The Best 10 Cheap Drawing Tablets for an Artist on an Affordable Budget

best cheap drawing tablets

Contents

As designers, artists and creative’s, we don’t always require the best, highest spec’d, and most expensive tools to carry out our work on a day to day basis, and when choosing a new drawing and graphics tablet, there are many very good cheaper alternatives to the more expensive models we review here in our; Guide To Finding The Best Drawing Tablet

That said, there is trade off for a reduced price, and many of the best cheaper tablets do not come with a built in screen, which some users may find difficult. However for the most part many are willing to make this trade off.

We have a separate page for the best drawing tablets with screens here: How To Find The Best Drawing Tablet With A Screen

This guide begins with a list and review of our recommended best cheap drawing tablets, and is followed by an in depth guide to identifying the most important aspects and elements that need to be considered before buying a budget product such as this.

For quick reference, these tablets are:

  1. Best overall budget tablet winner: Huion HS610 Pro Graphic Drawing Tablet
  2. Best Wacom substitute: Huion Inspiroy H1161
  3. Best for large working areas: Huion Inspiroy HS64
  4. Best for portability: Huion Inspiroy H640P
  5. Best runner up: XP-PEN Deco
  6. Best cheap graphics tablet upgrade: Wacom Intuos Medium Graphics Drawing Tablet
  7. Best drawing performance: Wacom Intuos Small Graphics Drawing Tablet
  8. Best for ease of use: GAOMON S620
  9. Best for affordability: UGEE S640
  10. Best for students: VEIKK VK1060

The below comparison table provides a speedy break down of all 10 tablets with a score out of 10, they do of course all score highly as we’re only disusing and recommending the best options here.

ImageProductFeaturesPrice
Overall Winner
HUION HS610
HUION HS610
  • Dimensions - 13.78 x 8.3 inches
  • Display Area - 10 x 5 inches
  • Weight - 600 grams
  • Pressure Sensitivity - 8192 levels
  • Compatibility - Android, PC, and Mac
  • Express Keys - 12
  • Stylus - Battery-free with 60° tilt detection
9.8
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Runner-up
XP-PEN Deco 03
XP-PEN Deco 03
  • Dimensions - 13.82 x 8.54 inches
  • Display Area - 10 x 6.25 inches
  • Weight - 1250 grams
  • Pressure Sensitivity - 8192 levels
  • Compatibility - Android, PC, and Mac
  • Express Keys - 6
  • Stylus - Battery free with 60° tilt detection
9.6
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Looking For An Upgrade?
Wacom Medium Intuos
Wacom Medium Intuos
  • Dimensions - 10.4 x 7.8 inches
  • Display Area - 8.5 x 5.3 inches
  • Weight - 410 grams
  • Pressure Sensitivity - 4096 levels
  • Compatibility - Android, PC, and Mac
  • Express Keys - 4
  • Stylus - Battery free
9.4
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HUION Inspiroy H1161HUION Inspiroy H1161
  • Dimensions - 14.67 x 8.72 inches
  • Display Area - 11 x 6.88 inches
  • Weight - 570 grams
  • Pressure Sensitivity - 8192 levels
  • Compatibility - Android, PC, and Mac
  • Express Keys - 10 press & 16 soft keys
  • Stylus - Battery-free with 60° tilt detection
8.8
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HUION HS64HUION HS64
  • Dimensions - 7.87 x 6.54 inches
  • Display Area - 6.3 x 4.1 inches
  • Weight - 299 grams
  • Pressure Sensitivity - 8192 levels
  • Compatibility - Android, PC, and Mac
  • Express Keys - 2
  • Stylus - Battery-free
9.1
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HUION Inspiroy H640PHUION Inspiroy H640P
  • Dimensions - 10.23 x 5.8 inches
  • Display Area - 6 x 4 inches
  • Weight - 226 grams
  • Pressure Sensitivity - 8192 levels
  • Compatibility - Android, PC, and Mac
  • Express Keys - 4
  • Stylus - Battery-free
8.8
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Wacom Small IntuosWacom Small Intuos
  • Dimensions - 7.87 x 6.3 inches
  • Display Area - 6.0 x 3.7 inches
  • Weight - 240 grams
  • Pressure Sensitivity - 8192 levels
  • Compatibility - Android, PC, and Mac
  • Express Keys - 4
  • Stylus - Battery-free
9.3
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GAOMON S620GAOMON S620
  • Dimensions - 8.3 x 6.85 inches
  • Display Area - 6.5 x 4 inches
  • Weight - 250 grams
  • Pressure Sensitivity - 8192 levels
  • Compatibility - Android, PC, and Mac
  • Express Keys - 12 
  • Stylus - Battery-free with 60° tilt detection
8.5
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UGEE S640UGEE S640
  • Dimensions - 8.66 x 6.69 inches
  • Display Area - 6.3 x 4 inches
  • Weight - 489 grams
  • Pressure Sensitivity - 8192 levels
  • Compatibility - Android, PC, and Mac
  • Express Keys - 10
  • Stylus - Battery-free with 60° tilt detection
8.7
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VEIKK VK1060VEIKK VK1060
  • Dimensions - 13.39 x 8.39 inches
  • Display Area - 10 x 6 inches
  • Weight - 568 grams
  • Pressure Sensitivity - 8192 levels
  • Compatibility - Android, PC, and Mac
  • Express Keys - 8
  • Stylus - Battery-free with 60° tilt detection
9
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Our favorite 3 best cheap drawing tablets…

