A drawing tablet is a prime necessity for any budding digital artist. It is the tool that helps bring their imagination into the world of reality.
But as with any tech product, compatibility is a factor one needs to consider and one of the most critical areas of compatibility is with the operating system.
Most drawing tablets are not standalone devices, and hence they rely on the assistance of a computer, with some users running unconventional operating systems like Chrome OS.
Chrome OS has never been an operating system that supported a lot of third-party peripherals, but thankfully they started supporting drawing tablets very recently.
After my thorough research, I came up with this in-depth curated list of the best drawing tablets you can find that support Chrome OS.
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These are the best drawing tablets that work with Chromebook.
One By Wacom: Best Beginner Drawing Tablet For Chromebooks From Wacom
If there is one company that can be termed as the best brand for drawing tablets, it is the Japanese drawing tablet pioneer Wacom.
One by Wacom, not to be confused with the Wacom One, is an entry-level drawing tablet that caters to people looking into getting into the drawing tablet scenario.
Due to its simplistic design, it has managed to be one of the very few tablets that officially support Chromebooks straight out of the box.
This doesn't mean it is strictly restricted to Chrome OS only, as it is compatible with the conventional Windows and Mac operating systems too.
Just like a traditional drawing tablet, One by Wacom has the usual bells and whistles such as a battery-free pressure-sensitive pen, which makes for the typical drawing tablet experience.
Its availability in 2 sizes (small and medium) makes the One by Wacom versatile and an ideal fit for any budding digital artist looking to get a Wacom for their Chromebook.
The Wacom pen included in the box is also packed with all the necessary features, such as configurable buttons that can be set up for both left-hand and right-hand drawings.
This doesn't mean that there aren't downsides though. In fact, as the One by Wacom is a budget offering it has a rather enhanced set of downsides.
For starters, it doesn't have any ExpressKeys aka extra programmable buttons on the surface, which is usually included in most Wacom drawing tablets.
Also, the One by Wacom doesn't support Bluetooth and one has to rely on using the micro USB cable that comes in the box.
This can be a bummer for some Chromebook users as some newer models of Chromebooks do not include a USB-A port and connecting via a dongle could be the only option.
But for the asking price of just $59.95 for the One by Wacom Small, it is one of the best budget-oriented drawing tablets for Chromebooks ever put up by Wacom.
HUION H610 Pro V2: Best Budget Drawing Tablet For Chromebooks From HUION
HUION is a company that is keen on making great digital drawing tablets for the masses. The HUION H610 is their budget offering with a not-so-budget feature set.
Although the HUION H610 Pro v2 is priced similarly to the One by Wacom, both look radically different and the same can be said about the features they bring too.
The HUION H610 Pro v2 brings forward a similar case of compatibility, although Windows, Mac, and Android compatibility taking a higher priority than Chromebooks.
That isn't to say that Chromebooks aren't supported, rather the support was added after launch so their product page at times doesn't mention Chrome OS support.
The HUION H610 Pro v2 comes with a rather sizable drawing area with eight customizable buttons called Express keys which can be user-customized for applications.
The design of the HUION H610 Pro v2 is also very ergonomic and ideal for left-handed users too due to its symmetric layout.
There are also 16 soft keys right on the tablet that are pre-programmed for various useful tasks such as erase mode and shade search.
But unfortunately, these programmable keys may not work with Chromebooks as the Linux-based operating system is yet to provide proper driver support for digital tablets.
But Chrome os supported digital tablets make up for it by providing a variety of first-party app support such as Chrome, One Note, and Photoshop.
The EMR-based digitizer pen that comes in the box also has a fantastic 8192 levels of pressure sensitivity making it ideal for digital art.
The battery-free design of the EMR stylus also has a very ergonomic form factor making it ideal for long drawing hours. It also has 60-degree tip-tilt support.
But there are a few drawbacks with the HUION H610 Pro v2, with the overall build quality taking a hit and the pen stand not keeping the pen properly snug.
