2018’s 5 Top Tablets For Graphic Design
Tablets have made great strides in the Graphic Designers world. You have options now to suit all budgets – from powerful, feature-packed pen displays with high-resolution touchscreens to mid-range and cheap drawing tablets that balance price with power.
There are also three categories of drawing tablet, each taking a different approach to the challenge of helping you draw on your Windows PC or Mac as if you were drawing on paper.
Before we bring you our pick of the best options, let’s get familiar with the three different types.
The traditional drawing tablet features a flat, featureless surface that you draw on with a stylus, with the image displayed on a computer monitor. Graphics tablets remain the most affordable drawing tablet category. Their main disadvantage is the sense of ‘disconnect’ between the drawing surface and the screen, take a bit but most people get used to this quickly.
Pen displays consists of a flat-screen monitor with a pressure-sensitive surface that you draw on with a stylus. They don't have the sense of disconnect experienced with graphics tablets, are more portable and cost more. You will get a lot of cables between the display and computer, and know that the display surfaces don’t quite offer the ‘bite’ that graphics tablets do.
Tablet computers – Todays Top 5 Feature
Most popular, Android and iOS devices like the Samsung Galaxy Tab and iPad Pro take on the other drawing tablets in two ways. Portability lovers can rest easy knowing you won't need another computer: just download an art app and start drawing with your fingertip or a stylus. You do have the option of using your tablet as a ‘graphics tablet’ alongside another application like Creative Cloud suite on you main PC.
Wacom Cintiq 22HD touch pen display
Price: $1699 [See on Amazon]
- Great pressure sensitivity
- Flowing drawing movement
- Big Screen Display
- Low screen resolution for the size though
Active drawing area: 5 x 11.5in | Resolution: 1,920 x 1,080 | Pen pressure sensitivity: 2,048 levels | Connections: DVI, USB 2.0 | OS: Windows or macOS
XP-Pen Artist 15.6 pen display
Price : $460 [See on Amazon]
- Very affordable
- Good pen and drawing surface
- Stand Not Included
Active drawing area: 54 x 7.62in | Resolution: 1,920 x 1,080 | Pen pressure sensitivity: 8,192 levels | Connections: USB-C | OS: Windows or macOS
Pro 13 Samsung Galaxy Tab S3
Price : $549 [See on Amazon]
- Support for pen is great
- Drawing Pen included
- Fewer creative apps than iOS
Active drawing area: 76 x 5.82in | Resolution: 2,048 x 1,536 | Pen pressure sensitivity: 4,096 levels | Connections: USB-C, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi | OS: Android 7.0
Microsoft Surface Book 2
Price : $1799 [See on Amazon]
- Laptop and Tablet in one
- Great resolution
- Surface pen will cost extra
Active drawing area: 11.25 x 7.5in: | Resolution: 3,000 x 2,000 | Pen pressure sensitivity: 4,096 levels (with optional Surface Pen) | Connections: 2 x USB 3.0, USB-C, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi | OS: Windows 10 Pro
Apple iPad Pro
Price : $745 [See on Amazon]
- Largest iPad drawing area
- Great quality of screen resolution
- Apple Pencil will cost you extra
Active drawing area: 32 x 7.74in | Resolution: 2,732 x 2,048 | Pen pressure sensitivity: Not specified (with optional Apple Pencil) | Connections: Lightning, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi | OS: iOS 11
You cannot go wrong with either Apple iPad Pro or Microsoft’s Surface Book 2. While pricey, they deliver on all accounts. What you do need to know is that Wacom has lead the pack regarding tablets specifically manufactured for graphic design only.
XP-Pen Artist 15.6 pen display was our surprise in doing our research this time. If not for anything else, it is cheap cheap cheap in price. Lowest in the end pf professional tablets, it is a starter tablet if you’re thinking of dabbling in graphic design.
In our Best Bang for the Buck category, the Apple iPad Pro stands out as the clear winner. The noticeable difference between the iPad Pro and regular iPad is not felt on a big picture but more on in the improvements made in its general daily professional use. Its combination of performance on the high end, excellent screen display, makes this one worth the price!