You can input data with a pen or stylus on a drawing tablet, which is essentially a second touchscreen for your computer. The tactile feedback of a pen in your hand may considerably enhance just about any creative job on a computer demanding pin-point accuracy, but drawing tablets can be especially useful for presenters, artists, graphic designers, and Photoshop nerds.
The XPEN Artist 12 is our recommendation for the majority of people due to its compatibility and customization options (as well as its affordable pricing).
We’ve compiled our top selections for drawing tablets below after our experts reviewed dozens of options. Check out our list of the best tablets if you’re looking for a tablet with additional features.
Because to its interoperability, adaptability, and reasonably low price, the XP-Pen Artist12 wins our top rank. The touchscreen display, a 1920 x 1080 HD IPS display, doesn’t have the greatest resolution that is currently offered, but with a 72% NTSC Color Gamut accuracy, its main goal is to accurately reproduce your work as much as possible.
Drawing on the device where your lines and colours are appearing is excellent because you don’t need to look at your other screen while drawing on a different surface. This is made possible by your drawing tablet’s 11.6-inch display. This gives the impression that you are actually producing art in the real world.
You may achieve an authentic hand-drawn sensation in your work because to the passive hexagonal pen’s 8,192 degrees of pressure sensitivity, which has a very pencil-like feel. That pen being passive can really be a positive thing since it prevents it from being yet another device that needs to be charged.
Additionally, the Artist12 provides you with six distinct assignable shortcut keys as well as a full-height touch bar that you may programme to perform specific computer instructions (XP-Pen suggests mapping it to the zoom-in/zoom-out feature). This transforms it from a drawing-only tablet into a fully functional control surface for your design software. Windows 7, 8, or 10 (in 32 or 64 bit) and Mac OS X as far back as version 10.10 are all compatible with the device.
The 15.6-inch Gaomon PD1560 display is large, bright, and has a 1920 x 1080 resolution. It competes with the Wacom alternatives in certain aspects, but since it lacks a touch wheel and fancy multi-touch, we believe our top pick from XP-Pen is a better alternative.
It actually does have many of the capabilities of the Artist12 because to the 72% colour gamut accuracy and the 8,192 levels of pressure sensitivity from the active pen. It differs from the Artist12 in that it provides 10 assignable function keys, which are more than the Artist12. These keys are arranged in a column on the left edge of the device. However, this item will cost you over $100 extra.
Its bright IPS display and additional function buttons may be enough to convince you to pay the greater price, but the device’s awkwardly large form factor—in contrast to something like the Cintiq 15, which is less sprawling—means it will take up a lot of space on your desk.
But there’s no doubting that this is a fantastic peripheral with very outstanding pen specifications. The pen operated wonderfully during testing, however our reviewer, Jeremy Laukkonen, suggested that the side buttons might be more prominent.
Despite the fact that we were avoiding them for this review, the Simbans PicassTab is a standalone tablet. We might classify this device as a drawing-specific tablet because that is what it excels at. This will work perfectly if you want an Android tablet for watching movies and browsing the web, but the less expensive Amazon Fire tablets offer an equally fantastic experience.
What this tablet does better is drawing. And there are two reasons why. It is pre-equipped with an active stylus that enables reliable palm rejection right out of the box (crucial for avoiding mis-presses while drawing). Additionally, it has Autodesk Sketchbook and Artflow preinstalled, two top-notch Android sketching apps for beginners.
These tablet specifications aren’t particularly amazing, but they’ll be adequate for a solitary drawing tab. There is a 10.1-inch IPS display with a resolution of 1280 x 800, a 1.3GHz quad-core mobile processor, a 2MP front-facing camera, and a 5MP rear-facing camera.
Here, you’ll find microSD card slots, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi. A micro-HDMI port allows you to connect this tablet to an external computer as well. And it’s precisely that last feature that makes this so welcoming to aspiring artists. They can begin by learning the fundamentals of the built-in Sketch programme before moving on to authentic Adobe apps and using an external monitor while using this tablet as a peripheral. It costs about $200 and strikes a fair compromise between the two.
