A display tablet is one of the basic tools used by artists, animators and designers. They are far superior to any other drawing device and give a very personalized working experience. With an almost unlimited number of options, now is one of the best time ever to get a drawing tablet with screen. There are established brands such as Wacom which already make great tablets. On the other hand, major brands like Apple and Microsoft are trying to step in with their new line of products made specifically for digital artists. Overall you get a wide range of devices to choose from which is always good for us creators.
Whether you are looking for a top of the line display tablet or a beginner friendly budget device we got you covered. In our list of best display tablets, we have featured tablets ranging from standalone devices to 2 in 1 computer. All the devices mentioned in the list are handpicked after detailed comparison and research. In the end, we have made a buying guide to help you make the right choices.
- Wacom Cintiq Pro – Overall best display monitor
- Apple iPad Pro – Most portable
- Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 – iPad alternative
- Microsoft Surface Studio 2 – Desktop + Drawing board
- Microsoft surface pro 6 – Full windows experience in a portable package
- Huion Kamvas GT 221 pro – Best Wacom alternative
- Xp Pen Artist 22E pro – Most affordable 21-inch drawing tablet
- Gaomon PD 1560 – Value for money
- Xp-Pen Artist 15.6 – Best budget device
- Huion Kamvas Pro 13 – Budget alternative with great display
01. Wacom Cintiq Pro – Best display tablet
Wacom Cintiq is one of the go-to devices for digital artists. They have been making devices for decades and have established themselves as an industry standard. Their device is used in all the major studios for a wide variety of tasks.
Wacom Cintiq pro is a modern minimalist tablet made specifically for digital artists. It comes in four sizes – 13, 16, 24 and 32 inches.
The screen resolution ranges from full HD to 4k depending upon the model you pick. The screen is vibrant, sharp and supports up to 98 percent Adobe RGB color space, which is perfect for tasks which require high color accuracy. The device comes with optional multi-touch support which can be toggled on or off.
- Premium build quality
- Multi-functional pen device
- Fast, responsive and accurate performance
- Long lasting hardware
- Matte display
02. Apple iPad Pro – Most portable drawing tablet
Apple iPad pro is the most portable drawing tablet you can buy right now. It comes with an exceptionally good Apple pencil which works flawlessly and has pinpoint accuracy.
There are drawing apps like Procreate, Clip studio paint, Affinity photo which is made specifically for iPads and works extremely well. It also comes with the full version of photoshop(soon).
The long-lasting battery keeps the device running for hours. Its processor is powerful enough to match the performance of your laptops which has been proved by the latest performance tests.
Who is this device for
In spite of having all these cool features and advantages this device may not be for you. Lack of professional and industry standard software is the main reason many artists (especially 3D artists) avoid this. The absence of proper file manager and no external storage support may also bug you as a creator.
So, if you are someone whos work and workflow revolves around making digital paintings and portability is your priority than Apple iPad is the perfect device for you.
- Thin and light – carry it everywhere
- Long lasting battery
- Exceptionally good drawing experiance with Apple pencil
- Good drawing Apps
- Super smooth and powerful processor
- Lacks professional 3D applications
- No external storage support
- Gloss display
03. Samsung Galaxy Tab s4 – An all in one drawing device – better than you think
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4 is the androids answer to the iPads. It is an all in one multimedia + drawing device with virtually no limitations. It is relatively cheaper than all the other device in the list in relation to things it can do.
The tablet has a premium metal design and comes with the best in class AMOLED screens with crisp and vibrant colors. The sleek form factor and long lasting battery make it usable anywhere and everywhere you want.
How good is the S-Pen
The tablet has a very accurate and responsive S-Pen which works flawlessly with the android drawing apps like Autodesk sketchbook, Infinity painter and Artflow.
The s-pen is a passive pen which does not need to be charged and uses the same technology as Wacom. The pen is round and has a single side button. The lines drawn by it are smooth, consistent and relaible with no jitter and wobble.
The tablet also supports Smasung DeX where you can connect it to the external display and use the tablet as an traditional graphics tablet.
