Art, like many other vocations, has been a part of the creative regime men had practiced ever since they learned about the role of legacy for their posterity.
Humans throughout history have learned and known about life and places through images and works of literature. All thanks to these forebearers of truth and triumph.
Over the years, the medium through which they convey their stories and ideas have changed, from rocks and cave murals to animal hide and now, digital screens.
A drawing tablet, much like a canvas, is in vogue right now. They provide much more flexibility in tool options which also help even the most naive of us become a brilliant artist.
But most drawing tablets nowadays need an active host, like a computer, to make them work. What about mobility? What about the portable options?
Well, you are in luck, my friend, since there are quite a few options available out there that can bring out the artist in you, anytime, anywhere.
Portable drawing tablets that don't require a computer to make them work are plenty to be found. Tablets like the Wacom Mobile Studio Pro, iPad Pro, Huion Kamvas Studio 22, Microsoft Surface Pro 8, etc., are some of the best available right now. They differ in many facets, from display size to even Stylus technology.
Here is a table introducing the many products we shall discuss in this article.
|Wacom MobileStudio Pro 13||13" WQHD display, Intel i7, Wacom Pro Pen 2||Amazon|
|Apple iPad Pro||11" or 12.9" liquid Retina XDR, M1 chip, Apple Pencil 2||Amazon|
|Samsung Galaxy Tab 7+||12.4" sAMOLED, Snapdragon 865+, S Pen||Amazon|
|Huion Kamvas Studio 22||22" IPS panel, Intel i5, Huion PW500 Pen||Huion.com|
|Microsoft Surface Pro 8||13" Pixel Flow display, Intel i5/i7, Surface Slim Pen 2||Amazon|
|Simbans PicassoTab XL||11.6" IPS panel, MediaTek Quad-core, Simbans Active Pen||Amazon|
So, without any further ado, let's get right into it, shall we?
But before getting into the product reviews, let's take a quick glance at what actually is a portable drawing tablet and how it differs from a regular drawing tablet.
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Portable Drawing tablets: What are they?
The underlying difference between a portable and a traditional drawing tablet is the display on the portable ones.
Hence, portable drawing tablets can be used as a standalone device, meaning they don't require an active connection with a PC or any other device.
On the other hand, a traditional drawing tablet does require a host device to work. They also have a complete absence of an interactive display.
Traditional ones also lack batteries since they draw their power directly from the host device.
This debility could be a pro or a con depending on the perspective. Without a battery, the device gets less bulky but at the expense of wireless connectivity and portability.
An absence of a display directly translates to less accuracy and precision. But that also corresponds to lesser heft.
Portable drawing tablets have a battery source built into them. And this constitutes one of the most critical requirements to consider while selecting a portable drawing tablet.
Portable tablets tend to be much heftier and bulkier than a display-less drawing tablet, all thanks to the display and the battery.
Drawing surface characteristics like LPI(lines per inch) may apply only to traditional tablets. But the same can be said in the case of a portable tablet with terms like report rate and refresh rate.
Here is a table encompassing a quick comparison of the two.
|Portable Drawing Tablets||Traditional Drawing Tablets|
|Standalone devices with builtin display||Needs an active connection. Can come with a display|
|Feature processors and inbuilt storage options||No such hardware|
|Have inbuilt batteries||No batteries, powered by the host device|
|Wireless connectivity options||Mostly wired connections|
|Can get heavy||Lightweight|
|Costly||Cheap in comparison|
Now, let's get on with the products, shall we?
Wacom Mobile Studio Pro 13" - The Ultimate Drawing Tablet
Wacom, one of the pioneers of the drawing tablet industry, has always occupied a special place in my heart, thanks to their Cintiq lineup.
The crisp precision of detail paired with their undeniably good Pen technology has made it a permanent resident in my book of good things.
But that's what amateurs and beginners get. Now we are dealing with the big boys, the top-of-the-line devices that form the upper crest of what Wacom has to offer.
The Mobile Studio Pro is indeed the ultimate drawing tablet that doesn't require an active connection to a host device to work.
This tablet constitutes the best specs of any tablet in this article. This very notion also speaks for the lucrative price of this device.
