Best Tablet for Drawing and Art – 2017 Buying Guide

While the Renaissance artists like Leonardo da Vinci and Michael Angelo had their traditional paint and canvas, today’s digital artists rely on electronic drawing tablets to create their very own modern day master pieces. Drawing tablets, also commonly referred to as “graphics tablets” or “pen tablets,” provide today’s artists with an electronic screen that they can use as a drawing board.

The screen responds to pressure from fingers or a pen allowing the user to create digital illustrations with relative ease. Compared to a traditional paper and pen, it is more efficient to use since mistakes are erased faster and easier and the artist has the ability to perform an array of techniques through advanced software and technology without altering earlier versions of a drawing. What’s more, it offers a wide range of tools and functionality that are simply impossible to achieve with a simple paper and pencil.

What’s more, it offers a wide range of tools and functionality that are simply impossible to achieve with a simple paper and pencil.

The graphic tablet is the ultimate weapon of choice for any aspiring artist in the today’s digital age. But with the market teeming with a plethora of drawing tablets, however, it has become increasingly difficult for artists all around the world to determine which tablet experience is the best for them.

Drawing tablets come in numerous shapes and designs, with countless varying features and capabilities, making the decision quite tricky especially for those who are unsure of what they need.

Drawing tablets come in numerous shapes and designs, with countless varying features and capabilities, making the decision quite tricky especially for those who are unsure of what they need.

To save you and all other countless others caught up in this kind of dilemma, here is a comprehensive review of the best graphic tablets for drawing in 2017. This review will provide you with everything you need to know to make that important decision in choosing the drawing tablet that is ideal for you and your artistic needs.

Top 10 Art Tablets

Wacom Intuos Pen and Touch

The Wacom Intuos Pen and Touch product is an amazing tool for both beginners and professionals alike who are looking to create digital art in both photo editing and drawing. It offers superb value for its price and has received positive feedback from numerous users worldwide.

For one, it is very small and portable, allowing you to carry it around with you with relative ease. It is also compatible with Linux and it’s not so expensive price makes it a nice choice for people who are still starting with digital art and also the great portal for playing games like OSU. Three extra nibs are a welcome site to any determined artist while its wireless kits allow you to work without cables with convenience.

The Pen and touch are designed to speed up the users workflow, reduce wrist strain, and provide a comfortable and convenient drawing experience. It comes with 4 express keys that you can customize with any hotkey configuration that you desire. With a convenient and efficient design and functionality, Wacom Intuos Pen and Touch has become the most popular drawing tablet in the market today.

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Huion H610 Pro

The Huion H610 Pro is perhaps the greatest competition that Wacom Intuos tablet has faced since it has been around the market. Just like the Wacom Intuos, the H610 Pro has garnered plenty of reviews from Amazon and most of them are pretty much positive.

The great thing about this tablet is that it’s very affordable compared to Wacom but comes at the same portable size. It offers an array of useful shortcut keys with a pen pressure that works very well. It’s drawing surface is also comparable to that of Wacom with 4 extra nibs and a build quality that is superb.

It does, however, comes with graphics software issues specially if you are using Mac and its back pen which is powered by batteries does not have any eraser on the back.

Overall, the Tablet is a superb tool for digital artists specially if you consider the fact that it is very affordable and has a comfortable drawing surface that is almost a comfortable A5 with plenty of cool features and functionalities to help you in your work.

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Turcom TS-6580

For anyone looking to buy a Turcom TS-6580, the first thing that will catch your attention with this little graphic tablet is its budget friendly price that is usually just below $100.00. The tablet also comes both in white and black and a convenient size – although not as small as the old Wacom Bamboo but it’s not as big as the Intuos Medium either. Overall, it won’t take much room in your workplace and compete with your other gadgets in terms of space.

The pressure sensitivity won’t also give you much of a problem even after months of use although it would be wise to start-up the TS-6580’s Driver VTABLET first before installing any graphics software of your preference to have access with the Pen Tablet Settings to avoid having issues with the pressure sensitivity.

While its stylus pen requires batteries to use, it doesn’t eat up a lot of energy and you will be surprise that you will have to replace the batteries of your other gadget’s first like your wireless mouse before your stylus pen even after continues daily use. The tablet also works well with an array of software such as Paint Tool SAI, FireAlpaca, Corel Painter 13, Adobe Photoshop CS6, and Adobe Illustrator CS6. It does not complement well, however, with Paint.net.

