Best art tablets 2017: reaching for the stars

 Best drawing tablets 2017

Wacom Cintiq Pro and Pro Pen 2


Top art tablets 2017: a look ahead

Best drawing tablets 2017: which will it be? It looks like we will see the best tablets yet this coming year, including the promising releases of late 2016. Some older items are getting a refresh and totally new and different tablets are hitting the market.

(For our top 2016 picks, please see the chart in our homepage article “Find the best drawing tablet.”)

A key trend has been greater integration with the real world, such as the ability to use real pens, pencils, and paper. That already existed in digital notepaper like the Bamboo Spark, which is a paper notebook with a built-in digitizer. But some new products have streamlined and improved upon this idea.


Wacom continues to dominate the industry provide the most advanced drawing tablet features, including increased levels of pressure sensitivity (8,192), pressure sensitivity in Adobe Illustrator, and barrel roll (rotation sensitivity, meaning you can roll the pen and make patterns, a feature supported in their higher-end tablets with a specific pen).

Best drawing tablet 2017: Wacom MobileStudio Pro

Their new offering, the Wacom MobileStudio Pro (read our article), is a powerful Windows PC in portable form. Professional illustrators and animators may pick this as the best drawing tablet 2017. The company has gotten away from the 2-in-1 model, so you will need to use your own external keyboard with it. This is an art-first tablet that’s not trying to be a laptop as well. With a strong, protective case, you’ll be feeling super and safe from anything, even Kryptonite. See the different versions on Amazon.


And now there’s the new CINTIQ PRO

Wacom Cintiq Pro

Specs: Cintiq Pro13 HD (1920 x 1080), 87% Adobe RBG
Cintiq Pro 16, 4K (3840 x 2160), 94% Adobe RGB
Pro Pen 2 is improved with 8,192 levels, no parallax
Both have fold out-legs
Connects with a single cable
Optional ExpressKey Remote


Released Dec. 31, 2016. See it on Amazon

Microsoft Surface Studio 28″ All-in-One

Surface Studio with Surface Dial

Surface Studio with Surface Dial

The new Microsoft Surface Studio is a large-scale art tablet that comes with a Surface Pen. It’s big and so is the price. The optional Surface Dial lets you open menus and also acts as a color picker. The 28″ PixelSense screen at 192 DPI give you lots of space and sharpness. It’s got a 3:2 aspect ratio and Adobe RGB as well as DCI-P3 and Vivid Color Profiles. This is for power users. It’s available for pre-order and the co. is at present offering a free Surface Dial.
See more and check price on the Microsoft Surface Studio

Word on the street is that Dell is coming out with something similar (OEM) and the puck looks black!

Lenovo Yoga Book

Lenovo surprised us by releasing the stylish Yoga Book, which attaches a pressure-sensitive graphics tablet that also serves as a touch keyboard. The stylus has dual nibs, one of which is a real pen with real ink that will digitize from real paper placed on the tablet. It’s certainly one of the most interesting, and portability wise it may be one of the best drawing tablet 2017 in the graphics tablet-tablet PC category–it’s also the only contender.


best drawing tablet 2017

Lenovo Yoga Book

Besides the analogue ink, the advantage for artists is the closeness of the tablet to the screen, eliminating awkward positions and the need for another keyboard. The Yoga Book bends into many positions, and the screen part, while not pressure sensitive, is a touchscreen with Lenovo AnyPen tech. The portability, flexibility, looks, and affordability of the Yoga Book has won it fans.

Microsoft has just refreshed the Surface Pro 4 with NVIDIA graphics and a much longer battery life. They’re calling it Performance Base. Not new, but improved.

The Surface Pro 5 should be making its appearance in 2017 as well. There’s always more Microsoft can add to get it to be a truly mobile workstation, and, if they add the Microsoft-Wacom universal pen, it could well be the best drawing tablet 2017 in the tablet PC (non-Wacom) category.

Samsung is updating its Galaxy Tab A with S Pen with something even better–an HD version. The Galaxy Tab A 10.1 will have an HD display, 3GB of RAM, 16GB storage, and a lonnggg 13 hours of video battery life. Coming in late October 2016.

Huawei will be coming out with new Matebooks in 2017 that rival the Surface Pro 5’s specs,. They may be aimed more at the Chinese market, but we’ll see.

Best Graphics Tablet 2017

We still recommend a Wacom Intuos Pro and favor the medium size. Once called the Bamboo line, these are considered the best graphics tablets. They pack advanced features and have many sizes and models to choose from. Every one of them comes with a high-quality Wacom EMR digitizer and battery-free pen. Wacom is sure to still offer the best graphics tablet in 2017, as it has been a top art pick in 2016.

