I have used a drawing tablet before in order to draw stuff onto Photoshop, but I did find it quite awkward and strange looking at my monitor, while paying no attention to the tablet itself. I mean, when drawing on a piece of paper, most would focus on the paper and their hand, rather than looking elsewhere.

So my question itself is... How does the Surface Tablet rack up against a drawing tablet monitor (the expensive kind with a screen that you directly draw on top of).

As far as my research is concerned, a drawing tablet with a built in monitor will cost me easily over £1000, where as a Surface Pro 2 about £800 or less! The later of which with the added functionality of being able to run all kinds of software. Over all though, what I'm purely interested in is how well can the Microsoft Surface be used as a drawing tablet, especially compared to a drawing tablet monitor.

  • If anyone uses these, also, is there a "capture resolution" difference between these items and if "yes", does it make a difference in your final product?
    – horatio
    Commented Apr 3, 2014 at 15:37

2 Answers 2


You might want to look at the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 (Not a Samsung Tab, that is different). It has the same Wacom digitizer and works like a DREAM! I love it. Only slight downfall is that is runs on android and not a full OS. So you are limited to either Sketchbook Pro or some other apps that run on the Android OS.

MUCH cheaper option for casual sketching. I got and old used one for $150.

start here if interested: http://www.cowboom.com/product/1227984/

  • ( graphicdesign.stackexchange.com/questions/25338/… ) The Sketchbook Mobile app file format is (was) a layered TIFF with a different file extension, and it supports pixel dimensions different than the default "new file". Combined with a file/lan browser such as ES File Explorer, you can move drawings back and forth pretty easily.
    – horatio
    Commented Apr 3, 2014 at 16:55
  • Yep, I shoot them over Bluetooth to my PC and do some further work there if needed. You can actually export a layered .psd file now. Commented Apr 3, 2014 at 17:05
  • Don't get me wrong. A cintique is the best and most versatile option, I feel the surface is a close second. Not all of us can afford those tools and I think the Not 10.1 is a good low budget option. Commented Apr 3, 2014 at 17:09
  • Thanks for the insight guys. Lets assume that money was no object however, would you go for the Galaxy Note Tab or a Surface (Without letting the advantage of Surface's full OS swaying your judgement, except for maybe the availability of familiar software such as Photoshop)?
    – JimmyK
    Commented Apr 4, 2014 at 8:06
  • I would go with the Surface if I could afford it right now. While the Galaxy Note is great, resolution is also limited in sketchbook pro. If you are planning on creating full-res artwork for print and web use you will need more than the android version of sketchbook can provide. I personally use it for sketches which I later trace in illustrator on my desktop. If money truly is no object --> wacom.com/en/us/creative/cintiq-22-hd-touch Commented Apr 4, 2014 at 12:15

That's how a drawing tablet without a screen work. You draw on the tablet and see it on screen. It takes a bit of getting used to but the overall functionality is the same. You merely look at the screen when you draw rather than your hand.

There are two main kinds of drawing tablets: pressure-sensitive tablets with no LCD, and with an LCD screen behind them.

For example, Wacom Cintiq drawing tablets have screens, but they are super expensive compared to the normal ones without a screen. So you may look at some cheap alternative to Wacom Cintiq, such as the XP-Pen artist series line.

My personal experience was that the quality of my drawing took a huge jump when I moved from a non-Screen graphics tablet to an XP-Pen artist 15.6 Pro Drawing tablet monitor. It doesn't feel identical to paper, but if you're serious about art then it's definitely easier to adapt to because you no longer have that disconnect between eye and hand.

The 15.6" model has a resolution of 1920 x 1080. The IPS monitor will display around 88% of the NTSC color gamut, 5080 LPI, 16.7M colors. the XP-Pen artist 15.6 Pro Tablet Monitor has 8 hotkeys and 1 red roller wheel.

The stylus has 8192 pen pressure levels and offers pen tilt function (it's useful with Corel Painter). The P05R pen is charge-less (no-battery/no-recharge). The pen responds very fast with almost no parallax.


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