Best tablets for designers now and on the horizon

October 28, 2013 • By

Choosing the right tablet to meet your needs can be tough. Wide varieties of products with different capabilities that cater to graphic design are currently out on the market and are rumored to be introduced at CES 2014. After determining your price range and deciding what you need from a graphics tablet, use this quick review to make your purchasing decision less difficult.


A Bamboo tablet is a great option that won’t break the bank and offers loads of value. Bamboo tablets come in four main styles – Connect, Capture, Create and Splash – that all offer different features at different prices. The Bamboo Splash is a tablet designed for all sorts of light art creation; including painting, drawing, sketching and document mark-up. Bamboo Connect is your best option for visual communication purposes, and the Bamboo Capture specializes in photo editing. The Bamboo Create is best for any advanced artistic purposes, and it provides twice the working space as other Bamboo tablets. The Capture and Create tablets are available in both pen/touch and pen-only models. For your first full-fledged graphics tablet, you can’t go wrong with any of these Bamboo tablets.


The Intuos line of Wacom tablets seems to be a professional extension of the products and services provided by the Bamboo line. Their most recent release, Intuos 5, was designed to meet high performance demands in any creative professional field. While the Bamboo tablets’ pens offer 1024 levels of pressure sensitivity, the Intuos 5 provides twice as much and 60-degree tilt sensitivity. Intuos 5 tablets come in three different sizes; the medium size compares with the active area of a Bamboo Create, the small size is similar to the other Bamboo tablets, and the large provides an impressive 12.8 inch by 8 inch area for pen usage. These tablets may come with a slightly steeper price tag than Bamboo tablets, but their artistic capabilities make them a worthy investment.


This line of tablets represents another big step up in price, but they also provide the user with more features and the highest quality of any model on this list. What really sets the modern Cintiq tablets apart are their incredibly clear, high definition displays with impressive color gamuts. This type of tablet is actually two powerful tools in one; it serves as both a professional-grade graphics tablet and a color-accurate, high definition graphics monitor. With these tablets, you can appreciate the artistically natural feeling of working directly on the display screen. Varying sizes of Cintiq tablet are available online, and their levels of professional performance and customization cannot be topped. The ten ExpressKeys on the Cintiq tablets’ Wacom Pro Pen will save you time and completely customize your functional work experience.

Boogie Board

Boogie Board tablets aren’t for the serious professional graphics designer, but they are an excellent, affordable option for simple drawing and note-taking. These black LCD tablets are great for the workplace and ideal for small children with interests in graphic art. Made from durable, high-quality materials, Boogie Board tablets are only 1/8 th of an inch thick. The Boogie Board still provides some pressure sensitivity, and the writing surface will create lines of different thickness based on how hard you press. Several styles of Boogie Board tablets are listed on Amazon, and none of them are priced higher than $100.

The Future

With Apple’s recent releases of the new iPad Mini and iPad Air with Retina displays, we should expect to see more hi-def tablets introduced into the market that are not only smaller and faster but also more affordable. There are also rumors of new hybrid laptops with creative design features that transform into tablets, combining the best of both worlds.

Just at a glance, we have several tablets with great design features to pick and choose from. If the current tablets don’t meet your budget or have enough tools to allow you to achieve your vision, more than likely, it’s in the works.