For something more affordable, the Huion 610 Pro offers a lot of the functionality of Wacom for a much lower price. However, it lacks advanced features such as tilt and rotation. We recommend this for those who have a bit of computer savvy, but it’s a popular choice with an excellent pressure curve. Monoprice and Turcom also offer value.

Best portable digital sketch pad 2017

Lower-cost tablets with screens and styluses are popping up. The Acer Spin 1 is aimed at students. It’s a pressure-sensitive tablet that’s portable and doesn’t have the most advanced specs, but it’s heartening that this technology is getting more accessible to those on a budget. The Spin 5 will be a more robust version of this portable Windows tablet PC.

Late October (the 28th) brings a new and improved Samsung Galaxy Tab A with S Pen with a 10″ HD display, more memory, and more power. The main drawback of the 9.7 was its low screen resolution, so this is a step up for this popular Wacom-penabled art tablet.

Looks like the next-gen iPad Pro will be with us soon. Hard to say how they could improve upon the Apple Pencil. We feel the iPad Pro will be the best drawing tablet 2017 in the mobile category. While we still prefer desktop programs, mobile apps for drawing are getting better and better.

Wacom competitors moving forward in 2017

Artisul, XP-Pen, Bosto, Huion, and Ugee are all continuing to, trying to catch up with Wacom, as well as competing with each other. Huion is coming out with some new tablets with screens. XP-Pen will be updating their well-received XP-Pen 22 tablet monitor. You never know, maybe one of these companies will put out the best drawing tablet 2017, or some later year.

3D sculpting and printing

Wacom hasn’t put out all-new software for their Intuos in a while, so the release of the Wacom Intuos 3D is a big step. It’s a regular Intuos tablet with software by Pixologic. It ties into to 3D sculpting and printing so you can add those easily into your workflow, and will provide feedback to make you feel like you’re really manipulating 3D objects.

2017 will be bringing some top art tablets and ones that are just trying new things. It looks to be a very creative year ahead.

end of Best Drawing Tablet 2017

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About Vicky

I'm an author and illustrator who has used drawing tablets since the early days. I love how flexible and forgiving they make everything. I'm also fascinated by the technology. I started this site to bring knowledge to everyone. I want this to be the only place you need to go to learn about drawing tablets.

4 thoughts on “Best art tablets 2017: reaching for the stars

  1. Ash

    Hello there.

    I remember I asked you about this before but let me explain something that happened to me recently.
    I live in the UK and I went into a supermarket chain and asked about the Samsung Galaxy Tab 6A 10.1, which I thought that’s what it’s model number was…

    So I asked the guy at the shop if it would work with the s pen stylus, he said that he didn’t know and went away to check.
    When he came back he said “Aye, the s pen will work on that tablet” and I bought the tablet based on him saying that it would work with the s pen stylus, so I went home and bought Bamboo Smart Stylus from Wacom which is exactly the same as the s pen but glorified.

    The stylus did not work on it, so I took it back to the supermarket and got my money back.
    Turns out that the Galaxy 10.1 with s pen is NOT available in the UK, but the 9.7 is only available…
    Going by your description of the 9.7 it has a pixelated screen?

    I’m gonna keep the stylus that I bought but I am now wondering what other tablets I can buy that is equal to the Galaxy Tab A 10.1 with s pen, that is available in America, that I can buy in the UK?
    Or should I just get the 9.7?

    1. Post author

      Hi, supermarkets here, if they have that tablet, only sell the non-S pen one. “With S Pen” is part of the name, so it will say it on the box. I’m not that familiar with British stores, but I haven’t seen it online in England. I think the lower-res one is fine, but it depends how important the resolution is to you. It’s where a lot of tablets were several years ago rather than how they are now. Some people don’t mind it and others do. The iPad Pro 9.7 (or the larger) would be a nice alternative and high-res though there’s the added expense of the Apple Pencil.

      It looks like the older Galaxy Note 10.1 is available in England, that one’s good but I would worry about how long it will be supported (that one does not say “with S Pen” because the Galaxy Note line always has the S Pen). But, they are still selling it.

      I’ve searched for some Dell New Venue 10 Pro, Lenovo Miix 510, Toshiba Dynapad, and the Samsung Galaxy TabPro S, but haven’t found them there. I think iPad Pro is your best bet, or the 9.7 Galaxy Tab with S Pen.

      Well, maybe the salesman was wrong but at least he said “Aye!” 🙂

  2. Chris

    Thank you for this article. I’ve owned a Wacom Cintiq 21 for years and they no longer support drivers for it, plus their customer service, or NO customer service, is horrid as it’s basically non existent. So basically, I have a disposable $2,600 tablet. Thanks, Wacom. I am glad They now have some competition. I’ll be looking into the new tablets.


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