Standalone drawing tablets have a lot of advantages over traditional drawing devices. One of the biggest being – they do not need to be connected to a computer.
Having a computer built inside your drawing tablet does not only give you a compact drawing device that you can take anywhere with you but also provides a number of added features and functionalities.
A number of these tablets come with special features such as shortcut buttons or accessories such as surface dial, magnetic stylus, desktop-grade app support that adds to the overall drawing experience.
In a hurry? Here are our top recommendations.
Standalone drawing tablets come in various sizes and forms and have a number of advantages over traditional drawing tablets.
What is a standalone drawing tablet?
Standalone drawing tablets are a combination of a drawing tablet and a computer.
These drawing tablets have a built-in computer inside, that allows them to work independently without needing to be connected to an external computer like the traditional drawing tablets.
1. Microsoft Surface Pro 8 – Best standalone drawing tablet
There are so many good standalone tablets out there that it was kind of difficult to pick one tablet over the other.
After having a good look, it is clear that the Microsoft Surface Pro brings a lot to the table and it totally deserves the title of the “best standalone drawing tablet” in the market.
The Surface Pro 8 comes with a 13-inch 120Hz screen that is small enough to be portable but still has a sufficiently large screen that it doesn’t feel cramped while drawing.
The support for Windows 11 is one of the biggest advantages of this tablet. Windows allows you to use all your favorite desktop-grade drawing and modeling applications right on this handy computer.
The processor is powerful enough to handle light 3D applications and hundreds of drawing layers of your project. The battery life is also decent with fast charging enabled.
Microsoft Surface Slim Pen 2
Last but not least – the Surface slim pen 2. The Surface Slim Pen is counted amongst some of the best styluses in the market. It comes with support for both pressure and tilt sensitivity.
Due to the 120Hz screen, fast response time as well as improved inking technology, drawing with Surface Slim Pen 2 feels very natural and predictable.
Surface Pro 8 being a touch screen, the palm rejection is equally important. The palm rejection on this tablet is spot on and does an excellent job of handling accidental touches.
The Microsft Surface Pro is available in multiple configurations where you can choose different processors, RAM, and storage options as per your needs.
It also comes with a handy keyboard accessory which can be very handy when performing shortcut combinations in software such as Adobe Photoshop.
Surface Pro 8 is the perfect choice for artists who need desktop-grade application support in a handy form factor.
If you are a multitasker who constantly switches between digital art to graphic designing and uses Adobe sweet of applications or just want the flexibility of a desktop operating system, the Microsoft Surface Pro is the best option for you.
Buy Microsoft Surface Pro 8 on Amazon →
2. Apple Ipad Pro – Compact, Powerful tablet with a great stylus
If you hang out in art communities, you know that Apple iPad is gaining popularity with some of the artists permanently switching from traditional drawing tablets to iPad Pro.
Getting the basics right is one of the best ways of making a good drawing device, that is essentially what Apple has done with its iPad Pro lineup.
Apple iPad Pro Screen
Starting with the display – a display is where all the action happens, so it is one of the most important components of a drawing tablet.
The display on the Apple iPad Pro has a resolution of 2388 x 1668p (11-inch) and 2732 x 2048p (12.9-inch).
The screen is vibrant with good color accuracy. The display is bright enough to be comfortably used outdoors.
Apple Pencil – Stylus perfection
If you ask us – “Which is the best stylus that one can get?” – Apple Pencil would be the answer.
Accurate tracking, balanced pressure sensitivity, tilt recognition and faster response rate, and good ergonomics are some of the ingredients of a good stylus. The Apple Pencil stands tall at almost every benchmark.
At the heart of it – Apple Pencil is the main reason what makes the iPads so popular amongst the artist. It has precise stylus tracking and good pressure and tilt sensitivity.
What sets it apart from another stylus in the market is its amazingly fast response rates measuring just 7ms.
The only area where the Apple Pencil falls short is the ergonomics. Although a vast number of artists like the overall shape and size of the Apple Pencil but some of them feel that it is a little too thin and may feel slippery on sweaty hands.
To counter that, some artists like to use an Apple Pencil grip that not only provides a better grip but also increases the thickness of the stylus.
Other than that the pen has a customizable touch-enabled button on the side that can be used to quickly switch between a pen and eraser. It also comes with features such as wireless charging and quick charging.
