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Lifewire / Jeremy Laukkonen
Large drawing area
Built-in shortcut buttons
2,048 levels of sensitivity
No touch functionality
Had to download additional drivers
Uses mini USB
The Monoprice Graphic Drawing Tablet is an entry-level drawing tablet, but the pressure sensitivity and shortcut buttons make it useful for more advanced users as well.
Before you buy a drawing tablet, it’s important to make sure you’ve found one that actually meets your needs. Factors like the size and feel of the drawing surface, the type and sensitivity of the pen, and whether the tablet has shortcut buttons are all factors worth considering. Monoprice is best known for their cables, but they’ve also made waves with drawing tablets like the Monoprice Graphic Drawing Tablet that offers solid quality at a bargain price, boasting 2,048 levels of sensitivity and a large drawing area.
We recently went hands on with it to see how it really measures up to the competition. We tested things like how easy it is to set up, whether it can reliably respond to varying levels of pressure, how well the shortcut buttons work, and more.
The Monoprice Graphic Drawing Tablet has an exceptionally thin profile that feels very light in the hand. It doesn’t feel flimsy though, and we didn’t notice any excessive flex during testing. Despite a relatively inexpensive plastic construction, it feels solidly built.
The main body of the tablet curves down below and above the drawing surface, which is more aesthetic than functional. The curve actually makes it a little uncomfortable to draw near the bottom edge of the tablet if you prefer to rest your wrist on the frame of your drawing tablet, but we found that to be only a minor annoyance.
Despite a relatively inexpensive plastic construction, it feels solidly built.
To the left of the drawing surface, you’ll find eight function buttons. These buttons allow you to quickly undo a stroke, zoom in or out on your drawing, increase or decrease the size of your brush, and more. The icons on the buttons are difficult to read, but we found them to be pleasantly clicky and reliable. Left-handed artists can flip the tablet around to place the buttons on the right.
The Monoprice Graphic Drawing Tablet is essentially a rebranded, (usually) less expensive, version of the Huion H610 Pro. They’re functionally identical, aside from differences in the pen that comes with each version of the hardware.
Setup can be a little tricky, and it’s even more difficult if you’ve ever used a different tablet on your computer before. We found that we weren’t able to get the tablet working on our Windows 10 machine with the included drivers, which resulted in an overly long setup process.
Ultimately, we were able to get the tablet working by uninstalling the Monoprice drivers and installing drivers from Huion. Since this tablet is a rebranded Huion H610 Pro, it works great with the latest Huion drivers for that tablet.
Your experience may go more smoothly if you’re using MacOS or an older version of Windows. Just make sure to install the drivers before you plug in the tablet. Then fully uninstall those drivers if they don’t work, and download the H610 Pro driver directly from Huion if necessary.
This is a drawing tablet, not a pen display tablet, so there is no display at all. The drawing surface is a uniform flat gray, and the lines that you draw appear directly on your monitor. This takes some getting used to, but it feels intuitive after a little while.
If you’re looking for the type of tablet where you draw directly on a monitor, you might want to check out something like the XP-Pen Artist 16 Pro, or the Gaomon PD1560. These are more expensive options, but they allow you to draw right on the screen.
The Monoprice Graphic Drawing Tablet performs exceptionally well once you get it set up. It features 2,084 levels of pressure sensitivity, which is good for a device in this price range. Professional artists will prefer the extra level of control afforded by devices that offer 8,192 levels, but that additional sensitivity comes with a price.
It features 2,084 levels of pressure sensitivity, which is good for a device in this price range.
Of note is the fact that the drawing surface is slightly rough. The rough surface results in a bit of drag when drawing, but some people appreciate that kind of tactile feedback. The downside is that the pen nibs will wear down faster than they would on a smoother surface. If you prefer a smoother drawing surface, then this may not be the drawing tablet for you.
