Do you need a tablet for graphic illustration or photo editing? What is the best tablets for graphic design? A tablet makes things easier and enables you to complete your projects wherever you are.
While some graphic designers don’t see the need to purchase a tablet, you might have some projects that require you to own one. A creative with lots of photo retouching projects and complex design projects certainly need to arm themselves with a tablet.
A tablet makes you complete projects faster, and of course, you can work from anywhere. Another advantage of owning a tablet is that you can illustrate complex projects digitally anywhere when presenting your work.
Instead of pulling out a pencil and paper, you can easily pull out your tablet and illustrate.
Picking a tablet that suits your demands is not easy. You might feel overwhelmed and lost in an ocean with hundreds of models without knowing what to buy.
There are different types of tablets, and your choice is highly dependent on your needs.
You have to identify what you want your tablet to handle and know the key differences between several types of tablets.
Do you need a standalone tablet, a tablet with a screen, or a tablet without a screen? Identifying your needs will help you get the best tablet.
What is a Standalone Tablet?
A standalone tablet is a tablet that you can use without connecting it to a computer. Standalone tablets have an inbuilt computer, and they handle everything without a support of a computer. With a standalone tablet, you can run complex and heavy design programs without stress.
What is a Tablet with Screen?
Also known as pen display tablets. These tablets have screens, but they need to be connected to a computer as a peripheral.
What is a Tablet without a Screen?
These tablets are also known as graphic tablets, and they can’t install any software. Graphic tablets are connected to a computer to use the computer’s screen and the programs/software installed in them.
Best Tablets for Graphic Design
Now that we have defined a standalone table, a tablet with a screen, and a tablet without a screen, it’s time we head on to the fleshy part of this article; the best tablets for graphic design.
Best Standalone Tablets for graphic design
Microsoft devices are known to be the best, and this Microsoft Surface Pro 8 is not an exception. This tablet is the newest model, and just like its predecessors like the Surface Pro 7, it has incredible features that will turn your creative dreams into reality.
Microsoft Surface Pro 8 is a 13-inch touchscreen tablet that carries all the laptop’s features. The tablet has a memory capacity of 128GB and a maximum screen resolution of 28801920 pixels enabling you to watch your favorite videos with excellent precision.
Powered by Intel Core i5, Surface Pro comes with Windows 11 home making it efficient to carry out your creativity smoothly.
With a speed of 4.2 GHz, 8GB RAM, and 256GB SSD, this tablet can run multiple programs at high speed without any lags.
- Fast refresh screen
- Premium design
- Great drawing experience
- Long battery life
- Keyboard sold separately
Best Standalone Graphic Tablet
Wacom Mobile Studio is a massive tablet from Wacom specially designed for creatives who are serious with their craft. This tablet was built to impress, and we highly recommend it to professional designers.
Wacom Mobile Studio has an HD screen loaded with powerful creative tools to make it easier for you to complete your tasks faster.
You hardly find a tablet with advanced computing like Wacom Studio Pro. This tablet is a beast in data processing and fast data transfer.
The tablet is powered by Intel Core i7 and has a system memory of 16GB and 512GB SSD storage, enabling you to work efficiently anywhere you are.
Carry out your projects with high clarity and precision with this 16.5″ 4K/UHD display and a resolution of 3840×2160. The screen gives you a chance to see the tiny details of your work, all thanks to 85% Adobe RGB coverage.
You can now draw with extraordinary precision with Wacom Pro Pen 2 with 8192 levels of pressure sensitivity levels.
Generally, Wacom Studio Pro is an excellent tablet with high-end features ever found on a tablet. However, we don’t recommend this tablet if you’re starting.
- A powerful tablet that can handle robust graphic programs
- Has Ultra HD resolution
- Accurate and precise
- Highly responsive
- A bit heavy
Best Android Standalone Graphics Tablet
Samsung Galaxy Tab 7+ is another powerful device for multitasking, all thanks to Snapdragon 865+ processor and the 8GB RAM.