Users might also encounter some problems with its lengthy installation process.
Overall, the Turcom TS-6580 is an ideal option for any artist working on a tight budget but not a good choice for anyone looking to work with popular graphics software.

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Ugee UG-2150 Pen Display Monitor

A lot of users are falling in love with the Ugee UG-2150 today and you can’t blame them. The tablet work’s well as a Cintiq minus the buttons, glass screen, and some parallax. Many even proclaim it at the as the ultimate low-cost alternative to Cintiq.

Pretty cool right?

The UG-2150 also comes with a full HD screen, amazing viewing angles, and good size. It’s rechargeable pen however, does not come with an eraser but using it guarantees a lag-free experience. Ugee is not a popular name compared to Wacom and Huion but you shouldn’t have to worry especially if you buy from Amazon.

The UG-2150 also comes with a full HD screen, amazing viewing angles, and good size. It’s rechargeable pen however, does not come with an eraser but using it guarantees a lag-free experience. Ugee is not a popular name compared to Wacom and Huion but you shouldn’t have to worry especially if you buy from Amazon.

Overall the tablet is pretty awesome. It’s a close replica to the Cintiq 22HD with about 90% of the same functions minus the hefty price tag. Aside from the price, the things that are absent are hotkeys, rotate, tilt-sensitivity and the matte screen.

The tablet comes with some issues but is an excellent buy to anyone who knows their tech stuff and can fix issues by themselves. If you can handle troubleshooting and tech-problem solving on your own, this is definitely the ideal choice for you.

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XP-Pen Artist 22

Just like the other tablets in this review, the XP-Pen Artist 22 has been enjoying positive feedback from its users. Many have reported no dead pixels, which can sometimes be a problem with the Cintiq, and only a few issues without doing any form of calibration whatsoever.

There are even those who feel that the XPen’s color schemes are a bit better than those of Cintiq. In the end, users will find it easy to conclude that the XP-Pen Artist is just like another Ugee-2150 – a great economical alternative to the rather costly Cintiq. Both XP and Ugee drawing tablets even have the same monitor designs.

Overall, the XP-Pen Artist 22 is another cost-effective alternative to the Cintiq. It carries almost every feature that the Cintiq 22HD’s has, except for tilt/rotation sensitivity, programmable express keys, the coating over the screen, and a touch option (the Cintiq 22HD comes in two models, the 22HD and the 22HD Touch).

You might also encounter some problems with its drivers which would be a bit of problem for non-techy users. But just like the Ugee-2150, if you know how to do some basic troubleshooting on your own, the tablet is an excellent choice given its price and its close resemblance to the Cintiq.

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Parblo A610

For artists searching for a mid-level drawing tablet that delivers similar features and capability as the Intuos Pro, the Parblo A610 is an excellent choice. The drawing tablet provides a generous drawing area, plenty of short cut keys, and three-command stylus pen. What’s more, it runs purely off USB power.

Out of the box, the Parblo A610 looks simply amazing. Its 8 hotkey buttons complement well with one’s fingertips and it’s very easy to program using your computer. It’s stylus comes with its own hotkeys too. Its’ USB powered pen is very comfortable to one’s hands and the pressure sensitivity is just superb. Unlike the Intuos Pro, however, the Parblo doesn’t work well with Window’s 10.

Again, it’s another great, cost-effective alternative to the Intuos specially to those who know their tech stuff. If you’re not tech savvy, however, you might encounter some problems in the installation process. If you are, then this is definitely a good buy. You won’t enjoy a lot of higher-end features with the kind of price that it offers.

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Monoprice MP 22-inch Pen Display Tablet

Among the numerous competitors that Wacom is facing in the market today, Monoprice is perhaps one of those that has slowly climbed to its level. The brand does not boast plenty of tablet designs but the ones that they are putting in the market today are certainly on par in terms of design quality and construction.

The Monoprice MP 22-inch, for one, is a superb choice for digital artists of all skill levels. It is a visual on-screen tablet tailored for drawing and painting at a budget friendly price tag.

