There’s no doubt that the digital age has changed life for the better and by that, we don’t just mean smartphones. Want to know the temperature outside? Just ask your digital home assistant. Need to finish a report on the go? The tablet will come to your rescue. Want to take a hundred books on your trip because you can’t decide which one to read? Well, what’s your eBook for?
There’s literally a device for all kinds of people and every kind of requirement. And while the list of these devices that can simplify (and might we say elevate) your lifestyle goes on and on, we’d like to emphasize on the ten best drawing tablets with screen (pen display) that artists and graphic designers might want to consider upgrading to in 2020.
If you’re a budding artist in today’s day and age, you’d know there are limitless digital drawing tablets out there that can increase both your creativity as well as productivity by letting you explore features that you otherwise can’t on paper. But before we delve into the best drawing tablets, here’s a beginner’s guide to understanding the importance of one in your career as an artist.
- Related Post: Top 10 Best Drawing Tablets (Without Display Screen)
Understanding Drawing Tablets
There are several kinds of drawing tablets that cater to different art styles depending on the mediums you use. Once you’re familiar with the key features and specs of a basic drawing tablet, you can pick a model to suit your preferred art style. There are multiple factors impacting a drawing tablet’s quality and functionality.
So, before you purchase one, here are a few key points to remember – the pressure sensitivity of the stylus/digital pen is extremely important since it can make or break your artwork, the screen size especially if you’re used to working with a particular canvas size, the resolution, responsiveness, stylus type and advanced features among others. Here are a few more categories within drawing tablets to look into.
1. Laminated vs Non-Laminated Display
You might have heard of a laminated screen for your smartphone. But if you’re wondering what that is and how it helps, here’s everything you need to know about laminated screens and non-laminated screens. Before we delve into details, here’s what you need to know about screens in general.
The top panel of any regular device screen comprises three basic layers – display panel which is the bottom layer, touch layer which is right above the display panel that makes the device touch sensitive and top glass which is the top most layer and has scratch resistant properties.
In traditional non-laminated screens, all these three layers are stuck together using glue, which sometimes causes air gaps to form between any two layers. This, in turn, leads to disturbances in light coming in and out of the screen and thus affects the image quality.
On the other hand, laminated screens basically have the three layers laminated together as a single piece of glass display. Since the glue is not visible between the panels, the screen looks seamless. This is one of the main reasons why modern devices have adapted laminated screens on their displays.
Apart from reduced thickness and increased image quality, some other advantages of a laminated screen are that is avoids accumulation of dust, reduces hollow sound, increases image clarity as well as outdoor performance. On the flip side, its disadvantages are that it’s expensive to repair/replace and complicated to manufacture.
2. Wired vs Wireless Drawing Tablets
Whether you opt for a wired pen drawing tablet or a wireless one, their features are essentially the same except that you can move a wireless pen more freely. A wireless control gives users the liberty to work at their convenience without being restricted by wire bundles. Additionally, the wireless version is more convenient to carry and keeps your work space tidy.
But the wired pen tablet has its own advantages in terms of performance stability, better signal transmission etc. which are important factors to consider while using a drawing tablet. You wouldn’t want any interference with your work as far as these factors are concerned, even though the wireless device offers free flow of movement. The manufacturing cost of a wired tablet is also considerably lower than that of a wireless one since it is designed without a module for receiving wireless signal.
You could pick the best version of the pen drawing tablet based on the criteria that’s most suited to your skill set.
3. About Anti-Glare Glass
In order to be able to present your artwork or creation in the best possible manner, you need to ensure that your drawing tablet has a screen with an anti-glare glass. Otherwise, the glare reflected on your screen not only affects your presentation but will also cause disturbance to your eyes. In an anti-glare glass, the luminance gets milder to reduce the fatigue caused to your eyes, owing to constant screen interaction.
Here’s what an anti-glare glass essentially does – it alters the way light passes through your screen with a technique called diffusion and the frosted surface of the glass offers paper-like texture. It also influences your viewing angle, presentation of images, color and brightness in such a way that there is hardly any glare reflected on the screen.