In a hurry? Here’s a quick summary of our top three…

Firstly for speed and efficiency we only review and shortlist our top results, and so the below tablets form an updated list of what we consider to be some of the best cheap drawing tablets currently available:

Overall winner – The best cheap tablet

HUION HS610 Graphics Drawing Tablet

Dimensions: 13.78 by 8.3 inches | Display Area: 10 by 5 inches | Item Weight: 600 grams | Camera: No | Connection Type: Micro USB | Compatible with Keyboard: No

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The Huion HS610 is an excellent budget option for anyone looking for a powerful and full-featured graphics tablet. Not only does it have lots of functionality, but it is also compatible with Windows, MacOS, and Android devices.

Runner up

XP-PEN Deco Graphics Tablet

Dimensions: 13.82 by 8.54 inches | Display Area: 10 by 6.25 inches | Item Weight: 1250 grams | Shortcut Keys: 8 | Connection Type: USB-C | Compatible with Keyboard: No

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This second iteration of the famous XP Pen Deco 01 does not disappoint. This model includes a battery-free pen and Android compatibility on top of Windows and MacOS compatibility. The battery-free pen also supports tilt functionality.

Looking for an upgrade?

Wacom Intuos Medium Graphics Drawing Tablet

Dimensions: 10.4 by 7.8 inches | Display Area: 8.5 by 5.3 inches | Display Resolution: 2540 LPI | Item Weight: 410 grams | Camera: No | Connection Type: USB-C/Bluetooth | Compatible with Keyboard: No

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The Wacom Intuos Medium does its job very well. So well, in fact, that they had to remove multi-touch functionality to differentiate it from more expensive models. While this model is pricier than the other ones on this list, it is well worth a purchase if you’re looking to upgrade.

The 10 best cheap drawing tablets reviewed

Starting with the winner and two runner up tablets, below we review the 10 devices we feel best fit this “cheap” drawing tablet category. At a range of price points and varied sizes, these best fit beginner artists that are new to digital drawing and those who are experienced that want a tablet to travel with.

First up…

Huion HS610 Pro Graphic Drawing Tablet

HUION HS610 Graphics Drawing Tablet

Dimensions: 13.78 by 8.3 inches | Display Area: 10 by 5 inches | Item Weight: 600 grams | Camera: No | Connection Type: Micro USB | Compatible with Keyboard: No

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Who is this for?

Considering its price tag (under $100), the Huion HS610 offers many cool features for anyone looking for a powerful budget graphics tablet. It’s easy to use, with a simple and intuitive interface and quick setup procedures.

It is also compatible with Mac, PC, and even Android devices. If you’re looking for something simple that allows you to get started drawing immediately, it’s hard to do much better than this affordable tablet. It also has many capable features, as we will mention below.

Why we like it

The Huion HS610 comes in at 13.75 by 8.25 inches, making it a sizeable tablet for drawing in any size. The drawing surface is also textured to emulate the feel of paper and make the drawing process more fun and familiar.

On the left is a touch ring for easy control. Note that the dial doesn’t actually rotate, but rather is touch-sensitive. You can use it to scroll pages, adjust brush sizes, zoom in and out of canvasses, and much more.

Above and below the touch ring is a set of 12 hard express keys, and a further 16 soft express keys along the top edge. All of these are programmable, so you should be able to set up a shortcut for pretty much any function you’d like.

There is also a micro USB port on the side, which plays many roles. Apart from using it to charge the tablet, you can also use it to connect the tablet to an Android device or a computer.

The stylus is also quite capable, with 8192 levels of pressure sensitivity and 60 degrees of tilt detection. It’s battery-free, so you don’t have to worry about charging it or replacing the batteries.

It also has replaceable nibs and comes with extras in the box, so you can replace them as they get worn off. The tip functions as both a brush and eraser and you can switch between the two using a button on the side of the pen.

