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Read Our Review
Read Our Review
Read Our Review
Read Our Review
|Wacom Intuos Draw Pen Tablet|
|Huion H610 Pro|
|XP-Pen Star 03 Pro|
|UGEE M708 Graphics Tablet|
|Wacom Intuos Pro Small|
It is easy to forget that the computer, as we know it now, is a relatively new invention. Have a look around at all the appliances you use in the home, your security system, even your heating, and there are computers involved in even the smallest of applications. Unless you drive a car that is more than 30 years old, there will most likely be computer systems in there, too.
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I can clearly remember buying my first home computer; it was a Commodore of some model, and it must have been in the early 1990’s. They were just becoming very popular then, and the viable home computer had only become an affordable item just a few years before then. Now, I use a smartphone that is most likely more powerful than that device was, and I’m sure you do, too.
Technology has moved at an astonishingly fast pace in recent years, not least in the development of even more capable, clever and innovative devices. Many jobs have changed considerably thanks to the advent of digital technology, and one area in which computer innovations have had a massive impact is in that of design and graphics.
Indeed, there are artists who now create their work using digital technology! One benefit of the fast pace of technological advancement is that prices tend to fall. If, therefore, you are a graphic designer, artist or a draughtsman, or use drawing or painting for business or pleasure, you will have looked at – or may even own – drawing tablets. What are they, and why do you need one? Before we talk to you about the ten best available, let’s have a look at the best drawing tablets in more detail.
Table of Contents
- Best Graphics Tablet
- Important Features
- How It Works
- Let’s Wrap It Up!
Best Graphics Tablet
1: Wacom Intuos Draw Pen Tablet
Our first pick is one that sets the standard for what these devices are all about. It is one of the best-selling drawing tablets available, and it makes for a great purchase whether you want one for fun or for professional use. This model comes with the Wacom Intuos pen, which is designed to be very precise and is a highly-regarded device, and is of a suitably high specification for an affordable best drawing tablet. You get everything you want in one package.
The tablet is super-sensitive so you get ideal precision, it has an active surface of 6.7inches which is about the norm for a decent model, and it has 2048 pressure levels and a resolution of 2540lpi. Those are very good figures, and you’ll get to understand them more as we progress. You need a USB port, a CD driver and either Windows 7 or Mac OS X for this model, and it comes with some very useful software packages for added value.
2: Huion H610 Pro
The makers of drawing pads are endlessly trying to achieve a feeling that the user is drawing on paper. This is done by sensitivity, and this model – from Huion – claims to replicate that feeling. It’s a large model, with a pad that is 10x6.25inches, so you have no restrictions on space. It’s also nicely made, looks the part, and is pitched at a surprisingly affordable price when compared with some of the competitors we have included on this list.
It comes with a rechargeable pen – charge for three hours and you get 350 hours of use – which is very light and sensitive, and has the requisite 2040 pressure levels and 5080lpi resolution, which is very impressive. It’s easy to use and compatible with most of the standard graphics and art packages, although none come with it. It can be used up to Windows 10 and with the latest Mac operating systems, so you should have no trouble getting going once you download and install the software.
3: XP-Pen Star 03 Pro
We are seeing a trend in these devices now that we have had a look at a few, and it is that they tend to be preferred with bigger screens. This one is a 10x6inch screen – similar to that above – which gives you plenty of space for creativity without the need for an over-sized device that takes up a lot of space. It comes highly recommended by users and, at the price, we think it is definitely one that should be high on your shortlist.
This is because it features no fewer than 8192 levels of pressure; that is simply amazing performance from a device in this price range, and gives you greater scope for creativity. Resolution is 5080lpi for excellent results, and you also get 8 programmable hot keys for quick shortcuts. You can transmit your work in real time, it is compatible with Windows up to 10 and the latest Mac OS, and it is easy to set up and go. This would be great for fun or for professional use, and it comes with a very sensitive battery powered pen and all the stuff you need to get going.
4: UGEE M708 Graphics Tablet
The great thing about drawing tablets is that while they are fun to use, they are also extremely practical. You can send images while on the move – perhaps of scenes you have encountered – so your friends can see them as you draw them. This model from UGEE is more basic than the one above, and is a very sensible price that would make it an ideal gift for a child or adult, yet is also very usable and attractive.
