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Tablet for digital art ? Ipad, surface or?



My partner is a professional face painter and wants to try her hand at digital art, She has tried sketchbook pro on my amazon 8inch tablet and loved the software.

So I would like to get her a larger better tablet with a pen.

My options are
ipad 6th edition 32gb + pencil
surface go + pen

I have about £500 to spend (Im based in the uk)

Is there any other options out there that I have over looked?


If she has a decent computer with illustration software (Photoshop/Illustrator/Krita/Gimp/etc), she could use a Wacom Tablet. The Intuos is the cheapest offering, but it will require her to look up at a monitor while drawing instead of directly at her hand. There are also more expensive options like the Cintiq that will allow her to draw directly on a screen for a more natural experience. But both the Intuos and the Cintiq will require her to have a computer to hook up to.

I tried drawing on the Surface and personally wasn’t in love with the pen/screen experience (felt a bit disconnected, imo, which made it harder to draw on). The Apple Pencil + Ipad Pro feels great but is of course very expensive (and may not allow you to use the apps you prefer). I would say it’s probably worth spending an hour or so at a place like Best Buy to try out the various options and see what she prefers.

Finally, as I’m in the market myself, I found some great reviews about this kind of thing at this channel: Good luck!


Here’s a Graphics tablet with a screen (requires PC) that’s only $330, if you want to be on a lower budget.


sorry should have said it needs to be its own device and not require a pc to use, …only cause we do not have the space for a second pc :frowning:


There are lots of laptops compatible with Wacom pens now a days, as @kreestuh suggested head down to a best buy (if youre stateside) they usually have the pens laid out with compatible models.

@nuke you draw in a tablet if i recall maybe you can chime in.


oh and cause we live in Orkney a small island north of Scotland we dont have pc related shops to go and tests items …bit of a bummer :frowning:


you can connect it to your current pc instead of buying a new pc

if you want the device all in one, the surface line is good for digital artists

look for windows ink compatible laptops if you want a laptop


Do you need a second PC?

More Scottish people :smiley: yay.

For all in ones that isn’t a dedicated graphics tablet you really only have the iPad and surface. Cant comment on the surface go but the surface line is decent enough if you want windows (its windows s on the go, you need to switch out of S mode if you want standard windows 10 pro).

What phone is she using? I ask as if she’s using an iPhone when the iPad is further up there as the integration is very good.

For dedicated drawing tablets apart from Wacom there is also Huion. They have normal drawing tablets (no screen), and ones with screens. they also have ones with screens within your budget. Ive used a standard one before and they are generally pretty good, a number of their devices also support linux (if that’s a thing you care about). They are on Amazon.

Maybe you could ask some local artists?


If you already have a pc that handles well the software you need, like photoshop or sketchbook you could try a Wacom Intuos
(Usually they also include some bundled software with it depending on the model you choose)

I have the small version Intuos of the older model that I use for some photo editing stuff but it works fine also for illustration/drawing, if you want the bigger model the medium has the same specs (levels of pressure, pen with no battery and interchangeable nibs, bluetooth ecc).

But as @kreestuh said, you have to look up at the screen while you draw and it takes some time to get used to it (I needed a week or so to get comfortable).

The Cintiqs are essentially the same ting (same pen technology ecc) but with an integrated screen, the screen is really good and the color accuracy out of the box is usually good too. There are various models, the base one is a 13" FullHD that costs around 700€. (other models like 22, 24 and 27 inches are really expensive)
There is also a model of Cintiq 13 tablet that has a full laptop integrated, if I recall correctly it has a mobile Core i7, 8 gigs of ram and a 128G SSD and Windows10 but this gets expensive too.

If you want to try the base version of the Intuos it’s around 70€, and in the black Friday on amazon it usually gets some discount.
All the wacom stuff I tried is very reliable and well made, the drivers usually work great and the experience with the pen and responsiveness is very fluid and snappy.


This model is called the Mobile Studio. This would probably be a real contender against the iPad Pro for me if it wasn’t $1500-$3000. 0_0


Not sure if I am way off the mark but in the same vien as the iPad and surface, samsung have the note line or tablets or other wise integrated Spen.

I use their note phones and the pen is great, they worked with wacom to make them, has the pressure sensitivity and so on. But it may be far too consumer for what you want. Just came to.mind as I used sketchbook on the note 2 and it was freaf., but I am not an artist.


i personally use a surface pro 3 for digital illustration, any of the newer surface pro models are likely better for this if you’re only concerned about the pen technology


You’re right, I got a bit lost when they renamed all their series from bamboo to intuos ecc, here it was called Cintiq Studio at first :see_no_evil:

It would be a real winner as a product, a lot better than the iPad pro in my opinion because of the flexibility of having a full windows 10 installation with the possibility of using any software that you need and of course all the wacom technologies, 8192 levels of pressure that is insane, all the different types of tips/nibs for the pen and the programmable express keys. The fact is that the price makes it really inaccessible to a lot of people even in the base config.

Aside from that I don’t know also if they updated the platform to the new generation of cpus or if they are still at the 5th/6th gen, because 5th gen mobile cpus with the spectre/meltdown patches have been slowed down quite a lot.
I have an Inspiron 13 with an i5 5200U and Intel HD graphics, before the patches it was fast and snappy with Photoshop and everything, I even made a 2x6 meters poster with it for a job when I didn’t yet have my desktop and it managed it no problem, now it struggles a lot with those files…


Dell, HP, Asus, and Lenovo all make some decent competitors to the surface pro at lower prices if you want it for digital art.

for an example here is lenovo’s offering I noticed your budget and changed what I’ve linked to as they have this option within your budget


Been recently thinking if some rigid music note stand would work well with these surfaces, soo… just pitching the idea, why not :man_shrugging:t2:


thanks for all the input guys, I have sat and watched countless vids and reviews on things suggested on here as well ipad vs (insert)

and decided to get the ipad 6th gen


Great decision, your partner will be pleased with an iPad for sure… not only because of the digital art thing.


As for me, I’ve been used for a long time XP-Pen Artist 12, and I found it really good and cheap screen tablet. I’ve been working with it when I needed to create logo of educational website Paperleaf:

Of course, iPad tablet with pencil is also great choice, and you will not regret using it.

Last year I bought Wacom Intuos:

I really like the quality of this tablet, but after screen tablet it is not easy to adapt again to viewing pictures from a computer monitor.


I got a thinkpad x230t for this for 170USD. Might be a good option?


OP has already decided