Standalone drawing tablet

Standalone drawing tablet from Wacom horizontal image


Standalone drawing tablets are less common than you might think.


This happens because standalone drawing tablets are much more than simple drawing tablets, they are full-fledged computers and this characteristic surely shows up in the price tag.

Most people think that touch-screen drawing tablets are necessarily standalone devices. This assumption couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, most of the tablets that have their own screen are not standalone. Meaning they still need a computer in order to work.

I know it may sound a little weird to think that even if your tablet already has its own screen, it would need a computer. But this is precisely how things work.

Although you won’t necessarily need the monitor in order to get the drawing tablet to work, you do need a computer because of the hard disk where all the software such as Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator and Painter will be installed.

You should be very careful before buying your tablet. It’s extremely common for people to get touch-screen drawing tablets hoping that they will not need the support of a computer in order to use them.

If your goal is to have a device that you can carry anywhere you want without having to worry about taking a computer or a laptop with you, all of the tablets from the following list will be perfect for you.



Best standalone drawing tablets


This list is going to be price based. I’m going to start from the cheapest standalone drawing tablet all the way to the most expensive one.


iPad Pro

(Click here to read reviews on Amazon)

Standalone drawing tablet iPad Pro

There is a number of different tablets that fall into the iPad Pro category. The differences between them are related to screen size, hard disk size and battery longevity.

Despite these minor details, all of the iPad Pro devices can be used as drawing tablets.

These tablets are, without a doubt, the cheapest and most reliable way of getting a drawing tablet that works without the need of an extra computer.

Needless to say, the biggest advantage of owning a device like this is the portability. Being able to carry your tablet anywhere you go is an advantage that’s hard to beat.

And remember, the minor details don’t really matter. All of the tablets under this category will be more than enough for you to use just like you would do with a regular drawing tablet.



Microsoft Surface Pro (5th Gen)

(Click here to read reviews on Amazon)

Standalone drawing tablet Microsoft Surface Pro

This is another tablet that works just like a computer. Although It’s more on the expensive side. This tablet has been getting great reviews all over the internet.

It has a great screen size and a very powerful processor for this kind of device. It comes with a pen just like you would see in any other drawing tablet on the market.

In case you’re not that much worried about price and you would like to buy a drawing tablet that will last for a long time, this is definitely a great option for you.

Along with the digital pen, you can also get a wireless mouse and a wireless keyboard, which will allow you to use this device just like any regular computer. You should know one thing, though, the keyboard and the pen are usually sold separately.

Another great characteristic of this product is that while drawing tablets usually need an arm stand, the Microsoft Surface Pro already comes with a support structure that works just as well.



Wacom DTHW1320H Mobile Studio Pro

(Click here to read reviews on Amazon)

Standalone drawing tablet wacom mobile studio pro

As you can tell by the name, this device is a whole mobile studio. It’s perfect for animation and digital art in general, both 2D and 3D.

The thing about this Wacom tablet is that it goes much further than the other devices in this category.

Not only it is a computer, but it’s actually a very good one. Something you can use to create art, to navigate on the Internet, to use different kinds of software and even complete more complex tasks, such as professional video editing with software such as Adobe After Effects.

Nothing compares to the workflow speed you can achieve with this Wacom. This device is extremely fast and you will never have problems with lag, which is a very common occurrence with other drawing tablets in the market.

The mobile studio pro comes with Windows 10 and can be used in 3 different ways:

  • Hand, just like other tablets;
  • Pen, as all other drawing tablets;
  • Mouse and keyboard, like a computer.

It has a dedicated graphics card and can also be used as a monitor for other computers. Another particularly important characteristic of this drawing tablet is that it’s extremely lightweight, bringing the portability aspect to a new level.

This is the dream computer for anyone who wishes to become a professional artist, but, unfortunately, it comes with a very, very expensive price tag.



Samsung Galaxy Tab S3

(Click here to read reviews on Amazon)

standalone drawing tablet samsung galaxy tab s3

This tablet offers a very similar experience to the iPad Pro. In fact, it’s safe to say that they are equivalent. Although there are some minor differences, at the end of the day it all comes down to your brand preference.