- Multipurpose device
- Thin, light, compact and portable
- Long working hours – massive battery
- Great pen performance
- Samsung DeX enabled
- No professional 3D applications
- Small screen
04. Microsoft Surface Studio 2 – Two in one drawing pc
Microsoft surface studio 2 is the largest digitizer supported fully touch enabled personal computer. The screen has an aspect ratio of 3:2 which is considered great for making digital art and models. The display is 20 inches with the resolution of 4500 x 3000 (192 PPI).
It comes with an Intel® Core™ i7-7820HQ processor and 16 or 32 Gb of RAM with a Gtx 1070 graphics card.
Its design is the main reason why it is liked so much. This drawing pc has a very well thought out hinge. The hinge allows you to lay the monitor at an angle and draw on using the pen. The transition between desktop to tablet mode is super smooth. Its stand and hinge are stable enough to draw at any angle.
The device is powered by windows and has great internal specs so you will not have any issue using any of the professional drawing and 3D applications. It is also a great entertainment device and can play fairly demanding games.
The surface pen is not as good as what we have seen in Wacom and Apple devices but it is still good enough for the day to day uses and for making professional artwork. It sticks to the side edge of the monitor using magnets and overall provides seamless working experience.
Who is this device for
This device is good for anyone who needs a pen display but these devices are more useful to someone like a 3D designer who needs to constantly switch between computing, modeling and drawing tasks. It can also be a great tool for architects and hobbyist who like to play with expensive toys.
- Massive 28 inch screen
- Largest pen enabled touch device with built in PC
- Supports all the professional drawing and 3D applications
- Zero gravity hinge for a seamless transition between computer and drawing board
- No rotatable screen
- Doesn’t come with a smaller size model
- Gloss display
05. Microsoft Surface Pro 6
If you ever wanted a full fledged Windows – 2 in 1 tablet on which you can draw than this may be the perfect device for you. It is similar in size to the Apple iPad and Samsung galaxy tab 4 which makes it super portable.
Unlike the Ipad and Samsung tablet, it works on Windows operating system. Which means as an artist you get to use all the desktop software right on the tablet.
The Microsoft surface pro 6 can attach to the backlit surface keyboard with a touchpad. There is a kickstand built right into the tablet which gives you various working angles. The tablet comes with multiple input options with most of the ports you will need.
The supported surface pen is very handy and works great. It still has a slight line jitter at slow speed but it is not that aggressive and the pen is totally usable. Overall if you want a portable pen tablet to draw on than this may be the right device for you.
- Full windows operating system
- Portable and customizable
- Decent battery life
- Come in different varients
- Small screen
- Lacks tablet like interface
Update : Check out Wacom Cintiq 16 – The budget Wacom tablet which was launched recently
06. Huion Kamvas GT 221 pro – best wacom alternative
Huion kamvas is essentially a drawing tablet with screen. This device has been made for the sole purpose of making digital art on it. It has a very responsive stylus with 8192 levels of pressure sensitivity and two side buttons.
It costs as much as the cheapest Wacom Cintiq device but has almost twice the screen size. In other words, it is one of the best Wacom alternatives.
screen – size and quality
The 21.5-inch screen has 1920 x 1080 p resolution with a viewing angle of 178°. The IPS panel produces sharp images with consistent colors which cover 72% of NTSC color gamut which is great for a relatively cheap device like this.
The display tablet has a total of 10 buttons and 1 touch bar on each side of the tablet which is more than sufficient for any uses. The display comes with a decent tablet stand – pre-included in the box which can go from 20 degrees to 80 degrees.
In the box you get a ton of other accessories like pen case, extra pentips , drawing gloves and all the necessary cables.In a nutshell it is amazing that a drawing device this big comes at this affordable range. It is great for people who are looking for big drawing devices.
- Massive 21.5 inch screen
- Matte display
- Good stylus performance
- Lots of shortcut buttons
- Relatively affordable price range
- No parallex
- Stylus needs to be charged
- Screen may be too big for some people
07. Xp Pen Artist 22E pro – big size display tablet on a budget
Xp Pen Artist 22E pro is another 21.5-inch drawing tablet with amazing specs and impressive price tag. The display has the resolution of 1920 x 1080 p with 178° viewing angle and 82 percent Adobe color gamut coverage.
The device feels well put together and comes with a pre-installed desk stand. Its inclination could be adjusted in the range of 15 to 85 degrees. The stand keeps the device very stable without any wobble.