But for as low as $49.99, it undercuts even the One by Wacom and proves to be a fantastic offering, albeit providing slightly fewer features for Chromebook users.
Parblo Intangbo: Best Drawing Tablet With An Inbuilt Dial For Chromebooks
Parblo is a company that attempts to stand out by focusing on the youth's interests in the digital art world by providing striking colors and features that complement them.
The Parblo Intangbo is an absolute gem of a product in that it provides some great functionality for a digital drawing tablet for the price it comes for.
The Parblo Intangbo comes in two striking colors - Star Black and a very beautiful Lilac Purple, both in small 10*6.25" (S) and medium 10*7.4" (M) sizes.
The surface of the Parblo Intangbo is very clean-looking and comes with a PE graphite coating for added resistance to scratches and smoothness.
The EMR-based pen that comes in the box supports the excellent 8192 levels of pressure sensitivity, like the HUION H610 Pro v2, and supports 60-degree tip tilting.
They also have an excellent 6 programmable shortcut keys and a dial ring, which can be a fantastic feature to intimately adjust the precise stroke girth and smoothness.
Unfortunately, just like other digital drawing tablets, the compatibility situation still sticks true as the driver support extends only to Windows, Mac, and Android users.
Chromebook users will lose the functionality of the customizable buttons, but everything else would work perfectly fine.
The Parblo Intangbo also comes with a superior type c cable connection, making it more technologically advanced and future-proof.
The type c cable is also L-shaped for better cable angles while the Parblo Intangbo is placed on the table for drawing making the whole design compact and tight.
This also is an added convenience for users who are already into the USB type c ecosystem with their phones, computers, tablets, and other gadgets by carrying just one cable for all.
It is also advertised to be games friendly, allowing one to input precise strokes and touch data to the device, making it great while exploring android games on Chromebooks.
In short, for $49.99, it is an all-in-one package that hosts everything a budding digital artist needs and some more.
UGEE S1060W: Best Budget Wireless Drawing Tablet For Chromebooks
UGEE is one of the oldest brands that specialize in handwriting digitization hardware and software, and their expertise has carved great products into the hands of digital artists.
UGEE as a brand caters to the beginner digital artist demographic in general, just like the other products on this list so far.
But what sets the UGEE S1060W apart is the wireless functionality it adds to its list of features making it a great buy for users that wants to forget the hassle of wires.
The UGEE S1060W is a brilliantly designed wireless digital drawing tablet that lays across a 10*5.27" canvas for digital artists to work their magic on.
There are also 12 shortcut keys provided right on the surface of the UGEE S1060W, providing greater customization support.
Unfortunately, these buttons are yet to be made supported for Chromebook users due to their lack of driver support.
It comes with a 2.4GHz modem that wirelessly connects to the computer, just like a traditional wireless keyboard or mouse.
The UGEE S1060W can be worked on continuously for 10 hours on a 2-hour charge, aiding greatly to the productivity one can expect with this digital drawing tablet.
The support of OTG-enabled devices makes sure the device is compatible with Android, along with its usual Windows, Mac, and Chromebook compatibility.
The EMR-based battery-free pen that comes with the box is also powerful, with 8192 levels of pressure sensitivity and 60-degree tip-tilt support.
The only downside with the product is the rather terrible instruction manual that comes with the device might be a nightmare to set up if this is the user's first tablet.
Other than that minor issue, which can be solved with a simple detailed article or a Youtube video the UGEE S1060W stays strong at just $73.99.
Before jumping the horse and getting a digital drawing tablet of choice, there are a few important factors to consider before putting your hard-earned money on the product.
Always Buy From A Trusted Seller
Counterfeit products are everywhere and one can easily be fooled by being given a fake product by shady sellers selling the product for cheap prices.
If an unknown seller sells a digital drawing tablet at a price that is too good to be true, then chances are the product is counterfeit or at least damaged.