The device comes paired with an 8th gen Intel i7 8559U processor, which is sure to blaze through your 2D renders and paintings.
The Intel Iris Plus graphics embedded within the Mobile Studio Pro allows mild 3D rendering too.
16 GB of RAM and 512 GB of SSD storage, both expandable(ensures the future-proof factor), come standard with the device.
Coming to the most important specification of a drawing tablet - the display, the Wacom Mobile Studio Pro sports a 13" WQHD display with a resolution of 2560x1440 pixels.
With such cutting-edge specs, you are sure to get brilliant color reproduction and pixel-perfect accuracy for all your artwork projects, thanks to 82% Adobe RGB coverage.
The display is also of a textured nature, meaning you get a gritty feeling similar to drawing/writing on paper when you draw/write on this display.
This display produces a peak brightness of about 218 nits, which falls short compared to the other devices on this list.
Now, let's discuss the battery life of the device. The Mobile Studio Pro exhibits an average battery life, considering the processing power and the capabilities of the device.
Don't expect an extraordinary battery life of about 10 hours or something.
Expect a better life of about 3 - 5 hours, depending on the use. With heavy applications like Adobe sketchbook and Photoshop, you likely will get about half of the said battery life.
It comes preinstalled with Windows 10. Wacom hasn't made any comments on the upgrade to Windows 11 as of yet.
The device hosts three USB-C ports in addition to a pen holder and a fingerprint scanner. The device also hosts a Thunderbolt 3 port for lightning-fast transfers and secure connections to external hardware and devices.
Wacom Mobile Studio Pro also comes equipped with eight programmable Express keys on the left side. You also get a customizable ring dial on the center.
These keys are programmable to do whatever function you like. Popular configurations include erase, undo, zoom, copy and paste.
The device also comes with a built-in stand. You can configure the device in three different viewing angles with this stand.
One of the gripes with this device is its heft. Due to its battery and the large display, the device may seem a bit bulky. This very limitation can hinder the portability aspect of the device.
The cameras also deserve some flak since it's just not worth it. The image quality is mediocre at best, and the video capabilities of this camera have a lot of ground to cover with today's standards.
If the 13" variant seems a bit out of your comfort zone, Wacom does make a 16" variant with a ghastly exacerbated price tag.
The Wacom MobileStudio Pro 16 comes with a 4K display and a powerful Nvidia Quadro P1000 graphic unit capable of 3D and CAD renderings. An overkill by all means.
Wacom Pro Pen 2
The Mobile Studio Pro also comes bundled with a stylus, the Pro Pen 2.
Pro Pen 2 is the latest and greatest from the house of Wacom, and it can be paired with almost any of the premium tablets from the Wacom lineup.
The Pen boasts an excellent 8192 levels of pressure sensitivity which ensures precise strokes with the desired density of thickness.
The Pen also has tilt detection technology which allows for up to 60 degrees of freedom. Apart from these technologies, the Pen also ensures active palm rejection.
Wacom Pro Pen 2 doesn't host a battery since it works on the EMR(Electromagnetic Resonance) technology, which allows the Pen to draw its power directly from the display itself.
The Pen also houses a pair of shortcut keys, which is customizable to your liking.
It's definitely a must-have accessory for the tablet, and the fact that it comes bundled with the device makes the deal even more alluring.
|Large WQHD display||Bulky|
|Pro Pen 2||Average battery life|
|Great Processing capabilities||Brightness a tad bit low|
Apple iPad Pro - Best of Both Worlds
When talking about tablets, one can not forgo the matter of usability. Many drawing tablets don't support any other functionality apart from the drawing and sketching aspect it is designed to do.
The iPad Pro stands leagues apart in this matter.
Apple, with its latest iteration of the iPad Pro lineup, has accomplished something once assumed impossible. These devices have now become serious contenders as a great laptop alternative.
With the latest M1 chip, same as the ones powering the MacBook lineup, the iPad is now faster than ever(also very efficient).
The device runs on the newly released iPadOS, which essentially opens up a lot of opportunities, unlike iOS it used to run on.
Apple promises an all-day battery life. Hypothetical as it may be, the device does hold quite a bit of juice to power you through almost 6-8 hours of use.
