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Best Tablet For Adobe Illustrator

By May 10, 2022No Comments

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Best Tablet For Adobe Illustrator

Best Tablet For Adobe Illustrator

5 Awesome Tablets That Are Fully Compatible With Adobe’s Illustrator Software

Programs like Adobe Illustrator have seamlessly merged traditional artistry and modern technology in ways that take our creativity to whole new levels — Eat your heart out, Da Vinci.

But without a tablet that makes the most out of the illustrator format, your works are going to be less Leonardo De Vinci, and more Leonardo DiCaprio in those hilarious Titanic drawing memes.

Don’t get us wrong, most tablets are great in some form or another, but many of them are, how should we say…artistically limited, leaving you out of pocket and up one useless techno slate.

Not to worry, though, my doodlin’ wonderkinds; we here at Arturth have spent the last few weeks researching the best tablets for Adobe Illustrator users, and we’re over the moon that we can finally share our shortlist with you.

P.S. If you haven’t seen those Titanic drawing memes yet, Google them now, we implore you! You will not regret it.

2020 Huion Kamvas 22 Plus

If you often feel penned in by the smaller tablets on the market, then check out this 21.5-inch masterpiece from Huion.

It offers you tons of room to let your imagination run wild, while not being so big that it wouldn’t slip easily into your backpack.

The 1080p display is fully laminated, significantly reducing the severity of parallax, meaning you can draw details with great accuracy — the screen won’t distance your line from the contact point of the stylus.

And speaking of, the PW517 stylus is fitted with a capacitive pressure sensor that minimizes lag, ensuring it can keep up with your creative mind.

It also features 8192 pressure sensors and tilt functionality to facilitate a natural drawing experience.

Circling back around to the display, covering 140% of the sRGB space, it boasts amazing color accuracy, meaning you can really experiment with hue in your art — the sky’s the limit.

Of course, this is a dedicated drawing tablet that you’ll have to plug into a computer to use, which may be a deal-breaker for some, but otherwise, it’s an awesome device.

Pros:

  • 21.5” Display – Non-restrictive.
  • PW517 Stylus – Natural feel.
  • 8192 Pressure Levels – Facilitates nuanced art.
  • Full Lamination – Reduced Parallax.
  • 140% sRGB – Awesome color pallet.
Check Current Price

Cons:

  • Drawing Tablet – Must be connected to a computer.

2021 Apple 12.9-inch iPad Pro

It was only a matter of time before the infamous iPad Pro entered the Illustrator arena, and here it is, the new 2021 edition, in all its glory.

Featuring a 12.9-inch display, it imparts a sense of artistic freedom when you whip out the Apple Pencil and load up Adobe Illustrator, yet it’s not so big as to have an intrusive impact on your desktop or prevent you taking it on the road with you.

Of course, this is a full-on tablet computer, so you can access the Illustrator app directly whenever inspiration strikes.

Thanks to the iPad granting access to your synced documents and asset libraries, it makes the app a lot deeper than it would be if it was simply accessed via a drawing tablet.

It also supports the Apple Pencil 2.0, which brings super-low latency and a hyperrealistic feel to the digital arts. Our only other gripe is the price tag, but that’s Apple for you.

Pros:

  • 12.9” Display – Nice-sized canvas.
  • Apple Pencil 2.0 Tech – Natural feel.
  • Full Tablet – Can be used for countless things.
  • Optimized App – Adobe has created a specialized Illustrator version for iPad, and it’s free for Creative Cloud members.
Check Current Price

Cons:

  • Price – It’s not cheap.
  • Apple Pencil Not Included – More expense!

Wacom PTH860 Intuos Pro

Here we have another fantastic drawing tablet, but this time from industry giants, Wacom.

The Intuos Pro doesn’t have a screen itself, rather, it’s designed to be used as a pad in conjunction with a standard tablet or computer.

Measuring 16 inches across, you’re not constantly shifting the working area and interrupting your flow in order to continue your piece of art.

That said, when it is time to move on or switch tools, the 8 programmable hotkeys and scroller make it an absolute breeze.

It arrives with the Wacom Pro Pen 2 stylus that brings 8192 pressure levels to the table, allowing you to create truly nuanced pieces of art, as if you were drawing on an honest-to-goodness piece of paper with an honest-to-goodness pencil.

It also features pristine tilt functionality and an almost completely lag-free response, reducing the awkwardness of digitization, which helps you to forget you’re working virtually rather than on a physical medium.

Pros:

  • Pro Pen 2 – Very organic feel.
  • 16” Work Area – Doesn’t stifle your creativity.
  • Customizable Hotkeys – Streamlines your workflow.
  • 5080PLI – High res sensitivity.
Check Current Price

Cons:

  • No Screen – Can take a while to get used to.

