Best tablets for graphic design in 2024


Drawing tablets make it easy for artists and designers to bring their work to life with responsive touchscreens with outstanding brightness and color accuracy. The best tablets for graphic design emulate the natural feeling of drawing on paper and have large, clear displays with pressure-sensitive pens and other specialized features to differentiate them from regular iPads and Android tablets. That’s not to say regular tablets won’t work for graphic design — many artists use them because of their multiple capabilities and portability.


We’ve reviewed tablets from most major brands this year and decided to look at the best graphic design options to see what they’re all about and whether they’re worth buying. After checking them out, we made a list of the best models for every use and budget to help you decide which is best for your design needs.

Related

The best note-taking tablets

Capture your best ideas in a notebook that never runs out of pages with these great note-taking tablets.

Best tablets for graphic designers: Our top picks

Xencelabs Pen Display 24

Xencelabs Pen Display 24

1. Best overall tablet for graphics designers

The ultimate art canvas

It’s easy to get immersed in your drawing with the Xencelabs Pen Display 24, which offers a massive glare-free display to express yourself, and the handy Quick Keys remote to improve productivity.

Pros

  • Stunning display
  • Includes two styluses and extra nibs
  • Handy remote control

The Xencelabs Pen Display 24 takes the fight to more established brands like Wacom with an anti-glare matte display and a smudge-free design to resist fingerprints. The Pantone-Validated 24-inch 4K display is a stunner with brilliant color accuracy and is a joy to draw on using the included thick and thin styluses with 8,192 pressure levels.


The build quality is fantastic, with a sturdy magnesium alloy back housing, and finding the perfect drawing position is easy with the built-in tilt stand offering between 16 and 72 degrees of adjustment. Another stand-out feature is the Quick Keys remote, which has a dial and programmable keys that make it easy to map Photoshop shortcuts. It easily attaches to the tablet’s side and includes a handy OLED display to show you what each button does.

This tablet offers impressive performance to rival pricier competitors with a massive 24-inch 4K display and sturdy construction, but the 60Hz refresh rate might put off some buyers. It’s still a pleasure to use with extras like two styluses, ten nibs, and the Quick Keys remote.


Wacom Cintiq Pro 27

Wacom Cintiq Pro 27

2. Best premium tablet for graphic designers

Professional tool

The Wacom Cintiq Pro 27 has a 27in 4K display and eight customizable ExpressKeys for a comfortable user experience.

Pros

  • 27in UHD display
  • 120Hz refresh rate
  • Eight ExpressKeys
Cons

  • Premium Pricing
  • Too bulky for most buyers

Wacom’s Cintiq Pro 27 offers a massive 27-inch 4K UHD canvas with 99% Adobe RGB and 98% DCI-P3 to create your masterpiece. A matte finish on the display reduces glare and reflections, and it’s responsive and silky smooth with a 120Hz refresh rate. Build quality is top-notch, and the Cintiq Pro 27 has a sturdy feel with eight customizable ExpressKeys on the rear panel and multi-touch and pen gestures as input options. There’s no built-in operating system, and it connects to your laptop or MacBook via USB-C, USB-A, mini DisplayPort, and HDMI.

The Wacom Pen 3 takes comfort to the next level with adjustable weight, grip thickness, and center of balance for a bespoke drawing experience. It includes ten nibs, tilt support for shading, and 8,192 pressure levels for amazing precision.

If you buy the Cintiq Pro 27, you must add the pricey optional stand to get optimal stability and adjustability. It’s worth it for pros who’ll spend the next few years creating spellbinding images on it, but regular buyers are better off with more practical and affordable options on our list.


HUION Kamvas 24 Plus

Huion Kamvas 24 Plus

3. Best value tablet for graphic designers

Feel like a pro for less

Huion’s Kamvas 24 Plus offers amazing value. It has a 2.5K (2560 x 1440) QHD display and excellent color accuracy for a reasonable price.

Pros

  • 24in QHD display
  • Includes a stand
  • Great colour accuracy

The Huion Kamvas 24 Plus is one of the most affordable ways to get a 24-inch drawing tablet, and there’s no sacrificing picture quality thanks to the stunning 2.5K (2560 x 1440) QHD display with an excellent 140% sRGB. An anti-glare etched glass display reduces reflections and contributes to the comfortable drawing experience and wide 178-degree viewing angle. Connectivity is decent, with two USB-C ports and a USB-A thoughtfully placed behind the display’s right bezel.

Huion’s battery-free PW 517 stylus keeps things simple with a rubberized grip and all the expected features, like spare nibs, 8,192 pressure levels, and a tilt function. The Kamvas 24 Plus surpasses its pricier rivals by including a sturdy screw-on stand with rubberized feet for a strong grip and adjusts between 20 and 80 degrees for the perfect viewing angle. While there are no built-in shortcut keys, Hulion sells the Mini Keydial remote as an optional extra, along with gloves, cables and other accessories.