This tablet has a large screen, although not too big, but much better than the Samsung Galaxy Tab 6 with an AMOLED display and a resolution of 2800×1752 pixels that enables you to view projects with high clarity. You can also watch your favorite shows and movies with an excellent resolution of 1440p.
Samsung Galaxy Tab 7+ has a storage memory of 128GB and has a memory card slot, so you can expand the storage to 1TB by buying a memory card.
Galaxy Tab 7+ comes with a well-balanced S Pen with excellent quality and sturdy built. The pen has a rubber nib, and it draws so well on the smooth matte surface of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7+ screen; we love how the pen magnetically attaches to the tablet.
You don’t have to worry about parallel reflex because this tablet has a laminate display coupled with a refresh rate of 120Hz, reducing the lag between the pen and cursor position.
With Dex mode, you can convert Samsung to a PC, but you will buy a compatible tablet.
- Powerful tablet
- Large storage
- Has a laminate matte display that cuts off reflections
- No headphone jack
Best Android Standalone Graphic Tablet
Pop up your tablet and draw on the go with this portable standalone tablet from Samsung. One thing that makes Samsung Galaxy Tab 6 a darling is its slim, portable, and lightweight design, unlike the Wacom Studio Pro.
Despite its design, which you might think comes at the expense of other features, this tablet is super powerful and has a good storage space of 128GB. Galaxy Tab 6 is a great tablet that handles multitasking pretty well without lags, thanks to its powerful mobile processor.
Short battery life can hinder you from working for long, especially if you’re far from a power source. Samsung Galaxy Tab 6 has a battery life of 15 hours on a full charge, giving you to work throughout the day without recharging the tablet.
The 10.5-inch AMOLED display enables you to view your projects in high precision, and you also get to enjoy some great hits on the quad speakers tuned by AKG.
If you want a PC experience, you can instantly purchase a compatible keyboard and turn this tablet into a PC.
- Slim design
- Lightweight and portable
- Has an AMOLED screen
- Comes with a highly responsive pen
- The screen size is a bit small
Best Graphics Tablet with Screen
Wacom is another company that has grown its popularity by producing high-quality drawing tablets with screens and those without screens.
This Wacom Cintiq tablet is one of the biggest brands with a 22-inch screen and a whooping resolution of 1980 by 1080HD. Cintiq 22 tablet also has an anti-scratch screen that resists any scratches, and you can draw outdoors without having to worry about reflections, all thanks to its anti-glare surface.
The Wacom Cintiq 22 comes with a Wacom Pro Pen 2 technology with 8192 pressure levels coupled with tilt recognition technology for a smooth drawing experience.
If you’re looking for an on-screen drawing experience, then this tablet can provide you with all your creative needs.
- Large screen
- The pen has a natural feel when held
- Comes with a complimentary design program
- Doesn’t come with extra nibs
Best Large Tablet with Screen
If your primary concern is the screen size when purchasing a graphics tablet, then you might want to take a look at this great tablet from HUION.
HUION KAMVAS Studio 22″is an excellent tablet for professional designers who need enough room for their creativity. The tablet doesn’t only come with an enormous screen, but it carries unique features that will let your creativity flow.
HUION KAMVAS 22” has 20 express keys that you can customize to fit your needs and two touch bars that you can use to zoom in and out or scroll the page easily. The large screen of KAMVAS Studio 22″ is fully laminated; thus, it prevents glares helping you to view your work in a bright screen with vivid colors.
The HUION KAMVAS STUDIO 22 is compatible with Mac OS 10, 12, and Windows 7 or later versions when it comes to compatibility. This tablet uses a battery-free pen, so you don’t need to worry about recharging your stylus.
- Has a super sensitive stylus with tilt technology
- Provides 120% color gamut for vivid, lifelike colors
- Has customizable express keys
- The screen resolution is low for its size
Most graphic tablets with large screens come with a hefty price because the bigger the screen, the higher the price, but Artisul D22S has changed the narrative.
If you are shopping for a graphic tablet on a tight budget but want a tablet with a big screen, you might want to check out this fantastic product. The tablet is not the cheapest graphic tablet with a screen, but it certainly offers value for your money.