An ink well holds the pen when not in use, as well as the extra nibs.

Setting up the HS610 is quite easy. You’ll first need to charge it using the provided micro USB port and cable. An LED light will tell you the charging status, turning green when the tablet is fully charged.

Once charged, you will need to install the tablet’s drivers on Mac OS and PC devices. You won’t need to install drivers on Android devices, but the device should run on Android OS 6.0 or higher. There is also an included OTG adapter for Micro USB and USB-C devices.

Flaws but not dealbreakers

Unfortunately, the touch ring and express keys do not work with Android devices, which is unfortunate, considering how much power and control they offer over the drawing process.

We also noted that the tiny status LED was rather too tiny. It can be hard sometimes to figure out whether it is alight at all, at least until it turns green and you know for sure your device is charged. This can be an issue for people with sight issues.

We also didn’t like the fact that we were restricted to using the left third of the tablet’s drawing surface when working with Android devices. We understand this is because of the aspect ratio of Android screens, but it can still feel limiting sometimes.

Pros

  • Large drawing area
  • Lots of express keys
  • Compatible with Mac OS, PC, and Android
  • Great value for money, considering the price

Cons

  • Touch ring and express keys don’t work with Android
  • No iOS compatibility
  • Android devices restricted to smaller working area

XP-Pen Deco Drawing Tablet

XP-PEN Deco Graphics Tablet

Dimensions: 13.82 by 8.54 inches | Display Area: 10 by 6.25 inches | Item Weight: 1250 grams | Shortcut Keys: 8 | Connection Type: USB-C | Compatible with Keyboard: No

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Who is this for?

If you’re looking for a high-quality graphics tablet with an easy price tag, the XP-Pen Deco 01 V2 is the perfect candidate. It is not only compatible with PC and macOS devices but with Android 6.0 and above as well, a new feature in the second version of this iconic model.

Why we like it

One of the greatest realizations we came to when reviewing the Deco 01 V2 was how affordable high-quality graphics tablets are getting these days. For the amounts we’re paying these days, we would have got low-quality, probably counterfeit devices, just a few years back.

And even with that in mind, the Deco 01 tablet has a build quality and array of features that surpass its peers in this price category. It represents an excellent bargain.

To be sure, the XP-Pen Deco 01 V2 is the second iteration of the popular XP-Pen Deco 01, which we reviewed before, and which had great features. This version comes with Android support, as well as a wider and more robust list of capabilities.

The design is modern and minimalistic, which we have come to associate with the Deco line. The tablet has an incredibly slim form factor, with the functional drawing area taking up most of the space on the front, its bounds marked by four arrows that glow green when active.

8 shortcut buttons sit on the left of the drawing. Left-handed artists can rotate the tablets so that the shortcut buttons are on the right and press the right hand-mode button to get the new orientation to work. The 8 express keys are also all programmable, giving you lots of options for setting your most useful shortcuts.

The base of the tablet has 4 rubber pads to prevent slippage on a flat surface. Construction consists of high-quality plastic, and the buttons give a satisfying click when you press them. The drawing surface is scratch-resistant, yet with a textured tip for a pleasant drawing experience.

The stylus is wider near the tip, tapering toward the back. It has a balanced feel for good ergonomics and is made of high-quality plastic with a matte finish. It has 2 handy shortcut buttons located on the side.

It has 8192 shades of pressure sensitivity, as well as up to 60 degrees of title sensitivity either way (forwards or backward). We love that the stylus is battery-free, so no need to worry about batteries or charging, thanks to EMR technology.

The accessories are also great on this model. A functional pen holder keeps your pen secure when you’re not using it, while also holding the 8 replacement nibs that come free with your Deco 01. Other accessories include drawing gloves, a cleaning cloth, a stylus, and a USB cable.

Connectivity is via USB-C, and a driver exists for Mac and Windows compatibility. Android compatibility is native, and all you have to do is connect the tablet to an Android device using the USB adapter.

Flaws but not dealbreakers

There isn’t much to criticize in this pen, but there are a couple of things of note to consider. First, we think the pen would have been even better ergonomically if it had a rubber cover or something for better grip.

Depending on your device, there might also be some lag between drawing lines and seeing them appear on the screen. We also wish it were compatible with iOS devices.

Pros

  • Batter-free pen
  • High pressure sensitivity
  • Android compatibility

Cons

  • No rubber cover on the stylus
  • Some users have experienced lag

Wacom Intuos Medium Drawing Tablet

Wacom Intuos Medium Graphics Drawing Tablet

Dimensions: 10.4 by 7.8 inches | Display Area: 8.5 by 5.3 inches | Display Resolution: 2540 LPI | Item Weight: 410 grams | Camera: No | Connection Type: USB-C/Bluetooth | Compatible with Keyboard: No

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Who is this for?