This isn’t the tablet to get if you’re looking for portability, because it’s meant to sit on a desk all day while you use its pen and massive display to create works of art. It feels great to draw on, and the stand adds more value and makes it one of the best options for pros on a budget.


XPPen Artist Pro 16 Gen2

XPPen Artist Pro 16

4. Best mid-range tablet for graphics designers

Mid-size magic

The XPPen Artist Pro 16 is an excellent choice if you’re getting started in the graphics industry because it has a portable 16-inch 2.5K display and handy remote control for a reasonable price.

Pros

  • Portable size
  • Handy remove
  • Great stylus
Cons

  • Might be too small for some users
  • Single viewing angle from built-in stand

Hobbyists and amateurs looking for a drawing tablet under $1000 can try XPPen’s Artist Pro 16, which offers upmarket features for a low price. The 16-inch 2.5K (2560×1600) display with an anti-glare surface offers a smooth drawing experience and is the perfect size for people on the go. Not many drawing tablets offer the same flexibility, and the Artist Pro 16 appeals to different types of artists because you can turn off the display and use it as a screen-less drawing tablet.

The XPPen’s Artist Pro 16 features a built-in kickstand with a 19-degree angle and includes a stylus with 16,000 pressure levels and eight spare nibs. You also get a convenient remote control with a dial and ten programmable buttons, and it connects to the tablet via a Bluetooth dongle that plugs into the USB-C port.

You don’t need to spend a fortune on a drawing tablet if you’re just starting in the graphics game. The XPPen Artist Pro 16 offers upmarket features in a compact and easy-to-carry package that can go anywhere with you. It includes a handy remote and sensitive stylus, but it’s a pity that the stand offers a single viewing angle.


Apple iPad Pro 12.9-inch (6th Generation)

Apple iPad Pro 12.9-inch (2022)

5. Best Apple tablet for graphic designers

Portability with a pencil

The Apple iPad Pro can run most graphic design apps and has a stellar 12.9-inch Liquid Retina XDR Display to bring out the best in your art.

Pros

  • Clear 12.9in display
  • Excellent performance
  • Tough
Cons

  • Glossy display
  • Too small for some users

Apple’s iPad Pro isn’t specifically created for drawing and lacks the matte finish, papery feel and battery-less stylus of drawing tablets. On the other hand, it’s a multifunction tool for calls, messages and more and is portable enough to carry anywhere thanks to its 12.9-inch size. The iPad Pro works with most design software, and the Apple Pencil offers fantastic precision when paired with the responsive Liquid Retina XDR Display.

Some buyers prefer a dedicated drawing tablet because there are no calls or notifications to distract them, while others prefer having a do-all device, which is often more cost-effective. Either way, it’s great to have the processing power of the M2 chip and 2TB of storage for your designs, videos, and images. You can also attach the optional Magic Keyboard to turn the iPad Pro into a mini-Macbook when you need to work on documents and spreadsheets.


The iPad Pro won’t replace a fully-fledged drawing tablet, but it’s an attractive option for anyone getting into design or who wants a mobile option to work in coffee shops or planes. You can’t go wrong because it’s one of the best tablets on the market and seamlessly pairs with Airpods and other Apple devices.

Microsoft Surface Pro 9

Microsoft Surface Pro 9 (Wi-Fi)

6. Best Windows tablet for graphic designers

Performance and durability

The Microsoft Surface Pro 9 is portable enough to go anywhere. Its 13.3-inch touchscreen, Intel’s Core i7-1255U, and 16GB of RAM make it powerful enough to run most apps.

Pros

  • 13.3in 120Hz display
  • Impressive performance
  • Built-in stand
Cons

  • Glossy display
  • No headphone jack

Microsoft’s Surface Pro 9 is the best option for Windows fans wanting an all-in-one solution for graphics and other tasks. It’s compact but tough, with sturdy aluminum construction and a 13.3-inch 120Hz touchscreen. Apart from graphics apps, the Surface Pro 9 can handle media, browsing, and other tasks with Intel’s Core i7-1255U and 16GB of RAM. Its 256GB of storage is enough for most image and video libraries.


The Surface Pro 9 includes the rechargeable Slim Pen 2 with a 77-degree tilt function and a built-in eraser. Its 4,094 pressure levels won’t match the best drawing tablets, but it should be enough for most users and works for jotting notes, navigating the web, and more. Thankfully, a built-in kickstand offers 170 degrees of adjustability to find the best position, and the Surface Pro 9 can also turn into a mini-laptop when paired with a compatible keyboard.