Next, we come to the display aspect of the iPad Pro. The device comes in two variants, the 11" one, and the 12.9" big boy.
The 12.9" variant sports a Liquid Retina XDR display capable of producing almost 1200 nits of brightness, more than twice or even trice the limit of a conventional tablet.
Both models support ProMotion adaptable refresh rate capability that can go up to 120 Hz. This feature enables smooth and snappy transitions between images, apps, and the overall usage of the device.
The display also uses the P3 wide color gamut, ensuring vibrant and color-accurate renders. Both devices also support Trutone, which adapts the screen lighting to the surrounding conditions.
This display is not a textured display, like many other drawing tablets. Instead, Apple opted for a glossy smooth surface for everyday use.
FaceID enables unlocking the device and also Apple Pay transactions. Apple adopts a dual-camera setup at the back powered by a 12 MP wide-angle lens and a 10 MP Ultra-wide true depth lens.
The device has a great stereo speaker setup, a seldom-seen feature in this category. You get the latest WiFi 6. You could also opt for a 5G variant if you want cellular capabilities on your iPad.
The device comes with a Thunderbolt 4 USB Type-C port for all your ultra-fast connections and data transfers.
Storage options vary from the basic 128GB all the way up to 2TB.
With all these frills, the iPad Pro not only makes a great drawing tablet but also a great alternative to a conventional laptop, provided you buy additional accessories like the Magic Keyboard and the Pencil.
One can also not forget the availability of compatible apps on these devices. Rest assured, there are plenty of them to check out.
One true disadvantage of the iPad Pro is its complete lack of customizable keys. Most drawing tablets provide at least eight express keys, especially at this price point.
The M1 chip is so powerful that Apple first introduced the chip back in 2020 with their Macbook lineup.
The efficiency and processing capabilities of this chip are comparable only to those put up by very high-end processors, much higher than its price point.
Even at a starting price of about $900, Apple doesn't provide a stylus with any of their iPad Pros.
Nevertheless, Apple makes one of the best stylus' available in the market right now, the Apple Pencil 2. The Apple Pencil is a must-have accessory for the iPad Pro if drawing os your intended purpose.
Apple has come up with such a device specifically for the very purpose of sketching and writing.
Although Apple hasn't yet revealed the levels of pressure sensitivity that the Pencil supports, it is safe to say that you won't be feeling any dearth while using the device.
The device also supports tilt detection and Active Palm rejection.
The Pencil also has a unique way of charging. Once you attach the Pencil to the iPad through the magnetic doc, it starts charging wirelessly.
Unlike a traditional Active Stylus, pairing is a breeze with the Pencil. All you have to do is disconnect the Pencil from the doc, and you are good to go. It's that fast.
But it does have a real drawback. The device is incompatible with any other tablet, save the iPad Air.
This incompatibility is also applicable to the iPhone lineup. You might want to look into third-party styluses if you're adamant about using a stylus on your iPhone.
It also costs a ton of money compared to the others on this list.
|Value for Money||No stylus supplied|
|Battery||Display not textured|
|Processing power||Lack of customizable buttons|
Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+ - The Android Alternative
Samsung has been reigning as the best consumer electronics manufacturer in the world ever since the start of the Millenium. Sure they have been in close contention with other mavens like LG and SONY, but still the king nonetheless.
And a huge chunk of Samsung's success has come from their smartphones and smart-devices lineup - the Galaxy series.
Samsung Galaxy Smartphones are known to be one of the most reliable phones money can buy right now, and they live up to this promise year after year.
So, it's not at all surprising to see a Galaxy device occupy the best Android-based drawing tablet space in this article. The Galaxy Tab S7+ is indeed a very worthy contender for even the best portable drawing tablet in the market right now.
With the Snapdragon 865+ chipset with 6/8 GB of RAM, you don't have to worry about the device being slow for at least the next couple of years. With this kind of power, you can even manage to get away with light 3D renderings as well.
Storage options vary from 128 GB all the way up to 512 GB. You can also upgrade the storage with an external SD card, up to 1 TB.
The device flaunts a 12.4" Super AMOLED display with a resolution of about 2800x1752 pixels and a peak brightness of about 450 nits.