On the other hand, a display with ordinary glass will present your work in poor light and fails to avoid harsh glares with changing surrounding light. It is also easily blurred with fingerprints while you work on the display, whereas an anti-glare glass can prevent the occurrence of this owing to its anti-friction display. If you have an anti-glare glass, this can easily be controlled by adjusting the screen brightness as well as the contrast.
4. Pressure Sensitivity of a Stylus
A stylus comes with several pressure sensitivities and if you’re looking for something to suit your style, here’s everything you need to consider before making the right choice.
Some pen tablets and displays are developed using electromagnetic resonance technology but are restricted to specific fields, owing to their specialty. Graphic designers can visualize how their work will appear on computer software such as Photoshop and CorelDRAW, using a drawing tablet to make initial sketches.
Using a pressure sensitive pen, you can ideate better and render the images on a pen tablet or display, especially if your design is complicated. The difference between a regular digital pen and the nib of a pressure sensitive pen is that the latter has a pressure sensor which can be used for writing, drawing, rendering lines of varying thickness by applying pressure on the nib wherever required. So, essentially it gives you the same experience as drawing on paper. Remember this: The higher the pressure sensitivity, the faster the pen responds to changes.
There are broadly three types of pressure sensitive pens that are available for purchase – wired and charge required, wireless and charge required and wireless and battery-free.
10 Best Drawing Tablets With Screen 2020
A number of electronics companies manufacture a permutation and combination of these varied tablets and before you fixate on one, we suggest you go through your list of requirements, features and categories that will bring out the best of your creativity. Now that you have an idea about the various kinds of drawing tablets with screen, we’ve rounded up the ten best ones to help you make an informed purchase. Whether you need a wired or non-wired pen display, a pressure sensitive stylus or an anti-glare glass on top priority, this list will have you covered.
1. Wacom One
13.3″ 1920×1080 Display | 72% NTSC | 4096 Levels Pen Pressure | 26ms Response Time | 2540 LPI Pen Resolution
Wacom One is one of the most popular choices for everything to do with digital creation and visual thinking. If you want to improve your digital expression, this device has all the essential features required to sharpen your skills and also gives you the freedom to explore.
Working on the 13.3” screen will give you a paper-like texture and it also includes creative software compatible with certain Android devices as well as leading pen brands.
The tablet comes with a screen resolution of 1920×1080 for max clarity. It also comes with a pressure sensitive (with pressure levels going up to 4096), cordless and battery-free pen to save you the trouble of charging it. There’s an in-built tilt recognition technology in the device that gives it natural tilt support. And since the device only weighs about 1 kg (approx. 2.2 lbs), it becomes easily portable and lets you work comfortably on the go. The device is compatible with a number of operating systems including Mac (OS 10.13 and later), Windows 7 and later and certain Android tablets or smartphones.
2. Wacom Cintiq
15.6″ and 21.5″ 1920×1080 FHD Display | 72% NTSC | 8192 Levels Pen Pressure | 25ms(Cintiq 16) and 22ms(Cintiq 22) Response Time | 5080 LPI Pen Resolution
This new class of Wacom tablets, Cintiq, comes with a creative pen display with elevated features that’s great for beginners. Some of them include vibrant color, FHD clarity and ergonomic design with an ultra-responsive Pro Pen 2 that are bound to boost your creative ideas and illustrations.
It also comes with an exclusive software (for a limited period) called Clip Studio Paint which allows seamless transition from paper to tablet. The device is available in two screen sizes – 15.6-inch and 21.5-inch and has an anti-glare glass to avoid disturbances to the eye. The reduced parallax also gives you full control on your cursor. With its electromagnetic resonance (EMR) technology, the Wacom Pro Pen 2 will run for as long as you wish, since it used the Wacom Cintiq to draw power.
3. Wacom Cintiq Pro
13.3″, 15.6″ , 23.6″ and 31.5″ up to 3840×2160 UHD Display | 8192 Levels Pen Pressure | Up to 8ms Response Time | 5080 LPI Pen Resolution
The Wacom Cintiq Pro series comprises Pro 16, 13 and more recently, the 32 and 23 with advanced creative pen displays. The screens feature a premium 4K resolution display with superior color performance (with accuracy up to 99% Adobe RGB) and no virtual parallax.
