the “screen ratio” option so that you can see the X and Y coordinate numbers at the same ratio as your screen, then start reducing the X or Y coordinate until you can reach the edges of the monitor with your pen without moving your hand too much. Then using cross multiplication with the original X and Y values (I assume you can do it) and adjust the other coordinate to match.

Of course, with that being said, that is just my way of doing it, and there is no “official” method of how to set up your tablet for Osu! gameplay. Experiment and practice until you find the best active area for you.

Hover Distance

Hover distance is the distance above the tablet that the pen will still be sensed from. My measurements are done from the tip of the pen nib to the tablet surface.
The “ideal” is that the pen is sensed from more than 15mm above the tablet surface, but around 13-15mm is a more realistic expectation.

Hover distance is a specification that’s listed in the spec sheets of a tablet, but those list rough estimates of the hover distance and can be different from the actual measured hover distance.
A good example of this is the Wacom Intuos CTL-480 which has a hover distance of ~14-17mm, but the advertised hover distance is 7mm.

I list my hover distances with a range because the tablet finds the pen at the lowest number, then loses track of the pen a bit further away.
For example, the Intuos CTL-480 senses the pen at around 14mm, then keeps detecting the pen until around 17mm where it loses the pen, making the hover distance ~14-17mm.


Wacom

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Wacom Intuos (CTL-480/CTH-480 series)

Accuracy: Really good. It’s Wacom, what else is there to say?
Pen Type: Thin rubber grip pen. Battery-free pen (no-battery/no-recharge).
Hover Distance: ~14-17mm

Without tablet drivers installed
Cursor Delay: Could not test. Cursor did not react to pen without drivers.
Active Area Configurability: Unavailable without drivers.

With tablet drivers installed
Cursor Delay: Good. No delay.
Active Area Configurability: Available in drivers.

This Intuos CTL-480 series is the most trusted and loved so far when it comes to Osu! gameplay. It has a comfortable (and durable) rubber grip pen and a really good hover distance. The accuracy is fantastic, and the pen is passive, and there is no cursor delay present.
If you can find it and you’re willing to pay the premium Wacom price for it, then it’s probably the best choice.

However, because it is discontinued, it is often quite hard to find it at a reasonable price anymore. Sold new, the retail price was 80 USD for the CTL-480, and 100-120 USD for the CTH-480. If you can find one with all the components for less than that, it’s probably worth considering.

1-Tablet

Wacom Intuos Draw (CTL-490/CTH-490 series)

Accuracy: Really good. It’s Wacom, what else is there to say?
Pen Type: Plastic stick pen. Battery-free pen (no-battery/no-recharge).
Hover Distance: ~10-11mm

Without tablet drivers installed
Cursor Delay: Could not test. Cursor did not react to pen without drivers.
Active Area Configurability: Unavailable without drivers.

With tablet drivers installed
Cursor Delay: Bad while hovering, good while dragging.
Active Area Configurability: Available in drivers.

I have heard that a lot of Osu! players use a Wacom Intuos Draw tablet, however, I completely suggest against it. The cursor delay cannot be turned off with any simple on/off button and it completely ruins gameplay at higher levels. The hover distance is also rather small.
I could not get the pen input to work without the tablet drivers installed to test it without tablet drivers unfortunately.

Apparently the cursor delay only occurs while hovering, and disappears if you play by dragging. However, some people also say it doesn’t lag for them even when hovering. Honestly, it’s just a lottery whether yours will lag or not while hovering so I would not recommend it.

1 - Tablet

 

Wacom Intuos 2018 (CTL4100 series)

Accuracy: Really good.
Pen Type: Thin rubber grip pen. Battery-free pen (no-battery/no-recharge).
Hover Distance: ~13-14mm

Without tablet drivers installed
Cursor Delay: Could not test. Cursor did not react to pen without drivers.
Active Area Configurability: Unavailable without drivers.

With tablet drivers installed
Cursor Delay: Good. No delay I can notice.
Active Area Configurability: Available in drivers.

