The 9 Best Drawing Tablets to Buy in 2017

Create illustrations and animations with these top-rated drawing tablets

Wacom DTHW1320M Mobile Studio Pro 13 Tablet
Courtesy of Amazon.com

Drawing tablets empower artists and creative professionals to realize digital versions of their creations. While some mass-market tablets possess capable drawing functionality, a specially designed drawing tablet is the best bet for serious animators and creators. There are two main types of drawing tablets. One model allows you to see your work right on the tablet, and these are predictably more expensive. The other translates your creation to a computer screen in a program like Illustrator or Sai. Not sure which kind you want? No worries, we’ve included both types of drawing tablets on this list and spell out their differences below.

The Artist16 is a drawing tablet by XP-Pen with an extra-wide viewing angle and a host of creative features that make it an excellent all-around choice for most artists. Featuring a 1080P FullHD IPS display, your creations will come to life in vivid color and definition. An extra-wide, 178-degree viewing angle gives you the canvas you need to realize your design. And with 2,078 levels of pressure sensitivity, this tablet will work for drawing, painting, editing, designing, sketching and animating without any trouble.

The Artist16 comes with two rechargeable pens, a black anti-fouling glove and an HDMI adapter. It has eight express keys to eliminate headaches, allowing you to focus on the creative element. The adjustable display stand will also give you the freedom and flexibility you need to get in the zone. Finally, the tablet is compatible with Sai, Photoshop and most mainstream design software.

The Mobile Studio Pro is Wacom’s flagship drawing tablet and it's one of the most advanced and powerful on the market from the industry leader. It features professional computing power and graphics that can run demanding 3D and CAD applications right on the tablet, allowing you to do advanced work wherever you can bring your tablet. The screen has a stunning 2,560 x 1,440 resolution and superior color quality, the same as a QHD monitor.

The tablet is also set up to facilitate the creative process in every way possible. With multi-touch express keys, radial menus and shortcuts all strategically built-in, you can optimize your workflow in the manner that best suits your creative process. The new Wacom Pro Pen 2 also allows you to reach new levels of design with a 4x higher pen accuracy and pressure sensitivity, giving the most advanced and accurate pen-on-paper feel.

Hone your skills on this entry-level graphic tablet before you invest hundreds of dollars in a professional-level drawing tablet. The screen is 10 x 6.25 inches, giving you a sizeable surface area to draw, while a resolution of 4,000 lines per inch translates well to the picture on your monitor. The pressure pen has 2,048 levels of pressure sensitivity, giving you precise control over brush effects and line width while you draw. The tablet is compatible with all major design software and has eight express keys to streamline your workflow.

Cintiq is one of the most premium and reputable brands of drawing tablets on the market, and the 13.3-inch display on this tablet looks stunning. The 1,920 x 1,080 HD display shows your drawing right on the screen for ultimate creative control, rendering your artwork in 16.7 million colors. The vivid on-screen experience really distinguishes itself from pads that only transmit to the monitor. The comfortable and lightweight device is ergonomically designed to accommodate your drawing style, while the included Pro Pen changes brush size and line weight at your command.

Four customizable express keys and multi-touch gestures increase your efficiency, while the compact and lightweight design sits easy in your lap. A 22HD version is also available, giving you even more room to express yourself. 

Designed with office work in mind, this ultra-narrow tablet is wireless and fits perfectly on your desk with a keyboard, a space-saving plus for graphic designers. The tablet connects to your PC or Mac where it works on Illustrator, Maya and other graphic design software. It has a six-meter wireless connection distance and a 2500mAh battery that lasts up to 40 hours. The sleek design separates the touch and draw area, so you can work without worrying about your palm accidentally touching the screen. The device has six customizable buttons and 2,048 levels of pressure sensitivity. 

Samsung equips their Galaxy tablets with the best stylus available on mass-market devices. The S Pen offers true-to-life pressure and sensitivity that rivals pens designed exclusively for drawing tablets. The pen never needs to be re-charged and can operate as a variety of drawing styles and devices.

In addition to a best-in-class pen, the Galaxy Tab S3 is an excellent all-around tablet. It has a vivid Super AMOLED display for deep contrast and extraordinary colors. It also comes with powerful Quad speakers tuned by AKG and a featherlight keyboard that can be attached to the tablet so that it operates like a laptop for word processing. It has a powerful 12-hour battery and a speedy Snapdragon quad-core processor. 

With a 10.5-inch screen, the latest iPad pro is a powerful tool for drawing, thanks to the Apple pencil and ultra-sharp vivid retina display. The tablet is lightweight and super thin, weighing just over one pound and measuring .2 inches in thickness. A powerful A10X fusion chip with 64-bit architecture embedded M10 coprocessor delivers fast performance, while the 10.5” retina display and 2224 x 1668 resolution offer extreme HD at 264 pixels per inch. Other noteworthy inclusions: a 12MP camera with 4K HD video, 7MP FaceTime HD camera and 10 hours of battery life. Plus, thanks to the desktop-class performance, there are now dozens of apps in the Apple store that will help you unlock your creativity and make use of the powerful tablet, including Adobe Illustrator Draw and sketchbook.

Artists who prefer a smaller screen will enjoy this PicassoTab with a 10-inch IPS HD screen and 32GB of memory. Even if you prefer a bigger screen you can use the mini HDMI port or Bluetooth to hook your tablet up to a large screen for drawing or watching movies. The screen resolution is 1,200 x 800 and it includes 1GB DDR3 of RAM for a speedy performance. The tablet comes with a drawing stylus that is responsive. It is not pressure sensitive, but Autodesk Sketchbook app allows you to adjust the pressure to your preference.

Some people will always prefer the feel and function of drawing on a piece of paper, but still want digital versions of their creations that they can upload and edit. If you're in this camp, then the Intuous Pro Paper Edition is perfect, as it allows you to capture and upload pen-on-paper artwork into a completely digital form in a raster or vector file. Just use the Intuos Pro tablet’s new Pro Pen 2 technology. It comes combined with a removable paper clip and .4mm fine-tip gel pen. Just place the paper over the tablet and sketch. Your work will be captured on the tablet, even if you aren’t connected to the Internet.

The Pro Pen 2 also delivers the most accurate performance, with 4x higher accuracy than earlier versions for lag-free tracking and tilt recognition. The tablet is very comfortable to hold, opting for a thin and lightweight edition that feels great in your hands and lap. Eight express keys can be programmed to your liking, while a touch ring controls canvas rotation and other features.

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