Are you an aspiring artist juggling between a graphic tablet (aka Digitizer) and a drawing tablet (aka Pen Display)? Confused about which one to get? Keep reading this masterpiece as I compare graphic tablets with drawing tablets in detail to help you make an informed decision.
Be it tattoo designing, illustrations, or logo designing, you might be interested in purchasing the best drawing tablet that delivers high performance without wading through the not-so-important parts. Well, for requirements as such, you can either consider a graphic tablet or an out-and-out drawing tablet.
Are you wondering if you should pick a graphic tablet that needs a computer to work? Or do you go for a pen display that can let you express yourself, anywhere, anytime? Well, if you opt for a drawing tablet, you might have to cut corners when it comes to on-device buttons and often the best-in-class stylus pens.
Choosing one just got harder, right? Well, fret not! I shall now take you through all the aspects and compare pen tablet with pen display, as I experienced while using each of them, from the likes of Wacom, Huion, and more, for at least a week.
- The Key Differences
- Graphic Tablets vs Drawing Tablets: Detailed Comparison
- Advantages & Disadvantages of Graphic Tablets
- Advantages & Disadvantages of Drawing Tablets
- Frequently Asked Questions
The Key Differences
Before I dig into the drawing tablet vs. graphic tablet comparison, let us quickly understand how, why, and where do these two different types of drawing tablets differ:
Graphic Tablets vs Drawing Tablets: Detailed Comparison
Now let’s delve deeper into the specs sheets by analyzing these tablet variants closely.
1. Working Area/Display
Drawing tablets can showcase a wide range of displays and screens. Also termed as Pen Displays or Monitor tablets, these devices offer HD or even Full HD screens, with LCD and IPS screen options to work with. High-end picks with 1920 x 1080 pixels as the native resolution also features 72% NTSC or over 90% sRGB color gamuts, guaranteeing exceptional color fidelity.
Accuracy levels are decent, and they can work really well if you want the tablet for designing less complex stuff like headers and icons. Graphics pads (yet another term for graphic tablets) are virtually screen-less. Instead, they offer hardened working surfaces measured in square inches.
As far as drawing precision is concerned, they are more accurate than drawing tablets, but the lack of screen kind of leaves a void. Learn more in our comprehensive guide to drawing tablets.
2. Stylus & Sensitivity
Some drawing tablets or pen displays come with active pens that might need charging. However, in most cases, a standard EMR pen works just fine. Regardless of what you get and what you do not, the generic stylus performance is more suitable for standard designs. Stylus sensitivity is fine but a tad jaded courtesy of the screen.
Stylus pens associated with graphic tablets are way more accurate, laden with better grips, and insanely accurate. And while drawing pens can reach pressure levels of 4000+ with ease, most graphic tablets let you go as high as 8192, thereby making all the designs come to life. The battery isn’t a worry as these are self-charging pens.
Coming to the additional quirks, stylus pens associated with graphic tablets offer advanced palm rejection support and a more sensitive surface to work on.
3. Design, Connectivity, and Compatibility
As far as the construction is concerned, graphic tablets outwit standard drawing tablets by being a lot sturdier. While you are mostly expected to find plastic-clad chassis, graphic tablets tend to be on the chunkier side, courtesy of the heavier form factor and the absence of a wear-prone screen.
For instance, the Wacom Intuous Pro, one of the more popular graphic tablets, measures 13.2 x 8.5 x 0.3 inches when it comes to dimensions, which is a lot thicker than standard drawing tablets. As far as the bulk goes, there is much to choose between the two.
Connectivity-wise, both drawing and graphic tablets feature HDMI and USB ports as, at the end of the day, both need to be connected to a host computing device. Also, if you look hard, you might get variants with wireless connectivity. But then, most drawing tablets offer Bluetooth connectivity as opposed to graphic tablets.
Still, I would be biased towards the graphic variants, courtesy of the built-in shortcut keys, elusive dials, and other nifty on-device traits. Coming to the operating system, almost every drawing and graphic tablet is OS-agnostic with support for Windows and Mac-powered devices.
Despite the back-and-forth scale tipping, there isn’t much to choose from when the category is evaluated in its entirety.
4. Drawing Accuracy
Well, here comes the category that clears out any impasse, if already present. Graphic tablets, led by the one-dimensional working area, minimalist design components, and intuitive and technologically equipped stylus pens are arguably the best picks for complex designs.
Drawing tablets offer screens and, therefore, take the ‘tri’ out of tricky. But that doesn’t make them easy to learn or the learning curve less steep. Despite graphic tablets outpacing drawing tablets in terms of drawing accuracy, the learning curves for both seem long enough. But without a screen, it is the graphic tablet that you might take some time getting used to.
While in some cases, you can pick a pricey graphic tablet and compare it with a low-cost pen display, it is usually the other way round. Despite the accuracy and design-specific perks, most graphic tablets are way more affordable than comparable drawing tablets.
For instance, the Wacom Cintiq 22, a powerful and feature-packed drawing tablet, costs $1,200, whereas the reliable HUION Inspiroy graphic tablet with a passive, self-charging stylus sets you back by 40 odd dollars. Quite a gaping price difference, isn’t it?
Suggested Comparison: Huion vs Wacom
Advantages & Disadvantages of Graphic Tablets
- Super accurate designs
- Highly affordable
- Feels as organic as drawing on paper
- Several shortcut keys
- Lacks a screen
- On the chunkier side
Advantages & Disadvantages of Drawing Tablets
- Real-time design view
- Shorter learning curve
- OS-based variants can be picked if you want additional specs
- Stylus latency is evident
- Might heat up a bit more
Frequently Asked Questions
When it comes to display tablet vs graphic tablet, digitizers and display pens are divided in terms of screen presence, design accuracy, budget, durability, and chunkiness.
Yes, graphics pads are good enough if you are willing to keep them connected with the primary or host computer throughput. And also, if you want to experience design accuracy like never before.
When you closely look into the tablet vs pen display comparison, you’ll find that pen displays are better than pen tablets only if portability is your priority. These tablets can be carried everything designed on, and you can always connect them to the host and transfer the images.
Graphic tablets do not have dedicated screens, which makes the stylus pens work on the hardened, board-like surface itself. And the absence of screens makes the pressure levels and LPI feel accurate. Plus, there is no screen-induced latency to look at.
After discussing display tablets vs graphic tablets at length, it is clear that both of them more or less cater to different creative segments. For instance, drawing tablets are perfect if you want something for basic to mid-level designs with fewer complexities.
Graphic tablets, on the other hand, are meant for more seasoned designers and professionals who are into intricate illustrations, mandala tattoo designing, and other gigs that require the highest level of precision.