The Best Drawing Tablet With Screen for Professionals (And Beginners Too!)

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The digital era has no doubt changed and improved life for the better. The world today has a device for every kind of creative task, even drawing.

If you’re an artist, having a digital drawing tablet will help refine your productivity and creativity. Even better, drawing tablets with screens allow you to explore limitless possibilities that you otherwise can’t on paper.

However, getting the right drawing tablet can be difficult. That’s why I’ve put together this comparison post listing the best drawing tablets with a screen that both professionals and beginners can use.

The Top-Rated Drawing Tablets Compared

Product

Strength

Product Details

Best overall drawing tablet

  • Best levels of pressure sensitivity for an optimal drawing experience
  • Large HD display for better picture quality
  • Vibrant display (16.7 million colours) to bring your drawin12MP back camerags to life

Best for iOS

  • Impeccable colour accuracy to help map drawing details
  • Smart Apple Pencil, which you can pair wirelessly
  • A high resolution that delivers nearly four million pixels in its display

Best value iOS tablet.

  • 10.9-inch Liquid Retina display allows for amazingly detailed drawings.
  • 12MP back camera lets you take excellent shots to later sketch
  • Uses A14 Bionic chip. A powerful processor that can run the most high-demanding apps for in-depth work.

Best portable drawing tablet for beginners

  • Anti-glare technology (reduces damage to eyes)
  • Tilt support, which provides an advanced pen performance
  • Supports online teaching and working

Best budget drawing tablet

  • Compatible with Photoshop, Illustrator, Clip Studio, and SketchBook
  • Large HD display for vivid drawings and images
  • Compatible with all operating systems (Windows and Mac OS X)

Best Android tablet

  • 120Hz display that provides an immersive experience when drawing
  • Equipped with a Snapdragon 865 Plus processor for improved speeds
  • Responsive S pen for an enhanced drawing experience

Best Windows tablet for drawing

  • Versatile so you can draw or touch more naturally
  • Fast charging (reaches 80% in about an hour)
  • Light sensing technology that adapts to a user’s environment

Best 4K drawing tablet

  • 8,192 pressure sensitivity levels— ensure you can draw precise and fine lines
  • Tilt support so you can draw using 60 levels of tilt recognition
  • Ten programmable keys that you can customise according to preference

Best screen drawing tablet

  • Natural surface friction that brings your imagination to life
  • Digital freedom: You can sketch, share, or annotate your drawings from one location
  • A comfortable stylus that’s easy to operate and hold

Wacom Cintiq Pro 22 — The Superior Option

Wacom Cintiq 22 Drawing Tablet

Wacom combines functionality and usability in the Wacom Cintiq Pro tablet by offering a full HD screen size. With a 21.5-inch display panel, artists have more freedom to make broad but fine sweeping strokes using the Wacom Pro Pen 2.

The tablet’s display surface is also easy-to-use, with a scratch-resistant anti-glare surface that contributes to its longevity.

“I love the 22. Its so much fun to draw on. The parallax is absolute no problem when you arent drawing with your head on the tablet.” — Monkey Bob

Pros

  • Battery-free pen: The detachable pen charges off-screen and assists you to continue working without stopping.
  • Reduced parallax: Like its earlier counterpart, the Wacom Intuos Pro, the Wacom Cintiq 22 allows the cursor to appear precisely where you want it. As an artist, this provides an interactive session that’s both productive and creative.
  • Best pen pressure sensitivity: With 8,192 levels of pressure sensitivity and low activation force, the Wacom Cintiq drawing tablet can recognise even light-toned pen strokes.

Cons

  • It’s expensive: The Wacom Cintiq drawing tablet is a high-end device meaning the price is up in the thousands, and unfortunately, the rest of us have bills to pay.  Yet, if you feel Wacom doesn’t cut it for you, check out these four alternative Wacom drawing tablets that are worth your money.
  • Not the brightest screen: The screen can appear dim sometimes, even at maximum brightness.