The only shortcoming of the Apple iPad Pro
So far the Apple iPad seems like a great choice – Right? but the biggest roadblock that stops many artists from getting this tablet is the Operating system iPadOS.
Although there are a number of good drawing apps available for iPads, still some of the most popular desktop drawing apps are not available for iPads yet.
Further, if you use a combination of different programs as a part of your workflow, you may find it difficult to find the iPad alternatives of those desktop apps – leading you to change your workflow.
In short, iPads are for sure ahead of the game in terms of hardware and power but their operating system is what holds them back.
The iPad Pro is a great choice if you are strictly a digital artist or if you feel the iPads easily fit your workflow, in that case, you will love the drawing experience provided by it.
Buy Apple iPad Pro on Amazon →
3. New Apple iPad Air – Same drawing performance at pocket-friendly prices
If you liked the aforementioned iPad Pro but think it is way too expensive, first of all – you are not the only one who thinks that.
But the good news is – recently Apple has updated their older iPad Air and gave it a brand new look with some high-end features, while still maintaining an affordable-ish price.
The new iPad Air has a new all-screen minimum bezel design which looks very similar to the iPad Pro. But that is not even the best part.
It got a massive specs upgrade and now features one of the latest generation processors which results in a faster and smoother overall performance.
The tablet comes with a 10.9-inch screen and available in five attractive colors – Silver, Space Gray, Green, Sky Blue, Rose Gold. (check out all the colors options here at Amazon)
Support for Apple Pencil 2
The older model of the iPad Air only supported the first-gen Apple Pencil which was not that good. The new iPad Air now supports Apple Pencil 2 which is big news for artists who wants a quality drawing experience at an affordable price.
Just like the iPad Pro, the Apple Pencil magnetically sticks to the top edge of the iPad Air where it charges wirelessly. It also has a touch button on the side which can be used to switch between pen and eraser.
Other than that, the iPad Air has a very compact form factor making it very convenient to carry it in your backpack.
It has stereo speakers, which combined with iPad Air’s amazing display, you will have a great multimedia experience on this tablet.
Compared to other standalone tablets in the market, its battery lasts a long time, meaning it is perfect for outdoor usage or long trips.
The lower price, faster processor, Apple Pencil 2 support along with multiple color options make the iPad Air a great tablet to gift it to your loved ones, or maybe to yourself.
Buy Apple iPad Air on Amazon →
4. Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 plus – Standalone Android tablet with 2.8 ms pen latency
If you are an artist and you like the freedom and customizability that Android offers then you would love this one.
Android tablets have traditionally fallen behind tablets such as Apple iPad Pro but with the arrival of the all-new Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 plus, that is not the case anymore.
Samsung tablets are some of the most reliable Android tablets and come with some of the most powerful processors and premium designs. They have a huge fan base of their own and people do really love them.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 plus is the latest iteration of the Samsung tablets whose features are kind of similar to the iPads.
Display – Color, and Resolution
The quality of the display is one of the highlights of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 plus.
It comes with Super AMOLED displays which are known for their excellent color accuracy and contrast and you do really feel the difference in real-life usage.
Further, they have a refresh rate of 120Hz which helps with smoother transitions and animations.
The Galaxy Tab S8 comes in three variants, 11, 12.4, and 14.6 inches with an aspect ratio of 16:10 in a modern design with super-thin bezels around the screen.
The best part is, these screens can be super bright and very comfortable to use in bright outdoor environments.
S Pen – Blazing fast stylus with an amazing 2.8ms latency
Samsung has been constantly improving its stylus (S-Pen) from the last few years. The biggest improvement came this year in the form of blazing-fast 2.8ms response time.
This is even faster than Apple Pencil, which comes with 9ms of response time. Check out our Apple Pencil vs S Pen comparison (new tab).
Other than that the pen tracking, pressure sensitivity as well as tilt sensitivity is also outstandingly good. All these features combined together result in a very natural drawing and writing experience.
To make sure the S Pen is always by your side when you need it – it magnetically sticks at the back of the tablet where it charges wirelessly.
Power, Battery life and performance
A standalone drawing tablet needs to be powerful enough to easily handle day-to-day tasks and its battery should last all day long without needing to charge in-between.