Similar to the Wacom Cintiq, the Wacom Cintiq Pro is combined with the Wacom Pro Pen 2 that will offer you a creative experience like none other. Upon purchase of this device, users can also avail of limited time software (up to 2 months complimentary access to Adobe applications) such as Adobe Creative Cloud Photography plan and Adobe Premiere Rush to enhance their creativity.
Its etched glass screen will give you a similar experience of drawing on paper with reduced glare and reflections. The 24-inch and 32-inch screens ensure world class clarity where you can view every single detail and pinpoint acute errors. Whereas, the Pro 13 and 16 are available in complete HD resolution (1920×1080 pixels) and accuracy up to 87 percent Adobe RGB. The pen has precise pressure sensitivity, with little to no virtual lag and is battery-free so you don’t have to charge it.
4. Parblo Coast 13
13.3″ 1920×1080 Display | 72% NTSC | 8192 Levels Pen Pressure | 200RPS Report Rate Speed | 5080 LPI Pen Resolution
After the release of its Coast 10 and Coast 22, Parblo launched the ideal drawing tablet size that is easily portable for your travels: The Parblo Coast 13. It’s not only more convenient to carry around and use, but is also budget friendly for students.
It comes with an anti-glare glass to prevent unwanted reflections and controls the light passing through the screen. Its surface treatment is designed using a tempered glass 6H that’s super protective against scratches and potential screen cracks. It’s extremely thin width and lightweight design makes it all the more easy to work on. The 13.3-inch panel size comes with a standard 1920×1080 pixels resolution. The tablet has a powerful USB Type C connector and is compatible with creative software such as Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator CC, Corel Painter, Manga Studio, Autodesk Sketchbook and 3D Max to name a few.
5. XP-Pen Artist 15.6 Pro
15.6″ 1920×1080 FHD Display | 88% NTSC | 8192 Levels Pen Pressure | 200RPS Report Rate Speed | 5080 LPI Pen Resolution
One of the finest features of the XP-Pen Artist 15.6 Pro is its red dial interface that will elevate your digital creativity tenfold. Designed for smooth and efficient functioning, it will enable zooming in and out of the canvas and scrolling up and down, at accelerated speeds.
The display has a resolution of 1920×1080 pixels, so you can view your work with extreme clarity. As opposed to its previous iteration, the XP-Pen Artist 15.6, the Pro features 8 completely customizable shortcut keys that you can use to suit your preferred style. You can experience smoother lines and brush strokes with the XP-Pen Artist 15.6 Pro’s 60 degree tilt and natural display. Its full-laminated technology combines the glass and screen seamlessly. The PA2 Battery-free stylus comes with pressure sensitivity of up to 8,192 levels for increased productivity and improved performance.
6. Huion Kamvas Pro 13
13.3″ 1920×1080 Display | 120% sRGB | 8192 Levels Pen Pressure | 25ms Response Time | 5080 LPI Pen Resolution
The Huion Kamvas Pro 13 has tons of never-seen-before features you can explore to enhance your creative skills. With a weight of 910 grams and thickness of 11 mm, the device is easily portable for the globe-trotting artist.
Some key highlights are its application of full lamination crafts for increased brightness, anti-glare glass for protection against reflection and 1920×1080 pixels resolution for clear visual effect. It’s completely laminated screen improves color presentation and the cursor on the screen moves simultaneously with the digital pen PW507, which has a flexible nib to improve accurate rendering of lines at different pressure levels. The frosted surface of the display reduces parallax and gives you the same experience as drawing on paper. The tablet’s three-in-one cable supports HDMI, USB and power connection, eliminating messy wire bundles.
7. Gaomon PD1560
15.6″ 1920×1080 Display | 72% NTSC | 8192 Levels Pen Pressure | 25ms Response Time | 5080 LPI Pen Resolution
The Gaomon PD1560 is way ahead of its game in tablet technology. It comes with not one or two but ten customizable shortcut express keys on the left side, which can adapt to your creative working style and customize its functions accordingly.