Surprisingly, this one actually doesn’t have the cursor delay problems of the previous CTL-490 so it works really well for Osu! gameplay. The pen also has a hard rubber grip and isn’t just plastic so it’s somewhat easier to keep your grip on it. It only loses out to the CTL-480 in terms of hover distance, but it’s still pretty decent either way.

However, the surface is way rougher than any other tablet I have ever drawn on, so this may not be a good tablet for people who drag rather than hover. I have already made my pen nib flat on one side just from one day of drawing, so I imagine draggers will also burn through their nibs.

Aside from the rough surface, it’s actually really good and I can recommend it if you’re fine paying the high price of a Wacom tablet just for Osu! gaming (it could be worth it if you’re also buying it for art).

 


Huion

1-Tablet

Huion Inspiroy H430P

Accuracy: Really good.
Pen Type: Plastic stick pen. Battery-free pen (no-battery/no-recharge).
Hover Distance: ~9-12mm

Without tablet drivers installed
Cursor Delay: Good. No delay.
Active Area Configurability: Unavailable without drivers.

With tablet drivers installed
Cursor Delay: Bad. A lot of built-in cursor delay.
Active Area Configurability: Available in drivers.

This is pretty new and it’s advertised to be an Osu! tablet, but the built-in cursor delay of the tablet drivers (because they’re using art drivers) cannot be turned off. The hover distance is also rather small and might not work well for you.
You can play Osu! without the drivers, but then you can’t adjust the play area size.

1-Tablet

Huion Inspiroy H640P

Accuracy: Really good.
Pen Type: Rubber grip pen. Battery-free pen (no-battery/no-recharge).
Hover Distance: ~17-24mm

Without tablet drivers installed
Cursor Delay: Good. No delay.
Active Area Configurability: Unavailable without drivers.

With tablet drivers installed
Cursor Delay: Bad. A lot of built-in cursor delay.
Active Area Configurability: Available in drivers.

The best part about this one is that the pen is rubber grip, however, the cursor delay cannot be turned off when the driver is installed so it is not very suitable for Osu! gameplay. However, it is an alright tablet for art. The hover distance is also surprisingly high, as well as the extra range before the tablet finally loses track of the pen.

You can play Osu! without the drivers, but then you can’t adjust the play area size. It will also lack pen pressure for art if you don’t install the drivers.


XP-Pen

1 - Tablet

XP-Pen Star G640

Accuracy: Really good.
Pen Type: Plastic stick pen. Battery-free pen (no-battery/no-recharge).
Hover Distance: ~10-11mm

Without tablet drivers installed
Cursor Delay: Good. No delay.
Active Area Configurability: Unavailable without drivers.

With tablet drivers installed
Cursor Delay: Good. No noticeable cursor delay.
Active Area Configurability: Available in drivers.

So far, this is the only Osu! tablet that I’ve run into which doesn’t have noticeable built-in cursor delay in the drivers. This is my recommendation for anyone who wants to get an Osu! tablet which they can draw on as well. It’s the exact same size as the Wacom Intuos Draw, except it’s good for both drawing and Osu! gameplay because it doesn’t have any noticeable built-in cursor delay whether you install the drivers or not.

The biggest con is the relatively small hover distance, so it might not be the best choice for you if you tend to hover too high a lot. I had no problems with the hover distance though, but that’s just me.

The reason why I recommend the XP-Pen Star G430 at the top of this post is because it uses the exact same drivers as the G640, therefore there should be no noticeable built-in cursor delay on the G430 either. However, the G430 is only recommended if you just intend to play Osu! on it because it’s slightly too small for comfortable drawing.


Other tablet mentions

I believe another notable Osu! tablet is the GAOMON S56K. Unfortunately, I have no idea about how much pen delay it has, however, I believe the XP-Pen tablets are better simply because they use battery-free pens which require no batteries or recharging.
*According to other Osu! tablet talks, the GAOMON S56K has basically no delay, so it may be worth considering if you prefer the heavier weight of a battery-powered pen.