Microsoft Surface Pro 7

Despite consisting of only 4096 pressure levels, the 12.3” touch screen of the Microsoft Surface Pro 7 is still perfectly capable of taking your digital doodling to the next level. 

The 2736 x 1824 resolution offers astounding line acuity, and the 3:2 aspect ratio feels more liberating than a typical widescreen setup.

There’s just one downside…it only covers 98% of the sRGB spectrum and 79% of the Adobe RGB color space. It’s not a huge deal, but a professional digital artist will definitely miss the color accuracy.

The 10th gen core i7 CPU that lies at the heart of this tablet is something of a saving grace.

Utilizing 4 hyperthreaded cores, system functionality is only ever incredibly responsive, even when Illustrator is manipulating large amounts of data.

Yet despite this powerhouse processor at its core, it remains one of the thinnest, lightest devices capable of running Illustrator with all the trimmings.

Pros:

  • Portability – Lightest tablet capable of running full Illustrator
  • i7 1065G7 – Hyperthreaded CPU for solid multitasking.
  • 2736 x 1824 Resolution – Just shy of the iPad Pro.
  • 12.3” 3:2 Display – Doesn’t limit creativity.
Check Current Price

Cons:

  • Color Gamut – Microsoft could have done better.

Wacom Intuos CTL4100

You can’t beat a good bargain, especially when the product still brings the heat, and that, my friends, is exactly what the Wacom CTL4100 does.

It has the same 4096 pressure levels as the Surface Pro 7, yet you can pick one up for a tenth of the cost of the entry-level Microsoft offering. 

Of course, this is a dedicated drawing tablet rather than an all-singing-all-dancing computer, but on a purely artistic level, it more than holds its own against some pricey competition.

Featuring 4 customizable express keys, it eliminates the need to refer to your computer, allowing you to hold focused and stay in the zone.

At 7.8” by 6.3”, it’s a little small for the professionals out there, but we’d absolutely recommend it to the burgeoning artist looking for a cost-effective way to introduce their art to the screen, and learn about digitization.

Pros:

  • 4096 Pressure Levels – Great for the price.
  • Price – Definitely the best bang for your buck tablet.
  • Included Stylus – Chargeless EMR design.
  • 4 Hot Keys – Shortcut your favorite actions and optimize your productivity.
Check Current Price

Cons:

  • Basic Design – Not suitable for intermediate or pro artists.

Buyer’s Guide

You may be a whiz with a pencil and a veritable surgeon with a paintbrush, but determining which computers are best for specific applications is a discipline in itself. 

Coming to terms with all the jargon and numbers can often feel like you’re straight-up learning a new language, which is why we’ve crafted this brief yet informative buyer’s guide to take the edge off and steer you in the right direction.

Tablet Type

Normal tablets are basically just small computers, but there are also things called drawing tablets that are designed exclusively for creating digital art.

They need to be plugged into a computer to function, as they don’t have an OS or CPU.

Display Size And Active Area

One of the great things about tablets is that you can throw them in a bag and take them with you anyway, but as an artiste, you also need room to express yourself and let your creativity breathe.

As such, a larger screen and active area should be one of your priorities — we’re talking upwards of 12 inches.

Display Resolution

Much like candy bars and pencil grades, pixels are best when there are lots of them, and that’s exactly what resolution refers to…pixel count.

The more pixels are in your display, the sharper images will appear, and as you’re already aware, my pencil-savvy comrade, details are everything in art.

LPI

For specialized drawing tablets that don’t have their own screen, their resolution and accuracy are measured in LPI.

LPI (Lines Per Inch) is a measure of how many digital lines can be stuffed into an inch of the active work area, and as is the case with pixels, the more the merrier!

The higher the LPI, the more nuance you’ll be able to thread into your digital artwork. You should be looking for a tablet with an LPI of at least 1000.

Pressure Sensitivity

From outlines to shading, pressure sensitivity is essential to creating high-quality digital art, so you shouldn’t settle for anything less than a sensitivity of around 4096 pressure levels.

That said, you can’t skimp on sensitivity a bit if you’re just beginning your artistic career, as you probably won’t appreciate the difference just yet anyway.

Hot Keys And Scrollers

While these two features aren’t essential, they can increase productivity and help to create a strong workflow by granting easy access to certain functions.

Instead of breaking concentration and going menu-diving on your computer, you can hit a single key as a shortcut, or use a scroller to access different areas of your “canvas”, which is particularly handy if your tablet has a limited active area.