With this display, the Tab S7+ produces a whopping 210% on the Adobe sRGB gamut(in vivid mode), a.k.a vibrant colors and striking images.
The display is, once more, not a textured one, considering its intended use case scenario as an everyday carry device rather than a standalone drawing tablet.
Tab S7+ harbors a meaty 10,000 MAh battery that can last anywhere from 7-9 hours of usage. Even with such a large battery size, the device doesn't weigh a ton and is as light as any other tablet in this price range.
The device runs on the Android 10 OS(upgradable). You can get the device either in WiFi-only configuration or in the WiFi+5G configuration.
Camera configurations follow a 13 MP and a 5MP ultra-wide lens at the back coupled with an 8 MP front-facing camera capable of up to 720p video recording.
The Tab S7+ does have an in-display fingerprint scanner for lightning-fast unlocks and security in general.
A major con with this device is its absence of a headphone jack. The lack of apps can also be a huge dealbreaker. But you still get a lot of apps relevant to drawing, sketching, and writing.
Another gripe with this device is its complete absence of customizable keys.
Samsung S Pen
Unlike Apple, Samsung does provide a stylus with the Tab S7+. The S Pen is a perfect companion for all your artistic endeavors on your Tab S7+.
The S Pen boasts an all-aluminum build with a rubber tip, resulting in precise strokes and accurate lines. The rubber tip also helps glide across the glossy surface of the display.
The S Pen has some unique features like Air gestures and Air commands. The device is a digitizer pen, meaning much more accuracy and easy connectivity.
S Pen connects via Bluetooth with your Tab, and you can charge the device wirelessly through the Tab itself.
The device supports up to 4k levels of pressure-sensitive along with tilt detection and palm rejection features.
Unfortunately, the device's compatibility is limited to only a few Galaxy devices. You cannot operate this device with any other devices, including other Samsung devices like the S series smartphones, sans the Note series.
You also get a couple of customizable buttons on this device which you can configure to your liking.
|Powerful Processor||Lack of apps|
|Brilliant display||No headphone jack|
|Adequate battery||Not a textured display|
|S Pen||Lacks customizable keys|
Huion Kamvas Studio 22 - 22 inches of Screen Bliss
Huion is yet another drawing tablet manufacturer that has made an indelible mark in the industry with its feature-rich products available at a very affordable price.
But the Kamvas Studio 22 is anything but budget-friendly since it is a premium product with best-in-class specs.
The tablet hosts an Intel i5-8400 processor coupled with plenty of RAM for all your artistic needs. Slight 3D renderings will also not be a problem with this device.
But the elephant in the room is obviously its screen. 22" is no small feat, considering the Kamvas Studio 22 falls in the tablet category. 22" falls in the realms of desktop monitors, so that's quite a feat.
This display is a Full HD IPS panel with a 120% RGB color gamut, providing accurate color reproductions and vibrant imagery.
The display is of the textured kind, featuring a tough etched glass that also happens to be fully laminated. The result: it's very durable, and you get the touch and feel of drawing on paper.
Brightness takes a dip here, with only about 314 nits, so not very ideal for outdoor works.
The device is well built and sturdy, with thick bezels for that extra protection. In fact, it's too sturdy that the heft almost surmounts to a whopping 10 pounds.
It hosts a plethora of customizable keys. You get a good 20 customizable keys distributed on either side of the screen. Two customizable touchpads, one on each side, also elevate the overall appeal.
Also, you won't find any lack of ports on this device. Four USB-3 ports coupled with a Gigabit Ethernet port and an HDMI connection stand witness to this claim.
The battery life is good, lasting for a good 5-7 hours even under heavy load.
You also get an adjustable ST 100 stand with the product for free. Other accessories like a wireless keyboard and Mouse combo also come free for a limited time.
One major disadvantage you are going to face with this device is portability. With its sea-like real estate and burly form factor, carrying the Kamvas Studio can be a challenge.
With the Kamvas Studio 22, you also get an adjustable ST 100 stand with the product for free.
Other accessories like a wireless keyboard and Mouse combo also come free for a limited time.
Huion PW500 Stylus Pen
Now, the PW500 is a proper artist's stylus. The Pen comes with almost 8K levels of pressure sensitivity, 60(+/-) degrees of tilt detection, and active Palm rejection.
