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posted
Moved over to wiki https://osu.ppy.sh/wiki/Tablet_purchase //Marcin
Introduction

If you've been playing osu! and chatting with other players, you're bound to hear about so-called "tablets", and their effects on gameplay in osu!. Tablets are pads that operate with a stylus that connect to your computer. As you hover the pen around above the pad, the mouse cursor moves with the pen, and tapping the pen clicks the mouse. You can think of a tablet for osu! in the same way as you think of an arcade stick for fighting games - not necessary, but some players prefer it.

Their original purpose is to allow a greater degree of control in digital art applications, allowing the user to draw or paint on the computer as if they were using a pencil or paintbrush. The biggest difference that a tablet has over a mouse is that it features absolute tracking. This means that every point on the tablet corresponds to a particular point on the screen. If you lift the pen outside of the sensitive range, then put it down on another part of the tablet, the cursor will "jump" to that location. This is opposed to mice, which rely on relative tracking.

The biggest selling point of tablets for osu! is this absolute tracking - every other parameter such as pressure levels, tilt sensitivity, barrel rotation, etc. will have no effect on your osu! gameplay. These features are for digital art, where the tablet can sense things such as pressure you're applying, and make a darker pencil mark, for example. The only specification which may affect your osu! gameplay is "lpi", or "lines per inch". This is essentially the "resolution" of the tablet surface, or how little you have to move for the tablet to detect it. If a tablet has 100 lpi, then you have to move at least 1/100th of an inch for it to register movement. However, even the lowest lpi should be far higher than any monitor that you're likely to play on, so higher numbers have a mostly unnoticeable effect on gameplay.


In short: Tablets are an optional device to let you play the game in a different way. They were originally intended for digital art, but happen to work very well with osu!, and most specifications will make no difference in osu!.



Types of Tablets

Wacom is the "brand name" of tablets - tablets are all they make, and they're widely accepted (by artists) as producing the best quality, most reliable tablets. I recommend buying from Wacom because of their reputation as producing high-quality products as a leader in the tablet world. They produce three main lines:

Cintiq - "Draw directly on the screen" tablets, these are used in very high-end professional applications, and cost a pretty penny.
Intuos - The Professional line of tablets, these have features above and beyond the Bamboo line, but lack a screen.
Bamboo - The general consumer line of tablets, these come cheap with all the features you need to get started as a hobbyist.

There are other lines, such as the Graphire or Volito tablets, but these names have been discontinued, replaced by the above lines.

For osu!, you are very unlikely to need a Cintiq or Intuos - these two lines cater to professional in graphic design and illustration, and cost much more than the tablets in the Bamboo line. They feature increased pressure sensitivity, more bundled graphics software, and advanced features such as barrel rotation or tilt sensitivity. These mean nothing in osu!, so only buy one of these if you're planning on using your tablet for serious graphic design work outside of osu!.

At the time of writing there are three versions of the Bamboo, all confusingly under the same "Bamboo" moniker (The Intuos lines are distinguished by number - Intuos5 is the latest at the time of writing). I would recommend either buying the second or third generation Bamboos - the first generation Bamboo tablets had the extra buttons on the top of the tablet rather than the side, which makes them awkward for use in osu!.

[spoilerboxx]First generation Bamboo (Pen and Touch, Touch, and Fun - Bamboo Fun shown)


Second generation Bamboo (Pen and Touch, Pen, Touch, Fun, and Craft - Bamboo Pen and Touch shown)


Third generation Bamboo (Connect, Capture, Create - Connect shown)
[/spoilerboxx]

You'll want to stay away from either of the Bamboo Touch tablets - they do not feature pen input, they're just multitouch trackpads for your computer. Frankly, Apple did it better.

The other Bamboo models come in two sizes - basically small and large. For the second generation, Bamboo Touch, Pen, and Pen and Touch were the "small" ones, whereas the Fun and Craft were the "large" ones. For the third generation, the Connect and Capture are the "small", whereas the Create is the "large". For osu!, you'll probably be looking at getting one of the "small" sized tablets because it's a common strategy to reduce play area so that you don't have to move your arm when you play. However, it's personal preference as to whether or not you want a larger tablet area, and it's especially worth considering the "large" size if you are also into digital art; drawing is much more comfortable on a larger tablet.

So, here are my recommend options -
Second Generation - Bamboo Pen for small size, Bamboo Fun for large size.
Third Generation - Bamboo Connect for small size , Bamboo Create for large size.