Like some of the other tablets, the top surface has matte which reduces reflection and also provides slight resistance for the pen which makes the drawing experience better.
There are a total of 16 customizable keys spread on both sides of the display in two groups of four. Other than that there are buttons on the bottom edge of the device for color settings. The display does not get as bright as Wacom but it is still decently bright for the normal room conditions.
The included pen has 8192 levels of pressure sensitivity and comes with a really nice pen holder. Overall the device works perfectly and is a decent option as a mid-range drawing tablet.
- 21.5 inch screen
- Matte display
- 1920 x 1080 resolution
- No touch ring/ dial
- Low maximum brightness level
08. Gaomon PD 1560 – value for money
All the tablets mentioned above are somewhere in the range of expensive to medium range in terms of price. If you are a beginner or you don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on a display tablet, but still want a good drawing experiance than this tablet is for you.
The Goamon Pd 1560 has all the features which you will find in high range wacom tablets but at a smaller form factor.
Screen – Is 16 inches enough
This drawing tablet has a 15.6 inch screen. This is slightly smaller than all the other tablets we have seen so far which usually have 21 inches or 24 inch screens. But that is not a bad thing as many artists feel that a 21 inch screen may be a little too large for comfortable drawing and 16 inches is a better and more ergonomic size. The IPS display has good color production and the images look sharp and crisp.
The included pen has 8192 levels of pressure sensitivity. The pen performs great in terms of drawing consistent strokes. It also comes with a tablet stand which gives you a lot of angles to work with. It can go anywhere between 10 to 90 degrees.
There are a total of ten express keys all of which could be customized using the software.
The tablet has a modern minimalist design and comes in a dark grey color which looks professional. It looks like a well thought out and well put together device and in spite of the low price it does not look an feel cheap.
In a nutshell if you are looking for an affordable drawing tablet without losing any feature and quality than this is the perfect device for you.
- 16.5 inch screen
- Matte texture on display
- 1920 x 1080 resolution
- Accurate colors
- Best in terms of price to features
- No touch ring / Dial
09. Xp-Pen Artist 15.6
Many of the affordable display tablets always have the issue of inconsistant strokes, really cheap hardware and many other minor bugs. That is not the case with Xp-Pen Artist 15.6. It comes with a 15.6 inch 1920 x 1080p resolution IPS display with very accurate color reproduction and brightness.
Perhaps one of the best features of this device is the pen. It has got a pen with 8192 levels of pressure sensitivity and has a very comfortable shape and width. There are two buttons on the sides.
It has got good weight distribution and overall feels great in hand. It is a passive pen, which means it does not need to be charged ever.
The pen works really great with very smooth pressure transition from high to low pressure. The lines are straight and have no jitter and weird pressure bumps. It comes with a Pen holder and extra pentips along with a lot of other accessories like Drawing glove, international power adaptor and all the necessary cables.
The tablet has a total of six shortcut buttons on the left arranged in two groups of three. It has a good cable management through well thought out 3 in 1 cable which reduces clutter on your workspace. The tablet is great for both left handed and right handed uses.
- 16.5 inch screen – comfortable to use
- 1920 x 1080 resolution
- Passive pen – No need to charge
- Very slim profile – easy to carry around
- Does not come with a stand
- No touch ring / Dial
10. Huion Kamvas Pro 13 – almost perfect budget device
Many of the drawing tablet with screen have a common problum called parallex. Where the line is few millimeters off from where the tip of the pen is touching the surface.
One of the main reason for this happening is the layer which produces the images sits few millimeters below the glass creating an unwanted depth.
Huion is the only company other than Wacom which comes with the laminated display. In these types of display, the top surface is fused with the display which results in no parallax.
Display – best display on a budget
It has got a really good 1920 x 1080 screen with 120% Adobe RGB color gamut producing very accurate colors with deep blacks. It comes with 4 shortcut keys, 1 function key, a touch bar and a power switch at the left. The pack also includes a decent tablet stand. The device is made of aluminum alloy with large rubber pads at the rear.
It comes with a pen with 8192 levels of pressure along with tilt recognition up to 60 degrees. It is a passive pen which does not need to be charged. The included pen holder houses extra pentips and a nib remover tool. It connects to the computer through a type-c USB port using a 3 in 1 cable.