Artisul D22S has a 21.5-inch screen giving you enough real estate to work on your creative projects. The tablet has a whopping 8192 levels of pressure sensitivity, enabling you to work with high accuracy.
The screen has an anti-glare film that blocks reflections, and it comes with a drawing stand. Get creative without the stress of recharging your stylus pen because it’s battery-free, and one thing we can’t forget to mention is that this pen has a 60-degree tilt.
We loved this drawing tablet, but there’s one downside we feel that the company could have considered, and that is the resolution. The screen is too big for 1920 by 1080 resolution.
- Large screen
- Has an anti-glare screen film
- Comes with a drawing stand
- Comes with gloves
- The screen resolution is lower for the massive screen.
HUION KAMVAS Pro 13 is another great graphic tablet with a screen that features a 13.3-inch screen and 120% sRGB color gamut. The fully laminated screen with full HD resolution enables a great viewing experience.
The KAMVAS Pro 13 tablet has a set of 4 express keys that you can customize for a smooth workflow experience, and the touch bar enables you to reach the shortcuts of keyboard or mouse.
This HUION tablet comes with a battery-free stylus with 8192 levels of pressure sensitivity and tilt recognition technology which feels like a regular pencil offering you a natural drawing experience.
The HUION KAMVAS Pro 13 can be connected to other devices via 3 in 1USB-C cable and HDMI when it comes to connectivity. This tablet is also compatible with Windows 7 or later, MacOS 10,12, and ChromeOS 88 or later.
You can run several creative programs like Adobe Photoshop, Clip Studio Paint, Lightroom, and SAI, among other programs.
- Crisp and clear screen
- Great color accuracy
- Great pressure sensitivity
- Matte screen
- Comes with a battery-free pen
- The tablet does heat up after using it for long hours
If you’re looking for an affordable tablet for your graphic design needs, then Simbans Picasso might steal your heart. The tablet comes with pre-installed apps like Sketchbook and Autodesk that make enable you to draw and take notes easily.
The Simbans Picasso has an HD screen, a storage of 32GB, 2GB RAM, and runs on a Quad-Core processor that makes it easier for this tablet to handle multitasking efficiently.
You can connect this tablet with your television via HDMI port or immerse yourself in the world of entertainment by streaming your best shows using a WIFI connection.
This tablet comes with an excellent quality table case, a universal power adapter, drawing gloves, and a pre-installed screen protector when you purchase it.
- Comes with useful accessories
- Excellent build design
- Powerful Quad-Core processor
- Easy to use
- Great storage
- The battery life is short
Best Tablets for Graphic Design Without Screen
OUR PICK- Large Active Area
UGEE M708 takes the mantle when it comes to picking the best graphic tablet without a screen because and that is because of its massive active drawing area of 10 by 6 inches. The surface of this tablet has a paper feel, making it super easy to sketch and draw.
UGEE M708 offers 8192 pressure sensitivity levels that allow you to draw precise lines effortlessly depending on the pressure you put on the pen.
This amazing tablet is compatible with Windows 7, 8, 10, and MacOs 10.10 and above. You can also run creative software like Photoshop, Comic Studio, SAI, Infinite Stratos, Illustrator, 3D MAX, Pixologic Brush, and AutoDesk MAYA, among other programs.
Another thing we love about this tablet is how simple and easy the setup process is and the fact that both right and left-handed people can use it. With the eight express keys, we could customize the keys to improve productivity.
- Has a large active drawing area
- Comes with express keys for shortcuts
- Compatible with most operative systems
- Easy to set up and use
HUION H610 Pro is another popular and cheap drawing tablet with features mostly found in high-end tablets. This tablet offers Android compatibility and comes with a battery-free pen.
The active drawing area of 10 by 6.5 inches might not be so big, but it is enough for an artist to explore the creative world.
You can connect the tablet to your Android phone and make mobile-friendly drawings because the tablet reduces the active area when set on phone mode. We didn’t like that the tablet is only compatible with Android, so this means that you cannot connect this tablet with an Apple phone.