Wacom Cintiq Pro 22: The Takeaway

Besides the price, let’s not lose sight of the fact that Wacom has dominated the market for 35 years and still produces the best drawing tablets. The Wacom Cintiq Pro 22 has well-judged features to make your drawing experience comfortable and productive.

 

Apple iPad Pro — The Runners-Up

2021 Apple 11-inch iPad Pro

Apple seems to have struck gold with the Apple iPad Pro 2021.

If you care about having a large screen, you should know this tablet comes with a 12-inch LRD (Liquid Retina Display) and an M1 processing chip for improved speeds.

“The iPad is possibly Apple’s greatest product at the moment.” — Park Soo-Kim

Pros

  • M1 processing power: The M1 processing chip is a blessing in disguise for consumers as we now know how much RAM iOS devices have. Apple touts the M1 as a powerhouse since it’s the same processor the recently unveiled MacBook Pro and MacBook Air use.
  • Dazzling screen: The Liquid Retina XDR Display technology is ideal for any digital artist since it offers more display resolution.
  • Long-lasting battery: The battery lasts for more than an entire workday, which is great if you’re always on the go.

Cons

  • No multi-user support: Even in the 21st century, Apple still clings to its old and boring belief: single-user devices. One reviewer at Digital Trends says Apple is past the point where they should offer multi-user support in the iPad.
  • No SD Card slot: You need to buy a separate SD card reader for quick transfer of photos between the iPad and PC.

Wacom Cintiq Pro vs Apple iPad: I’ll settle with the iPad on this one. It’s unrivalled—with several key features that put it ahead of its time. If we were to time travel to the year 3000, I can bet Apple’s graphics tablets would still exist.

 

Apple iPad Air — The Cheaper Pro

Apple iPad Air

If you’re set on iOS but don’t quite want to pay the cost for the iPad Pro, the iPad Air is a great alternative for a digital drawing tablet with a screen.

Despite not having artists in mind in its design, the powerful A14 Bionic chip makes this an excellent device for running the more in-demand photo-editing tools at a fast speed.

Pros

  • A14 Bionic Chip: As mentioned, the powerful A14 Bionic chip is great for running the latest apps. Even better, with tools like Photoshop, you can work on large drawings with plenty of layers without any slow-downs
  • Lightweight Design: Thanks to the iPad air’s lightweight design, this device is super easy to carry around. It’s perfect for trips outdoors when looking for inspiration.
  • 12MP Back Camera: Tying into the above pro, the 12MP back camera can take high-quality images. This means you can take excellent, highly detailed photos to later bring home and sketch.

Cons

  • No SD Card Slot: Similar to the iPad Pro, the iPad Air lacks an SD card slot meaning transferring photos will be annoying without third party devices.
  • Glossy Display: This can cause a glare of indirect light, meaning when drawing outside or by a window, you may not be able to visualise your details as well. The glare isn’t as bad as what it was in the original iPad Air model, but it’s still noticeable.

Apple iPad Air: The Takeaway

At a cheaper price than the Apple iPad Pro, the iPad Air is an excellent lightweight drawing tablet that can take excellent photos for perfect drawing inspiration.

 

Huion Kamvas Pro 16 — The Beginners ‘Bible’

Huion KAMVAS Pro 16 Graphics Drawing Tablet with Full-Laminated Screen

The Huion Kamvas tablet is powerful. It’s a mid-level budget tablet designed for budding graphic designers.

“16 seems to be the sweet spot for me. I had the Cintiq 13hd but moved on to the 16 pretty recently and have played with larger displays but yeah… 16 just seems right.” — Obed Raimundo 

Pros

  • Wide OS compatibility: The Huion tablet supports Windows OS (7 and above), macOS (OS 10.11 and above), and ChromeOS (OS 88 and above).
  • Best pen pressure sensitivity: With a 15.6-inch pen display, you can use this tablet with a surface pen or any graphics program to create stunning illustrations.
  • Affordable price: The Huion tablet is among the best cheap drawing tablets that deliver quality and optimum designs with a starting price of $399.99.

