Personal Picks: Top 5 Graphic Tablets
Best Graphic Tablet to Consider
Whether you're a professional graphic designer, a college student taking Liberal Arts course, or just some dude who runs a webcomic, you will want the best graphic tablet out there. A better graphic tablet can improve your work productivity, the quality of your work and generally your work experience. If you're looking for a new graphic tablet, or want to buy one as a Christmas gift or a birthday gift, check out these top five reviews of the best graphic tablet you could get your hands on.
Things to consider when buying a graphic tablet.
Pick well so you won't regret it!
When looking for a graphic tablet, there are a few things you should keep in mind.
What will you be using it for? Are you making an ad for a company? Is it for college works? Maybe you have a webcomic? Or are you simply going to use it for some casual drawing or doodling whenever you have free time? Some professional will want the high-ended ones, but for amateur artists a cheap (Okay, cheap for a graphic tablet standard.) one will do.
The dimension of the active area is also important. 'Active area' of a tablet refers to the part of the tablet that actually responds to the stylus' touch. The part where you move the pen-thing around and the cursor moves with it, you know what I mean. Most graphic tablets today comes in 4"x5", 6"x8", and 9"x12". Professionals might go for a bigger size but most of the time smaller ones works just as well.
You should also consider the stylus/pen-thing and accessories that comes with the graphic tablet. Make sure the stylus feels comfortable and fits with your grip style. It should feel as natural and as intuitive as holding a pen or a pencil. Are there customizable buttons that you can utilize on the pens? Or do you find them to be hindering? Some companies offer customizable stylus to fit the user's taste and comfort.
Pressure sensitivity is another thing to consider when buying a graphic tablet. Basically it is the responsiveness of the tablet. Higher pressure level means that the tablet is very sensitive to pressures and will respond to the slightest of touch, making it feel quite like drawing using traditional methods. With pressure sensitivity you can control the thickness of a line drawn, the transparency or the color intensity. These days graphic tablets comes at either 1024 or 2048 pressure levels.
And last but not least, affordability. Some high-end tablets may be too expensive for amateurs or casual artists but they would certainly be the ones professionals would want to have a look at. But for those with limited budgets, there are some decent tablets at low price.
Anyhow, let's get started. Begin the review!
#1. Wacom Intuos Pro Pen and Touch - The best for professionals in terms of reliability and affordability.
Since it's release the Intuos4 has been regarded as the best all-around graphic tablet for typical professional use. The pen provides a whopping 2048 layers of pen tip and eraser sensitivity, tilt-sensitivity, is batterly-free and cordless, and features a programmable DuoSwitch and soft grip. It also comes with a wireless, programmable 5-button optical scroll mouse. The tablet itself features 8 ExpressKeys that can be programmed to fit the user's need, a nifty little device called the Touch Ring with 4 different, user-definable functions such as zooming, cycling through layers, changing brush size, and rotating the canvas. The Intuos4 comes in 4 sizes, Small (12.2"x8.2"x0.5" with an active area of 6.2" x 3.9"), Medium (14.6" x 10.0" x 0.5" with an active area of 8.8"x5.5"), Large (18.7"x12.6"x0.6" with an active area of 12.8" x 8.0"), and Extra Large (24.5" x 18.2" x 1.1" with an active area of 18.2" x 12.0").
#2. MonoPrice #6251 10"X6.25" - An incredible graphic tablet under $100
Let's be honest, it's hard to find a really decent graphic tablet under $100. Yet MonoPrice has proven otherwise with their #6251 that rivals its Wacom counterpart, pricing at only $60 on Amazon. It sports 1024 levels of pressure sensitivity, a large active surface area, 16 programmable hot keys, 4000 LPI resolution, low response rate and a sturdy build. The only few drawbacks this tablet has is that the pen requires a battery to function, and the cord length is only 5 feet long. Don't forget to take the battery off when you're not using the tablet, as it drains the battery. Overall a great pick for beginners and professionals alike.
#4. Wacom Cintiq - For the hardcore and the serious ones.
Some people would call this a monster in terms of pricing, and they're not kidding. One of Cintiq costs at about $2300 on average. However all those money will be worth it. It's easy to sum up Cintiq as a fusion of a high-quality color-accurate graphic monitor and a professional graphic tablet. It has 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity, 16 customizable ExpressKey and a touch strip located at the sides behind the tablet that functions the same as the Intuos's Touch Ring. The Cintiq comes in three different sizes, 12-inch, 21-inch and the behemoth 24-inch. As expected, the Cintiq weighs a lot and it would be uncomfortable to have it sitting on your lap for a long time. That's what the stand behind the monitor is used for, with variable degree of inclination to suit the user's comfort.
#5. VT PenPad 7.7-Inch - Flops like a mouse pad.
Easily one of the more affordable graphic tablets in the market. Pricing at around $30 or so this tablet is easily worth all the basic functions of a typical graphic tablet with 1024 levels of pen pressure sensitivity and a decent active area for a tablet its size. It lacks any programmable buttons to be used as hot keys though, and the pen requires a AAA battery to function. The bundled programs probably wouldn't even be used when there's a much better alternative out there, but it's better than nothing. And with that price it's definitely better than anything. Not recommended for professionals but it's a quite decent tablet for any beginners. Also it's very thin and flops like a mouse pad.