The PW500 goes quite nicely with the Kamvas Studio, probably because it comes free with the device.
The textured display paired with the PN05 nib makes it one of the best stylus-Tab pairings available right now. Also, you get a ton of spare to go with the Pen.
The Pen follows a battery-free operation, much like the Wacom Pro Pen 2.
The pair of programmable buttons on the stem of the Pen is yet another perk you get with the device.
Smooth and lag-free experience, that's what the PW500 stylus is all about.
Not to mention, the Pen is exclusively compatible with only Huion Tablets and no other device.
|Port selection||Software buggy at times|
Microsoft Surface Pro 8 - Drawing Tablet, Microsoft Version
As we all know, the world as we know it today won't be the same without Microsoft. Nowadays, there is a possibility of a household having at least one Windows device in their vicinity than a couch or even a bed.
And it's no wonder that Microsoft should enter the tablet game with their productivity-aimed Surface Pro lineup. The Surface tablets have always been one of the most sought-after all-in-one devices ever since their inception back in 2012.
These devices came with the signature built-in sturdy stand that gives you almost 180 degrees of freedom, making them operable in either handheld or desktop mode.
Surface Pro hence gives you the freedom to run it as a standalone PC on a desktop or carry it with you and work on the go, run-and-gun style.
The latest iteration of the Surface Pro lineup, the Surface Pro 8, comes with either an i5 or an i7 Intel Evo chip, making them the first all-in-one device on the planet to feature these chips.
The device runs on the latest and greatest iteration of Windows, the Windows 11 operating OS.
RAM configurations vary from 8 GB all the way up to 32 GB. Memory options range from 128GB up to 1TB of SSD storage. It is expandable, so you needn't worry about running out of space anytime soon.
The Surface Pro 8 comes with a 13" Pixelsense Flow display with a resolution of 2880x1920. The display is brilliant, providing vibrant colors and picture-perfect imagery.
You can also get up to 120 Hz refresh rate with this display.
The display is of the glossy kind, so don't expect any paper and pen effect while using a stylus with this device.
Microsoft promises a mindboggling 16 hours of battery life. As always, that's yet another hypothetical reach. On a practical scale, expect anywhere between 7-10 hours of battery life; pretty good for an all-in-one device.
Connectivity comes in the form of WiFi 6, so blazing fast speeds and reduced latency. You get two USB C ports with Thunderbolt 4 capabilities.
Sadly, Microsoft doesn't provide any peripherals with this device. Accessories like the Surface Slim Pen 2 and the Surface Pro Signature keyboard are available for purchase additionally.
Also, the device can get a bit pricey depending on the configuration.
Apart from the 'not included with the Tablet' part, the Slim Pen 2 is quite costly to acquire too.
And even with a hefty price tag, Microsoft doesn't even provide a charger with the Pen.
That too has to be bought separately, unless you have a compatible device like the Surface Pro Signature Keyboard that does support wireless charging for the Pen.
Microsoft claims a battery life of about 16 hours, which sounds right.
The Slim Pen 2 haptic motors can produce a wide range of feedback vibrations depending on the input.
The Pen offers 4096 levels of pressure sensitivity, which can seem like a downgrade compared to what most other devices in this article have to offer. But it does get the job done nonetheless.
Connectivity is made possible through Bluetooth 5.0, and the Pen is compatible with all Surface devices and other Microsoft devices compatible with the MPP protocol.
The Pen 2 does have a programmable side button and a top button, which also doubles as an eraser.
|Battery life||No Accessories(including Pen)|
|Processing power||Non textured surface|
|Handy Formfactor||Absence of customizable keys|
Simbans PicassoTab XL - Drawing Tablet on a Budget
Even if the tablets mentioned above house mouth-watering specs, they will cost you dearly. So, is there an option out there that can get you to the promised land for a mere couple of hundred dollars?
Well, with the Simbans PicassoTab XL, you need not look further. The PicassoTab XL is all about features at an affordable rate.
It features a MediaTek Quad-core processor capable of running drawing apps at a lag-free rate and without depleting the battery quite so much.