At the time of writing, the "Small" sized tablets hover around $70, and the "Large" size Bamboos hover at around $170.
Of course, these prices will change slightly day to day on Amazon - the Wacom site has the Bamboo Connect listed at $79 and the Bamboo Create at $199.

Here's some links to purchase the latest models from Amazon. If you buy using these links, you will be helping support osu! :).
Wacom Bamboo Splash Pen Tablet ($66.99)
Wacom Bamboo Capture Pen and Touch Tablet ($89.99)

Lastly, Intuos3 tablets can be had for very cheap on second-hand sites like eBay or Craigslist, and are definitely worth checking out if you're also going to be doing digital art as well. For osu!, however, the differences between the Intuos and Bamboo lines are negligible - the only real difference is that the Intuos lines have a much wider range of sizes than is available for Bamboo. I personally use a 9x12" Intuos3 for my art, and it still works like new after more than 4 years now.

In Short: Wacom's the recommend brand. Cintiq and Intuos tablets are too expensive and give no real advantage over Bamboo for osu!. See the recommend options above for the recommend models. Also try your luck at a used Intuos3 if you're also into art.



In Conclusion:

I hope this guide has cleared up some questions you may have about those tablets you've heard about and want to buy. These are only suggestions, however - there are certainly other brands out there that are cheaper than Wacom's tablets, but having tried tablets like the Mousepen, I would definitely say that you get what you pay for in terms of quality. Also, if you notice any mistakes in anything I've said here, or have anything to add, please say so in the comments.

I'll try to update this guide as new models come out to reflect changes in recommendations.

Good luck!
posted
I can't reason buying a peripheral at that price to do better for one application. I have no interest in pursuing digital art. I'd buy a joystick so I can have better control in the multitude of games involving flying; makes sense. But I can't see any application of a tablet outside of Osu!. No offense to those more dedicated to the game.

Good guide. Very thorough.

Changed my mind. Going to get one.
posted

Zelmarked wrote:

I can't reason buying a peripheral at that price to do better for one application. I have no interest in pursuing digital art. I'd buy a joystick so I can have better control in the multitude of games involving flying; makes sense. But I can't see any application of a tablet outside of Osu!. No offense to those more dedicated to the game.

Good guide. Very thorough.
guitar hero
posted
I use a bamboo with a very small active area. I have never used it for anything outside of osu! so naturally there would be areas (the active area and where I rest my hand) that would experience more wear. You can see this as it turns from matte (unused) to glossy (most used), will this affect the functionality of my tablet? I'm assuming your tablet is like that since you have used it for four years, but as mentioned works like new, so am I only wearing away at the aesthetic value?
posted

FruitTingles wrote:

I use a bamboo with a very small active area. I have never used it for anything outside of osu! so naturally there would be areas (the active area and where I rest my hand) that would experience more wear. You can see this as it turns from matte (unused) to glossy (most used), will this affect the functionality of my tablet? I'm assuming your tablet is like that since you have used it for four years, but as mentioned works like new, so am I only wearing away at the aesthetic value?
The overlay sheets and pen nibs are made to be replaceable. If you run your fingernail along the side, you can lift it up and remove it to replace it. The only difference that you'll see from the more worn areas is a different "feel" when the pen draws over it. It'll feel a bit more slippery, especially if you're using a second or third generation bamboo with the textured overlay sheet.

The tablet's working bits are all on the inside, and have nothing to do with the contact of the pen on the tablet surface. If you place a piece of cardboard on the tablet and then start to draw, it will still work. The overlay sheet is just a piece of plastic, and so are the tablet nibs.


(My overlay sheet actually has gashes and holes in it... They're pretty expensive so I'm looking for a cheap material that has the same feel, though in the mean time the only difference I feel is the occasional small bump when the pen runs over a scratch or holel. Protip for the pen nibs, you can use plastic wire from a weed whacker that's the same diameter of the nib for a cheap, effective replacement.)
posted
Oh okay, thanks for the clarification. I knew the nibs could be replaced because I had to insert one when I initially got it but I didn't know about the overlay sheet. The "feel" shouldn't be an issue because the only time my pen contacts the pad is when I change songs haha.
posted
Great guide
posted

Daru wrote:

For osu!, you are very unlikely to need a Cintiq or Intuos
I use an intuos 3. :<
posted

Sander-Don wrote:

Daru wrote:

For osu!, you are very unlikely to need a Cintiq or Intuos
I use an intuos 3. :<
I used intous 4 /o/ lool
posted

Zelmarked wrote:

I can't reason buying a peripheral at that price to do better for one application. I have no interest in pursuing digital art. I'd buy a joystick so I can have better control in the multitude of games involving flying; makes sense. But I can't see any application of a tablet outside of Osu!. No offense to those more dedicated to the game.