The Wacom Intuos M is a Wacom’s base tablet, with a budget price tag and surprisingly good features. This model is very popular among beginners and even experienced artists who want to have a Wacom in their tools set.

In fact, it’s so good that Wacom had to remove multi-touch functionality to distinguish it from more expensive models.

Why we like it

Perhaps the more appropriate question here is “why shouldn’t we like it?”

There’s a lot going for this tablet, from the 15-hour battery life to the incredibly smooth Bluetooth connectivity, to the large active drawing area that covers most of the surface. Build quality is very high, as would be expected of any Wacom device, and the stylus is battery-free – another plus.

The Wacom Intuos M is compatible with both Windows and macOS devices and is very easy to set up. To do so, you need to connect the device to the computer using a USB cable or Bluetooth.

You should then download the free driver and install it, and register your product for warranty tracking purposes. Another good reason to register your tablet is so that you can get Clip Studio Paint Pro, Corel Aftershot 3, and Corel Painter Essentials 6, all for free.

Once you’re done with the initial setup, you can easily customize the settings as you wish. If it’s your first time using a graphics tablet, this might involve a bit of a learning curve.

It’s normal for all beginners, however, and you’ll get the hang of it very quickly. When customizing the 4 shortcut buttons, be sure to have custom settings for the different art programs you might use. For example, one button can have multiple functions, depending on whether you’re in Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Lightroom.

The tablet itself has a simple, yet elegant appearance, with a ridge along the top of the otherwise flat front surface. The four shortcut buttons, along with a power button, are built into that ridge, emulating its shape perfectly.

The drawing area covers most of the rest of the surface, extending 8.5 inches by 5.3 inches. The stylus has 4096 levels of pressure and is battery-free. Unfortunately, however, it doesn’t have tilt sensitivity.

Flaws but not dealbreakers

There are lots of things going well for this tablet, but there is also some stuff that could be improved without taking away from the base design.

For starters, we think the multi-touch functionality should be present, as it allows you to use the tablet as a trackpad when not using the pen. The smooth plastic of the tablet also scratches too easily when using standard nibs.

If you’re the kind of digital artist who presses hard down on a surface with your pen, you might want to buy soft nibs.

Pros

  • Bluetooth compatibility
  • Great build quality
  • 15-hour battery life

Cons

  • Drawing surface scratches easily with standard nibs
  • Multi-touch functionality missing
  • Sits at the more expensive end of the cheap drawing tablet category

Huion Inspiroy H1161 Drawing Tablet

Huion Inspiroy H1161 Drawing Tablet

Dimensions: 14.67 x 8.72 x 0.31 inches | Display Area (Active Area): 11 x 6.88 inches | Item Weight: 570 grams | Multi-Touch: No | Pen Pressure Level: 8192 Levels | Customizable Express Keys: 10 + Touch Strip | Supported Software: Windows, Mac, Android | Battery Power: Yes | Connectivity Type: USB

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The Huion Inspiroy H1161 is an affordable graphics tablet that nonetheless has plenty of modern and useful features. It has a decent active area of 279.4 by 174.6 mm and is 8mm thin, making it very slim and lightweight. The pen is battery-free and comes with 8192 levels of pressure sensitivity, as well as tilt functionality.

On the tablet itself, you will find 10 physical shortcut keys as well as 16 more ‘soft’ keys. Both the hard and soft keys can be programmed to whatever functionality you want.

What we love the most is the interoperability of this tablet. It’s compatible with Windows, Mac OS, and Android versions over 6.0. So you can take your drawing to any device, whether your laptop, tablet, or smartphone!

Pros

  • 26 programmable buttons
  • Very affordable
  • Battery-free pen
  • Android compatible
  • High resolution and report rate

Cons

  • The cable connects in a rather awkward way
  • The tablet is entirely plastic and needs care as the build quality isn’t the best
  • The buttons feel a little loose

Huion Inspiroy HS64 Drawing Tablet

HUION HS64 Graphics Drawing Tablet

Dimensions: 7.87 x 6.54 inches | Display Area: 6.3 x 4.1 inches | Item Weight: 299 grams | Camera: No | Connection Type: USB-C | Compatible with Keyboard: Yes

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The Huion Inspiroy HS64 is a small graphics tablet that causes an equally small dent in your pocket thanks to how cheap it is. The active area measures 6.3 by 4 inches, making it spacious yet compact. It has 6 shortcut buttons lined along the to, each giving firm feedback when pressed. Best part is they’re all customizable.

