10 Tips For Choosing A Graphics Tablet: Drawing Tablet Buying Guide

Graphic tablets or drawing tablets, sometimes referred to as digitizers, are input devices. Contrary to popular belief, the device is useful not only for artists: it can be used in place of a mouse, keyboard or trackball. A tablet is an indispensable tool for a professional designer or novice who learns to create illustrations, banners, logos, 3D models, etc.

The gadget has a huge number of functions, how to choose the Graphics Tablet? We looked at formats, resolution, stylus and additional characteristics of graphic tablets, figured out their features, and collected 10 tips for Drawing Tablet.

10 tips for Choosing the Graphics Tablet

  1. Manufacturer
  2. Types of tablets
  3. Stylus
  4. Stylus Tip
  5. Graphics Tablet size
  6. Resolution of Drawing Tablet
  7. Integrated or discrete graphics card
  8. RAM
  9. Connection method and programs
  10. Wireless connection


How to choose a tablet manufacturer?

10 Tips For Choosing A Graphics Tablet: Drawing Tablet Buying Guide

The graphics tablet market is dominated by several manufacturers who produce quality gadgets with good guarantees:

  1. Wacom. Any professional artist will tell you that there is no better tablet from this company. The company annually updates the model range, and the quality is beyond doubt. Customers can choose between the Macintosh and Windows operating systems, with Bamboo being the most popular line.
  2. Genius. Offers inexpensive tablets, for which it has earned popularity among beginners. These devices are suitable for drawing in simple editors and photo processing.
  3. Huion. The company appeared relatively recently, but managed to release several dozen tablets for various purposes. The brand uses the latest technology to win over customers. At the same time, prices remain affordable. The powerful tablet is highly recommended for professional artists and photographers.

Of course, there are many more manufacturers on the market than these three: Aiptek, Trust and Adesso are not so famous, although they produce good devices. They are inferior to the leaders in terms of the number of functions and capacities, but are perfect for beginners. They have programs for drawing and processing photographs, and the price is often quite affordable. For example, many people prefer the Cybertablet Z12 tablet from Adesso because of the comfortable stylus, ease of use and versatility.

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Types of tablets

Which tablet to choose for the tasks at hand?

It’s easy to get confused in the variety of tablets, especially for beginners. In order for the device to fulfill the assigned tasks, it is important to choose the right model in accordance with the functional and design features:

  1. Digital notepad.

This option is considered the most affordable and simple, it is preferred by novice photographers and teenagers. Notepad has limited functionality and opens simple image editing programs. They were originally released for taking notes and digitizing handwritten text.

Nowadays, such tablets can be seen on business people who put signatures on documents. The low screen resolution and the lack of recognition of pressing with the stylus allow you to make simple sketches and outlines, but they cannot cope with complex shadows and shading.

  1. Semi-professional graphics tablets.

Such a device is profitable to buy for drawing on a computer. It has high sensitivity and versatile functionality. They are used by beginners and professionals to draw, enter graphics and text. They differ from tablets of the highest category in size: the standard format is A5 or A6.

The only drawback of the device is the lack of a multifunctional stylus. It is more difficult to set up for shading, you cannot change the degree of pressure. Otherwise, semi-professional tablets are not inferior to more expensive ones. They are bought for home drawings, web design, banners and logos.

  1. Interactive monitors.

These tablets are purchased by professional designers, artists and photographers. Thanks to the touchscreen display and sensitive stylus, the buyer is able to create any image and text.3. 

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How to choose a stylus for your tablet?

How to choose a stylus for your tablet?

The choice of a stylus is one of the main steps when buying a graphics tablet, because the convenience of using any model, even the most expensive, depends on it. Key characteristics include tilt and pressure sensitivity, pen type, nib material and design. Accordingly, all styluses are divided into 3 types:

  1. Usual. Such a pen is capable of drawing a straight line, a zigzag or any other element. They can recognize tilt angle and pressure for precise movement repetition.
  2. Realistic. Does not repeat given elements (straight line, circle, etc.), but follows the user’s hand.
  3. Sensitive. Highly responsive to pressure and tilt, ideal for professionals.