Every inch and corner of the MP 22 inch tablet screams professional. The display is excellent with precise colors and customizable brightness settings. It’s default pen is very comfortable to use and maximizes every strand and stroke that the artist makes.

The Tablet, however, comes with some minor driver issues that can be annoying at times. Jitters and freezing/flash pauses can be a troublesome experience if you forget to uninstall other previous drivers first. You won’t encounter any problems in its calibration however and once you begin utilizing the tablet you’ll know within a few days that it’s going to be a perfect fit to your artistic endeavors.

If you are looking for a cheaper Wacom alternative, look no further than Monoprice’s 22” display. In terms of physical quality, it is pretty much unparalleled for the kind of price it offers.

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VisTablet Original 12W Graphics Tablet

VisTablet Original 12W graphics tablet is the solution for artists looking for a budget-friendly graphics tablet loaded with features. It has a foot-wide drawing screen with excellent sensitivity, customizable keys, and straightforward design that blends well with your other gadgets when you arrange them in your work desk.

It’s Boss pen, however, runs with AA batteries and doesn’t come with erasers which is a kind of a drawback compared to other pen designs offered by Wacom and other brands. It also has two spare nibs and a nib-removal device.

It’s hotkey functionalities are great. The hotkeys are purely pen-activated, making them very useful for macros. The tablet is smooth and lag free and is accurate in following hand movements. You may encounter long, irritating glitches, however, especially if you are using 10.5 in Mac and Non-Vista OS for Windows users.

Overall, the tablet offers a great package once installed successfully. It is a tablet that will work great for beginners but not so much with professional designers with its limited functionality and lack of support for advanced features found in other designs.

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Lenovo Yoga 720

Lenovo has been one of the leading names with it comes to pioneering convertible 2-in-1 units in the market with its Yoga line of PCs that are versatile enough to be both tablets and laptops. Its most recent design in the series is the Yoga 720 which offers artists a 13.3-inch screen and powerful configurations with an Intel Core i7 processor, 16 GB of RAM, and 512 GB SSD.

It also has a fingerprint scanner and a pair of two USB-C ports to cater your needs. But because it’s combo tablet, it’s quite pricey compared to other drawing tablets that are designed purely for digital art.

With its Core i7-7700HQ CPU processor and Nvidia GeForce GTX 1050 GPU, however, the Yoga 720 is a very useful tool for drawing and video editing as well as playing games watching movies and browsing the internet. If you prefer versatility, speed, and power in your drawing tablet, the Yoga 720 is an excellent choice.

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Apple IPad Pro

The new Ipad Pro is without a doubt a device that can easily capture the hearts of users. Its 10.5 inch tablet screen is small and thin enough to be portable but wide enough to cater an artist’s drawing needs.

Its screen is just so beautiful and powerful that even the most educated tablet user will find just little to no fault in its design. Its £280 more expensive than the standard iPad, though, which is bad news for artists who are on a tight budget.

But because the iPad pro is more of a laptop than a tablet, it offers great versatility with superb multitasking and file-handling capabilities that will never let you down. Overall, it’s a superb tool for all your digital needs… If you can afford it that is.

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Buying Guide – What to Look For

The market is certainly teaming with a wide range of drawing tablets coming from different brands that promise different results and the best user experience. So you can pick the best out of the rest, here are some of the guidelines that you can use:

Size

Size is the first thing that you need to look into when you are planning to purchase a drawing tablet to cater your digital art needs. When it comes to these types of tablet, however, it is important to remember that bigger is not necessarily better.

For home users and those looking at digital art as a hobby, 4″ by 5″ and 6″ by 8″ are the ideal sizes. If you are a CAD user, a serious artist, and technical illustrator, you may be looking for a bigger surface area.

Keep in mind, though, that when the size increases so does the price. Also, if the tablet surface is large, the range of movement from your arms is also greater thus the reason why many people prefer a smaller tablet to minimize arm motion. A smaller surface area, however, may feel awkward for an artist who is used to drawing or painting in long sweeping movements.

Interface

The Graphics tablet’s interface determines the gadget’s connectivity to your computer. Majority of tablets today come with USB interface which is ideal since a lot of computers that you can find in the market today support USB interface. USB devices are hot swappable which means better movement and easier connectivity for you tablet on multiple computers.

