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The Best Drawing Tablet for Photoshop

If you are looking for the best drawing tablet for Photoshop, then this is the article for you. Creating designs and art over time has been made easier and more efficient with the inclusion of drawing tablets.

However, choosing a good tablet can be a hassle, considering the flood of tablets on the market today.

We have tested and done many tablet reviews before, but in this article, we review the top gadgets you can get, whether on a budget or as a beginner. We also consider high-end devices for professional-level artists and graphic designers.

It is important to note that it is not a given fact that a tablet will transform you into a perfect artist instantly, but it can be the difference between okay and fantastic work.

A quality drawing tablet can mostly be defined by its stylus capabilities and the sensitive surface feature interaction for an authentic and natural experience. That might be what you’re looking for, but I am sure you will not mind having extra features that rank your tablet among the best.

In this article, we shall choose the best tablets under the three categories of drawing tablets in order to guide you to the best for you.

Which is the best drawing tablet for Photoshop?

  1. Xencelabs Pen Tablet: Best Drawing Tablet for Photoshop Overall
  2. Wacom Cintiq 22: Best Wacom Tablet for Photoshop: Editors Pick
  3. Apple 12.9-inch iPad Pro The best iPad for Photoshop
  4. Microsoft Surface Pro 8: The Best Windows Tablet for Photoshop
  5. Wacom Intuos S: The Best Pen Tablet for Photoshop

Xencelabs Pen Tablet: Best Drawing Tablet for Photoshop Overall

  • Drawing area: 10.3 by 5.8 inches
  • Stylus Pen; 2-battery-free digital pens
  • Pen pressure sensitivity: 8192
  • Tilt support: yes
  • Connection: USB-C to USB-A
  • Category: Pen Tablet

The Xencelabs Pen Tablet Medium Bundle is a 10.3 by 5.8-inch tablet, a device that offers you a large working area for a pen tablet. Contrary to this, the tablet is small, and when you combine this with an 8-mm thin panel, the tablet is easier to slide into a backpack and carry around.

When it comes to the stylus, the tablet offers you two battery-free digital pens with different diameters and buttons.

Both the pens harbor 8192 levels of pen pressure sensitivity, providing control for an authentic and natural experience.

They additionally support the tilt function, allowing you to tilt your pen for brushing and painting just like you do on a canvas.

Just above the drawing surface are three customizable buttons that maintain your shortcut habits for an effective work rate. If you prefer more shortcut options, a remote with over 40 programmable buttons is at your disposal, making it even better and more efficient.

The Xencelabs Pen Tablet Medium Bundle is fully dependent on a computer connection since it lacks both a screen and an in-built computer system. Connection is therefore made using the USB-C to USB-A cable for a cleaner and less wired working desk.

Pros

  • Quality pen features
  • Enhanced shortcut options
  • Budget-friendly
  • Large enough working area

Cons

  • Not a standalone
  • Lacks a screen

Wacom Cintiq 22: Best Wacom Tablet for Photoshop: Editors Pick

  • Screen size: 21.5 inches
  • Stylus Pen; Wacom Pro Pen 2
  • Pen pressure sensitivity: 8192
  • Tilt support: yes
  • Screen resolution: 1920 by 1080 pixels
  • Screen technologies; anti-glare
  • Connection; USB

Large-sized monitor tablets are great to work with. Although they are still dependent on a computer because of a lack of an inbuilt computer system, why go small when you are quite limited when it comes to working on the go?

The Wacom Cintiq provides you with a diagonal screen size of 21.5 inches, and drawing on the large working area is a thrill.

Wacom is rated top when it comes to stylus production, and the Wacom Pen 2 is a great example of their expertise. The pen holds the market’s best 8192 levels of pen pressure sensitivity, unleashing natural and authentic stroke and designing conditions.

Moreover, the pen supports a tilt function, increasing that natural experience so that you can brush through your design with just a tilt of the pen.