The stylus is battery-free with 2 shortcut buttons on the side. We thought it felt a little too light but other than that it works like a charm. It also has great grip, 8192 levels of pressure sensitivity, and 18 pen nibs! It’s also compatible with Windows, MacOS, and Android versions later than 6.0.

Pros

  • Very compact and lightweight
  • Pen performance is great considering the price
  • Price is affordable
  • Comes with 18 nibs out of the box
  • Compatible with multiple operating systems

Cons

  • There is no variety in the nib – only 1 type
  • The pen feels a little cheap for being so light

HUION Inspiroy H640P Drawing Tablet

HUION Inspiroy H640P Graphics Drawing Tablet

Dimensions: 10.23 x 5.8 inches | Display Area: 6 x 4 inches | Display Resolution: 5080 LPI | Item Weight: 226 grams | Camera: No | Connection Type: USB-C | Compatible with Keyboard: No

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The Huion Inspiroy h640p was the first graphics tablet by this manufacturer to offer a battery-free stylus, making it a great bargain compared to its price tag.

The design is quite simple, yet still elegant. It’s nothing more than a rectangle with rounded corners. It has decorative frames along the edges, making it look rather like a smartphone.

Whether that is a good design call or not is up to you. We love it a lot! At 2 inches thick, it’s a fairly thin tablet, though not the thinnest in the market. However, it is remarkably light at 1.35 pounds. The build is high-quality plastic with a matte case.

On the tablet, there are 6 shortcut keys, with the rest of the surface being taken up by the 6.3 by 3.9-inch drawing area. It has a micro-USB port for connecting to the computer on the left side, and that’s about it.

The surface is smooth and pleasant to touch, and the buttons are well-designed, with a satisfying click whenever they are pressed.

The stylus comes with 8192 pressure sensitivity levels, but no tilt detection Screen resolution stands at 5080LPI, and the report rate for the pen is 233PPS. All of these are remarkably good for such a cheap tablet, allowing you to do professional work on a small budget.

The setup is simple. Just connect the device to your PC and download and install the free driver. You can then program the shortcut keys however you wish and set the pressure sensitivity as well.

Note, however, that this device is only compatible with Windows and macOS devices.

Pros

  • Easy to use and set up
  • Suitable for beginner artist and children
  • 8192 levels of pressure sensitivity
  • Comes with 8 nibs

Cons

  • Some will find the connectivity poor

Wacom Intuos Small Graphics Drawing Tablet

Wacom Intuos Drawing Tablet

Dimensions: 7.87 by 6.3 inches | Display Area: 6.0 by 3.7 inches | Display Resolution: 2540 LPI | Item Weight: 240 grams | Camera: No | Connection Type: USB-C/Bluetooth | Compatible with Keyboard: No

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Wacom’s introductory graphics tablet is a great choice for many beginners, and it comes with a humble price tag too. It’s pretty small at 7.87 inches by 6.3 inches, but it is also very reliable and is compatible with Windows and macOS devices.

Along the top are four programmable shortcut buttons. The pen is battery-free and offers 4096 levels of pressure sensitivity, but no tilt detection. On the back are four rubber pads to prevent the drawing pad from sliding on a smooth surface.

The Intuos is also very light, at just 240 grams. If it weren’t for its size, you would be able to throw this tablet in your pocket and go about your day like normal!

As is expected of any Wacom device, drawing with this one is a joy. The pen is highly responsive and the matte finish on the drawing surface makes drawing feel natural and satisfying.

The light stylus has two extra buttons on the side which you can set to perform whatever function you want. The greatest plus for this tablet is also its greatest minus, as some artists might prefer a much larger drawing surface for their needs.

Pros

  • Carries the Wacom build quality
  • Comes with Wacom’s Pro Pen 2
  • One of the few to feature multi-touch functions.

Cons

  • Some will find the connectivity poor

GAOMON S620 Drawing Tablet

GAOMON S620

Dimensions: 8.3 x 6.85 inches | Display Area: 6.5 x 4 inches | Item Weight: 250 grams | Camera: No | Connection Type: USB-C | Compatible with Keyboard: Yes

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The Gaomon S620 is an excellent low priced budget tablet costing in the ballpark of $40. It has better build quality than most tablets in this category, a battery-free stylus, and lots of features.

The active drawing area measures 6.5 by 4 inches. The pen has 8192 levels of pressure sensitivity and is but no tilt support. The tablet comes with an artist’s glove, USB-A/USB-C adaptor, and 8 replacement nibs. While the tablet is made of plastic, it is good quality plastic with a nice feel.