We found this drawing tablet to be very usable during our testing process. The drawing surface is large enough, but the included function buttons make it easy to zoom in and out on the fly. The other function buttons also contribute to usability by providing easy access to the invaluable undo function, an eraser, brush size, and the move function.
The pen is fairly basic, feels a little flimsy, and comes apart with a threaded connection in the middle. The threads are fine, and made of plastic like the rest of the pen, so take care not to cross-thread during reassembly.
The rough surface results in a bit of drag when drawing, but some people appreciate that kind of tactile feedback.
Unlike most drawing tablet pens, this one uses a AAA battery instead of a built-in rechargeable battery. This is a nice touch, since you can just swap the battery out and keep working when it goes dead. With built-in batteries, the only easy way to keep working after a dead battery is to hold an extra pen, fully charged, in reserve.
This tablet doesn’t have a wireless option, so you have to keep it plugged in via USB whenever you’re using it. It also receives power over USB, so it only has a single port. The strange thing is that Monoprice opted for an ancient mini USB port instead of a micro US or USB-C port. So if you don’t have any extra mini USB cables lying around, you might want to pick one up as a backup. The included cable is also a little on the short side, so you may need to pick up a longer mini USB cable, or a USB cable extension, depending on the positioning of your computer.
Monoprice includes the necessary drivers for both MacOS and Windows in the box, and they advertise that the tablet is compatible with Windows XP and all newer versions of Windows. In practice, we were unable to get the tablet working on our Windows 10 machine with the included drivers, as mentioned earlier in this review.
In the event you aren’t able to get this tablet working with Monoprice’s drivers, we suggest visiting Huion’s official driver website and downloading the latest drivers for the H610 Pro 2048. Huion manufactures this tablet for Monoprice, and they seem to update their drivers more often than Monoprice updates theirs.
This tablet officially works with both MacOS and Windows, with some caveats that we covered in the previous section. It also works in Linux, but it doesn’t come with Linux drivers. If you buy it for use with a Linux machine, expect to do some extra work to get it up and running.
The tablet retails between $40 to $60, but it’s typically available in the lower end of that range. That places it firmly in budget drawing tablet territory, where you have to sacrifice features in exchange for affordability.
You can find less expensive drawing tablets, like the $20 XP-PEN G430S, but in that case you get a much smaller drawing surface of just 4 by 3 inches. You can also find drawing tablets that offer 8,192 levels of pressure and the same size drawing surface of this tablet, but you’ll typically pay a bit more for that feature.
For the size of the drawing surface, and the features you get, the Monoprice Graphic Drawing Tablet offers a decent deal.
The Monoprice Graphic Drawing Tablet is a nice little performer, but this is an extremely crowded field, and it has plenty of competition. If you have a small desk, and not a lot of space to work with, then the aforementioned XP-PEN G430S might be worth looking at. The drawing surface is a lot smaller, but it costs about half as much and offers a full 8,192 levels of sensitivity if your work calls for that kind of control.
The XP-Pen Deco 01 is another competitor that’s worth a look, with a full 10-by-6.25 inch drawing surface, 8,192 levels of pressure sensitivity, and eight shortcut buttons. That tablet is available for about $60, which is right at the upper range of where you’ll find the Monoprice tablet.
If you have more space in your budget, and you’re interested in stepping up to a drawing monitor, the XP-Pen Artist 16 Pro is an intriguing choice. It’s a drawing monitor, so it allows you to draw directly on its 1080p 15.6-inch display with a full 8,192 levels of pressure sensitivity, and comes with a competitive price tag of about $360.
Great value for a good little performer.
The Monoprice Graphic Drawing Tablet provides a decent value for what you get. It’s a great first drawing tablet if you’re just getting started, or you’re looking for a drawing tablet for an artistic teen or child, but it’s functional enough that even a professional should be able to use it as a backup. If your work absolutely requires 8,192 levels of pressure sensitivity, then you’ll have to look elsewhere. Everyone else should at least give this one a shot.