Another fairly common Osu! tablet recommendation is the Huion 420 and H420. I do not recommend these because they use battery powered pens, and I have also heard that the pens are not very durable at all.
I see absolutely no reason to choose the Huion 420 and H420 when the XP-Pen G430 offers what they do, except with a battery-free pen instead of a battery powered pen.
However, if you do choose them, apparently there is no cursor delay if you use the old Huion drivers for them which you can get from Toy’s Osu! profile. I have not confirmed this though because I do not own the 420 and H420.


Final words

Honestly, I do feel like I am getting a little ahead of myself talking about the “best” Osu! tablets when I am only at around 100k rank in Osu! myself.

If you are more well versed about playing Osu! with tablets and know I am saying something completely wrong here, please do not hesitate to point it out and help make this post more helpful for future Osu! players!

Thanks for reading!

Author: Nikage

I am a hobbyist artist. Ever since I bought my first Wacom alternative tablet, I've become interested in finding out what other alternative tablets are good, and trying to guide people to see that there's more than just Wacom on the market.

6 thoughts on “Tablets for Osu!”

  1. The XP-Pen Star G430 and G640 osu drawing tablet are great, especially for their price. If you have a G640, the tablet definitely doesn’t bottleneck your potential skill. The G430 ( https://www.xp-pen.com/goods/show/id/36.html ) is basically a smaller version of it. XP-Pen Star G430 for the best smaller tablet I own it and i love it so much .

    The XP-Pen G430/G640 specifically has the reputation of the best osu! tablet to exist and I support that. Least input lag etc.XP-Pen Star G640 ( https://www.xp-pen.com/goods/show/id/250.html ) for the best regular sized tablet has dimensions of 6×4 inches .

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  2. XP-Pen G640 is good and responsiveness on par with the other tablets. It has a great pen and overall solid build quality.Recommended.

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  3. You should add VEIKK S640 to the list, its only 26$ and a lot of Osu! Youtubers have start recommending them along with the XP-Pen ones as top budget Osu tablets. 😀

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    1. Hey there,

      Thanks for the suggestion. I’m quite surprised to hear that Osu! Youtubers are suggesting it because it was just… horrible when it came to drawing functionality, at least, in my experience with mine.
      I actually have the VEIKK S640 from a review agreement with VIEKK, but I forgot about it since they haven’t replied to my last email sent many weeks ago asking about all the issues I encountered while using it. I can certainly see it perhaps working for hover-style Osu! players since the hovering was properly accurate if I recall correctly, but the drawing functionality (when you press the pen nib down) was so weird and bad that I hadn’t considered recommending it for Osu! at all.

      Quite frankly, even if the VEIKK S640 can be used for hover-style Osu!, I really can’t recommend it over the XP-Pen G640 because the price difference between the two is less than 10 USD. The XP-Pen G640 simply seems so much more trustworthy so I really can’t see the VEIKK S640 being worth saving 10 USD over.

      I’ll go revisit the VEIKK S640 when I can and see if it’s still the same as before. I doubt anything has changed because the drivers on their site are the exact same ver1.0.0.0 which I tested before, but I suppose I should still do a review on it even though VEIKK hasn’t replied to my emails.
      Thanks for reminding me about it.

      -Nikage

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      1. Maybe the VEIKK’s technology is mostly made for Osu in mind? I can’t say if ppl do buy it to draw but it’s very good for Osu at least 🙂 Tho yeah, 10 USD is not much. I heard the VEIKK have slightly better drivers for Osu, but Xp-Pen have better pen.

        Speaking of drivers, a lot of tablets works a ton times better with Hawku’s drivers in Osu, especially Huion and Wacom Intuos 4100. I don’t know they disturb any drawing performance, but its important for Osu! players.

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      2. I think the VEIKK drivers are better for Osu! because they lack line smoothing, which is where cursor movements are slightly delayed to calculate straighter/smoother lines.
        The VEIKK tablets I’ve tried both had very jittery lines when doing slow diagonal ruler lines, and this probably means there’s no line smoothing at all in the VEIKK drivers, which in turn means quicker response times for pen movements compared to a tablet which has line smoothing. (So basically, bad for art, but good for Osu!.)

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