Sensitivity is responsible for the correspondence of a drawing or text to the artist’s intention. Such styluses accurately repeat the movement of the hand, as if a person is driving on paper. They are able to make the line thinner or thicker, depending on the degree of pressure. There are several dozen sensitivity values, but manufacturers generally only use three:

  1. 1024 degrees. Great for kids and beginners who create simple, minimalist images for websites.
  2. 2048 degrees. The most popular value, it is used by designers and artists who produce work for the Internet and print media.
  3. From 4086 degrees. Found in expensive models. Suitable for those who value the maximum accuracy of hand movement.

Stylus Tip

Which stylus tip is suitable for a tablet?

Which stylus tip is suitable for a tablet?

Nibs are mostly made of plastic that wears out over time, so they need to be updated regularly. Accordingly, the stylus should have a removable mechanism. All handpieces are conventionally divided into 4 categories:

  1. Standard. An inexpensive option made of soft plastic. Suitable for photographers and aspiring artists. With their help, it is convenient to draw, create digital painting, design logos, brands, sites.
  2. Tough. These tips last the longest due to their high density. They are purchased by professionals who work a lot with the device. However, for a beginner, it may be strange, as the stylus is more difficult to control. The hand gets tired quickly at first.
  3. Spring loaded. These nibs have a small spring that cushions the pressure of the stylus. They wear out slowly, but you have to learn to use the device again. The spring loaded tips completely change the pressure.
  4. Elastic. The second most popular tips. Suitable for artists as hands get tired slowly. However, they wear out quickly and are not cheap.

The choice of tip is a matter of preference, but professionals recommend looking at electromagnetic resonance technology. These styluses do not require recharging. Pen activation is affected by the Initial activation force setting. The lower the value, the faster the stylus will start working when it touches the tablet.five. 

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Graphics Tablet size

How to choose the best graphics tablet size?

How to choose the best graphics tablet size?

Even a beginner pays attention to the size of the device, as ease of use depends on it. This value is measured in inches (1 inch equals 25.4 mm) and is indicated diagonally. That said, a large tablet isn’t always better than a small one. For home, compact options 6×8 or even 4×5 are suitable. This size is enough for the manufacturer to place powerful hardware inside.

Professional artists and photographers prefer large tablets, but the price is right. Bulky gadgets are inconvenient because you have to move your hands a lot. If the buyer does not need to work with large canvases, such a tablet will become a burden, not an assistant.

A couple of years ago, the maximum size was considered 9×12 inches, which corresponded to the diagonal of computer monitors. Over time, they became larger, and the indicators of gadgets also increased. Large format tablets are manufactured by Wacom and some Chinese brands that duplicate the original. Thanks to modern software, the gadget adjusts itself to the monitor. Drivers change automatically, the user only agrees with the result or rejects it. Aiptek recently released a large tablet, which also includes free software.

The last thing to look for when choosing a size is the aspect ratio of the stage. Users of widescreen monitors should buy devices marked wide, that is, wide. Otherwise, part of the display will not be used, the meaning of the large screen will disappear. If you make a big mistake with the size, the proportions will be significantly distorted.

Professionals independently install drivers and adjust the dimensions of the tablet to the monitor, but for a beginner this can become an unnecessary difficulty. It is recommended to immediately choose a suitable diagonal.6. 

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Resolution of Drawing Tablet

How many dpi should a graphics tablet have?

If images on the tablet appear blurry or grainy, the image enlargement is too low for its size. Pros call this DPI, which is dots per inch. Artists sometimes say PPI, as this value is used by Photoshop and other image editors. The idea is similar, it is important to buy a tablet with the correct dpi. The higher the value, the clearer and brighter the picture or photo will be. These images look great when printed and zoomed in.

DPI, which some manufacturers call informational readout step, shows how many sensors are on the surface of the screen. The higher the value, the more accurate the line and point will be. Professionals choose graphic tablets with a figure of about 5080 dpi, since the picture remains clear even at high magnification. For amateurs and beginners, 2040 dpi is suitable. This is enough so that the lines do not look grainy, and the image is easy to edit and manipulate.

The higher the resolution, the more pixels there are in a normal stroke. Accordingly, it is more difficult for the program to process the drawing. For a tablet to cope with such a task, it needs powerful hardware.

Based on the feedback from professionals, high resolution is only needed to create detailed images. Despite the fact that beginners often choose a high value and overpay, many do not use this feature. 2040 dpi is sufficient for creating lifelike images and excellent quality photos.