Stylus

The stylus of a drawing (or graphics) tablet is one of, if not the, most important aspect of design.

This little piece of plastic is now the conduit through which all your creativity is expressed, so it needs to be just right.

The two main forms of digitizing in styli are known as EMR and AES.

EMR active pens use small electromagnetic signals to communicate with the screen. They’re completely wireless and usually quite slim.

AES active pens require a power source, which gives them a bit of extra bulk, but they’re also more reliable and accurate, as they don’t suffer from cursor drift, parallax, or jitter.

Whichever you go for, it should include features that make it feel more organic both in hand and on a surface, such as an ergonomic shape and tilt functionality.

Wired VS Wireless

It’s the same old wireless story as always when it comes to drawing tablets.

Wireless variants offer greater flexibility and portability, while their wired counterparts offer greater stability and lower latency response.

However, with the quality of wireless technology improving year after year, the performative gulf between the two formats is constantly shrinking.

System Requirements

Now let’s quickly brush over the essential system requirements your tablet needs in order to run illustrator at full capacity.

Windows

  • CPU – Multicore Intel processor with 64-bit support, or an AMD Athlon 64 processor (or better).
  • RAM – 8GB (minimum), 16GB (recommended).
  • Storage – 3GB (SSD is preferable to HDD)
  • OS – Windows 10 (64-bit versions).
  • Resolution – 1024 x 768 (minimum), 1920-1080 (recommended).
  • GPU – 1GB VRAM (minimum), 4GB (recommended).

Mac

  • CPU – Multicore Intel processor with 64-bit support (or better).
  • OS – macOS Big Sur, Catalina, or Mojave.
  • RAM – 8GB (minimum), 16GB (recommended).
  • Storage – 3GB (SSD is preferable to HDD).
  • Resolution – 1024 x 768 (minimum), 1920 x 1080 (recommended).
  • GPU – 1GB VRAM (minimum), 2GB (recommended).

Frequently Asked Questions

Let’s tie things in a nice, neat bow with a brief FAQ section. If something slipped through the cracks of our buyer’s guide, you’ll find the info you were seeking here.

Can You Use Adobe Illustrator On A Wacom Tablet? 

Yes, Wacom makes some of the best tablets for use with Adobe Illustrator.

Some even feature multi-touch support, meaning you can paint, sketch, or draw with one hand, while your other manipulates the active work area, by zooming, panning, or rotating.

What Is The Best Tablet For Use With Adobe Illustrator?

As you’ve seen from our list, there are a number of great tablets you can use in conjunction with Adobe Illustrator to take your creativity to new heights, all at different price points.

The best one for you falls under your budget and matches up well with your ability levels.

For our money, the best of the bunch is the 2020 Huion Kamvas, as it has an epic 21” active work area, 1080p resolution, and the amazing PW517 stylus.

Can You Use Adobe Illustrator On A Tablet?

Yes, of course, you can. Many professional artists use larger workstations for the bulk of their creations, but nothing beats a tablet for sketching up a storm on the go, which is why Adobe made sure their Illustrator software is compatible with tons of tablets.

Which Tablets Are Compatible With Adobe Illustrator?

Loads of tablets are compatible with Adobe Illustrator — too many to list in this modest FAQ section. You’re probably better off asking yourself which tablets aren’t compatible with Illustrator.

Most tablets have the basic system requirements to work in harmony with Adobe Illustrator. The trick is to find one that makes the most of the Illustrator format and makes creating easier for you.

Can I Use Adobe Illustrator On An Android Tablet?

Okay, so we know we were just yammering on about how many tablets are compatible with Adobe Illustrator, but unfortunately, Android tablets do not fall under this wide category.

That said, there are a number of similar alternatives that do work incredibly well within the Android OS ecosystem.

What Is Parallax? 

In this context, parallax refers to the distance between the contact point of the stylus and where the display actually registers the contact.

Larger parallax will place the registered point further away from the point of contact, which can be incredibly annoying.

Summing Up

It’s been fun getting to know all these fine Illustrator-compatible tablets, but it’s been an absolute pleasure passing on what we’ve learned to you. 

Did any of our featured tablets catch your eye? We feel there’s something here for every level of artist and all budgets, but the Kamvas 22 Plus and the iPad Pro are undoubtedly the best of the bunch.

Now you’re clued-up on what makes a tablet a good fit for Illustrator, you can make an informed decision, and snag the one that’s going to help you set off on an exciting new artistic journey. Enjoy!

Camden Taylor

Author Camden Taylor

Camden is ARTURTH's Chief Editor, Senior Graphic Designer, and artist from the Pacific Northwest.

More posts by Camden Taylor