Review: Xp Pen Star G960S Plus Graphics Tablet (Hands on)

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The Xp Pen Star G960S Plus is a fully specced out variant of the Xp Pen Star series of tablets.

xp pen Star G960S Plus review

Its massive drawing area, sleek form factor, excellent stylus, and overall good drawing performance are its main selling points.

It is one of the few tablets in the entry-level segment whose stylus comes with an eraser at the back.

If you are someone looking to buy a graphics tablet and wondering whether the Xp Pen Star G960S Plus (Amazon) has got everything you need as an artist, you have come to the right place.

In this Xp Pen Star G960S Plus review, we will not only discuss all the features that come with this tablet but also give our honest opinion on whether this tablet is a good fit for you or not.

Unboxing – What you get with the tablet

The unboxing experience of Start G960S Plus is pretty straightforward.

Here is everything that you get in the box.

xp pen star G960S plus unboxing

  • Xp Pen Star G960S Plus tablet
  • PH2 stylus
  • USB-A to USB-C cable
  • Nib remover tool
  • 10 Extra PenNibs
  • USB-C to USB-A adapter
  • Micro-USB to USB-A adapter
  • User’s Guide
  • Warranty card

Xp-Pen Star G960S Plus – features and specifications

 Xp Pen Star G960S Plus
xp pen star G960S Plus graphics tablet
Dimension319.5 x 209.5 x 10mm
Drawing Area9 x 6 inches
Drawing SurfaceTextured
StylusXp Pen PH2 (battery-free)
Pressure Sensitivity8192 levels
Tilt DetectionUp to 60 degrees
Buttons on the tablet4 Buttons
Buttons on the stylus1 Button + 1 Eraser at the back
Android SupportYes
ConnectivityUSB-C
Cable Length5 feet (150 cm)
Reading Height10 mm
OS Support Windows, Mac, and Android
Weight1.1 lbs (500 grams)
PriceCheck on Amazon

Design and build quality

design and build quality of the tablet

Xp Pen Star G960S Plus has a very clean design. The large drawing area covers the whole front surface with a cutout towards the left for the shortcut buttons.

The tablet has got a really interesting color scheme – the buttons are glossy, everything else is matte black.

If you look right above the buttons, you will find a small LED indicator light that glows whenever the stylus makes contact with the tablet.

LED indicator - Xp pen star g960 s plus

Other than the light, there are four small arrows that indicated the active drawing area of the tablet.

The right side of the tablet is fairly empty with nothing but a neat Xp-Pen branding.

On the back, you will find four rubber pads that help the tablet to get a firm grip on flat and smooth surfaces.

rubber pads at the back of the tablet
Rubber Pads at the back

Talking of the built quality, in spite of being completely made of plastic, the tablet overall feels sturdy.

The body panels of the tablet fit together well, the edges are rounded and nothing moves or rattles from the inside.

Buttons are the only area where the built quality felt a little weak. Although the buttons are tactile, they feel a little clunky and plasticky.

Overall you can say that Star G960S Plus has a good design and decent build quality.

Drawing Area

The drawing area is one of the most important parts of a graphics tablet because that is where everything happens.

active drawing area - Star G960S Plus review

Xp Pen Star G960S Plus comes with a massive active drawing area, measuring 9 x 6 inches. This gives you a lot of flexibility to freely move your hands around.

Many people don’t know that the size of the drawing tablet should be selected based on the size of your monitor.

This large-size graphics tablet is suitable for screens ranging from 15 inches to as far as 27 inches, making it an ideal size for most people.

Drawing surface

Often when people look for drawing tablets, all they focus on is how big is the drawing area.

What is equally as important as the drawing area is the – quality of the drawing surface.

Texture quality of the drawing surface
Textured surface of Xp Pen Star G960S Plus

Like most other graphics tablets, the Xp Pen Star G960S Plus comes with a textured drawing surface. But the quality of the drawing surface used here is actually really good.

The textured surface on the tablet provides slight resistance to the stylus which improves the handling of the stylus.