As for the display, the Wacom Cintiq 22 has a screen resolution of 1920 by 1080 pixels. When you combine it with a 72% NTSC color gamut, you are offered quality visuals with rich and crisp colors.

This is also enhanced by the tablet’s ability to detect 16.7 million colors. Sticking to the screen, an anti-glare coating on the screen minimizes reflection for a transparent display even in bright conditions.

The Wacom Cintiq 22 is a monitor tablet, which means it does not need an external screen because it has its own. However, it lacks an internal computer system, meaning a computer connection is still required.

Connecting to a computer is easy since you only need to set up a USB connection and you are ready to go.

Pros

  • Quality stylus
  • Lovely display features
  • Large working area
  • Tilt function support

Cons

  • Large size may limit portability

Apple 12.9-inch iPad Pro: The Best iPad for Photoshop

  • Stylus: Apple Pencil 2
  • CPU; Apple M1 chip
  • Storage; 128 GB/ 256 GB/ 512 GB/1 TB/ 2 TB
  • RAM; 16GB
  • Screen size: 12.9 inches
  • Screen resolution: 2048 by 2732 pixels
  • OS; Ipad

One of the best independent drawing tablets on the market right now is the iPad Pro 12.9 inch (M1 2021). Although Apple refrains from using the word tablet for their products, we shall categorize the iPad under Standalone tablets.

Working on the go is fully enhanced since the iPad is standalone, lightweight, and small in size. Being standalone means you can use the iPad without the need to connect it to a computer or laptop.

Since it is standalone, it is important to note the additional computer features, including processors, RAM, and even internal storage.

Processing is made possible by the new M1 chip, delivering fast and efficient processing, and when you combine this with 16GB of RAM, it can only get better.

Additionally, internal storage ranging from 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB, and 2TB provides you with model options you can choose from to suit your needs.

The Apple Pencil 2 is a slim, classy, and comfortable stylus used with the iPad Pro 12.9 inch (M1 2021) for drawing. Although the exact pen pressure sensitivity levels are not revealed, the pencil is accurate and precise and offers a natural drawing experience.

The display, on the other hand, is well taken care of, with a screen resolution of 2048 by 2732 pixels combined with the Liquid Retina display, ensuring a clear display with rich, crisp colors.

Pros

  • Fast and powerful processors
  • Large and varying internal storage
  • Quality display features
  • Perfect to work on the go

Cons

  • Quite expensive

Microsoft Surface Pro 8: The Best Windows Tablet for Photoshop

  • Screen size: 13 inches
  • Screen resolution: 3000 by 2000 pixels
  • Stylus: Surface Slim Pen 2
  • Pen pressure sensitivity: 4096 levels
  • Processor: Intel Core i5
  • Storage: 128 GB
  • RAM: 8 GB
  • OS: Windows 10 Pro

Prior versions of the Surface Pro series have always come short of challenging the Apple iPads. However, the Microsoft Surface Pro 8 has risen to the challenge, both in design and efficiency.

Another standalone tablet that offers you an option on the operating system, with the tablet being delivered with Windows 10 Pro.

The 13-inch tablet is perfectly sized for an on-the-go tablet, and since it is a Pen Computer tablet, it allows you to continue using the tablet away from your computer.

Powerful Intel Core i5-1135G7 processors work hand in hand with 8 GB of RAM to deliver fast and efficient processing.

This further ensures seamless functionality when running multiple programs simultaneously and rendering files.

Additionally, the tablet provides 128 GB of internal storage, and if you are not satisfied with the size and RAM, you can upgrade, but be sure to add some cash to your budget.

When it comes to drawing, the tablet uses the rechargeable Surface Slim Pen 2. Although the Pen harbors 4096 levels of pen pressure sensitivity instead of the common 8192, the stroke production is not that different, and the experience is natural and canvas-like.

The visuals, on the other hand, are impressive, courtesy of the 3000 by 2000 pixels of screen resolution, making the colors richer and more vibrant.

