TABLETS IN A NUTSHELL
Tablets come in a dizzying array of styles, and choosing between them online can be quite a challenge given that you’re not able to physically try out how they feel and how responsive they are.
There’s also a lot at stake if you don’t make the right choice. Some tablets can be overpriced for what they offer, and others may provide a lot of things you don’t actually want or feel like paying for; if you’re just starting out as a freelance designer graphics or about to embark on a college course to learn animation, value for money is often the biggest factor in picking up a tablet to last you at least a couple of years.
To help give you a nudge in the right direction, here’s our top three picks for entry-level tablets which are more than worth their price tag. Since we’re being impartial here, we’ll also discuss the limitations of each (since what works for one individual might not suit another.)
Wacom Intuos 5
The fourth-most-popular tablet on Amazon and one of the most highly technical, the Intuos 5 boasts one of the most sensitive touchpads of any tablet, with 2048 levels of sensitivity and tilt recognition. It also has a multi-touch functionality that lets you zoom in, rotate, move and otherwise manipulate your images with the touch of a finger instead of needing to switch between screen commands in your art program.
Intuos 5 Features:
- 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity
- Multi-touch sensitivity
- Ergonomic design for left and right-handed artists
- 9.9” by 14.96” drawing surface
Although the Intuos 5 does offer plenty of nice features, it also comes with a heavy price tag – over $300 on Amazon. While it entirely justifies the price, entry-level artists are unlikely to have that kind of money to burn, especially when there are other perfectly functional tablets available for a third of the cost.
This slender tablet, marketed toward beginnings and young users, is affordable and lightweight. It’s particularly useful for travel as it’s smaller than the average tablet, and not as costly to replace if something goes wrong.
VT PenPad Features:
- 6” by 4.5” drawing surface and weight of just 3.2 ounces
- 1024 levels of pressure sensitivity
- Compatible with Mac and Windows
Although it’s hard to argue with it’s $30 price tag, this may not be the perfect tablet to sustain heavy use. It’s small, which gives you less workspace, and it’s also lightweight and easy to break. It also doesn’t come with a lot of bundled software. Unless you already have a nice drawing program on your computer, it’ll be cheaper to buy a Wacom with bundled Photoshop Elements than trying to buy the program and this tablet separately. If you just want a backup tablet for road trips, though, the PenPad might be the way to go.