According to the Tate Museum, digital art was a term that was first coined in the early 1980s. This was the period when engineers first put together a simple paint program known as AARON that would then be used by Harold Cohen, a pioneering digital artist who used AARON to paint on large pieces of paper. The technology soon evolved, and now there are highly sophisticated programs like Adobe Photoshop that can help artists push the medium even further.
With the popularity of digital art comes a few downsides. One in particular is that unlike a sketchbook, digital artists couldn’t exactly bring around their computers and CPUs when they head out. Luckily, we’re entering an age where that won’t be a problem. Tons of companies are now putting out tablets and tools that artists can now use on the go, and below you’ll find a shortlist of some of the best.
Wacom Cintiq Pro 13 Full HD
If you’re interested in digital art, then you’ve definitely heard of Wacom, a Japanese company specializing in graphics tablets. Japan Today reported that Wacom had a 90% share in the pen tablet market, which only proves how essential it is to the industry. Long crowned as the industry standard, Wacom has released its Cintiq Pro 13 Full HD to make digital art even more portable.
Although it has a hefty price tag— around Php 59,000 in the Philippines— the Wacom Pro 13 boasts 8192 levels of pressure sensitivity, and its Pro Pen 2 has 4x the accuracy and sensitivity compared to previous pens. At a little over 1 kg, it’s super portable and easy to carry around. It also has a 13.3 inch display, with 87% of the Adobe RGB Wide Color Gamut, and 25 ms response time. This is definitely an investment, but for many professional artists it just might be worth it.
Huion KAMVAS Pro 13 GT
While Wacom does hold most of the market when it comes to digital tablets, Huion is slowly climbing the ranks. The Chinese company provides a cheaper alternative to Wacom’s range, while still offering excellent specs and sometimes even better value for money.
The Huion KAMVAS Pro 13 GT also boasts 8192 pressure sensitivity levels and a 13.3 inch screen. Its response rate is even faster than the Cintiq’s at 5 ms, and although its color range may not be as good, it also comes with Full HD 1920 x 1080 resolution. A little bulky at around 3.2 kg, it’s a little lighter on the wallet at around Php 21,000. An excellent alternative to the Cintiq if you’re looking to save a bit!
Apple iPad Pro 10.5
One of the late entries into the digital art range, the Apple iPad Pro has quickly shot to the top of the charts thanks to its portability. This is the higher range of the Apple iPads, with all of the pluses of the iPad tablets including one very important feature: compatibility with the Apple Pencil, which allows users to write and draw.
While the iPad may not be a winner in terms of sensitivity, for many users its portability is a huge plus. At a little under 0.5 kg, it’s one of the most portable options out there for digital artists. Plus, you don’t even need to connect it to a laptop or computer to work. Its 10.5 inch Retina display and the battery life of 10 hours of continuous work makes it ideal for artists on the go.
At around Php 52,000 for the iPad Pro and around Php 6,000 to Php 8,000 for the Apple Pencil, it can get a little pricey. Luckily, there’s a cheaper alternative in the Apple iPad 9.7 (2018), which retails at around Php 21,000 and offers many of the same features.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
When it comes to Android drawing tablets, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S range is top of the line. Before Apple came out with its Apple Pencil and iPad Pro lines, Samsung was the top choice for truly portable drawing tablets. It’s still one of the top choices now, and with the recent release of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S5, digital artists can definitely rejoice at the number of choices available to them.
The S4 comes with a 10.5 inch Super AMOLED display with 2560 x 1600 resolution and 16 hours of continuous battery life, which is great news for artists. The S Pen also comes with pressure sensitivity and palm rejection, allowing for a smooth drawing experience. At 0.5 kg and with 64 GB of space that can be easily expanded, this is a fantastic option for digital artists today. The S4 retails for about Php 31,000, and comes bundled with the S Pen already.
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Daniel Ling is a tech writer, gamer, and cat dad. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology an indeterminate number of years ago, worked for a while in the IT industry, switched to startups, and now does writing in his spare time. If you want to catch up on the latest gossip about gadget releases, he probably already knows it, and if he doesn’t then he can at least Google it pretty quick. If you challenge him to a Star Wars trivia battle, you will lose.