Even if the processor may not be as powerful as one wishes it to be, it's all the device needs considering the fact that it runs on Android 11.
The tablet hosts 4 GB of RAM coupled with 64GB of internal storage that's expandable up to 128 GB via an SD card.
Coming to the display, the PicassoTab XL features an 11.6" IPS HD screen with a resolution of 1366x768. Although the screen is of the glossy kind, it does feature a pre-applied screen protector.
Pictures and images may not seem as pleasing as the reproductions you get from other tablets on this list, but these 'others' cost four times or even as much as 10x this product.
Simbans has provided the PicassoTab XL with a 7000 MAh battery good for about 5-7 hours of usage.
A USB-C port and a mini-HDMI port make up the port selection on this device. You also get dual-band WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0 as wireless connectivity options.
The device also houses an 8 MP camera on the back and a 5MP one on the front, providing more grounds for the statement that this drawing tablet can also double as a regular old tablet.
You get additional accessories like a drawing glove, a quality case, and a universal adapter free of charge with this device.
Don't expect exceptional build quality or blazing fast speed with the device. Moreover, this is indeed a budget-oriented product.
And since the PicassoTab XL is running on Android, app availability may also be a subject of concern.
PicassoTab Active Pen
To make the deal even more worthy, Simbans does provide an active stylus with the PicassoTab. Even if it lacks much high-end stuff, the Active Pen does get the job done.
The Pen takes a AAA battery which can power the device for approximately 1000 hours. And it is easily swappable, an added bonus in my opinion.
You do get 1024 levels of pressure sensitivity with this device. Not much, but better than nothing. The pen also provides active palm rejection. Tilt detection takes a hiatus on this Pen, though.
Unlike most other styluses mentioned elsewhere in this article, Simbans provides an active pen with the tablet. Other manufacturers prefer to go with the digitizer option, which is much different from an active pen.
You also won't find any customizable buttons on this Pen.
To sum it up, you can get away with the pen if you don't plan on doing anything on a larger scale.
|Android UI||Underpowered Processor|
|Free goodies||Weak Battery life|
Buyers Guide: One-Stop Guide for All Your Portable Drawing Tablet Needs
In this section, we will be discussing the dos' and the don'ts' you should look out for when shopping for a new drawing tablet.
Even if there isn't much to look at, make sure you strike off these requirements on your checklist before siding with a product.
So, without any further ado, let's get right into it, shall we?
Display of the Tablet
The most discerning requirement to look out for when shopping for a new portable drawing tablet is its display. If done right, it will do wonders. Else, you may be left with a half-baked product.
There are a lot of tablets with a wide range of display configurations out there right now. But which ones are the best suited for our intended use?
The answer is multifaceted, considering the fact that good displays never really share anything in common apart from their screen panel.
Good screen types include LED, IPS LCD, AMOLED, OLED, etc. Try and avoid any other screen types like WGA, LCD, etc.
So how do screen types differ from each other? Well, with AMOLED and OLED screens, you will get rich colors (especially the darker shades) that are not as refined on the LCD or an LED panel.
But with an LCD or an LED screen, you get higher brightness options, a disability on the OLED or AMOLED screens.
For a portable drawing tablet, both of these characteristics are important. Try and find the sweet spot you find comfortable with before choosing a product.
Another thing to take under consideration is the resolution of the display. If chosen right, you are sure to get the right amount of sharpness and depth for all your renderings.
The recommended resolution for drawing purposes is Full HD(1920x1080 pixels) or higher. At these resolutions, you are sure to get much more accurate depictions and renderings.
With higher valued products, you also get a variable refresh rate. On a traditional display, you only get a refresh rate of about 60 Hz.
With the current generation of processors and displays, you can get 120 Hz or more, like the Apple iPad Pro.
Last but not least, check whether the display is textured. If so, you can get actual pen-like strokes while using the device.
Most high-end drawing tablets feature such a display surface, with the exception of everyday carry devices like the Tab 7+.
Battery Capacity and Life
Another crucial factor that could make or break the deal is the batteries. A product with a good battery is of absolute essence for a portable drawing tablet.
Check and make sure that you have enough battery to last you through the day(or half of it) while shopping for a tablet.