Cons

  • Reduced cursor precision: Even with a load of excellent features, the cursor has an inferior offset, which I didn’t expect. Here’s what one reviewer noted
  • Easy to accidentally turn off: The programmable keys located right below the power button make it easy to accidentally switch off the device.
  • Short Cable: The 3 in 1 data, power and USB cable that comes packaged with the device is short. It can lead to working in uncomfortable positions when charging the device.

Huion Kamvas: The Takeaway

With a fantastic tilt recognition feature and an excellent screen display resolution, the Huion Kamvas Pro 16 is your go-to option if you want a decently priced drawing tablet.

 

XP-PEN Artist 12 Pro — The Affordable Tablet

artignition xp pen artist12 pro

The XP-PEN drawing tablet has everything you desire in a pen display tablet, from an impeccable display to a smooth drawing surface.

If that’s not enough, this tablet provides more attention to detail because of its progressive ecosystem of extra features.

Pros

  • Budget-friendly: Take your digital creativity to the next level without breaking the bank.
  • Surface pen with digital eraser: This is a signature feature with all XP-PEN tablets. The pen is designed with a traditional pencil-like feel to offer grip, preventing slips when crafting your designs.
  • Customised shortcut keys: The Artist 12 can be customised as needed on the tablet’s driver. This customisation feature assists you to create designs with improved efficiency.

Cons

  • Parallax error: The XP-PEN tablet has an offset between the pen’s tip and the cursor, creating errors in the designer’s active drawing area. I found this error frustrating, but after a few quick YouTube searches, I found a video that explains how to resolve it.

  • Screen protector makes drawing slippery: The XP-PEN Artist12 Pro comes with a glossy screen protector. If you put it on, the stylus often slips on it.
  • Display doesn’t include a stand: You can buy a stand separately but many competitors do include one.
  • XP-PEN Artist vs Huion Kamvas: As a standalone drawing tablet, the XP-PEN tablet is designed for left-hand users.

Unfortunately, most display tablets—even from giants like Apple or Wacom—are yet to address this in their products. This makes the XP-PEN tablet stand out in the crowd, and it’s an accessory you want to have in your drawing kit arsenal.

 

Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Plus — The Android Giant

Galaxy Tab S7 LTE

The S7+ Tab is stable and is the best Android drawing tablet on the market. I feel that this drawing tablet is Android’s answer to Apple’s iPads.

Did you know Samsung makes the best screen displays globally? The Galaxy tab even supports Dolby Atmos for an enhanced cinematic experience.

“Literally my best purchase ever. lucky enough for this tablet to be my very first tablet.” — Hannah

Pros

  • 12.4-inch OLED panel: The S7+ drawing tablet has an exquisite colour ecosystem that’s bright and vibrant, providing an immersive drawing experience. This makes it the best drawing tablet, especially if you love working outdoors.
  • Fast charging coupled with long battery life: This drawing tablet delivers 14 hours of battery life. The 10,090mAh is far from average, and this is the only area Samsung beats Apple’s iPads.
  • Launch DeX feature: If you want to work fast, switch to the DeX mode by attaching the keyboard. Note: The DeX mode is only available with the keyboard, and as of the time of writing this, you’ll have to part with $132 for the keyboard.
  • Re-engineered S Pen: Samsung has redesigned its battery-free stylus, which now has a 9ms pen latency. The redesigned stylus offers a smooth drawing experience which a reviewer at Wired found impressive.

Cons

  • Heavy price: There’s a big reason Samsung includes the ‘+’ in their products. Overall, I’m a little disappointed with the price Samsung set for this graphics tablet. Spending close to $1,000 for a tablet that delivers bare-minimum performance is not a device I would recommend to any digital artist.
  • Short battery life: Depending on how heavily you’re using the tablet, the battery life won’t last you through a full workday.
  • S Pen easily falls off: The stylus attaches to the back of the tablet, but it didn’t take much for it to fall off. Especially annoying when out and about without a case.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+: The Takeaway

There are plenty of things I love about the S7+ drawing tablet. The hardware is top-level, the display is the best you can get on any drawing tablet, and the colour quality is the best.

