iPad vs. drawing tablet: Which one should I get?

Tablets & Accessories

An iPad is a general purpose tablet with a lot more functionalities such as watching movies, listening to music, and reading books. A drawing tablet is a special purpose tablet for professional digital art, work flow, and process.

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Which is better: an iPad or a drawing tablet?

Deciding on what new technology to purchase can seem like a mundane task, but it doesn’t have to be if you understand two things: your budget and the desired functionality.

iPads and drawing tablets hold similarities in their design and structure. While iPads offer more day-to-day functionality, drawing tablets may be the more suitable choice for artists who need the tools required to create unique and original artwork.

If you’re stuck trying to decide which one is best for you, it all comes down to your personal needs and if you’re going to be using them professionally or creatively. In the article, we look at drawing tablets and iPads and discuss how you can decide which one is best for you. 

What are iPads?

iPads offer day-to-day functionality that allows you to tackle everyday tasks while offering powerful hardware. This way, you can enjoy an abundance of video and gaming content on the go. If you’re new to technology or are just looking for a device that is easy to set up with plenty of features, then an iPad is a good choice.

However, iPads are not exclusive to those just looking for leisure. Newer technology has allowed Apple to create devices that are perfect for both work and play.

iPads are known for creating high-quality, print-ready illustrations on the go. All you need is to make a few initial investments: the iPad itself, an Apple Pencil and some design software. You’re then all set to represent your creatives in the best possible way.

You can use your iPad as a sketchbook where you can erase, undo, scale or even share it with others. It speeds up the design process, and the price range is between $400-$1900, depending on which iPad you choose

What are drawing tablets?

If you need something that offers a little more artistic freedom, an iPad might limit your options. Modern-day artists require the right tools to be able to create engaging and thought-provoking pieces. You want flexibility in your pen strokes, an anti-glare screen and a tilt-sensitive pen. A drawing tablet needs to keep up with your creativity while also giving you breathing room to experiment and try new things. 

Any quality drawing tablet requires vibrance and a comfortable drawing tool, allowing for precise strokes that jump out of the screen. In addition to suitable hardware, an artist should look for tablets compatible with design software like editing, graphic design, 3D models or digital painting. After all, a tablet won’t get you very far unless you can do something with your artwork.

Prices range from $79-$1000, depending on which drawing tablet you choose. 

Pros of an iPad 

User-friendly apps

You’ll find great drawing apps for iPad like Procreate. These apps are very user-friendly, and you can make the most out of them by going through their tutorials or opting for unique add-ons like brushes. 

Portability

This is one of the significant benefits of having an iPad. You don’t need to attach an iPad to a computer to use it. This means you will have a self-sufficient drawing device wherever you go. 

Versatility

You have the flexibility of using the iPad for several things other than drawing (you can use it for just about anything you’d do on a computer)! 

Pros of a drawing tablet 

Pressure sensitivity & accuracy 

Drawing tablets come with a pressure detection system to differentiate between different pen strokes (like light and heavy). This makes it more accurate to drawing something on paper. 

Customizable

Most drawing tablets are compatible with all design software and offer shortcut buttons to customize your tablet for your specific needs. 

Wireless connection 

Most tablets nowadays offer wireless connection, making it easier to move your tablet around and draw at all angles. 

Cons of an iPad 

Pencil sensitivity

iPads don’t offer a lot when it comes to knowing how sensitive the iPad pencil is, making it difficult for artists looking for different brush strokes. 

Cons of a drawing tablet 

Not versatile

Drawing tablets are best for creating artworks, but at the same time, they aren’t helpful for general purposes. 

Which iPad should I get?  

If you’re leaning more toward an iPad, here are our top picks:

iPad Mini

iPad Mini  

Perfect if you’re looking for something cheaper but still capable of doing everyday tasks like browsing the internet or watching videos.

Available at Amazon

iPad Pro

iPad Pro

If you need something with a little more technical capability, the iPad Pro was designed with multifunctionality in mind. It’s compatible with the Apple Pencil, giving you even more creativity to write and draw straight from your tablet.

Available at Amazon

iPad

iPad

If you aren’t looking for anything lavish and just need a reliable device to use, there’s nothing wrong with the standard iPad. It’s even compatible with the Apple Pencil, but the smaller screen (compared to the Pro) may make it a hindrance for advanced artists. 

Available at Amazon

Which drawing tablet should I get? 

If a drawing tablet is your final decision, here are our favorite picks:

Turcom Graphic Drawing Capture

Turcom Graphic Drawing Capture

If you’re just getting your feet wet, test out a cheaper tablet like the Turcom.

Available at Amazon

Huion Pen Graphics Tablet

Huion Pen Graphics Tablet

If you need a tablet just to doodle or to practice your art skills, a beginner tablet like the Huion Tablet is a solid option to choose from.

Available at Amazon

 

Wacom Cintiq 13HD

Wacom Cintiq 13HD

If you need something advanced or you’re planning on beginning your art career, a professional tablet is an excellent way to go. Professional tablets tend to offer high-pressure sensitivity and screen resolution, allowing you to create detailed drawings that leap right off the page.

Available at Amazon

The bottom line

If you’re looking for a device that can navigate everyday work and life, an iPad is a great choice. From there, you need to figure out what mix of work and play you’re going to go for and whether or not you require the strength and capabilities of an iPad Pro or the convenience and user-friendliness of a regular iPad.

If you need technology that can supplement your creative endeavors, think about a drawing tablet instead. How far you are in your art career should determine whether you should start with a beginner tablet or a professional tablet. 

 

Courtney Love is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.

Copyright 2021 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.

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