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Graphics Tablets Buying Guide

Unlike tablet computers, graphics tablets are "digitisers" or little electronic boards the link to your computer and allow you to create images with a stylus (an inkless pen). For example, you want to do a sketch or rendering of a building. You can use the graphics tablet and the stylus to do that sketch, but it will appear on the screen of your computer instead of on the tablet or blank space in front of you.

Clearly, there are many ways that professionals and individuals of all kinds can use these devices. The point is to make your choice in graphics tablets based on the type of work you will use it to do. 

For example, some people use them to replace a mouse, others give them to their kids instead of pads of paper and piles of pencils, some people use them for photographic editing, some for presentations, others will use it instead of a keyboard (and there are programs that convert the written text into typed text on the screen), and some use them for art such as illustration and drawing.

There are many other reasons to buy a graphics tablet, but the first thing you have to do when beginning to shop for one is to understand exactly how you intend to use yours.

Making the Choice

Like all other computer focused technology, graphics tablets are found in a range of styles, sizes, and prices. You can find them as very small units (often measuring around four inches by six inches). You can also find them in sizes much larger than a standard sheet of paper, and this is a significant factor to consider if quality is a major concern.

For instance, a graphics tablet is going to be integrated with the screen of the computer. If there is a need for the highest quality of the display, it is important to get a larger tablet to ensure that the resolution is matched by the device. There is also a need to consider that the mapping of the screen to the tablet means that widescreen computers must use widescreen tablets too.

One of the most common names in graphics tablets is Wacom, which makes tablets specifically designed for the different purposes described above. They have small models that are ideally suited as mouse replacements, they have the mid-range models are that good for lightweight graphics, and they have the professional models that can offer the fullest range of capabilities.

For example, they have several models that can be positioned in a tilted and upright pose for ease of use in many different settings. They even have models designed specifically for those who use graphics tablets for crafts such as painting or scrap booking.

There are also popular brands such as Genius, which makes professional grade to "kid friendly" models too.


Something you should avoid doing is choosing your graphics tablets based entirely on the pricing. This is because they start at around $200, which is not an insignificant price, and yet this may not allow you to meet all of your needs.

Instead, it is far more practical to use a website that allows you to look at the different models, their features and functions, and even see if there is any user feedback available. This is often the key to understanding if one type of graphics tablet is going to provide you with the service needed, or at least more so than another model.

It is also important to consider that some of the units come with advanced stylus options. These are the specialty "pens" that you use on the screen to create the effects on the computer to which the unit is connected. Not all will come with a good or durable stylus, and this is not a small matter. Just consider how much more often you are willing to write when you have a high-quality pen. The same is true of the use of a stylus, and when your graphics tablet comes with a good stylus, you will get more out of it. A top name in stylus is Targus, which makes affordable, attractive, and durable stylus units of many types.

As far as peripherals go, graphics tablets are remarkably useful and handy. You may have never considered using one until reading this guide, and now you know you have dozens of uses for them. Be sure to choose based on the most frequent task you will perform as this is often the make or break feature in terms of success with a graphics tablet.

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