This drawing tablet has an all-day battery life coupled with a processor that provides stellar performance and is worth your hard-earned money.

 

Microsoft Surface Pro 7 — The Best Alternative

Surface Pro 7

The Surface Pro 7 offers the best drawing monitor, with an impressive 12.3-inch screen and a 3:2 aspect ratio. The display is vibrant, sharp, and responsive to touch, unlike other drawing tablets in this guide. However, this specification hasn’t changed in several years, and I feel Microsoft could do better by adding HDR and colour gamut coverage.

To cover up for their declining performance in the display, Microsoft switched to Intel’s latest 11th generation processors, making it a powerful graphics tablet compared to the Apple iPad Pro.

“Im a professional artist. I use the Surface Pro 7 and digital pen and frankly it’s the top, I have never encountered a crash or bug or anything, I recommend.” — Paul Smile

Pros

  • Bigger battery: (46.5Wh) which offers 15 hours of battery life.
  • 4 GB RAM and 128 GB SSD: These two features provide enough processing power to run Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop applications.
  • Lightweight (1.7 pounds): You can carry it along as you move: You don’t have to be worried that it’s going to bend.
  • Best screen display: The screen is colourful and provides an impeccable colour saturation balance for an enhanced drawing experience.

Cons

  • The cover, keyboard and surface pen are sold separately: At $768.99, the Surface Pro 7 is already pricey, and adding two expensive accessories that command a price of $158.94 is a harsh price pill.
  • Doesn’t support Thunderbolt: Instead, the Surface Pro 7 uses the more slow USB-C and A ports.
  • Poor battery life: The Surface Pro 7’s battery life is even shorter than the previous model, the Surface Pro 6.

Microsoft Surface Pro 7: The Takeaway

While the Surface Pro 7 has some pretty good features, such as the USB-C port, I wouldn’t recommend a Surface Pro 6 user upgrade to this model. But if you’re using an older device, this 2-in-1 gadget is the best drawing pad available in the market.

 

GAOMON PD1561 — The Wacom Rival

Gaomon pd1561

The Gaomon PD1561 is an interactive pen display tablet, but it’s a bit chunky (8.18 pounds). It features normal pressure sensitivity levels and similar tilt ratings to other expensive drawing tablets with screens.

It offers an ideal designer’s active drawing area and comes with ten shortcut keys you can use to smoothen your workflow. Unlike its competitor, the Wacom Intuos Pro, Gaomon sells the Gaomon PD1561 with a two-finger drawing glove and a tablet stand.

The stylus is easy to use, has an excellent build quality, and is comfortable to hold.

Pros

  • Compatible with painting software such as Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, Clip Studio Paint, Lightroom, and Manga Studio.
  • It provides a vibrant colour ecosystem, which is an essential requirement in most graphics tablets.
  • Reasonable pricing: The Gaomon PD1561 comes with innovative technology, even with a starting price of $339.99. This makes it an ideal buy option if you’re on a tight budget.

Cons

  • Isn’t a standalone tablet: Unfortunately, the Gaomon PD1561 isn’t a standalone tablet and needs a computer to run.
  • Can slip on smooth surfaces: Most tablets have rubber along the bottom for standing on smooth surfaces. The Gaomon PD1561 lacks this, and so it can easily slip on smooth surfaces.
  • Display isn’t laminated: Since the display isn’t laminated, it bounces light between the touch glass and screen, lowering the overall image quality.

GAOMON PD1561: The Takeaway

The GAOMON PD1561 provides an ideal stylus and good colour quality. The stylus is responsive and is easy to use.

Overall, this is the best drawing tablet with a reasonably priced screen and with good build quality. I highly recommend it.