Good guide. Very thorough.
I can't reason buying a hockey stick at their prices to do better at that one sport. I can't reason buying a pair of running shoes at that price just to do better at running. etc. etc.

Maybe once you stop being a noob or closed minded, you wouldn't make such idiotic comments. Also, when you say "no offense", that pretty much says that you know that your comment was going to be offensive.
posted

ShangMing wrote:

Zelmarked wrote:

I can't reason buying a peripheral at that price to do better for one application. I have no interest in pursuing digital art. I'd buy a joystick so I can have better control in the multitude of games involving flying; makes sense. But I can't see any application of a tablet outside of Osu!. No offense to those more dedicated to the game.

Good guide. Very thorough.
I can't reason buying a hockey stick at their prices to do better at that one sport. I can't reason buying a pair of running shoes at that price just to do better at running. etc. etc.

Maybe once you stop being a noob or closed minded, you wouldn't make such idiotic comments. Also, when you say "no offense", that pretty much says that you know that your comment was going to be offensive.
My preference to not buy a object for one particular app is offense? I typed no offense because obviously there exist those who care about doing really good at one thing over others. "I", as I typed, do not.
posted
Great guide! I wouldn't recommend buying a tablet just for osu! since it doesn't make alotta difference when you practice enough, and it's expensive. I'd say don't give up on mousing too early and don't be fooled by statements as "all good players are tablet players".

Ofcourse if you're very dedicated to the game, wouldn't mind missing some money and would like to try tabletting, by all means do get one \o/
posted
Great guide, changed to sticky.
posted

Sander-Don wrote:

Daru wrote:

For osu!, you are very unlikely to need a Cintiq or Intuos
I use an intuos 3. :<
Haha, so do I. :)

Of course, I use my Intuos 3 for art as well, where it is a significant improvement upon the Bamboo. Strictly for osu!, however, the Intuos3 won't be any better than a Bamboo.
posted
I had my Intuos 3 stolen a while back, and went to mouse, then to a bamboo, I can proudly say there is no difference while playing Osu!.
Drawing, on the other hand...
posted
Very nice and accurate guide. Though, there's something that's wrong, from my point of view.

Daru wrote:

In Short: Wacom's the recommend brand. Cintiq and Intuos tablets are too expensive and give no real advantage over Bamboo for osu!. See the recommend options above for the recommend models. Also try your luck at a used Intuos3 if you're also into art.
A Cintiq tablet is probably much better than a Bamboo/Intuos one for osu!, resembling the DS gaming experience. If you have someone on your family that has a professional use for a Cintiq and has a old one (if this person bought a bigger one, for example), it's actually better than the other two lines.
posted

Maav wrote:

Very nice and accurate guide. Though, there's something that's wrong, from my point of view.

Daru wrote:

In Short: Wacom's the recommend brand. Cintiq and Intuos tablets are too expensive and give no real advantage over Bamboo for osu!. See the recommend options above for the recommend models. Also try your luck at a used Intuos3 if you're also into art.
A Cintiq tablet is probably much better than a Bamboo/Intuos one for osu!, resembling the DS gaming experience. If you have someone on your family that has a professional use for a Cintiq and has a old one (if this person bought a bigger one, for example), it's actually better than the other two lines.
I say "give no real advantage" with respect with the price. The small bamboo can be had for $70, whereas Cintiqs start at $1000. I feel that it's very hard to justify buying a Cintiq if you're going to use it for only osu! at this price difference. Furthermore, the advantages of playing on a screen are, for some, countered by the disadvantage of having your hand and arm covering a good bit of your play area, so I don't think it's right to say that Cintiqs are objectively better than the tablets without screens. From my personal experience I've found this disadvantage to be very significant (I've played osu! on a friend's 12" Cintiq, as well as Tablet PCs).

As for getting things from relatives, note that this is a tablet purchase guide. ;)
I'm trying to weigh price relative to functionality in osu!, and paying upwards of $1000 for a device that you're only going to use for osu! would be, in my opinion, a complete waste of money.