For buyers with outdated computers that do not support USB, they will have to opt with tablet designs with a serial interface. The important thing to keep in mind for a serial interface is that you need to make sure that the computer has an available port that can cater your serial interface without conflicting with other devices.

If you use a serial mouse and a serial modem for example, you might experience some technical issues if you connect your serial tablet. Also, USB interface powers itself from your computer while serial tablets require a separate connection which means that you will need another available outlet that can accommodate a medium-sized transformer.

A more convenient approach is also available through Blutooth, wireless connectivity. Bluetooth is a wireless protocol frequently used for connecting electronics devices. With this kind of interface, you will have a much more comfortable and hassle free experience overall.

Pen/Stylus and Tablet Accessories

The drawing tablet that you choose should have a pen or stylus that offers a comfortable and natural feel to your hands. If it doesn’t, you might want to purchase a separate pen that would fit seamlessly with your drawing movements. It’s also important to determine whether or not the pen requires batteries or not to power it.

Batteries need to be replaced from time to time and also makes the pen heavier which is something that you might want to avoid if you’re looking for comfort and convenience in your drawing tablet experience. The pen can also be tethered or free.

Un-tethered pens provide greater ease of hand movement and versatility of use but you will need to be extra careful about losing or misplacing them.

Pens can also have a switch or buttons built into its structure and erasers in their ends. This a great feature since the buttons can be programmed for specific functions such as a right-click or double-click and the eraser can delete errors in one single continues swipe. There are other brands that provide additional pens and other pointing tools that users can reconfigure on their own.

Pressure Sensitivity

Pressure sensitivity will determine how responsive your tablet’s drawing surface will be to your strokes and drawing movements. This is an important aspect that needs to be considered specially if you are trying to create highly detailed digital art works.

The majority of tablets come with either 256, 512, or 1024 pressure levels. The pressure-sensitivity determines line thickness, transparency, and/or color. Normally, the greater the sensitivity, the more responsive and natural your drawing experience will feel and the better control you will have.

Driver Software

For your tablet to be linked effectively and work seamlessly with your computer, the help of drivers is needed. When it comes to your graphics tablet, be sure that you choose a manufacturer that offers drivers that is compatible to your operating system.

This is very crucial if you want a stress-free experience with your device. You should also focus on the kind of features that the driver software provides since this can have a huge impact on how the tablet functions.

You may also want to choose tablets that offer advanced driver features such as the ability to map certain areas of the tablet surface to portions of the screen, programmable menu strips, tool customization, tilt sensitivity, application-specific settings, and more.

Bundled Software

Bundled software can provide great value to your tablet and your experience overall. Choose the kind of tablet that provides bundled software like a painting program and artistic enhancements.

The most common bundles that you will normally encounter in drawing tablets include Adobe Photoshop Elements and Corel Painter Essentials which are great additions to your device. There are also tablets that bundle handwriting recognition software that transforms hand written notes into text.

As a general rule of thumb, the more the bundles and the use they are to your work, the better it would be for you.

Price

Graphic Tablets can be quite pricey – normally they come in hundreds of dollars. But as manufacturers are increasingly focusing on the home experience, prices are fortunately going down at a continues rate. You can purchase a good tablet around $100 or less and it can be a great tool for you specially if you are a beginner.

But if you are looking for more advanced features with professional results, you might want to look into higher priced units to cater your needs.

The Best Graphics Tablet for Drawing

In terms of ideal size, interface, pen/stylus and accessories, pressure sensitivity, driver software, and bundled software for its price, the Wacom Intuos Pen and Touch is the best graphics tablet for drawing today.

Its size is wide enough for effective strokes but portable enough to for different uses and needs. It’s pen fits naturally to the artist’s hands, has its own eraser tip for quicker deletions of errors, does not require batteries to use, and has well designed programmable buttons.

Its wireless interface ensures that there are no distractions and limitations in your work and its pressure sensitivity accurately follows any kind of drawing stroke. Its driver software is compatible with a wide range of Operating Systems and offers tons of great bundled software that are useful to the digital artist.

While there are cheaper alternatives you can find on the market today, nothing comes close to the Wacom Intuos in terms of overall value for its price.