 

Wacom One Tablet — Best Pen Display Tablet

Wacom DTC133W0A One Digital Drawing Tablet with Screen

Note: The Wacom One is not to be confused with the One by Wacom graphic display tablet.

At $399.95, this pen display tablet is designed for budding artists, doodlers, and note-takers. Although it has a 13-inch footprint, its stylus is easier to use than the one found in most Wacom tablet computers. The size is also a plus if you have a small working desk and want more space for other accessories.

Pros

  • Best OS compatibility: The Wacom One is compatible with computers running MacOS 10.13 or later or Windows 7 or later.
  • Easy to operate: If you’re not looking for a complex drawing tablet like the Samsung Galaxy Android tablet, the Wacom One is a superb choice. It’s an entry-level graphics tablet suited to amateur artists or beginner photographers.
  • Simple stylus: Unlike the Wacom Pro Pen, the Wacom One Pen comes with 4,096 pressure sensitivity levels and feels, and it offers more latency than the iPad.

Cons

  • Dull screen brightness: Unlike the Galaxy Tab, which you can use outdoors, the Wacom One is dimly lit and can only be used in an indoor setting with artificial lighting.
  • Low-resolution screen: The screen is 1920 x 1080, whereas many competitors have 4k screens today.
  • No eraser on stylus: This can get really annoying if you make errors while drawing.

Wacom One: The Takeaway

Is the Wacom One worth going for? Yes—but for specific people. It’s suited to digital photographers, students, or graphic designers who want to draw or write digitally.

 

Final Take: The Best Drawing Tablet with Screen

There you have it! The battle for the best drawing tablet.

Even with the graphics tablet market dominated by different manufacturers, I highly recommend going for the Wacom line of tablets.

Wacom’s products are touted as being the best drawing tablets in the market. For this reason, everyone from hobbyists to professional artists and designers the world-over uses them.

Wacom provides annual updates to their models, and the quality is beyond measure. As a consumer, you can choose between Bamboo, Windows and Mac OS, with Bamboo being the best.

So, overall, Wacom wins this battle.

How To Choose the Best Drawing Tablet with Screen

With many drawing tablets out there, you should understand that each drawing tablet is built differently. If you’re not careful, you may purchase a graphics tablet that doesn’t meet your needs.

I’ve prepared a checklist of everything you need to consider below, so have a read.

Pressure Sensitivity

I’d be lying if I said this isn’t the most vital feature in every drawing tablet out there.

Most modern drawing tablets include pressure sensitivity, which depends on the depth of your stroke and how you apply the surface pen on the screen.

If your drawings are simple-to-average sketches, you shouldn’t concern yourself too much with pressure sensitivity. But if you’re keener with your art, pressure sensitivity counts.

In most cases, manufacturers only use either of the below pressure sensitivity levels for their drawing tablets:

  • 1024: Ideal for beginners or kids who design minimalist drawings.
  • 2048: The moderate value used by designers or artists who produce work on an average scale.
  • Above 4086: Anything above this figure is only found in top-level products—ideal for individuals who value their work and are professionals in their fields.

That said, seek a product with high levels of pressure sensitivity. This is the closest you’ll get to producing quality and aesthetically pleasing drawings.

Size

You have two factors when considering the size of your graphics tablet.

  • Size of the active area: The area that you draw on.
  • The device size: The exterior device size (tablet casing)

A larger active area means you can sketch your drawings without the need to pan and zoom repeatedly.

You’ll need to plan and think about the art you’ll be working on. This way, you don’t have to go shopping for a new tablet, which is a waste of time and money.

Availability of Drivers and Replacement Parts

Some drawing tablets will send you back into shopping mode every few months or years; For instance, needing to buy a new battery when the old one wears out, or more often, replacement accessories and nibs for the digital stylus.

If you’re buying a used tablet, this is something you need to keep in mind. It gets frustrating when you buy a tablet and cannot access some replacement parts because the manufacturer no longer supplies them.

Once you’ve settled on your preferred choice, I’d recommend contacting the manufacturer to get clarifications on these issues.