I happen to own a Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 and despite the fact that I am very pleased with my device, I have felt the back of this standalone tablet heating up in certain occasions.

It’s important to note that these heating episodes only happened after I had used the tablet for several hours while it was plugged. And it’s also worth mentioning that using a tablet while it’s plugged into an outlet is never a good idea. The same goes for cell phones, but, as we all know, everybody does it.

Regardless of this minor issue, if your goal is to have a device that will allow you to draw straight on the screen and that will not need the aid of a computer or a laptop, the Samsung Galaxy tab S3 will do exactly that.



With the exception of the iPad Pro, which is clearly cheaper than its counterparts, buying one of these standalone drawing tablets is a decision that requires some thought.

This is much more than a simple purchase. It’s actually an investment. But if you’re serious about becoming a professional artist or if you want to take your work to the next level, it’s completely worth it.

In my experience, nothing comes even close to owning one of these drawing tablets.

They are simple to use, they are easy to carry around and they offer the utmost user experience when it comes to art creation.

In case you have the budget for it, go ahead and get one of these tablet computers. You will not regret it.

If you have any questions, make sure to leave a comment below I will gladly answer it.


Take care and keep creating!

Bruno Santos

This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. I’m looking to spend around 300 on a graphic tablet for my daughter but need it to work by itself as she does not have a computer. Any suggestions? Thanks!

    1. Hi, Jordan!

      look, the best thing you could do is getting her this new version of the iPad. Not only it’s within the budget you mentioned, but it now supports the Apple Pencil, which is crucial since she wants to draw. On top of that she can still use it for entertainment: watching videos, listening to music and so on.

      If you have any other questions, I’m here to help.

      Take care,


      1. I hope this isn’t a silly question, with the tablets mentioned, would I need to buy software to use it as a graphic tablet? Or is there a feature already available for them to draw on it? Is the suggestion you gave to Jordan an Ipad 6th Gen and can the new pencil be used with it? I was going to get my son the Wacom Cintiq 16 or Art Display 12, however reviews are somewhat steering me and I would also like to get him a tablet he can carry with him as well. I don’t want to overdue it on price just yet, though he loves to draw and does it daily and never skips a beat. Hope I didn’t ask to much. Thank you very much in advance

        1. Hi,

          there are no silly questions, I’m here to help =)

          If your son is a beginner and he would like to practice and draw for fun, you should just pick an iPad Pro.

          The iPad has a whole lot of great drawing apps entirely for free. All you need to do is go to the App Store (there’s a link on the iPad as soon as you turn on the device) and download them. It’s easy, it’s fast and it works.

          Now, if your son is already a professional, he will need to use software like Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop (both are paid by the way), and in this case the iPad will not be enough for him.You would have to get him something more powerful.

          The advantages of the iPad is that it’s affordable, it works extremely well, the apps are mostly free and your son will also be able to use it as an entertainment device to watch movies, listen to music and play games.

          If your son is still learning or if this is his first tablet, I would surely go for the iPad.

          Have a great day and, in case you have any further questions, make sure to leave another comment =)


          1. This would be his first tablet utilized for these purposes. His drawings are fantastic and he could probably draw you, however he’s never used a graphic tablet. The only reason I looked to the Wacom is that the description describes it as being similar to writing on paper and I thought that would be perfect other than the fact it’s not portable. At either rate, thank you very much for the advice, I think I will go with the Ipad Pro. I do have one more question, how would you compare this with the Galaxy Tab S6? Thanks again

          2. Hi,

            I think your son would be very pleased with the iPad Pro. Once you get the tablet, tell him to download an app called Procreate. This is currently the most popular drawing software for the iPad and artists all over the world are creating amazing things with it.

            The Galaxy Tab S6 is a great tablet as well, very similar to the iPad. However, it can start heating after a while and the back of the device feels a little cheap because of the plastic it’s made of.

            If I were to buy someone a gift, I would definitely go with the iPad Pro.

            Take care and good luck,


  2. Thanks, I’ll be getting the Ipad 11inch from BestBuy, since it’s the smallest they have and I want to get it insured. Thanks for all your help again.

    1. Hi,

      that’s great news! I’m sure your son will be thrilled. Make sure to research the prices before purchasing on BestBuy.

      Have a great day,


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