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Integrated or discrete graphics card

How to choose the right graphics card for your tablet?

In total, 2 types of video cards are installed in graphic tablets: integrated and discrete. The first is built-in, and the second operates through the bus. Both display images on a computer monitor. However, the built-in card is not capable of high-quality processing of a complex 3D model. It does not have the necessary cores, shaders, shadows, anti-aliasing and other modern “chips”. The most popular manufacturers of such cards are Amd Radeon and Intel HD. These tablets are recommended for amateurs, beginners and semi-professionals, as they cost much less.

The main difference between the discrete model is the number of cores and throughput. This video card has modern filters and powerful technologies. As a result, even complex and heavy graphics are done quickly. It is not surprising that such video cards are much more expensive, but highly appreciated by professionals.

If you need a tablet for simple graphics, standard photo manipulation and 2D drawings, then the integrated graphics card will do the job just fine. And if a device is needed for 3D modeling and running complex editors that take up many gigabytes of memory, then a discrete one will be the best choice.

Modern tablets allow you to connect an additional video card to the native integrated one. The cost of these gadgets is higher than the rest, but they grow and develop with the owner.


How much memory does a graphics tablet need?

How much memory does a graphics tablet need

RAM is responsible for the operation of all running applications, including graphics editors, photo processing programs, etc. During operation, it consumes energy, and when turned off, all information is deleted. Only the processor’s cache works faster than RAM, so the responsiveness of the tablet directly depends on it. If it is not enough, the multitasking of the device will decrease significantly. All downloads will take much longer.

Most inexpensive graphics tablets have 512 MB to 3 gigabytes of memory. Of course, not only she is responsible for the speed of the device, much depends on the operating system. But with Android and Windows everything is simple – the more the better. 512 MB is no longer enough for most graphic editors. 1 GB is enough to run Photoshop and comfortably save several medium sized images.

When buying a new tablet from Apple, RAM is practically irrelevant. The company has optimized the software so that it launches quickly, does not glitch, and keeps up with user actions. 1 GB is enough even for professionals.

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Connection method and programs

What wires and programs does a graphics tablet need?

In total, there are 3 options for powering the tablet:

  • battery;
  • wire (from the mains);
  • wireless power (available only in Wacom tablets).

For most aspiring artists who do not plan to take a graphics tablet with them, USB power plugged into a computer will work. Professionals often travel with a gadget and need alternative energy sources.

The correct drivers must be installed for a tablet of any value to work. These programs control all the functions of the device, for example, the sensitivity and tilt of the stylus. In most cases, they are installed automatically, especially from trusted manufacturers. When buying a very cheap tablet, there is a risk of being left without programs that will have to be purchased additionally.

There are 2 popular operating systems that are installed in gadgets:

  • Microsoft Windows (xp, 7 or 8)
  • Mac Os (10.4, 10.5, 10.6).

Depending on the system, the user purchases free software along with the device. Some companies, including Wacom, require you to register on the site in order to access all the pen tablet features. Many have free tutorials libraries, others offer a wide variety of creative/graphic / design utilities, etc. Before purchasing, it is recommended to review the list of programs that come with the kit. This will help you save money in the future.

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Wireless connection

The ability to connect a tablet wirelessly.

Most modern tablets are capable of operating either from USB or wirelessly, but not in both states at the same time. For high-quality gadgets, the appropriate mode of action is activated automatically when the device cannot find the wire.

Modern tablets are equipped with battery sensors located on the back or side panels. They signal three situations:

  1. Yellow light if the battery is being charged through the wire.
  2. Green if the battery is fully charged but the cable is connected to the device.
  3. Red or off when the tablet is in wireless mode.

When choosing a device with a wireless connection function, it is important to pay attention to several nuances:

  1. This mode recognizes the monitor up to 10 meters away, often much less. You cannot go to another room with a tablet.
  2. While it is not necessary to sit with the device right in front of the computer, many manufacturers warn that other equipment (TVs, computers) is interfering. Even metal objects between the monitor and tablet will affect the signal. It is often inconvenient to work further than a couple of steps from the screen.
  3. For the tablet to last longer, it is important to wait until the system is fully loaded and then turn on wireless mode. Otherwise, the programs will start to fail and respond to user actions with a delay.

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