Stylus

UION PW517 Battery-Free Stylus Digital Pen

This is an area most people run into trouble, especially if you’re just starting.

Remember, the ease of using any drawing tablet—even the expensive drawing tablets—depends on the stylus.

The key features of any stylus include pressure sensitivity, tilt recognition, pen type, nib design, and material. All styluses are categorised into three types:

  • Sensitive: These digital pens are expensive since they’re more responsive to pressure and tilt. The Apple Pencil is a good example. Ideal for professionals.
  • Realistic: These styluses follow the user’s hand and don’t repeat certain elements, such as when you’re drawing a straight line.
  • Usual: An average digital pen that can draw a straight line, curved, or various elements. They are more responsive when you want specific movement repetition.

The Best Drawing Tablets with Screen: 3 Different Types

There are three different drawing tablets classes, and each manufacturer uses a distinct approach to make their products stand out from the crowd.

Most brands want to provide the user with a seamless experience as if they’re drawing on paper. That said, you must understand the different types to avoid the frustration of buying the wrong product.

Tablet Computers

Microsoft Surface Pro 7 – 12.3

The Samsung Galaxy Tab and Apple’s iPad Pro are the best examples in this category. These tablets don’t require an extra computer. Once you install your drawing apps, you can start sketching your designs with your fingertip or stylus.

Pen Displays

Wacom Cintiq 22

These drawing tablets have a monitor and offer the best pressure sensitivity levels.

Note: You’ll need a stylus if you intend to use pen display tablets. The best example, in this case, is the Wacom line of tablets.

However, pen display tablets cost more and come with a surfeit number of cables.

Graphics Tablets

GAOMON S620 6.5

If you’re planning to use graphics tablets, be prepared to buy a monitor for drawing. These drawing tablets feature a nondescript flat surface you draw on using a stylus.

Note: The image is projected to a drawing monitor as you sketch your designs.

Graphics tablets are budget-friendly and are the best option if you want to purchase a drawing tablet and are on a budget.

What Is the Best Tablet With a Screen?

As said in our final take, Wacom’s products are touted as being the best drawing tablets in the market — and I’m inclined to agree. The Wacom Cintiq Pro 22 is by far my favourite drawing tablet with a screen.

The 4K resolution is absolutely stunning, and it makes for the best colour accuracy I’ve ever seen on a tablet.

The Wacom Pro Pen 2 is a great inclusion too. With excellent tilt-response and lag-free tracking, I felt so in control of my art.

Here’s what The Gadgeteer had to say:

“I have used the Cintiq 22 for a few weeks at my office and it has proven to be a big help with Photoshop work—a large part of my job.”

The only downside, as mentioned above, is that the screen can sometimes be a bit dull despite being at maximum brightness.

Though, I found as long as you were working indoors this wasn’t a huge deal. It’s certainly made up for by the excellent 4k screen and precision control this tablet introduces.

best drawing tablets

 

FAQs

What is all this fuss about graphics tablets having a pen holder?

This is a feature you’ll need to look out for in your next purchase: It secures the S Pen and nibs provided in place.

I want a tablet that’s child-centred. What should I go for?

The Flueston LCD Writing tablet is hands-down the best display tablet focused on children’s art designs.

Toy for 3 Year Old Boys Girls FLUESTON LCD Writing Tablet

Do graphic tablets cost more than pen displays?

Yes. Pen displays are the best screen tablets for drawing. They’re more portable and don’t have the sense of disconnect you’ll experience with graphic tablets.

Are drawing tablets with screens better?

A drawing tablet with a screen is definitely better in the sense that you can see what you’re drawing While those without screens are excellent, you don’t have as much control with them and are completely reliant on having a monitor.

Can you use a drawing tablet as a monitor?

Yes. This is one advantage of a drawing tablet with a screen — you can absolutely use them as a second monitor if you want to work on your PC and have a larger interface.


Featured Image from: Pixabay by PIX1861

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