Though, thanks for the input. :)
posted
Very good review, complete information about tablets :D.
For anyone who wants to know I've tried 3 kinds of tablets, "Bambo 2nd generation", "Bamboo 3rd Generation" and "Wacom Intuos 4"(This is my tablet). I bought it because i just had the money, i'm not a drawer, i just use it for math and osu.

So let me tell you:

If you want to buy a GOOD tablet go for BAMBOO CONNECT (considering the money) because is almost the same than intuos4 (it cost me like $USD 340).

The main difference i felt between this 3 tablets was the "lift detection" of the pencil; with intuos4 you can play with the pencil in the air very well, but with 2nd and 3rd generation sometimes i missed the detection and i failed (like 1or 2cm of difference, that's all).

Also intuos 4's software allows you to adjust your Area. This is very important because YOU MUST PLAY in the same proportion than your resolution. I play 1680x1050 (aspect ratio (AR) 16:10) and intuos 4 is 16:10 so it's perfect for me. This is very helpful because you can decide your area with numerical values.

EDIT

Active areas for tablets
you obtain the aspect ration in full area dividing long by high

Intuos4 = 6.2" x 3.9" in AR= 1.59
2nd Gen = 5.8" x 3.6" in AR= 1.61
3rd Gen = 5.8" x 3.6" in AR= 1.61

so as you can see, all wacom tablets*were made for AR 16:10, consider this to play in a good "rectangular proportion" ingame, you shouldn't try to introduce a square into a rectangle, that's why AR is sooo important.

I hope this can help you if you're not pretty sure on what to buy. Sorry for my english but if you still have any dude ask me :)
posted

nVidi4x wrote:

Very good review, complete information about tablets :D.
For anyone who wants to know I've tried 3 kinds of tablets, "Bambo 2nd generation", "Bamboo 3rd Generation" and "Wacom Intuos 4"(This is my tablet). I bought it because i just had the money, i'm not a drawer, i just use it for math and osu.

So let me tell you:

If you want to buy a tablet go for 3rd generation (considering the money) because is almost the same than intuos4 (it cost me like $USD 340).

The main difference i felt between this 2 tablets wais the "lift detection" of the pencil; with intuos4 you can play with the pencil in the air very well, but with 3rd generation sometimes i missed the detection and i failed (like 2cm of difference, that's all).

Also intuos 4's software allows you to adjust your Area. This is very important because YOU MUST PLAY in the same proportion than your resolution. I play 1680x1050 (aspect ratio 16:10) and intuos 4 is 16:10 so it's perfect for me, but if you're buying a 3rd gen bamboo your resolution should be in aspec ratio 16:9 (resolutions HD 1280x720, 1920x1080, etc)

I'm not pretty sure but i think you can have a little advantage with intuos.

I hope this can help you if you're not pretty sure on what to buy. Sorry for my english but if you still have any dude ask me :)
Thx dude!
I was wondering what tablet I should choose for 16:9 a.r. and you have answered my question!
btw, is there any difference between pen only tablet and pen & touch? I mean are there any tricks or smth?
posted

LnDSuv wrote:

nVidi4x wrote:

Very good review, complete information about tablets :D.
For anyone who wants to know I've tried 3 kinds of tablets, "Bambo 2nd generation", "Bamboo 3rd Generation" and "Wacom Intuos 4"(This is my tablet). I bought it because i just had the money, i'm not a drawer, i just use it for math and osu.

So let me tell you:

If you want to buy a tablet go for 3rd generation (considering the money) because is almost the same than intuos4 (it cost me like $USD 340).

The main difference i felt between this 2 tablets wais the "lift detection" of the pencil; with intuos4 you can play with the pencil in the air very well, but with 3rd generation sometimes i missed the detection and i failed (like 2cm of difference, that's all).

Also intuos 4's software allows you to adjust your Area. This is very important because YOU MUST PLAY in the same proportion than your resolution. I play 1680x1050 (aspect ratio 16:10) and intuos 4 is 16:10 so it's perfect for me, but if you're buying a 3rd gen bamboo your resolution should be in aspec ratio 16:9 (resolutions HD 1280x720, 1920x1080, etc)

I'm not pretty sure but i think you can have a little advantage with intuos.

I hope this can help you if you're not pretty sure on what to buy. Sorry for my english but if you still have any dude ask me :)
Thx dude!
I was wondering what tablet I should choose for 16:9 a.r. and you have answered my question!
btw, is there any difference between pen only tablet and pen & touch? I mean are there any tricks or smth?
Pen and touch just has a feature where you can use your finger.
Buy the pen.
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