I really want a drawing tablet with a display. So far I've looked at the iPad Pro and Cintiq models. But I keep getting caught up in reading reviews, articles, blogs, etc., about each product that I keep forgetting to think back to core of what I'm looking for. I wish there was a person who knew everything about every product I could chat with, but a design forum is probably the closest I will get. I would be using the tablet for mainly sketching, illustrating, graphic design, and MAYBE animation. Here is a list of capabilities I'm looking for in a tablet (having no experience. Some of them might not even exist). (Features of high importance to me **)

  1. ** Display tablet (visual screen built in)

  2. ** Accurate touch point with virtually no lag

  3. ** Wide scope of pressure sensitivity

  4. ** Wireless capabilities (Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, power. For sending files to my computer, working remotely without a power source, etc.)

  5. ** High definition, retina display, etc.

  6. ** Work directly in my Adobe programs (Photoshop and Illustrator at the LEAST. I also use InDesign, After Effects, and Flash)

  7. * Use the tablet for other things, browsing web, games, Netflix, etc. (probably only iPad, huh?)

  8. * Hook up with keyboard (I'm just thinking about shortcuts while using Adobe)

  9. * Touch capabilities (I like the idea that I could move around the screen with my fingers, zoom, in, etc. I watched some videos on Cintiq and iPad Pro, and this would be amazing. But since I've never used a drawing tablet, I'm not sure how much of a pain not having it would be)

  10. Ability to use as a mouse (I love using the Wacom Intuos. It would be nice to have the choice of working solely within my tablet, or on my MacBook while using my tablet as a mouse)

  11. Screen protector that fits? For protection and maybe give it that rougher paper texture

  12. Save files directly to the device

I know that this list is kind of insane, but I know I'm going to spend a pretty penny on this device and I want to make sure all (or most) of my needs are met. I'll probably go to Best Buy to try some tablets out and talk to someone who knows a little bit about what I need, but I'd rather here opinions from people in my field or any design-related field who has experience using tablets.

  • 4
    Well if you want to use illustrator and photoshop, that drops out ipad.
    – Joonas
    Nov 6 '15 at 15:58

There are a lot of things you're asking for and you'll be unable to get all of them. But most are totes possible, if you're willing to sacrifice certain parts of your workflow to using a desktop. I agree that trying them out is a good idea. I'm personally waiting since the tablet race is on! Everyone has their custom pen now. But what really matters is pressure points right? Also lets not forget about the Microsoft Surface Pro 3.

Cintiq Companion model(s): best accuracy and all-around choice. Plus it has that "paper" feel. But it can be pricey. I'd wait for the 5th gen with the core i7.

iPad Pro: You'll be limited to mobile adobe apps, so you'd have to do the rest on your desktop. No paper feel, and has a couple stylus options depending on how important pen pressure is. Intuos Stylus is another $75 for pressure sensitivity.

Microsoft Surface Pro: this is basically windows, it has a snap on keyboard you can use and all desktop options available. It's the cheapest option.

But lets be real here. Tablets and surfaces are not powerful enough for all the heavy lifting you might want. So back to the desktop you might go. In that event, you can still use the Cintiq Companion with all its quality and friction that the other two don't have. Albeit a small surface to work on. I would advise getting a Cintiq Companion 2 or wait for the next one

Have fun!

  • I'm glad you brought my attention to the Companion, because skimming the Cintiq products I leaned towards the 24HD Touch Interactive, etc. because I thought they were the only ones compatible with touch. Also I never wanted to use Windows because I'm a snobby Apple user, but after you suggested the Surface Pro I did some research and it seems to be the best choice for my needs. I feel more comfortable spending the money on something that has more functionality (other apps, web, music, etc.) than on something that would be solely a drawing tool for that much money. Thanks for the response!
    – Jordan
    Nov 6 '15 at 18:29
  • Hey something I completely forgot to mention: Storage! iPad Pro you're getting 128gb at the most. The surface pro 4 can give you 1TB. That'll definitely last you longer between desktops.
    – Winter
    Nov 19 '15 at 17:00

The iPad Pro is a closed system that hasn't really been tested by professionals in any sort of wide array. Any use of the iPad Pro is kind of experimental at this point. If it's still around in 3 years, then it may be a worthy competitor to the Cintq, but today...

I'd only invest in the iPad Pro if I could afford to not use it after purchasing it. Otherwise, get a Cintiq. It's been proven and been around for years.

Note the iPad Pro looks like a great device, but it is "experimental" from Apple. They think it'll meet the needs of designers.. but they also thought the iPad would be useful for designers. While there are some basic uses for that type of device, so far, in my experience, I can't toss my actual computer system for any Apple "i" device. And I don't expect the iPad Pro will change that, at least not at this stage. Perhaps in 2018 things may change. But $1k for a device that may work is a lot to gamble in 2015. Professionals all over the world are using Cintqs and have been for some time.

  • What do you mean the iPad hasn't been really tested by professionals? It's the biggest selling tablet on the market...and most professionals I know have one. But at the same time, I wouldn't call it a competitor to a Cintiq. They are different markets.
    – DA01
    Nov 6 '15 at 17:39
  • Well it's less than a year old and there's no hard evidence that it is becoming a staple of design workflows. Sales don't equate to use. Usage can only be really calculated after buyers have had the device for some time. Heck I bough a NuLooq when they came out.. used it for a month then never touched it again.... I thought I could paint/draw on an iPad... and while it's possible, it's not the same as an Intuos and is no replacement for the Intuos.
    – Scott
    Nov 6 '15 at 17:41
  • I also bought a Wacom Inkling when they came out... it's been discontinued since then. There are a ton of devices that seem worthwhile but they all don't last. I'm not saying the iPad Pro is a bad device... I'm just saying it's NEW and unproven overall.
    – Scott
    Nov 6 '15 at 17:48
  • oh, I'm sorry. You're referring specifically to the iPad pro. My mistake. I agree with you that that is still finding it's place in the workflow. Again, I do think it's not really a device meant to compete with a Cintiq. A Cintiq is a very specific tool for a rather specific purpose whereas the iPad is a bit more of a generalist.
    – DA01
    Nov 6 '15 at 17:49
  • Yeah referring just to the pro model :) Costs are quite different than a standard iPad.
    – Scott
    Nov 6 '15 at 17:50

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