The tablet’s matte black color also adds to the appeal of the design.

Unlike the other tablets in this price range, however, this tablet only comes with 4 shortcut buttons. That said, we feel this is more than enough for a beginner artist.

Pros

  • Very affordable (one of the cheapest drawing tablets here)
  • Great build quality considering the price
  • Battery-free pen
  • 8 replacement nibs
  • Compatible with Android versions later than 6.0

Cons

  • No tilt sensitivity
  • The stylus isn’t as well-built as the tablet

UGEE S640 Drawing Tablet

UGEE S640 Graphics Drawing Tablet

Dimensions: 8.66 x 6.69 inches | Display Area: 6.3 inches x 4 inches | Item Weight: 489 grams | Camera: No | Connection Type: USB-C | Compatible with Keyboard: Yes

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The UGEE S640 is yet another cheap tablet – even cheaper than the UGEE M708 V3 above at $35! As you may expect, there are upsides and downsides to this. This pen comes with 10 replacement nibs, and a USB-A/USB-C cable, which makes it a little more modern than the UGEE M708 V3. It also has a decent active area of 6.3 by 4 inches and 10 shortcut keys. The stylus is battery-free and has tilt functionality.

On the other hand, the build is not the best, and users have reported that the settings are very hard to understand. One user on Amazon said they were only able to configure the tablet to work as a mouse on their Windows 10 PC and nothing else. This is an excellent tablet to own if you don’t mind poring through documentation to figure the settings out.

Pros

  • Very affordable
  • USB-C cable included
  • 10 shortcut keys

Cons

  • Low-quality build
  • Difficult to figure settings out

VEIKK VK1060 Drawing Tablet

VEIKK VK1060 Drawing Tablet

Dimensions: 13.39 x 8.39 inches | Display Area: 10 inches x 6 inches | Item Weight: 568 grams | Camera: Yes/No | Connection Type: USB-C | Compatible with Keyboard: Yes

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The VEIKK VK1060 is quite affordable at approximately $60. This tablet has a considerably large active area compared to the others on this list: 10 inches by 6 inches. It also comes with 8 programmable shortcut keys and has support for Windows, MacOS, and Android versions later than 6.0. It also has a USB-A/USB-C cable.

The stylus has 8192 levels of pressure sensitivity. Unfortunately, however, while the box says the stylus has tilt sensitivity, we haven’t managed to get it to work yet.

Pros

  • Very affordable
  • Comes with a large active area
  • Has USB-C cable
  • Battery-free pen

Cons

  • Tilt sensitivity does not work

Best cheap drawing tablets with a screen

When it comes to budget tablets with screens, the price can (and should)jump up significantly from the above graphics tablets to be in and around the $200 mark.

There are of course a few cheaper options available, but as with anything you get what you pay for, and we strongly advise against going for anything lower in price without the risk of significant loss of performance.

The cheapest drawing tablet with a screen we can recommend is the Parblo Coast10 10.1″ Digital Pen Tablet Display, followed by the slightly more expensive GAOMON PD1161 11.6 Inches Tilt Support Drawing Pen Display.

However the overall winner here is the below HUION Kamvas 16 closely followed by the HUION Kamvas 13, with a 13 inch screen display. For its price, size, and brand reassurance, this tablet is fantastic value and perfect for anyone on a tight budget.

Huion Kamvas 16 Drawing Tablet

HUION KAMVAS Pro 16

Dimensions: 17.17 x 9.88 x 0.47 inches | Display Area: 13.5 x 7.6 inches | Display Resolution: 2560 x 1440 QHD| Item Weight: 1350 grams | Shortcut Keys: 12 | Connection type: USB-C | Compatible with Keyboard: No | Processor: N/A | Memory: N/A

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Who is this for?

The Huion Kamvas 16 is an excellent tablet for beginning and intermediate artists. Not only does it have most features that any artist might need, but it also comes at a deep discount compared to the industry leader in this category, the Wacom Cintiq 16. At just a few hundred dollars, this tablet is quite the bargain, offering new and improved colors, pen technology, and overall design. While this is technically a 2021 model, we strongly believe it is as relevant as ever in 2022 and will help many young artists launch promising careers.

Why we like it

For starters, the Kamvas 16 2021 is an upgrade on its predecessor, the 2019 model. It comes with some interesting improvements, including crisper colors (the 2021 model has 120% sRGB compared to 100% sRGB in the predecessor) and a cooler pen (PenTech 3 compared to PenTech 2 in the 2019 model).

When you purchase this tablet online, you get to choose the right plug, depending on what the wall power outlet looks like in your area. With the variety of wall outlets around the world, we thought this was a convenient feature.