One of the most cost-effective drawing tablets available today, the Huion H420 nevertheless offers a lot of the features that designers need. As a result, it’s excellent for aspiring graphic artists because it allows them fresh ways to work with related programmes like Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and more.
But for that price, what compromises are you making? You do have some precision with 2,048 levels of pressure sensitivity, but it is significantly less than what you would find on more expensive tablets. Although it is a little lower than other possibilities, the “resolution” (basically how many sensors there are per inch of the board) is set at 4,000 lines per inch (LPI), which is more than adequate for budding designers.
On the left side of the device, there are three assignable keys that put function choices for your design applications at your fingers. The fact that the pad is only 4.5 x 7 inches and the active area is even smaller at 4 x 2.25 inches is another intriguing aspect of this setup.
Even though the smaller size may appear constrained, designers on the road may simply toss it in their luggage and utilise it with their laptops. In addition to offering plug-and-play compatibility with both Windows and Mac OS X, this package includes an active pen that enables you to employ digital features (such as push-button scrolling).
The Intuos Pro range of drawing accessories is probably Wacom’s flagship line, and the company has long been a leader in the drawing tablet market. This model, in what Wacom refers to as the “medium” size, resembles Goldilocks in that it has an active surface area of 8.7 x 5.8 inches but only a footprint of 13.2 x 8.5 inches. As a result, it won’t be quite as awkward at your desk setting but will still provide a tonne of workspace.
The eight dedicated function buttons, the assignable touch wheel for more thorough programme navigation, and even the hand-recognition switch, which enables the tablet to respond to movements much like a touchpad, are some more noteworthy features.
Of course, the device with the most notoriety is Wacom’s Pro Pen 2. With a staggering 8,192 levels of pressure sensitivity, this active pen allows for extremely precise sketching. Additionally, Wacom has put in a latency time that is four times faster than the Pro Pen of the first generation, as well as tilt support for drawing more realistic, fading lines.
In addition to wired connectivity, it also features Bluetooth. Though it isn’t the cheapest tablet available, the entire bundle is compatible with the most recent operating systems and design tools, and for a creative professional, the pricing is very fair.
The Wacom Cintiq 16 intends to provide artists with a true digital canvas to work on, similar to the Artist12 from XP-Pen. It is a freestanding touchscreen display that features the same accuracy as Wacom’s non-screen pads but with a vivid visual to provide rapid feedback on your work.
With a diagonal measurement of 15.6 inches and HD resolution of 1920 x 1980, that display is large. Despite being rather glossy, the glass covering the top of the display has a glare-reducing coating that is easy on your eyes. Speaking of accuracy, the Cintiq 16 has a gamut accuracy of 72% and can display up to 16.7 million different colours. This is fairly typical for design requirements and is suitable for the majority of artistic endeavours.
The physical experience of drawing on the tablet is the other aspect of the Wacom equation.
Wacom is renowned for its precision and usability, and the business tried its best to incorporate such advantages on an actual screen-based tablet.
The Pro Pen 2 is at its core, offering 8,192 pressure sensitivity levels (excellent for sketching), up to 60 degrees of tilt recognition, and an exceptionally low latency level that is essentially invisible to most users. To acquire the best display-oriented tablet you can for an expensive, but not outrageous $650, you’ll have to give up some control, like as the multi-touch functionality and assignable function buttons seen on other Wacom devices.
Children’s creative endeavours are the focus of the Flueston LCD Writing Tablet. It is a diminutive (10 inches) and lightweight (7.1 ounces) gadget that falls in the middle of a Kindle and an Etch-a-Sketch. So how does it function? The display appears to be black, but instead of displaying fully animated, colour images, it simply responds to your markings by “scraping off” the top layer of black to reveal the multicoloured background below. Of course, it’s simply software emulation; you aren’t actually scraping anything off.