Now some tablets come with a very subtle texture – where the textured effect is almost non-existent. On the opposite end, a few tablets have an aggressive texture that feels scratchy and a little too much.

The Surface texture on the Star G960S Plus is balanced and it feels great to draw on.

Scratch resistance

Scratch resistance is another important thing to look for. It makes a big difference in the long-term usability of the tablet.

During our usage, we were impresses by how sturdy the drawing surface was.

So far we have only used this tablet for a couple of weeks, during which the tablet seems to hold really well against scratches and showed no signs of casual wear and tear.

Stylus – Xp Pen PH2

The tablet comes with a very capable Xp Pen PH2 stylus.

xp pen PH2 Stylus

It is a battery-free digital stylus and comes with 8192 levels of pressure sensitivity and 60 degrees of tilt detection.

On the stylus, you would find a single programmable button at the side and a pressure-sensitive eraser at the back.

The eraser comes really handy, as you don’t need to change to the “eraser tool” in order to erase something – you can simply flip the stylus to its back and start erasing.

pressure sensitive eraser at the back of stylus
Eraser at the back

The shape of the stylus is fairly simple. It is cylindrical in shape and has a wider tip which slowly decreases in width towards the back.

The weight distribution on the stylus is good, the pen is very balanced and does not feel front or rear heavy while drawing.

Like many other styluses in this range, the Xp Pen PH2 stylus is made of plastic, which helps with keeping its weight low.

In terms of look and feel, the built quality and overall finish of the stylus is good enough but it definitely feels a little plasticky and cheap.

Drawing performance of the stylus

The included stylus may not look anything special when holding it in hand, but when it comes to performance, it is right on par with some of the best styluses in the market.

We had a great drawing experience with this stylus right from the beginning.

It fits comfortably in your hands and draws beautifully.

The pressure response on the stylus is right on point. Although I readjusted the pressure curve of the stylus to my personal preference in the settings. But the pressure response was great from the very beginning.

The tracking was very accurate the response was fast and we did not experience any lag throughout our usage.

xp pen star G960S plus stylus performance test
Stylus Performance Test (Xp Pen PH2 stylus and Star G960S Plus tablet)

In the above image you can see, we performed different tests and drawn sample strokes to show you the capability of the Xp Pen PA2 Stylus.

On the top left, we have done the fast line test (where we drew quick/fast strokes), you can see the lines are smooth and consistent and end with a nice taper.

In the slow line and cross-hatching test, you can see there is no pen jitter, and the lines drawn by the stylus are straight and responds well to the natural hand movements.

At the bottom, we have drawn the strike with the Pressure and opacity brush. You can see how the stroke smoothly transitions from thin line to thick line and from low opacity to full opacity. This goes on to show shows how good is the pressure response of the stylus.

Overall, the Xp Pen PH2 stylus gets an A+ in our performance test.

Buttons on the tablet

There are four programmable shortcut buttons located on the left side of the tablet.

Xp pen star g960 s plus shortcut buttons

These buttons are very handy in the day to day drawing and make repetitive tasks such as undo, redo, change the size of brush and eraser much easier.

In the tablet settings, you can change the default shortcut buttons to any buttons of your choice.

They work with all drawing as well as non-drawing applications.

application specific shortcut setting
Application-specific shortcuts (ie. different setting for different application)

You can also set application-specific shortcuts, where you can set a different shortcut for different software and the tablet is intelligent enough to switch the buttons depending on the program you are currently using.

Next, talking of the quality of buttons. As we mentioned at the beginning – the click response and the tactility of the shortcut buttons on the tablet is good but the buttons feel cheap and plasticky.

Connectivity – Connecting the Xp Pen Star G960S Plus to the computer

The tablet connects to the computer using a USB-C to USB-A cable.

Star G960S Plus USB-C to USB-A cable for connectivity
Included USB-A to USB-C cable

The USB-C end of the cable connects to the left side of the tablet. It has an L-shaped connector head that routes the cables away from you and makes cable management a little more convenient.

L-shaped USB cable
L-Shaped connector head

The USB-A side of the cable connects to your computer or laptop. In case your laptop does not have a USB-A port, the included USB-A to USB-C adapters can be used for the connection.