It is a well made and very functional device which is slim and portable enough to carry in your backpack.
- Laminated anti glare screen
- 13.3 inches 1920 x 1080 resolution
- Passive pen – No need to charge
- 8192 levels of pressure and 60 degree tilt support
- Comes with a tablet stand
- Just 4 shortcut buttons
- Does not come with a tablet bag/pouch
How go pick the right pen display tablet
There are a lot of factors you should consider when buying a drawing tablet but one of the most inportant things is to figure out what you actually need. And of course budget also plays a big and decisive role. Here are some features you should look into before buying a drawing tablet.
Screen – Size, color and brightness
There are tablets which are as big as 32 inches and at the same time, there are display tablets which can be 12 inches in size. If we talk about tablets like iPad then you may be dealing with a 10 inch screen size.
A big 32 inch may give you a lot of space to work with and a warm feeling but it is not a good choice if you are looking for something portable. In that case, you are better of with a small sized device. The big screen also means that you will have to move your hand more and move your eyes and neck far more often.
This will give you a feeling of fatigue in longer drawing periods. That is the reason many people believe a 16-inch tablet is a better choice as it is not too big to overwhelm you and not too small to bug you either. Overall it depends on your personal preference and what is more important to you.
Color – Screen calibration
Everyone knows as a digital artist you need an accurate screen. Many of the screens come with an almost full Adobe RGB color coverage and have a life like real colors which does not look desaturated or oversaturated. Most of the drawing monitors have color, brightness and contrast setting buttons to adjust it to your preference.
Many of the professional artists like to use a monitor calibration device to perfectly set the screen before working. A lot of screen with full sRGB and Adobe RGB color pallet are easy to calibrate as they already have the capacity to produce accurate colors and just need a little bit of tweaking but some cheap devices simply cannot produce certain colors no matter how you calibrate it.
One more factor which affects the colors is the matte texture on the display. Well matte displays are great at it diffuses reflection and give more hold to the pen tip but at the same time, they also interfere with colors especially black colors. But the advantage of a matte screen is more than their disadvantages and that is why many people prefer it over glossy displays.
Resolution – HD vs 4K
Most of the display tablets in the list come with a 1920 x 1080 p resolution display. There is some tablet which has 1080 p display but still claims to support 4K resolution. Technically that is true but that is no the same as a real 4K panel and you will easily notice the difference if you look at them side by side.
If you want the real 4K display than Wacom is the only drawing tablet with the real 4K panel.
Most of the pen comes with a pressure sensitivity of 8192 levels. But that does not tell us much about the actual performance of the pen. Ideally, you want a pen with a smooth transition between low and high pressure sensitivity with no weird pressure bumps.
The line drawn by the pen should be straight with no curvy lines at slow as well as fast drawing speeds. There should be minimum to no parallax.
Pro Pen 2 which comes with the Wacom is the best stylus in the market followed by Apple pencil and Samsung s-pen. Pens that come with Wacom uses EMR technology which enables them to work without a battery. Nowadays this feature can also be found with lower range tablet.
Drawing tablets come with various types of shortcut buttons. Some of them also come with touch bar and touch ring. Ideally, there should be some buttons on the screen for making quick changes in brush size and other values.
Some of the drawing monitors like Wacom Cintiq pro does not have a single shortcut button on the device. They come with a separate accessory which has a total of 17 buttons and touch dial.
The shortcut buttons are absent in the tablets like iPad and Samsung galaxy tab but since these are small standalone devices, they don’t really need them.
Stand – Ergonomics matters
Drawing on the flat surface is not only uncomfortable but it can also give you neck pain and muscle cramp. Most of the high range of tablets come with a decent tablet stand with different adjustable angles. For the case when the tablet does not come with a stand, you can get it separately.
Why you should invest in a good tablet as a professional
Unlike most of the electronic devices, drawing tablet lasts for years. Some of the people are still using the tablets which they bought 7-10 years ago. They only upgrade because their tablets are outdated and do not have the latest tech and specs. By this, it is safe to assume it is pretty much one-time investment and you should carefully buy it.
A good drawing tablet has the premium built quality and up to date features which ensures you can use them for a long time.
If you have any queries feel free to ask them in the comments below.