Pros

  • Perfect to work on the go
  • Powerful processors
  • Quality visual features
  • Lovely sleek design

Cons

  • Low pen pressure sensitivity levels

Wacom Intuos S: The Best Pen Tablet for Photoshop

  1. Active area: 5.98″ x 3.74″
  2. Connectivity: USB-A
  3. Pressure Levels: 4096
  4. Compatibility: Chromebook, Mac, Android, and Windows
  5. Battery-free Wacom Pen 4K
  6. 3 extra standard nibs 
  7. 4 Customizable Express Keys
  8. Weight: 8.2 ounces

If you are looking for a small portable tablet with no screen or computer, we recommend the Wacom Intuos S. It is a pen tablet and must be connected to a computer to be used. This means that it lacks both a computer and a screen.

Once you connect to a computer, the 5.98″ x 3.74″ working area becomes active, and when you touch it with the pen, you will notice activity on your computer screen.

The Wacom Intuos S is compatible with Chromebook, Mac, Android, and Windows operating systems. This means you can comfortably use it with your Android phone as long as you can install Photoshop on it.

You will get a battery-free Wacom Pen 4K to use for navigation. The pen features 4096 pen pressure levels on the working area. Finally, you will have three extra standard nibs in case of breakage or loss.

The small size and lightweight 8.2 ounces make the Wacom Intuos S easily portable and flexible. Shortcut keys help speed up your workflow by setting them to your quick-go-to functions. You will have four customizable Express keys at your disposal.

Pros

  • Compatible with Chromebook, Mac, Android & Windows
  • Compact and portable
  • Very cheap price range
  • 3 extra standard nibs 

Cons

  • Must connect to a computer to use
  • No screen

How to choose the best drawing tablet for Photoshop

A drawing tablet is a tool for drawing, and while some can buy them for entertainment purposes, most are purchased by artists willing to enhance their careers and/or artistry.

Since artists’ needs do not translate similarly when it comes to the tablet’s specs, we shall highlight the main factors to consider.

Drawing Surface

When it comes to the drawing surface, you may go for the Studio tablets if you prefer a large working area. However, if you need a lightweight tablet to work on the go, a smaller tablet with a smaller drawing surface is the one for you.

Stylus and pen

A stylus plays a very important role when it comes to drawing tablets. A quality pen is determined by its ability to produce authentic strokes with a natural feel to them.

This is brought about by a number of pen features, with the main one being quality pen pressure sensitivity levels. The best level in the market as it stands is the 8192 pen pressure sensitivity level, and by this, you are offered full control of your designs.

At a cheaper budget, you can get a quality tablet that harbors 4096 levels, and the experience is not that far from the previous levels. Additionally, the pen is better when the grip is comfortable on the hand, and when combined with a lightweight build, you can enjoy longer fatigue-free sessions.

Budget

The budget may be the reason for getting a great drawing tablet or just a regular tablet. Ideally, stand-alone tablets are expensive, with monitor tablets coming in second, and lastly, pen tablets.

However, buying a tablet with a category matching your budget can help you get a better tablet, although in a lower category.

Conclusion

All the above tablets are at the top of their category in one way or another. If you are a professional and are looking for a top-of-the-chain drawing tablet to enhance your work, the iPad 12.9-inch Pro (M1, 2021) is the one for you.

It is further standalone, meaning you can use it on the go without a computer connection. However, the price may be quite high for most, and if so, you can go for the Windows-supporting Microsoft Surface Pro 8.

It is both standalone and portable for a lovely working-on-the-go experience. You might, however, need to cash up if you want the highly featured models.

With all that said and done, the best drawing tablet finally depends on the user, since you best understand what you need, your budget, and what company, be it of the tablet or operating system, serves you best.

FAQ

  1. Which graphic tablet is best with Photoshop?

    Wacom Intuos S is the Best graphic tablet for Photoshop. It does not have a screen or computer to install software. You must connect to a computer to use.