Discover the best alternatives to Wacom
The transition from manual to digital art can be intimidating. Not only do you have to choose between hundreds of tablets, but you also have to find the best apps, software, paintbrushes, and more. The list is endless.
Wacom stands out from the other tablet brands, especially in the digital art niche. It solidified its reputation as a fan-favorite tablet brand with the introduction of Cintiq tablets, which were ahead of the curve. Wacom drawing tablets are incredibly popular, but they don’t suit every preference or budget.
Wacom is just one of the many options out there, including Apple, Samsung, Huion, and more. Let’s look at a few of the best alternatives to Wacom.
iPad Pro 12.9″
Price: from $1,099
- Active drawing area of 262 x 196mm
- Liquid retina display
- Versatile uses
- Apple Pencil not included
- More expensive
It is no surprise that iPads have made it onto our list. The 2022 iPad Pro 12.9″ is a great Wacom alternative because it does everything that a Wacom tablet can, plus more.
This super sleek, modern tablet is not just a pretty face. Behind the dazzling Liquid Retina XDR Mini LED display, several enhancements set it apart from the other tablets in the Apple ecosystem.
The iPad Pro gives you a large surface area to work with, which is ideal for creatives who want space to sprawl. It even has split-screen functionality, so you can watch art tutorials while you follow along on Procreate. The App Store offers thousands of excellent options for artists and note-takers alike, so Procreate isn’t the only well-known app at your disposal.
Sadly, the Apple Pencil stylus is not included in the cost of the iPad, but it makes a great addition to the overall experience. If you want to add tilt sensitivity, pressure sensitivity, and reduced lag to your toolkit, you should invest in a 2nd gen Apple Pencil.
Get a Wacom-Like Experience on iPad With Astropad Studio
The main selling point of a Wacom tablet is that it allows you to use a pen input for desktop programs that would otherwise require a mouse.
Astropad Studio is a unique software that brings this same capability to your iPad. Compatible with both Mac and PC, Astropad Studio allows you to mirror your favorite desktop creative apps onto your iPad and use your Apple Pencil as the input device.
Plus, you can completely customize your workflows with features built specifically for artists:
- Magic Gestures – Instantly change tools with fully customizable finger tap and Apple Pencil gestures.
- Shortcut Sidebar – Customizable sidebar shortcuts allow you to quickly access your favorite tools and automatically match whatever desktop application you’re using.
- Pressure Curves and Smoothing – Choose between hard and soft pressure curves and adjust your level of pressure smoothing to match your workflows.
Astropad Studio is compatible with all of your favorite creative programs including Illustrator, Photoshop, Clip Studio Paint, Krita, Blender, Zbrush, and more!
Microsoft Surface Pro 9
Price: from $999.99
- Comes with Windows 11 Home
- Doubles as a laptop
- Surface Pen stylus not included
- Battery life is not ideal
The Microsoft Surface Pro 9 turned heads when it hit the market in 2022. This Wacom alternative has an interactive screen, two Thunderbolt 4 USB-C ports, and an upgraded 12th Generation Core chip. A solid aluminum frame creates a sturdy base for all sorts of creative work.
The great thing about this tablet is that it doubles as a laptop, so it’s a brilliant choice for students, professionals, and even just creatives who want to travel. This tablet only weighs 1.9 lbs, meaning it is one of the lightest laptop alternatives available today.
Unfortunately, the battery life is not ideal. For the price, we would expect this tablet to fare far better when unplugged. Still, it is a great all-in-one choice for people who want the versatility of a laptop and the creative freedom of a tablet.
Huion Kamvas Pro 16
Price: from $469
- Lots of accessories are included
- Built-in shortcut button
- Initial connectivity can be difficult
- Tilt feature can disrupt the accuracy of the stylus
- Stand sold separately
Huion is another big player in the tablet market. It is also one of the best alternatives to Wacom for artists who are just dipping their toes into the digital world. This tablet might not have all the bells and whistles, but it is an affordable option for beginners.
The Huion Kamvas Pro 16 features a fully laminated screen and a battery-free stylus. The QHD resolution screen has a high pixel density of 186ppi, making it perfect for artists who want to see every brush stroke. The stylus has a response time of 14ms, so lag is virtually nonexistent.
Quantum Dot technology allows Kamvas Pro to deliver 16.7 million colors and the high contrast ratio of 1200:1 guarantees super smooth color precision. Graphic designers, illustrators, and hobbyists purchase Kamvas Pro 16 for unparalleled color precision.
A major plus is that lots of accessories are included in the box. When you purchase a Huion Kamvas Pro 16, you can also expect an artist’s glove, a pen stand, a PW517 pen, 10 replacement nibs, a screen cleaning cloth, a power adapter, and all the necessary guides and cables.
Despite all these positives, users have reported a few notable negatives. First, the short power cord can be frustrating, so you might need to buy an extension cord. Second, a lot of users struggled to navigate the initial setup process.
Debating between Huion and iPad? Read the comparison guide →
Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra
- Huge 14.9-inch screen
- S Pen stylus is included
- Can be too large to transport
The Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra tablet has a huge 14.9-inch display, making it perfect for creative work. The AMOLED screen is powered by a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 Galaxy chip that supports millions of pixels. Overall, you can expect a picture-perfect, color-accurate display.
Screen aside, the Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra tablet has lots of other interesting features. According to Samsung, the battery life spans nine hours and 30 minutes, which is more than enough to get even the most avid digital artist through the day.
Next, we have to talk about the stylus. The Samsung S Pen stylus is designed to feel like a real pen. The low 2.3ms latency, hover function, and versatile buttons allow you to create intuitive workflows.
The Ultra keyboard cover and trackpad are an extra $349.99, adding to an already steep bill. Overall, this tablet costs even more than the most modern iPad! On top of that, you have to consider the limitations of using an Android system.
XP-Pen Artist Pro 16
- Entry-level tablet
- Elite Plus Stylus included
- Bulky three-way cable
- Stand not included
- HMDI-only display connection
We had to add another budget-friendly Wacom alternative to our list, and the XP-Pen Artist Pro 16 is a great option.
This ranks as one of the best alternatives to Wacom because it has everything that budding artists need to start their journeys. It features a color-accurate HD screen, dozens of customization opportunities, and, best of all, it has a high-quality finish.
There are eight function keys on the left-hand side which can be customized to whichever shortcuts suit your workflow. There is also a touch-sensitive dial that acts as a secondary cursor.
Artists love the Elite Plus Stylus, which comes included in the box. It has an X3 smart chip which guarantees realistic reactivity. The exterior is much thinner and sleeker than some of the alternatives on the market, making the stylus extremely easy to use.
The main drawback to this Wacom alternative is the three-way cable. It has an HDMI cable for the display input, a USB Type-A cable for the pen input, and another USB Type-A cable to charge the tablet. Considering how sleek and user-friendly the tablet itself is, it’s strange to see such a clunky cable setup.
Debating between XP-Pen and iPad? Read the comparison guide →
There you have it! We hope this guide helped bring you one step closer to choosing a Wacom alternative for your creative workflow.