Designers on the go or anyone looking for a do-all option with excellent performance and compatibility with most apps will appreciate Microsoft’s Surface Pro 9. It’s not the best for drawing with a glossy screen and average pressure-level pen, but it gets the job done and offers vivid imagery on its clear display.


Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra

Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra

7. Best Samsung tablet for graphic designers

Tough enough for the road

$1200 $1320 Save $120

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra is excellent for drawing, movies, and other media thanks to its 4.6-inch, 120Hz AMOLED and capable processing power.

Pros

  • IP68 rating
  • 14.6in AMOLED display
  • Long battery life
Cons

  • Needs a stand
  • Bluetooth stylus requires charging

Samsung’s Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra is the best option for buyers looking for a slightly larger display and excellent durability. Everything from movies to games and graphics apps looks amazing on the 14.6-inch AMOLED display, which has a wide, 16:10 aspect ratio and up to 120Hz refresh rate. Build quality is excellent, with sturdy aluminum housing and four speakers built into each corner. It’s also the only tablet in its class to feature an IP68 rating to protect it from dust and water damage.

The Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra includes Samsung’s rechargeable S Pen with a 0.7mm tip and 4,096 pressure levels. It easily connects via Bluetooth and provides excellent precision for sketching or writing and can scroll through websites, navigate apps, and more with air gesture control. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 offers impressive performance, and you get a full day’s charge from the 11,200 mAh battery.


The Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra offers a stunning display for multitasking and is tough enough for camping trips, picnics, and other outdoor places where you might want to draw nature. It also offers great performance for most apps, but you’ll need to buy a separate stand to get the most out of it.

XPPen Star03 V2

XPPen Star03 V2

8. Best budget tablet for graphic designers

Budget-friendly for beginners

$60 $70 Save $10

The XPPen Star03 V2 is an affordable drawing tablet with a responsive 10 x 6-inch surface and eight shortcut keys for quick access to certain functions.

Pros

  • Durable
  • Affordable
  • Eight hot-keys
Cons

  • Needs a separate display to work
  • Steep learning curve

Drawing tablets like the XPPen Star03 V2 are affordable and durable because they offer a pressure-sensitive pad instead of a fragile and expensive touchscreen. You plug it into your computer, and all your pen movements and strokes are registered on the monitor. With the Star03 V2, you get a fairly compact 10 x 6-inch surface area to draw on, and it includes eight shortcut keys to assign to zone in and out and other functions.

The lightweight matte plastic battery-less pen is a pleasure to hold, has 8,192 pressure levels, and includes eight replacement nibs. While the Star03 V2’s slim design and 21.5-ounce weight make it easy to balance on your lap while you draw, it’s not portable and can’t work without a separate monitor.


XPPen’s Star03 V2 gets the job done and is perfect for beginners or anyone wanting to try out a drawing tablet with the smallest cash outlay possible. It’s sturdy and responsive, but the steep learning curve and lack of portability might put off some buyers.

Xencelabs Pen Display 24

Xencelabs Pen Display 24

Editor’s Choice

The bottom line: What’s the best tablet for graphic design?

The Xencelabs Pen Display 24 is the best tablet for graphics design because it has a large 24-inch UHD touchscreen and a handy remote control. The premium Wacom Cintiq Pro 27 takes things up a notch with a massive 27-inch 4K display with a 120Hz refresh rate. Buyers looking for the best value can try the Huion Kamvas 24 Plus, which has a 24-inch QHD display at a fantastic price.

FAQ

Q: Why do graphic designers use iPads?

Because they have a vivid and responsive display for drawing and are powerful enough to run most graphics and photo editing apps.

Q: What tablet for graphic design and Photoshop?

Many options on our list, like the Wacom Cintiq Pro 27, iPad Pro, and Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra, will work for design and Photoshop.

Q: Do I need a graphics tablet for graphic design?

You can use a regular tablet for graphics design, but graphics tablets offer a better writing surface, shortcut buttons, and other specialized features that make them appealing to pros.


Q: How did we pick the best tablets for graphic design?

Our team has tested countless tablets this year, including the Surface and Fire ranges, and has hands-on experience with models like the Apple iPad Pro and Microsoft Surface Pro 9. There are many specs to consider when testing a tablet, and we try to make things simpler by focusing on major factors like the display, performance, and value.

The best tablets for graphic design have huge anti-glare displays, offering a soft writing experience that mimics the feel of a pen on paper. Despite their glossy feel, regular tablets also work for drawing and graphic design and offer a portable solution that can go anywhere with you.

Most buying decisions are based on value, so we always consider it when testing equipment. All the options listed here offer decent value, with the pricey options having premium features to justify their cost and the affordable models punching above their weight, offering great features for less.



Source link