It is imperative one buys their digital drawing tablet of choice from a trusted seller, like Amazon or Best Buy.
This also ensures a valid product is being exchanged and a proper warranty can be invoked with the product.
All the links in this article are from Amazon, and the sellers on Amazon are the brand themselves or well-reputed resellers.
Used/Refurbished Digital Tablets Can Be A Solid Deal
This might seem like a contradiction from the above-mentioned point on getting the product from a certified seller.
But if the product is genuine and properly maintained, then there is no harm in getting the product in such a condition, especially if it makes sense in terms of money exchanged.
Used or certified refurbished digital drawing tablets can cut down on a lot of costs while providing a similar experience as a fresh piece.
Just make sure to try and test the product out properly before putting your money on the product. Make sure all functions are properly working.
It is best to get a product that is still under warranty, as it ensures one can get it replaced if something does trigger in the future.
In the case of wireless digital drawing tablets, it is important to check whether the battery health is adequate enough and get it replaced if it isn't standing charge.
The Reality of Chromebooks and Drawing Tablets in 2023
Despite Chromebooks being among the top 5 most used computer operating systems in the world, they are often neglected when one considers professional use.
Digital drawing is no exception in this case. Almost every digital artist swears by a Windows or Mac machine and the main reason is driver support and compatibility.
Chromebooks have only recently started seeing a surge in drawing tablet compatibility, mostly thanks to Wacom releasing their One by Wacom with Chrome OS in mind.
This might have provided a sigh of relief for all digital drawing artists who badly wanted to incorporate their drawings with their Chromebooks in hand.
But the reality of the situation is that Chromebooks still lack the fundamental driver support, and hence users are forced to use their drawing tablets rather restricted.
In most cases, drawing tablets work as intended with proper registering of touch inputs with stroke mapping as intended.
But the features that invoke the extra quality of life changes, such as customizable shortcut buttons and at times even pressure sensitivity get omitted for Chromebooks.
This can be a massive turn-off, as pressure sensitivity is something one keenly looks for in drawing tablets and is the main USP over stylus pens.
Shortcut buttons too are a key feature for any seasoned digital artist, and depriving them of such convenient features is only going to severely affect their productivity.
There is also the case that most drawing tablets are supported with their basic functionalities only on Chrome OS versions 88 and above.
This is a rather new version of Chrome OS and some older Chromebook devices may not be supported.
The professional-grade application support is also very scarce when compared to the Windows and Mac operating systems.
Adding all this together, it is safe to say that switching to a Chromebook for digital art with drawing tablets is a huge risk to undertake.
But the technology is improving and one day Chromebooks could stay in place and lock horns with Windows and Mac. But as of 2023, it is a bit too far into the sidelines.
Chromebooks are never looked at as the primary computers for digital artists due to the lack of driver support.
In fact, professional users are never in the target demographic for any Chromebook as of 2023. They are meant for students and users that prioritize web browsing.
But the popularity surge of Chromebooks has forced companies to provide digital drawing tablets compatibility with basic features directly via plug-and-play.
This shows that despite being shunned by professional users, there will always be a glimmer of hope for Chromebook fanatics to one day include it in their professional drawing setup.
I hope my carefully curated list of the best drawing tablets one can buy for Chromebooks has been a worthy read and has helped you make an informed decision.
Have a good day!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Does Autodesk Sketchbook work with drawing tablets on Chromebooks?
Autodesk Sketchbook works as intended with a drawing tablet on a Chromebook, but it is still subject to the feature restriction of Chromebooks with drawing tablets. Features such as pressure sensitivity, palm rejection, etc may not work as intended.
Do Wacom tablets work with Chromebooks?
Thanks to the Linux Wacom Project, most new-gen Wacom tablets are now compatible with Chromebooks.
Can a Chromebook stylus be used to register input on a drawing tablet?
Unfortunately, a stylus cannot be used to provide input on a digital tablet as a stylus and digital pen have very different principles of operation despite looking similar.
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