The battery capacity of the device would be a good starting point for this instigation. Traditionally, tablets do feature a larger battery capacity than your average smartphone.
A tablet with a battery capacity of 5000 MAh or above would do justice.
Even if the battery capacity is low, the optimizations undertaken by the manufacturer can ensure much more efficient battery life. Apple does stand testimony to this claim.
Battery life of about 6-9 hours can be considered adequate in the case of a drawing tablet. Anything less is worth a good pondering upon before purchasing.
Charging also plays a determining role in the overall characteristics of the battery. Higher-end tablets support fast charging, capable of charging the device rapidly compared to the slow charging times of a traditional 2A charger.
Stylus Pen and Peripherals
Another vital requirement you cannot overlook is the Stylus. Irrespective of its availability, supplied with the device or as an additional accessory, keep a keen eye for the specifications.
Key specifications include the features onboard and the tip constitution.
Pressure sensitivity, tilt detection, and palm rejection make most of the essentialities to consider.
A good Pen will feature a pressure sensitivity of 4K+ levels. Tilt detection will ensure pencil-like characteristics to the lines and curves. The Active palm rejection feature negates inputs other than the ones made by the Pen.
The battery is yet another vital spec for consideration.
Some Pens(like the Wacom Pro Pen 2 with EMR(electromagnetic Resonance) technology) don't necessarily require a battery to make them work since they draw their power directly from the screen.
Any Pen that offers a battery life north of 10 hours is good to go.
The tip of the Pen also matters to quite an extent. Most high-end Pens come with plastic tips that facilitate smooth motion across the screen.
Rubber tip Styluses are also commonplace in the Stylus industry. But they tend to stick to the screen and are not quite as durable as the plastic ones.
If you get additional accessories like a keyboard or a mouse for free with the device, consider them as a bonus(Simbans PicassoTab XL).
Most tablets in this list come with a built-in stand(or supplied with the device). Make sure to check for that too.
Processor, Storage and the Heft
The processing power of a tablet will determine the amount of load it can withstand without breaking the device, metaphorically speaking.
Nowadays, portable drawing tablets carry a lot of processing power under the hood. Hence, making them capable of even light 3D rendering works.
A good drawing tablet should feature an Intel i5 processor or higher versions to accommodate higher loads.
Snapdragon 800 series chips also do support heavy renderings rich in detail. Apple M1 chips remain a solid competitor to even desktop rig chips, so no problem there.
Coming to the Memory and storage side of things, RAM size of 8 GB+ will suffice for most users.
Storage options north of 512 gigs should be able to store all your memory-intense works. SSD should be preferred over Hard-disks for faster read and write speeds.
With all this hardware, the weight is sure to shoot well over the threshold. But some devices, like the Surface Pro, Tab S7+, and the iPad have managed to keep the weight well below the median drawing tablet heft.
Heft affects portability to quite a severe extent. Aim for anything less than 5 or 6 pounds, and you are all good to go.
And there you have it, a comprehensive guide to the best portable drawing tablets that don't need a computer to work.
Six brilliant products, each with a distinct appeal of its own. Also included is a brief guide to get you started on selecting the best tablet on your own.
Products from the industry leaders such as Wacom, Huion, or Apple would do you good for sure.
OS could also make a big difference in the app selection department. Windows and iPad OS will not be a problem, though Android does lack the curated selections these others offer.
Irrespective of the product you side with, make sure to do a thorough check before doing so.
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Frequently Asked Questions
What's the difference between a portable drawing tablet and drawing tablet displays?
Portable drawing tablets don't need an active host, like a PC, to work. A drawing tablet display works as a graphic display for your active device. This means that even if these devices house a display, they don't have an OS of their own. Hence, they require an active device to work.
Can you use a drawing tablet with a phone?
Yes, several OEMs make drawing tablets compatible with a smartphone. One thing to note is that Apple smartphones don't support drawing tablets. A good recommendation is the XP-Pen Artist Pro 15.6.
Can you use a drawing tablet without a stylus?
Yes, you can. Most standalone portable drawing tablets come with an OS enabling you to use it as you like. Tablets like the Wacom MobileStudio 13 or the Huion Kamvas Studio 22 run on full-fledged Windows OS.