A drawing tablet is a must-have tool for any digital artist, but there are too many things to consider when selecting one. The features of the drawing tablet directly affect your productivity and quality of your art. Here we will try to explain the key features when selecting a drawing tablet.
Pressure sensitivity is the ability of your tablet to recognize how much you press the pen and so that it adjusts the line thickness and color, like a real pencil. Many tablets offer at least 2048 pressure levels, although there are a few entry-level models with 512 levels. High-end models come with 8192 levels, which is great for working on high-resolution drawings.
Active Working Area and Screen Size
A bigger screen will make working easier, so one of the things to consider when choosing a drawing tablet is the size of the screen. You will be able to draw with less panning and zooming with a bigger screen but it also means less portability. The active working area is where you draw your work and it is even more important than the screen size. A big drawing area means you can make arm gestures more comfortable.
Responsiveness and Report Rate
You can think of responsiveness as the speed of your drawing tablet. For example, if the response rate of the tablet is 25ms, the line you draw will show up on screen at most 25 milliseconds later. Of course, the operating system, drivers and the host computer’s hardware are important too.
Report rate or points per second is, how many times the pen or the touch sensor notifies the computer every second. You will see this number as RPS or PPS in the specification of the tablet. The higher values mean more responsive drawing experience and smoother lines.
Type of Stylus
There are mainly three types of stylus; battery-powered, rechargeable, and those powered by electromagnetic waves that the tablet emits, but the most important thing about stylus is how well it feels in your hand. A good stylus will feel like a real pen.
Also, some tablets have a special kind of textured surface to make you feel you are drawing on real paper.
Other Handy Features to Consider
Hotkeys and buttons: These will allow you to program your commands and shortcuts so that you can reach your favorite functions in a single button press, so look for tablets with lots of hotkey buttons.
Scroller Wheel: Some tablets have a scroll wheel to pan and zoom which makes drawing easier.