Included USB C adapter
USB-C and Micro-USB Adapters

Same goes for connecting the tablet to Android smartphones and tablets. You can use the included adapter to connect the cable to your mobile/ tablet.

The cable itself is of good quality and measures 5 feet or 1.5 meters in length. It comes with a velcro cable tie for further cable management.

Driver and tablet settings

Other than physically connecting the tablet to the computer via USB cable, you also need to install the driver.

It is free and can be downloaded from the Xp Pen website.

xp pen Star G960S Plus driver and tablet settings

The driver helps the tablet to communicate with the computer and help it understand the pen tracking, pressure, and tilt data.

It also helps you customize the tablet as per your preference and toggle different settings.

Have a look at the image above, notice how the pressure curve of the stylus has been changed as per the preference of the artist.

With that said – some people ask – Is it really important to install the driver? 

The answer is – Yes, it is important to install the driver, without it the tablet will not work.

Left-hand and right-hand mode

If you are someone who draws with their left hand, it can be difficult for you to drawing on the tablet in the normal layout.

In that situation, within the tablet settings, you will find the option to change the tablet from left-hand mode to right-hand mode.

xp pen star G960S plus rotation settings

In the tablet settings, just select the tablet orientation to 180 degrees. The next thing you need to do is physically rotate the tablet 180 degrees so that the buttons are on the right-hand side and the drawing area on the left.

And your tablet is ready to be used in the left-hand mode.

Android support

If you are someone who draws on your smartphone or tablet, you don’t necessarily need to get a laptop or a computer to have a full-fledged drawing experience.

Since the Xp Pen Star G960S Plus works with Android devices, you can just connect the tablet to your Android device and start drawing.

There are a number of great drawing apps on Android that are almost as good as their desktop counterparts.

The cool thing about the tablet is, you don’t even need to install the driver or any other special application. The tablet just works with the get-go.

Summary – Should you get the Xp Pen Star G960S Plus?

So far in this review, we have seen that there are so many things to like about Xp Pen Star G960S Plus.

conclusion - Should you buy Xp Pen Star G960S Plus

Generally speaking, the overall performance of the tablet is heavily reliant on how good is the stylus.

From the stylus test, we have seen that even though Star G960S Plus is an entry-level tablet, its stylus performance is as good as high-end drawing tablets.

Plus it is one of the few styluses that has an eraser at the back, which is a plus point.

Further, we have seen that its drawing surface is of a very high standard, has a very fine-tuned texture, and excellent scratch resistance properties.

The general build quality of the tablet is also good. But the quality of the buttons on the tablet is on the average side.

Same can be said about the build quality and in-hand feel of the stylus.

When it comes to compatibility, the tablet works with Windows, Mac, as well as Android devices – and comes with a long and handy USB-C cable for connectivity.

So should you buy this tablet?

All things Considered, Xp Pen Star G960S Plus is a great option. No matter whether you are a beginner or an experienced artist, this tablet will serve your needs well and provide you an excellent drawing experiance.

PROs – What we liked

  • Excellent drawing performance
  • Responsive and accurate stylus
  • Eraser at the back of stylus
  • Large drawing area
  • Fine-tuned surface texture
  • Good scratch resistance
  • Programmable Shortcut buttons
  • USB-C connector
  • Support for Android devices
  • Good fit and finish on the tablet
  • Extra Pen nibs plus adapters included in the box
  • Easy to use driver

CONs – What needs improvement

  • Average build quality of the stylus
  • No drawing gloves and pen holder
  • Single side button on the stylus (instead of two)
  • Button on the stylus is a little tough to press

Buy on Amazon →

 

 

 

 

Before we finish off, we would also like to make you aware of another great tablet from Xp Pen which happens to be in a similar price range.

What is so great about it?
– It comes with wireless connectivity. Check out our detailed review of Deco Mini 7W here.

Shubham Singh

Shubham Singh is an Adobe Certified Associate, Graphic Designer, and 3D artist. He likes to acquire new skills and explore how things work.

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