You get all the kit you need to start, it has 2048 pressure levels, the resolution is 5080lpi, and it performs very well with 8 programmable hot keys. Like all of these, it has a textured surface coating to replicate the feel of drawing on paper, and it can be used with Windows 10 and the latest Mac OS. It can be used with a variety of packages including the main Adobe and other graphics software, and is easy to use at a great price.
5: Wacom Intuos Pro Small
Another from the best-selling Wacom range, this one is a Pro model with enhanced features over the model we listed at number one in this review. It is very compact, very light and easy to use, but we are concerned that – despite the obvious quality – you need to pay a lot more for this than some others. This model comes with the Wacom Intuos pen, which is designed to be very precise and is a highly-regarded device, and is of a suitably high specification for an affordable best drawing tablet. You get everything you want in one package.
The tablet is super-sensitive so you get ideal precision, it has an active surface of 6.7inches which is about the norm for a decent model, and it has 2048 pressure levels and a resolution of 2540lpi. Those are very good figures, and you’ll get to understand them more as we progress. You need a USB port, a CD driver and either Windows or Mac OS X for this model, and it comes with some very useful software packages for added value.
6: Parblo A610 Graphics Tablet
The standard for drawing tablets seems to match the specifications that you find on this model, from Parblo. Indeed, we wonder whether – as with many such electronics goods – there are several that are actually the same, with a slightly different cover to make them look apart. This one, for example, is pretty much identical to the Huion model we have already reviewed, but that is not a bad thing.
You get the standard 5080lpi resolution, which is excellent, plus the usual 2048 pressure sensitive levels – not the greatest but again the standard amount – and it comes in a neat package, with 8 hot keys, and also a nice coating for a paper-like drawing surface. It’s a nice package, with decent stylus included, that is compatible with all the top software (though none is included) and is easy to use on Windows or Mac OS. At the price, this is very cheap indeed and should be strongly considered, especially for kids.
7: XP-Pen Artist 10s V2
This one is included as an example of a more advanced and professional-level drawing tablet. It’s from a known brand with wide and established range, and comes with some impressive features. It has fantastic colour representation for a start – the anti-glare surface is very impressive and helps heighten the colour – and has a 10.1inch screen for better resolution. It’s easy to use, and is very versatile indeed.
This one is very slim, has six hot keys for shortcuts, and can easily switch between pen and eraser. The pen is a high-quality design that perfectly enhances the 2048 pressure levels, and it differs greatly from others in that the image is displayed on the screen – not many of these do that – as well as being able to transfer to your computer. As such, this is a different animal to most on this list, and while it does have its benefits – you can sketch and see what your images look like on the move – it is far more expensive than some, but worth the outlay if that’s what you want.
8: Huion Inspiroy Q11K
Our second model from the extensive and impressive Huion range is this model, the Inspiroy Q11K, and it is certainly worthy of inclusion on this list. For a start, you get a screen that is larger than most at almost 11x7inches, plus 8 hot keys to save you time and effort moving around. It comes with a very nice, sensitive pen that is rechargeable and usable in a number of ways, and which also has its own customisable stand.
This model offers you no fewer than 8192 pressure levels; that’s four times the standard, so you get extra versatility. It has a nicely coated surface for paper-like performance, and it is easy to use. Resolution is 5080lpi, which is at the upper-end of the scale for these, and it has fully wireless connectivity or can be used with a USB cable. In continuous use you will get 40-hours from one charge. In short, it’s very good, and at not much more than some less capable models, it is also good value.
9: UGEE X-Pen Star 06
This large screen model from the Ugee X-Pen model is a worthwhile addition to any shortlist, especially at what is a sensible price. This one is a 10x6inch screen which gives you plenty of space for creativity without the need for an over-sized device that takes up a lot of space. It comes highly recommended by users and, at the price, we think it is definitely one that should be high on your shortlist.
You get the full 8192 levels of pressure; that is simply amazing performance from a device in this price range, and gives you greater scope for creativity. Resolution is 5080lpi for excellent results, and you also get 8 programmable hot keys for quick shortcuts. You can transmit your work in real time, it is compatible with Windows up to 10 and the latest Mac OS, and it is easy to set up and go. This would be great for fun or for professional use, and it comes with a very sensitive battery powered pen and all the stuff you need to get going.