The cabling is also quite diverse. There are 3 different cables. First, we have the USB-C to USB-C data cable, which allows you to directly transfer data from the tablet to other devices that use USB-C. Then we have two USB power cables, and finally a single 3-to-1 power and USB data cable for data and power transfer to devices using different ports.

We also love the pen. It’s a PW517 and uses PenTech 3, one of the best in Huion products. It has up to 8192 levels of pressure sensitivity and tilt functionality. It is also completely battery-free so you don’t have to worry about charging it. Overall, the pen is well-built, with a solid feel and comfortable grip, and yet it’s quite lightweight!

There are 2 buttons on the side that you can customize using the tablet’s driver. They give satisfying feedback when pressed.

The pen is also a major improvement over its predecessor, as it is firmer and less shaky, making for a better drawing experience.

There are also 10 physical shortcut buttons you can customize with the driver. They give excellent feedback when pressed. We also love how thin the pen display is. It’s thinner than some laptops we’ve seen!

Flaws, but not dealbreakers

For starters, the pen display comes with a glossy film that covers the matte screen protector. It needs to be peeled off. Unfortunately, the instructions on the sticker aren’t very instructive. They say to remove the screen protector to get to the antiglare film, and yet they don’t mention what we quickly discovered when we tried this: you have to be super careful not to remove the matte film at the same time as the screen protector covering it.

The anti-glare on the matte film can also be rather aggressive, almost doing its job too well when there is a lot of reflection.

We also didn’t like the limitations of the Android support. It’s anyone’s guess as to whether it will work with your particular Android device or not.

Pros

  • Very nice design
  • 120% sRGB
  • 1080p resolution
  • Nice size
  • 10 replacement nibs

Cons

  • You have to buy the stand separately
  • Android support unpredictable
  • It’s easy to peel off the matte screen protector along with the protective film covering it
  • Aggressive anti-glare can affect the contrast and introduce white noise
  • Only has a maximum brightness of 195

Understanding the different types of drawing tablets (a novices guide)

If you enjoy sketching, it’s highly likely that you have considered trying alternative medias to a pen and paper. Drawing tablets for example are an excellent way to enhance your art work whilst using all the benefits of working digitally. 

While shopping for this kind of equipment, the first thing to think about is whether you want a graphics or drawing tablet. Some people believe they are the same, but that is definitely not the case. 

New and amateur artists often find that a graphics tablet with a good pressure sensitivity is a solid starting point because they’re less expensive.

If you’re shopping for a drawing tablet, be prepared to spend more money, as these tablets are quite a bit more costly, though they offer a whole other user experience. 

We have a complete guide to finding the best tablet for new artists here in our “Guide To Finding The Best Drawing Tablets For Beginners

So what is the difference?

Graphics tablets

A graphics tablet has no actual screen. Instead, it connects to a separate monitor that shows your sketch in real-time. These tablets must link to an external PC or monitor to work.

Pros for graphics tablets:

  • No battery
  • No screen means no damage
  • Shockproof and longer-lasting
  • More natural sketching/writing
  • Faster operation backed by your PC’s processor
  • Compatible with Windows, MAC OS, and Android operating systems

Cons for graphics tablets:

  • Must use with a computer
  • No built-in computing power

Drawing tablet

A drawing tablet is the most common among today’s digital artists and offers an ideal canvas for sketching, and consequently provides the best drawing experience. This style of a tablet includes a fully-operational onboard computer and has a digital screen for drawing.

Pros for drawing tablets:

  • Various kinds of connectivity including HDMI, USB, and USB-C
  • Digital screen output
  • Compatible with Windows, MAC OS, and Android operating systems

Cons for drawing tablets:

  • Easily damaged
  • Less potent than PC-connected graphics tablet
  • More expensive
Best-cheap-drawing-tablet.jpg

What to look for when buying a cheap drawing tablet

Especially for first time buyers, choosing this type of equipment can involve a lot research and often quickly become quite overwhelming.

However to help you with this, we have prepared the below buyers guide and broken down the most important areas that need to be considered before making your purchase.

HotKeys / Shortcut keys

HotKeys are essentially shortcut keys that help to make the drawing process more efficient by providing a ‘shortcut’ to your most frequently used tools. Nowadays, drawing tablets often have these keys built right in, whilst in the past, they were only accessible directly via the artists PC or Mac.

For hotkeys to work to their fullest potential, they must be customizable and allow the artist to assign their own bespoke shortcuts. There are however tablets that automatically do this based on how frequently a tool is used, which can of course have its disadvantages.

The benefit of having a customizable work space is the freedom it provides to add and delete shortcut key as and when needed, as not every project requires the same drawing tools.

