FAQ

THE BEST DRAWING TABLETS THAT DON’T NEED A COMPUTER

If you’re like me, you’ve probably wondered ‘What are the best drawing tablets that don’t need a computer?’ I did a little research on this topic & made a list. 

The best drawing tablets that don’t need a computer:

  • iPad Pro (1st, 2nd, & 3rd Gen)
  • iPad Air (3rd Gen)
  • iPad Mini (5th Gen)
  • iPad (6th & 7th gen)
  • Wacom Mobile Studios
  • Surface Pro

These tablets’ prices range from $280 to $3499, which means some of them are very affordable. 

When choosing the right computer tablet (a tablet that works like a small, portable computer), it’s important to consider battery life, charge time, price and drawing programs.

I provided more information on all of these topics below so you can decide for yourself which computer tablet is best for you.

1. General Things To Consider Before Buying
A Computer Tablet

 

  • They need to be charged. Most computer tablets operate wirelessly after charging. 
  • Battery life is important. A portable drawing tablet should last long enough to make its portability count.
  • They are often more expensive than regular drawing tablets but not always. (Example: refurbished computer tablets & Non-Pro iPads are affordable)
  • They need a hotspot or wifi signal for internet access.
  • They have screens you can directly draw on.
  • iPads can send files via Airdrop using Bluetooth to Apple products, such as the iMac and the iPhone. Therefore, if you own Apple products, the iPad is a great option for you.

2. Price of Each Tablet


Prices for these drawing tablets range from $200-$3,499. 

The chart below lists the prices of each tablet from least to most expensive.

I also provide some hidden costs for accessories you’ll most likely have to buy.

For example, the iPad Pro does not come with the Apple Pencil or a protective case. These two accessories are a must-have if you want to make the most of the iPad Pro as a drawing tablet. 

Model Price Stylus Stand/Case/Legs
iPad 6th gen
$280-$380
$99.00 (Apple Pencil 1st Gen)
$20-$120
iPad Pro 9.7” 1st gen
$280-$900
$99.00 (Apple Pencil 1st Gen)
$20-$120
iPad 7th gen
$329-$429
$99.00 (Apple Pencil 1st Gen)
$20-$120
iPad Pro 10.5” 2nd gen
$345-$800
$99.00 (Apple Pencil 1st Gen)
$20-$120
iPad Pro 12.9” 1st gen
$349-$900
$99.00 (Apple Pencil 1st Gen)
$20-$120
iPad Pro 12.9” 2nd gen
$365-$900
$99.00 (Apple Pencil 1st Gen)
$20-$120
iPad Mini 5th gen
$399-$549
$99.00 (Apple Pencil 1st Gen)
$20-$120
iPad Air 3rd gen
$499-$649
$99.00 (Apple Pencil 1st Gen)
$20-$120
Surface Pro
$699
$89.99 (Microsoft Surface Pen)
$20-$120
iPad Pro 11” 3rd gen
$799-$1349
$129.00 (Apple Pencil 2nd Gen)
$20-$120
iPad pro 12.9” 3rd gen
$999-$1549
$129.00 (Apple Pencil 2nd Gen)
$20-$120
Wacom Mobile Studios
$3499
Free (Pro Pen 2)
Comes w/ Legs

Keep in mind that when making this list, I used the average retail price, & there are a lot of places on the internet to get most of these tablets for a reduced price

If you’d like to learn more about where to find reduced pricing on some of the tablets I listed, I cover the topic in my “Buyers Guide” section here.

3. Which Tablet Has The Best Battery Life &
Charge Time?

Battery Life

The most convenient thing about owning a computer tablet is its portability.

But if a computer tablet’s battery life isn’t great, you’ll spend half your time lugging around a dead tablet you can’t use.

Or even worse– constantly searching for an outlet.

I did some research & testing with my iPads & put the results into the graph below. 

Charge Time

One quick sidenote about charging any of the iPads on this list: to draw with them you need the Apple Pencil which also needs to be charged.

Unlike Wacom’s Mobile Studio, the Apple Pencil doesn’t charge while you draw with it.

Charging your Apple Pencil involves using the lightning cable. However, if you want to be able to charge it wirelessly, you can buy the Apple Pencil Generation 2, which charges by Magnetic Pairing. 

You might have noticed that the iPad Pro series takes the shortest amount of time to charge, on average about 2.5 hours.

This is because they can use Apple’s “fast charge” feature, which charges your device from 0% to 50% in 30 minutes when using the MacBook Pro charger. (Keep in mind that you would have to purchase this charger separately. However, the investment is worthwhile.)

Without the fast charge, each iPad Pro on this list would take about 4-6 hours to charge.

4. Drawing Program

Professional level drawing programs are crucial for creating great art.

Don’t get me wrong– you can make great art with literally anything, but let’s be honest, there’s no reason to purposely handicap your drawing capabilities. 

The top drawing programs used by professionals are Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, & Procreate.

You can use Photoshop on any tablet listed in this post, but the iPads come with a watered-down version of Photoshop.

That said, there are some great programs/apps that easily replace Photoshop, such as Procreate, Art Set, and Affinity Photo.

You can even create animation on your iPad. 

5. My Pick


I have a tie for my pick: the iPad Pro 11″ & 12.9″ 3rd generation.

Without getting too wordy, I’ll list a few reasons why they’re my personal favorite out of the 12 tablets mentioned. 

  • Magnetically charges & pairs with the Apple Pencil 2nd Gen
  • Screen-size is great for my detailed art style
  • Fast Charge allows me to charge quickly. Furthermore, 10 hours of battery life is great for when I’m on the go.
  • Great color accuracy, brightness, & color gamut
  • It’s one of the most advanced drawing tablets on this list next to the mobile studio pro. But it’s lighter, easier to travel with, and more affordable.
  • It comes with Pro-motion, which makes drawing long lines, zooming, scrolling, and other animations appear smoother. 

If you’d like to learn more about the iPad Pro, I reviewed it here, as well as explained why I’ll never buy a Wacom tablet even as a professional artist.

6. Related Questions


Do drawing tablets need computers?

Most drawing tablets do need a computer to be used, but there are drawing tablets that do not need a computer, which I mentioned above in this article. 

What are some drawing tablets that have a screen?

  • iPad Pro, iPad, iPad Mini, iPad Air
  • Wacom Cintiq Pro
  • Huion Kamvas 
  • Wacom Cintiq
  • Gaomon PD 1560
  • Artisul D16
  • Pablo Cost 22

What are some of the best drawing tablets for beginners?

  • Wacom Intuos Pro
  • Wacom Intuos
  • Huion Inspiroy H950P
  • Huion H610PRO
  • Parblo A610
  • Huion 420

What is the best Android tablet for drawing?

  • Surface Pro 2
  • Surface Pro 1

What You Should Do Now

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Also, feel free to check out some related posts below; I have a lot of content based around art, tablet sales, & more. 

Let me know any other relevant questions or thoughts you might have in the comment section.

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