10: UGEE Big Graphic Drawing Tablet
Our final entry is another from the Ugee range – they are among the market leaders and offer plenty of variety – and it’s another large-screen model with an excellent price tag. You can send images while on the move and also send them to your computer or laptop for storage, or you can work to your hearts delight and adjust your images as and when you want.
You get all the kit you need to start, it has 8192 pressure levels, the resolution is 5080lpi, and it performs very well with 8 programmable hot keys. Like all of these, it has a textured surface coating to replicate the feel of drawing on paper, and it can be used with Windows 10 and the latest Mac OS. It can be used with a variety of packages including the main Adobe and other graphics software, and is easy to use at a great price.
That’s our list of the best drawing tablets available for you to buy right now, and we are sure there will be one for you among them in terms of capability, size and budget. Before we try and give you our verdict, let’s have a look at the features you need to look out for when buying one of these.
A drawing tablet is a great fun item for kids or adults who have a talent for drawing, or for professionals who want to use one to produce, for example, sketches for clients. There are some features – as we are sure you have seen above – that you need to consider, so let’s have a quick run through what they are.
Pressure sensitivity – the key purpose of a drawing tablet is to replicate a pen, pencil or brush and paper. This is why they are programmed to certain levels of sensitivity. This ranges from what is the standard 2048 levels, to a colossal 8192 levels in some models. Whether or not you need the latter is up to you, as we feel that – for most uses – the lower amount may be enough.
Resolution – how your image appears on the screen it is sent to is also important; the standard resolution for one of these is 5080lpi, but there are some with lower so check before you buy.
WiFi – not all of these are WiFi compatible, so make sure you check if that is a requirement for you, although we should say it is not always necessary.
Stylus/Pen – some come with a rechargeable pen, others with a battery powered version. The former is obviously a more convenient method, and is generally the norm.
Compatibility – by this we mean that you need a tablet that is compatible with your Windows or Mac operating system – most are but check the specifications – and that will also run the popular software packages, which requires a further check.
That’s about it, but be aware there is one model here with an integral screen onto which you draw, whereas all the others are sensitive pads that transfer the image to a remote screen. Whether you need the former – at a price – is up to you! So, now all that remains is to wrap things up!
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How It Works
One of the most impressive areas of development in terms of digital devices is that of touch screen technology. This works via clever membranes and heat detection, and allows us to perform tasks that would have been impossible just a few years hence. It’s mostly seen on smartphones but is now rapidly becoming the norm on tablets and laptops.
Drawing tablets take this technology a step further. Your typical best drawing tablet is a stand-alone device, perhaps about the size of your average tablet, which features a pressure sensitive pen. With this, you can draw your chosen images on the pad and – via either a wireless connection or a physical cable – connect it to your PC, laptop or tablet and see the results on screen.
Now, as you have probably already realised, this has its uses for leisure users – you may simply want to draw or paint your images and store them, or share them with friends – and also has commercial attractions. For professional graphic designers, for example, being able to draw up a sketch and send it to the client for their immediate approval is a very attractive option.
The drawing tablets we have listed here are all affordable, usable and up to the minute, and some have added benefits over others. They are compact, easy to use and usually come with full instructions, and these are devices that are becoming ever-more popular by the day. So, to help you out, here is our review of the top 10 best drawing tablets on the market right now, so let’s hope there’s one for you.
Let’s Wrap It Up!
If you do want that model with its own screen – and it is a bonus if you are on the move often – it’s the XP-Pen Artist, number 7 on the list, and it is a very impressive device indeed. Be prepared, however, to pay a lot more than you will for one of the pad-type models.
Of those, it is difficult to pick a winner, but if value for money is a factor, we think the UGEE X-Pen Star 06, at number 9, is excellent value as it offers the greater pressure sensitivity and excellent resolution, as well as all the other features you could need including a big screen.
If the standard pressure sensitivity is good enough for you, and will be for children and for most other users, and you want one of these at a budget price, check out the final model on the list – also from UGEE – which is a very capable model that will cost you surprisingly little.
Here’s hoping we’ve helped you find your best drawing tablet, so have fun honing your skills as a digital artist!