Huion H420 Manufacturer: Huion Price: $30 Video Demonstration Review: Aren’t these just for graphic designers? Graphics tablets are generally used by both artists and professional graphic designers for enhanced precision drawing, but they can also be used for other applications as they essentially replace the input interface of a mouse. This means they can also be used for gaming with games that primarily utilize a mouse. In this review it was put to the test with the following free games (each with a brief description) to see how well it performed: Draw-Play 1-3 – you have to guide the character to the following stage by drawing a safe path and avoiding obstacles. Controls: mouse and arrow keys Solipskier – you have to draw the appropriate slopes for the skier to keep successfully going. Controls: mouse only osu! – a PC adaptation of the popular rhythm genre, commonly seen in the Nintendo DS, an example would be a game like Elite Beat Agents. Controls: mouse only Clicker Heroes – an appropriately named RPG-like game where you click the hell out of monsters to defeat them and upgrade your attacks by using the loot acquired from them. Controls: mouse only Ditch the Mouse For Draw-Play 1-3, the stylus works well in this game and makes drawing the path much more fun. Since you also need to use arrow keys, the H420 can address this by mapping the 3 buttons to the left arrow, right arrow, and up arrow (jump) to help the character navigate across the drawn path without having to use the keyboard keys. It feels a bit awkward though but it works. Alternatively, you can still just use your keyboard as due to the nature of this game, it’s not a hassle. In Solipskier, the stylus works smoothly as well and is just as responsive as the mouse. Since the drawing area is not that large on the pad, you just have to be careful that you don’t get carried away in drifting the stylus out of the detection range. osu! is a great example of how the stylus control scheme is much more immersive than the mouse as it simulates the gameplay of its console origins much more accurately. It is worth noting that I’m not particularly good at this game, and therefore, I tested it in the easier difficulty. Overall, the device seemed to register every movement accurately. The stylus works flawlessly in Clicker Heroes as well as you essentially just have to tap the pad to simulate the click. This tapping gameplay is reminiscent of that found in mobile and tablet games. Non-Gaming Performance Our primary objective was to test it out for gaming purposes but since its use goes beyond gaming, it’s worth taking a brief look at this aspect as well. I messed around with some doodling using Microsoft Paint (Windows 7) and was satisfied with the result. It felt much more natural than the mouse. I then attempted to use it for web browsing by using Window’s tablet functions that allow you to write out the text instead of typing it in. This worked as well but in this case, I don’t really see the benefit as it’s more of a hassle than just using the keyboard although this qualm is more with using this feature rather than with the device as even on native Windows tablets I rather use the keyboard. Another drawing program I tried it with was Open Sankore which is a free whiteboard program that’s awesome. The graphics tablet worked well with this as well as expected. Lastly, I experimented with Microsoft Word’s Inking feature that is used for marking up documents and again, was satisfied. Final Scribble For about $30, you get a good budget graphics tablet that’s great for some casual gaming and more serious work. Considering the price, the unit is well built as well which is pleasant as nowadays cheaper alternatives tend to feel very flimsy. Also, if you’re unfamiliar with graphics tablets in general, this unit is easy to set up and use. If you’ve installed a simple peripheral before such as a printer, you should have no problem getting this to work. The hardest part was probably making sure the battery was in the pen for which I consulted the manual and found out it was easy as I had speculated except I wanted to be sure to avoid accidental damage. Besides that, everything else was self-explanatory including mapping the 3 buttons. The configuration panel supports further tweaking, but I didn’t feel the need to do so for my basic usage. The only problem I encountered was that I also had a USB mouse connected to my laptop at first, and this caused some problems that the manual warned about as with the USB mouse, built-in touchpad, and graphics tablet, there was a total of 3 active mouse inputs. You can only have 2 active to avoid problems. Once I unplugged the USB mouse, I had no issues so keep this in mind. Pros: +Affordable price +Well-built +Responsive and easy to use Cons: -Not wireless but this is expected for the price -Smaller drawing area may provide limitations for more advanced usage Huion’s H420 gets a “BUY IT” purchase recommendation for its performance and price. For more info and to purchase: Huion’s Amazon shop H420 420 - it’s essentially the H420 without the 3 buttons and thus a bit cheaper. Disclosure: A review unit was used to evaluate this product.