Even as screen-based work replaces more and more of the time that people spend with paper, using a pencil remains a near-universal skill, for good reason. Drawing and writing by hand rank among the most intuitive kinds of physical interaction for most people, and drawing tablets translate that movement almost directly to a PC, laptop, or phone.
As a result, drawing tablets can be indispensable tools for creating art and performing more complicated image editing, and they can also be lifesavers for people who encounter some kinds of repetitive strain injury or pain while using traditional mice or laptop touchpads.
In previous years, a good, full-featured drawing tablet would often cost hundreds of dollars. Today, for under $100, you can get a great, midsize tablet such as the Huion Inspiroy 2 M, which offers plenty of drawing area, lots of function buttons, intuitive software, and an excellent drawing experience.
Everything we recommend
The 12-by-7-inch Huion Inspiroy 2 M offers a lot of space to sketch on, allowing for comfortable drawing while not taking up too much of a desk. The included wireless stylus provides excellent tracking with no perceivable latency, is comfortable to hold for extended periods, and has two function buttons. The Inspiroy 2 M also has plenty of hotkeys for you to program as you like, along with a dial and a pen holder with replacement nibs. However, it lacks wireless support.
The 10.2-by-5.8-inch Huion Inspiroy H640P doesn’t have as many features as its more expensive counterparts, but that doesn’t mean it can’t get the job done—its stylus tracking and drawing experience feel very similar to those of pricier models, and unlike inexpensive tablets from Wacom, it features six programmable hotkeys. And it carries an extremely low price tag without compromising on the most important features of a great drawing tablet.
The entry-level Wacom Intuos S is as no-frills as Wacom’s flagship line of drawing tablets gets—this 7.8-by-6.3-inch model doesn’t even have a separate pen holder, just a little fabric loop at the top of the tablet. But you do get Wacom’s excellent pen tracking, a paper-like surface that some artists swear by, proper hotkeys, and full wired connectivity or wireless support via Bluetooth. Plus, it comes with a number of software trials if you need a little guidance on where to start with digital image creation.
The 13.3-by-8.6-inch Wacom Intuos Pro M offers just about anything you could ask for from a drawing tablet, providing great tracking, an excellent stylus, quality-of-life perks such as a touch dial and full touch sensitivity, and wireless support via Bluetooth. But you pay a lot more for all those features, in comparison with our other picks.