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 has both these features, it comes with one of the fastest processors and has a massive battery that can easily handle intensive usage and last a long time.
Overall, if you are looking for a capable standalone drawing device and want the most color-accurate screen, powerful processor, a very capable stylus, and a battery that lasts all day long – the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 plus is definitely the best option for you.
Buy Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 on Amazon →
Till now we have seen a number of tablets measuring 10 to 13 inches. These tablets are great in terms of portability but they do compromise with screen size.
What if portability is not your priority and you actually want is a larger drawing area (bigger screen) instead.
The Huion Kamvas Studio 22, as the name suggested is a standalone drawing tablet with a massive 22-inch screen. Huion is known for its digital drawing devices. Artists like them because they provide top-of-the-line features at very reasonable prices.
The advantage of this type of tablet is – It replaces your computer and your dedicated drawing tablet with a single device which is a computer as well as a drawing tablet.
It simplifies your work setup and makes it clutter and wire-free. The Kamvas Studio 22 comes with an Intel i5 – 8400 processor and a FullHD IPS screen with a color accuracy of 120%sRGB color gamut.
Stylus – Huion PW500
Since Huion primarily makes drawing tablets, they are expected to have a good stylus and they do. The Kamvas Studio comes with a stylus that has 8192 levels of pressure sensitivity with good pressure and tilt sensitivity.
Since this drawing computer is primarily made for artists there are a number of extra features that help provide a better drawing experience.
When you draw with a stylus on a glass screen over time it starts getting scratches. The Kamvas Studio 22 comes with a tougher etched glass, that not only provides better protection against scratches but also provides a textured surface for better drawing experience.
There are a total of 20 fully programmable shortcut buttons as well as 2 touch strips on both sides of the screen.
Now one of the main reasons why this tablet is recommended is that it provides great value for money. Even though technically it is a combination of a computer and a drawing tablet but still it manages to keep its price low.
If you like then the idea of having a large size standalone drawing computer that is compact and has an inbuilt computer of its own, you should definitely get this.
Buy Huion Kamvas Studio 22 on Huion.com →
6. Microsoft Surface Go 3 – A cheaper alternative to Surface Pro
The Surface Go 3 is a 10.5-inch touch-enabled and Surface Pen-enabled portable standalone drawing tablet. One of the best things about his tablet is in spite of being a small and handy device it still runs a full-fledged Windows operating system.
It can be seen as a smaller version of the Microsoft Surface Pro and it shares a number of features that come with Surface Pro.
Starting with that hinge at the back. It is built inside the body if the tablet and allows you to place your tablet at any angle you want. The hinge also helps you provide a better grip while drawing handheld.
Microsoft Surface Go 3 stylus – Surface Pen
The tablet works really well with the Surface Pen, the pen tracking is good, you can customize the pressure sensitivity and you also get tilt support.
There are a number of accessories that you can get with this tablet such as the Surface Keyboard as well as the surface dial.
Other than that the tablet has a good battery backup and everything works smoothly and as expected. The processor of this tablet is good but not that powerful.
But at the same time, as far as the drawing is concerned, it can comfortably handle reasonably heavy project files.
This drawing tablet is an ideal choice for those who want an affordable Windows-powered standalone drawing tablet that allows them to use their desktop drawing applications.
The Surface Go 3 is also a great choice for young artists.
Buy Microsoft Surface Go 2 on Amazon →
7. Microsoft Surface Studio 2 – Convertablet drawing PC
When we talk of a standalone drawing tablet we expect a computer and a drawing tablet combined into a single device. Most of the standalone drawing tablet is small in size measuring below 15 inches.
What if you want a larger standalone drawing device that does not needs to be connected to the computer and has a smaller footprint that occupies minimum space on your desk.
If you want a larger drawing device that not only has a good stylus and powerful internals but also looks modern, elegant, and elevates the overall look of your setup, the Microsoft Surface Studio 2 is the right choice for you.
It comes with a massive 28-inch display which 3:2 aspect ratio giving you more vertical screen space which is great for productivity tasks.
The Microsoft Surface Studio also supports accessories like the Surface Dial that provides a number of handy shortcuts.
In a nutshell, this all-in-one drawing computer is expensive and it is not for everyone, but if you are someone who likes to have an elegant working setup and appreciate good design, you will love this one.