Apart from Android, this tablet is compatible with Windows 7 or later and Mac 10.11 or later versions. HUION H610 Pro V2 works with popular creative programs like Corel Painter, Clip Studio, Photoshop, Krita, Zbrush, Illustrator, and Manga Studio, among other creative programs.
The tablet has an Innovative tilt control technology that provides you with pressure detection and cursor position to create precise and natural lines. Drawing on HUION H610 Pro is just like painting on canvas because of the natural feel when working.
You can increase your productivity by customizing the eight express keys and utilizing the 16 soft keys to streamline your work.
- Portable design
- User friendly
- Has multiple customizable express and soft keys
- Battery-free pen
- Compatible with Android devices
- Limits the number of compatible devices
HUION H420 is a popular tablet just like its sibling HUION H610 Pro V2, and it has been bought widely not because it has the best features, but it offers value for your money.
This tablet has a small active area of 4 by 2.23 inches, and many people call it a signature tablet due to its small design. HUION H420 also has 4000LPI resolution and a pen pressure 2048 levels.
With this tablet, you get three express keys, and you can scroll pages using the pen by simply pressing down the middle button over your tablet’s working area.
We highly recommend this tablet to entry-level creatives who want to taste waters in the sea of creativity.
- Has a powerful stylus pen
- Comes with express keys
- Compatible with most creative programs
- The active drawing area is small
- The pen needs a battery
Best Tablets for Graphic Design: Buyers Guide
While their functions are similar, tablets were designed with different features to cater to people’s needs. Some tablets come with a massive drawing area or display, and some come with smaller active areas.
Your choice depends on what you want your tablet to do for you. You can choose a simple graphics tablet or go for a pen display, or better still, settle for a standalone tablet. It all depends on your needs.
In this section, we will discuss some of the things you need to consider when purchasing a tablet for graphic design.
The active area refers to the amount of space available for you to draw on. This means that the larger the active area a tablet has, the greater the space to draw on.
Pick a tablet with a screen size that fits your creative needs. However, you need to understand that it doesn’t mean a large active area is the best. The ideal size for you goes down to your needs.
There are different types of tablets like flat screen, on-screen and portable tablets. Table tablets are the cheapest, and they are super light. If you purchase a flat tablet, you’ll need to connect it to your PC as a peripheral, so it reflects on the computer screen when you draw.
On-screen tablets are also connected to a computer, and they are some of the most expensive tablets. You can draw on the same screen as your tablet with an on-screen tablet.
Portable tablets are well-equipped tablets with an operating system like MacOS, Android, and Windows. A portable or standalone tablet doesn’t need to be connected to a computer, and you can draw with it anywhere.
When choosing your graphics tablet, you want to make sure that your check its pressure sensitivity levels. Choose a graphic tablet with pressure sensitivity of at least 3000 for professionals and 1024 to 2048 for armatures.
When we talk about the resolution of a graphic tablet, we mean the number of strokes that can be executed per inch. If you’re a professional and need something for professional projects, then a resolution of 2540 LPI and above is ideal.
A stylus pen is also called an optimal pen, and there are two different types of stylus; a pen with a battery and a pen without a battery. Most stylus pens with batteries seem heavy compared to stylus without batteries.
If your tablet uses a stylus with batteries, then you’ll need to replace the batteries or recharge the batteries from time to time.
Also known as express keys, hotkeys give you the flexibility of accessing shortcuts directly without using a mouse, thus saving you time. You can customize your express keys the way you want to fit your needs.
Some graphic tablets come with scrollers. Maneuvering your tablet’s screen using a stylus, especially when handling complex artwork. You can zoom in and out with scrollers and move around your artwork easily.
Tablets come in two forms for connection, corded and cordless or wireless using Bluetooth connection. Corded or wired tablets rarely have connection issues, but the wires can frustrate you at times.
Wireless graphic tablets give you the freedom to work without stress from cords, but you might face connection problems.
We know how hard it is to find the right tablet for graphic design, but we have made things easier with the list of tablets we have reviewed. The tablets reviewed lie in different price ranges, and they all have great features, so there’s something for everyone. We hope you can find an ideal tablet that will help you work efficiently as a beginner or a professional.