Graphics tablets or digitizers are one of a few gadgets that provide the most use to graphic designers as it allows users to hand-draw images and graphics with extreme accuracy compared to an ordinary mouse or track pad.
If you’re an aspiring graphic artist or you’re planning to start your career in digital arts, having a nice graphics tablet in your arsenal would really help you greatly in creating your works of art. And since Christmas is just around the corner, here are some options you might want to consider when choosing the best brand of graphics tablet for you.
GENIUS MOUSEPEN M508XA
The Mousepen M508XA is a 5”x8” switchable working area for widescreen/4:3 display from Genius. It features an auto-mapping function when connected to your device and has a 5120 LPI resolution for high accuracy and sensitivity cursor control. It also has 2048 levels for pressure sensitivity which makes it perfect in drawing lines and shapes with varying thickness.
The tablet also features a 2-button digital pen which is accurate at more or less 0.25mm. And at a report rate of 300 PPS, you don’t have to worry about experiencing any lag while using this device. On top of that, the tablet comes with a cordless mouse and a transparent overlay sheet.
The Genius Mousepen M508XA, which connects to your computer via USB cable, is compatible with Windows 7, Vista and XP as well as Mac OS 10.4 or above.
GTCO CalComp DRAWING BOARD VI
GTCO Calcomp’s Drawing Board VI comes in 4 models. The smallest is the 2024 version with a working surface of 20in x 24in while the biggest is the 4460 model with an active area of 44in x 60in. This tablet claims to have the best specs in terms of resolution and accuracy with the tablet offering a resolution of up to 12,700 LPI and absolute accuracy at more or less 0.051mm.
Aside from the DrawingBoard VI digitizer, the package comes with the user’s choice of corded or cordless pointing device, a USB cable, device drivers, mounting brackets (except for the 2024 model) and of course the pen/cursor tray.
Optional accessories include an magnifier lens for high-accuracy cursor, a RS-232 serial kit (power supply and cable), clear overlay, a plan hold down (for 3648 model only) and a digitizer stand. Unfortuantely, the DrawingBoard VI only works with Windows (95/98/NT/Me/2000/XP/Vista/7), so it’s a no go for Mac users.
AIPTEK MEDIA TABLET 14000U
Another option one should consider is the Media Tablet 14000U from AIPTEK. This graphic tablet features 5 hot keys and 34 free programmable Macro Keys. It has an ergonomic design which works well whether you’re a left or right handler.
It has a working surface of 12” x 7.25”, which works well for monitors with a 4:3 aspect ratio. The accuracy of the tablet has been reported at more or less 0.25mm with a report rate of 200 RPS.
It also feature 1024 true pressure levels and has a resolution of 4000 lines per inch. The tablet connects easily to any Windows or Mac powered device using a USB connection. AIPTEK was also generous enough to provide a full version of Photoshop Elements 8.0 software when you purchase this device.
UC LOGIC HA61S
The HA61S from UC Logic is a 10”x6.25” graphics tablet for professionals. It offers relatively the same features as that of other graphics tablets in the list. To be specific it has a resolution of 4000 lines per inch, 2048 levels of pen pressure at a report rate of 250 RPS.
The device also has 4 hot keys and 16 function keys plus a LED indicator all of which are squeezed into a small form factor device 8.5mm thin and weighs 577g.
TRUST FLEX DESIGN
For designers on the go, you may want to consider the Flex Design Tablet from Trust. Unlike most tablets, the Flex Design has a flexible surface which makes it a convenient tool for travelling designers. Its flexible design allows it to be easily stuffed in a bag without taking much space.
However, don’t expect stellar features with this kind of tablet. For starters, the active area is only around 115 x 119mm. Its pressure sensitivity is only at 1024 levels. There are neither hot keys nor Macro keys on the device. And even the manufacturer’s website doesn’t list information about the tablet’s accuracy, report rate or resolution.
WACOM INTUOS 5
Wacom has long been known to create professional equipment for graphic designers. Their entire line of graphics tablet has been the common choice of graphic artists and enthusiast all over the world. The newest version of the company’s Intuos series is one good example.
The Intuos 5 comes in three sizes designed to fit the needs of all types of designers. The Intuos 5 touch large offers the most active area among the three models at 12.8” x 8.0”. It has a resolution of 5080 lines per inch with 2048 pressure levels. It also has an advanced pen tip sensor with an accuracy of more or less 0.25mm.
The Intuos 5 also comes with 8 express keys and a user-defined touch ring that can control up to four functions. The tablet can be connected to your computer with either a USB connection or wirelessly through a wireless accessory kit (which is sold separately).
WACOM CINTIQ 24HD TOUCH
If you’re the hardcore graphic artist who wants the meanest, coolest and most powerful toy for designing, then look no further than WACOM’s top of the line Cintiq 24HD touch. The Cintiq 24HD touch offers an active area of 20.4”x12.8” displayed on a 24.1-inch touchscreen LCD monitor.
The Cintiq 24HD touch also has 10 fully customizable express keys, 2 finger-sensitive touch strips, 2048 pressure levels, and a resolution of 5080 lines per inch. The device is compatible with Windows 7 and Mac OS x 10.5.8 and above. It’s even Windows 8 ready!
So there you have it. If you’re planning to get a graphics tablet or update/replace your existing tablet this holiday season, you better hope that you were a good boy (or girl) this year so you can ask Santa Claus, otherwise, better save up while it’s still early.
If you have any comments or suggestions with regards to this post, please don’t hesitate to tell us by leaving a comment below. You can also check out our Facebook, Twitter and Google+ profiles for more design news and features or better yet, subscribe to our RSS feeds for the most timely updates direct from our design inspiration factories.