This super cool feature not only becomes convenient to use but also saves a lot of time. The digital pen comes with an advanced pressure level up to 8,192 and 5080 LPI resolution which enhance your line quality. Additionally, with the digital pen’s pressure sensitivity rate of 233PPS, your lines will appear with absolute accuracy. It’s also more comfortable to grip and the customizable double button at its side can easily toggle between brush and eraser commands, making way for groundbreaking creative imagination and execution. The tablet is compatible with both Windows (7 and later) and Mac (OS 10.11 or later) and most painting software.
8. Huion Kamvas Pro 16
15.6″ 1920×1080 Display | 88% NTSC | 8192 Levels Pen Pressure | 266PPS Report Rate | 5080 LPI Pen Resolution
The Huion Kamvas Pro 16 is way ahead of the tablet technology game. Apart from all the regular features in most drawing tablets such as 1920×1080 pixels of resolution, 15.6-inch panel size and durable anti-glare glass screen.
The tablet has key features such as a myriad of color options (16.7 million brought by 120 percent sRGB) to enhance and brighten your creations. Its impeccable visual effects can be viewed at varying angles (from -89 degrees to +89 degrees) while ensuring high quality images and natural colors. The digital pen PW507 is a battery-free piece that requires zero charge and that’ll give you an immersive creative experience. The pen display Kamvas Pro 16 weighs 1.35 kg and measures 11.5 mm in thickness which makes carrying it around super easy. The tablet is also user-friendly as it supports both left and right-handed users with its 6-programmable express keys on the panel for improved efficiency.
9. XP-Pen Artist 12 Pro
11.6″ 1920×1080 Display | 72% NTSC | 8192 Levels Pen Pressure | 14ms Response Time | 5080 LPI Pen Resolution
As more and more drawing tablets are leaning towards customization, the XP-Pen Artist 12 Pro steps up. While the Artist 12 doesn’t offer this feature, the Pro comes with eight completely customizable shortcut express keys for efficient output.
The 11.6-inch screen is super portable and has a three-in-one cable design for convenient charging. This way, you don’t even have to use an adapter and it quickly connects to your computer. Furthermore, its sleek red dial interface makes your workflow smoother, is ergonomically designed to fit comfortably in your hand and can be easily programmed for more customization. The Artist 12 Pro also has a dial wheel that lets you capture and execute your sketches faster. It also offers a natural tilt support up to 60 degrees to avoid adjusting the direction of the brush each time. You can simply tilt the screen to add shading or color to your creation and witness natural transitions between lines and strokes in your artwork.
10. Gaomon PD156 Pro
15.6″ 1920×1080 Display | 88% NTSC | 8192 Levels Pen Pressure | 266PPS Report Rate | 5080 LPI Pen Resolution
Similar to other drawing tablets, the Gaomon PD156 Pro can accelerate your creative and visual thinking process to a great extent with its array of advanced features. It comes with a 15.6-inch display, a thickness of 12.5 mm and weighs approximately 1.3 kg.
The ten keys on the panel can be programmed to generate high-efficiency creations, with one of the keys used solely for the on screen display (OSD) menu. Its two-in-one cable enables a streamlined cable connection – the data and power ports are combined as one whereas there’s a separate port for the HDMI connector. Its battery-free, electromagnetic resonance (EMR) technology in the Digital Pen Artpaint AP50 enables accuracy in creations and delicate rendering. Moreover, the device also comes with a natural tilt technology for ease of artwork execution.
A digital drawing tablet will easily last you years and hence is a huge investment. Especially display-style tablets that come with screens for you to draw, sketch, doodle, paint, edit images etc. While they may lean towards the expensive side, they’re extremely useful for artists who are heavily involved with digital work. So, purchasing a tablet suited to your design and creative preference is equally important.
Before you purchase one, ensure you measure your work area and estimate the display size you’d like to go for. Some models come in varying sizes but others have a single display with no other alternatives. Apart from this, a few other aspects to take into consideration are the weight of the tablet, cable management, drawing surface, OS support or drivers and all the accessories it comes with such as stylus or digital pen.