But that’s just how it appears.
It’s amazing how Flueston, the producer, was able to modify the LCD crystal’s flexibility to enable a product that allows kids to press down on it with the supplied stylus to make it feel more like a marker. It’s a truly lovely concept that will inspire limitless imagination. There are settings for screen locks, eraser capabilities, and even the ability to store drawings for later review.
This is only intended for usage in rooms with lights on because it doesn’t have a backlit screen, but by reducing the amount of traditional “screen time” kids get, this will actually benefit their eyes. Additionally, because the device doesn’t have a backlight, its replaceable watch-style battery can last for up to a year.
The applications for graphics tablets have expanded along with their popularity. Osu! and its follow-ups are two extreme examples of this beatmapping, rhythm game genre. A regular mouse can be used to play the game (and is typically used for recreational play), but many serious and expert-level players prefer a graphics tablet.
Therefore, the XP-Pen StarG640 tablet is a perfect place to start if you want to get into that level of gaming. Why? To begin with, it’s a terrific, low-cost, low-risk method to test out this new style of playing at only around $40. The passive stylus that comes with it offers 8,192 levels of pressure sensitivity, and the 6 by 4-inch writing area is large enough for most players to meet their demands.
To be fair, this is essentially XP-low-cost Pen’s non-screen drawing tablet, so design software will also operate with it. You can simply plug it in and start using it because it is driver-free and works with both Windows and Mac. This makes it perfect for non-art tasks like getting client signatures or even just taking notes on a laptop. Additionally, due to its small size, the item will easily fit in your bag.
9 . Best Splurge: Wacom Cintiq 22
Wacom’s Cintiq range has previously been discussed above, so it’s not surprising to see the company appear once more on our list given the stunning screens that are a part of all of Wacom’s products and its time-tested drawing technology. The very enormous 21.5-inch display in use here is what distinguishes the Cintiq 22 from similar products. In actuality, that is the only factor in this unit’s $1,200 price tag.
Wacom’s pressure-induced sensors and colour accuracy have to cover a lot more area on that enormous panel, raising the cost of production. But you do experience genuinely outstanding performance.
The outstanding 1920 x 1080 HD resolution is stunningly attractive, and the 72% Gamut accuracy is just as professional as you would expect. Given the size of the screen and the high price tag, Wacom might have included a little bit more resolution, but it is only a minor quibble. The impressive Pro Pen 2—Wacom’s second-generation active pen technology—offers 8,192 levels of pressure sensitivity, tilt recognition for more accurate line widths, and essentially no detectable latency. The build quality here is truly unparalleled.
This is actually the best solution for the designer who already adores their laptop but desires the capabilities of something like a Microsoft Surface Studio: a workhorse for your design requirements with a tonne of touchscreen real estate and excellent precision.
Many well-known tech companies are adopting a “attainable” price strategy. The Wacom One is an alternative to devices like the Microsoft Surface Go and the entry-level iPad. The One isn’t a standalone tablet like the ones mentioned above, but with a price tag of only $50 or $60 and a superb build quality from Wacom, it fits the bill for low-cost but nonetheless upscale-feeling gadgets.
This tablet, which has dimensions of 6.0 x 3.7 inches, is only 0.3 inches thick and features a good, sturdy plastic construction with rounded edges. This makes using it a pleasure and makes it possible to throw it into your laptop bag for trips. Similar to other low-cost tablets on the market, the pressure-sensitive stylus only offers 2,048 levels of pressure sensitivity, and at 2540 LPI of sensor density, it isn’t the most accurate tablet available.
However, the One makes up for its lack of superior raw specs with ease of use and, of course, price. It connects through USB, functions with both Windows and Mac operating systems out of the box along with all of your favourite design apps, and this set includes a premium-feeling stylus without costing extra.