Buy Microsoft Surface Studio 2 on Amazon →
8. Apple iPad Mini (6th gen) – Portable and powerful
As Apple describes it “mini just got mightier“. The latest upgrade from Apple has added a number of extra features in the iPad mini which makes it a much better tablet than before.
One of the biggest upgrades to the iPad mini is – it now supports the second-generation Apple Pencil.
The iPad mini is the smallest tablet featured on this list and comes with an 8.3-inch screen. When it comes to portability, there is no match for it. It can easily fit in your handbag or backpack and it is so lightweight that you won’t even notice it.
Small and Powerful
In spite of being so small, it comes with a very powerful A15 Bionic processor. It is one of the most powerful processors in its price range and can easily handle large project files or multiplayer online games.
To top it all, the iPad mini is super affordable and one of the cheapest standalone drawing tablets.
With the recent update, the iPad mini has gotten a massive design overhaul.
Now it shares the same modern boxy design with minimum bezels around the screen, that you see in premium tablets like iPad Pros.
Overall if portability is what you care about and you want a tablet that won’t make a huge dent in your bank balance at the same time that has the power to handle daily use and abuse – iPad mini is what you should get.
Buy Apple iPad Mini on Amazon →
9. Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 lite – Cheaper Android drawing tablet
After the huge success of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6, Samsung has introduced the new Galaxy Tab S6 Lite where Samsung has ditched some unnecessary features in favor of keeping the prices low.
The Galaxy Tab S6 lite comes with a 10.4-inch screen that has a resolution of 2000 x 1200 and an aspect ratio of 5:3. The stylus comes included in the box and it has a good response rate and pressure sensitivity.
There are other cheaper android tablets available in the market but none of them has the combination of a good screen and an excellent stylus that you get with the Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 lite.
The tablet excels in other areas as well as such as battery life and a fast processor. There are a number of good Android drawing apps that can run on this device.
Other than being a good drawing and note-taking tablet, this can also be a good device for media consumption.
This tablet is a good alternative to Apple’s iPad mini and iPad Air as it comes with a minimal bezel around the screen giving you more screen space in a similar form factor.
Buy Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite on Amazon →
10. Alternative – 2 in 1 ultrabook with stylus support
When you are looking for a standalone drawing tablet, essentially what you want is a portable device with pen input.
In this case, the 2-in-1 ultrabooks could be a great option for you and they are worth checking out.
They come with a foldable/detachable design that converts your laptop into a tablet-like form factor. These ultrabooks are very slim and lightweight devices that are easy to carry with you.
Plus they come with support for pen input which combined with desktop-based drawing software, could be a good combo.
These ultrabooks are recommended for casual artist who likes to draw stuff every once in a while.
Advantages and Disadvantages of standalone drawing tablets
Advantages of standalone drawing tablet
- Comes with a pen-enabled screen
- Portable – Can be used on the go
- Comes with a built-in computer
- Cleaner workspace with minimum clutter
- Some of them support keyboard accessories that essentially makes them a computer
- Added drawing centric features
- Multiple choices in terms of size and operating system
- It can be used on a couch, patio, lawn, park or wherever you feel comfortable
- Overall better drawing experience
Disadvantages of standalone drawing tablet
- Expensive than traditional drawing tablets
- Minimum to no upgradability – So make sure to pick best possible specs
- Generally smaller screen sizes – 10 to 13 inches but some are also available in larger 22 and 27 inches
- Difficulty running heavy 3D applications
Standalone drawing tablet: Simplified Buyer’s guide
What style of artwork do you make? Which Drawing Apps and Programs you use? Are you a beginner, or a professional? How often do you travel? You like to work indoors or outdoors? Do you like tablets with smaller or larger screens?
Everyone’s needs are different, So one tablet that is a perfect fit for you may not be the best choice for someone else. There is no perfect drawing tablet, every tablet brings some special set of features that are unique to that device.
When getting a standalone drawing tablet, you should figure out what features are important to you and get the right tablet accordingly.
If you have come this far, you are Awesome. Writing this article took a lot of time and effort and we hope that we were able to help you find the right Standalone Drawing Tablet.
So, did you find our article informative? Did we miss something? Please let us know in the comment section. We would really appreciate that.