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.
Due to its interoperability and customization options, we believe that the XPEN Artist 12 is the best option for the majority of users. 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.
Table of Contents
1. Wacom Intuos Pro S Drawing Tablet
Many practicing illustrators and design professionals prefer the Intuos Pro line, and using one makes it easy to understand why. There are no obstacles between what you intend to draw or paint and what appears on the screen thanks to the nearly flawless monitoring of pen movement, tilt, and pressure. Wacom also appears to have mastered how the pen feels on the surface, as it glides over with barely any friction.
It speaks a lot that after using the new compact form of the tablet for a few hours, our test illustrator, who was used to using the old medium version, preferred it. You can upgrade to the medium (£315) or large (£409) models if you require more room than the 6.2 x 3.9in an active area. The excellent tool for professional artists or anyone looking for pixel-perfect precision from a tablet and pen comes with six buttons and a configurable “touchring” dial.
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2. Wacom One Drawing Tablet
The Wacom One is made with hobbyists and artists in mind, whereas Wacom’s Cintiq line is intended for creative professionals. This may be seen in the drawing surface’s lesser resolution and the pen’s decreased pressure sensitivity, however, to be honest, anyone can use this pen display.
The full HD display quality works well with the 13.3-inch screen size, which strikes the ideal mix between providing you with enough screen real estate to see what you’re doing and not taking up half of your desk. Additionally, compared to the XP-Pen Artist 12, the screen is far better in terms of brightness, sharpness, and color accuracy.
With tilt sensitivity, you can create spectacular hand-drawn effects like calligraphy and linework, as well as more realistic brush strokes for pastel, charcoal, or paint simulations. The overall feel and tracking are also improved. To get things going, you still need a laptop or a second HDMI output, but the Wacom One’s cable management reduces the mess. Despite being slimmer than the pen on the Cintiq, the pen nevertheless feels comfortable in the hand. This is the pen display to purchase unless you’re a picky graphics pro.
3. Huion H420 Drawing Tablet
This tablet doesn’t provide much, but it’s still an excellent entry-level gadget. Even though the active surface is only 102 by 57mm, you can nevertheless do pretty complicated work by combining the excellent resolution with a pen that offers 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity.
Although it runs on a AAA battery, the pen is sturdy and comfortable to grasp and should provide you with hundreds of hours of use. For such a cheap item, the sensation of the pen on the paper is surprisingly wonderful, with just the appropriate amount of drag, and the accuracy is perfect. This small, lightweight solution is perfect for those just beginning out but if you’re serious about your art or design work you’ll want something bigger.
4. Gaomon PD1560 Drawing Tablet
The 15.6-inch, 1920 x 1080 resolution display on the Gaomon PD1560 is sizable, bright, and impressive. Although it competes with the Wacom alternatives in certain areas, we believe that our top pick from XP-Pen is a better alternative because it lacks a touch wheel and flashy multi-touch.
It actually has many of the characteristics of the Artist12 thanks to the active pen’s 8,192 levels of pressure sensitivity and 72% color gamut accuracy. It differs from Artist12 in that it provides 10 assignable function keys (arranged in a column on the left edge of the device), which is more. 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 doubt 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.
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5. XP-PEN Artist12 Drawing Tablet
Due to its interoperability, adaptability, and reasonably low price, the XP-Pen Artist12 takes the top spot in our ranking. The touchscreen display, a 1920 x 1080 HD IPS display, doesn’t have the best resolution that’s currently available, but with a 72% NTSC Color Gamut accuracy, it focuses on accurately recreating your work as much as possible.
The benefit of having an 11.6-inch display built into your drawing tablet is that you can sketch on it while looking at your other screen because that is where your lines and colors will appear as you draw. Because of this, you get the impression that you are actually making art out in the world.
You may achieve an authentic hand-drawn sensation in your work because of 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 program 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. The gadget works with Mac OS X as far back as version 10.10 and Windows versions 7, 8, or 10 (either 32 or 64-bit).
6. Simbans PicassoTab Drawing Tablet
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.
Drawing is something this tablet does better. 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.
Although not particularly amazing in terms of tablet specifications, these will be adequate for a solitary drawing tab. There is also a 2MP front-facing camera and a 5MP rear-facing camera, in addition to a 10.1-inch IPS display with a resolution of 1280 x 800 and a 1.3GHz quad-core mobile processor.
There is a microSD card slot as well as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. Additionally, you can connect this tablet to an external computer using the micro-HDMI port. This is especially welcoming for aspiring artists because of the last point. They can begin with the fundamental functions of the built-in Sketch program before moving on to more advanced Adobe products and using an external monitor with this tablet as a peripheral.
7. Wacom Cintiq 16 Drawing Tablet
The Cintiq 16 is about as big as graphics tablets and pen displays get if you want to work on a bigger canvas. Although the full HD resolution means it isn’t as sharp as the displays on premium laptops and tablets, the 15.6in panel matches the size of many performance laptops and mobile workstations and is still more than sufficient for graphics work. What you lose in desktop space, you make up for in usability, according to our testers, who discovered that the larger size also made it simpler to choose tools and work on more detailed photos.
It is difficult to find issues with the tracking and precision of this gadget because it is clearly a professional one given the increased pressure sensitivity (up to 8192 levels) and higher 5080 LPI tablet resolution. Additionally, a separate power source, as well as some very bulky cabling, are required due to the larger size and higher power consumption of the display.
Fortunately, the simplicity of the cabling’s design just one connector entering the tablet itself minimizes the inconvenience. You may create a fantastic pen display for creative professionals by adding a great, ergonomic pen and robust legs for a comfortable tilt.
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8. XP-Pen Deco 01 v2 Drawing Tablet
This budget alternative to the Wacom Intuos range offers a ton of technology for an unbelievable cost. With Wacom, you’d have to upgrade to the Intuos Pro series to have 8192 levels of pressure sensitivity and 60 levels of tilt in addition to a tablet with a 5080 LPI resolution. The working space is a huge 259 x 159mm, and the pen feels second only to the Intuos Pro on the surface.
The images have a distinct, hand-drawn look thanks to our artist’s use of advanced brush and pen effects and a track that is almost flawless. The Deco O1 v2 additionally has eight programmable buttons that can be used to switch between tools or pre-set styles.