Connectivity

Your drawing tablet must connect to a PC and/or monitor for it to work, and there are several different key types of connection available:

  • USB:

The most common cable connection is via USB. This as with any cable connection comes with the limitation of needing to be physically connected to a PC and/or monitor for it to work, and so is not easily transportable. The benefit however is that the connection rarely (if at all) fails, and is therefore highly reliable when working. 

  • Wireless – Bluetooth:

Wireless technology as with a WiFi internet connection, eliminates the use of cables, and opens up a great amount of user freedom and flexibility. A wireless tablet can be treated much like a piece of paper, as for example can picked up, rotated, moved about on the desk, and passed around etc.

Best cheap drawing tablet

Price

When it comes to drawing tablets, it is larger priced models that have the higher specifications, and as mentioned and seen above, when looking for a drawing tablet on a budget, the cheaper options tend to not have their own screens.  

So find your price point and stick it, and be prepared for a trade off of price vs performance.

Pressure Sensitivity / Pressure Levels

The thickness of the pen stroke and therefore the lines being drawn are controlled via the pen pressure levels or level of pen pressure sensitivity the artist places upon the pen when drawing. The levels of pressure sensitivity are measured from 512 to 8192 levels, where the higher the number, the more subtle the strokes can be.

Fortunately this range of pen pressure sensitivity means that there are products for both light and heavy detailed strokes to ensure the best drawing experience. If required, most artists will find a 2048 pressure level will be sufficient for most tasks.

Scrollers

Scrolling on a drawing tablet can at first require a little getting used to, as many users find it challenging to transition from a mouse.

There are however two main ways to scroll, where one is to use a finger in a swiping motion and the other is to use the stylus (pen). 

Both have their advantages and disadvantages, and many artists transition between both, but please make sure that the stylus has been configured correctly for scrolling, and does not confuse it for pen strokes or vice versa.

Compatibility

Fortunately, for most products available today they are compatible with Windows, MAC OS, and often also Android operating systems, making them highly versatile in both the studio and at home.

Portability

Unfortunately where affordable tablet fail, is when the artist wants to sketch and/or draw whilst travelling, which due to the lack of a screen is impossible. Many users however also own an iPad, and the iPad Pro in particular comes with a pen with equal pen pressure sensitivity capabilities to most high level tablets for this very reason.

It also hopefully goes without saying that an iPad Pro also provides a very compact and fast personal computer, that can aid in far more than just drawing.

Best cheap drawing tablet

Drawing surface and active drawing area

When it comes to discussing a drawing tablets size, we are referencing the available active drawing area (drawing surface) as appose to its physical presence.

The active area is the surface where you draw. With a drawing tablet, this is the screen. But, with graphic tablets, the active area is covered with sensors that detect your strokes and then relay the image to a separate monitor using your PC. 

Tablets come in all manner of sizes, however when searching for cheaper models, we must be careful to not opt for a large drawing area over overall quality, as the best drawing output is not dependant on size.

For this reason, and as you will see from our recommendations above, several of the products come in quite modest sizes and active areas, as primarily it is your budget that will control the size options available to you..

Accessories

While the stylus is the most significant accessory to think about, there are other items that you might also consider. For example, buying a drawing tablet that includes a travel bag saves you having to invest in one separately. 

A case or screen protector is useful if you plan to frequently transport your tablet, as are cleaning cloths.

Some tablets also have additional nibs for the stylus. These can provide alternative stroke and pressure patterns for more detailed work, for example.

Support

There’s always the possibility that you will encounter a problem, or two while setting up your drawing tablet. You could even run into issues once you’re a seasoned user, and so it can be extremely useful for a tablet to include a regular support feature.

Having the added insurance of technical support means never having to worry about any issues. Whether its an operational problem, or a question about its features. Without access to a support network, you won’t be able to get the right solutions to your problems.

Stylus / Pen

The stylus is a critical element of your drawing tablet. With the right kind and through careful control of pen pressure sensitivity, you will draw more naturally and achieve subtle transitions between strokes. 

Most often, the stylus included with your drawing tablet will be sufficient for everyday use. However, if you’re a professional artist, you might find it lacks the necessary features.

Cheap-drawing-tablet.jpg

Why use a stylus?

Put simply, all the best drawing tablets come with and recommend that artists use a stylus and/or pen when drawing.

Using a stylus instead of your finger keeps your screen free from fingerprints, its soft thin tip prevents scratches, and provides a more accurate and precise stroke patterns through precise pressure levels. 

The following parts of your pen are worth thinking through before making your decision;

  • Style

There are two kinds available, the standard and the stylus pen. The difference is the stylus has a simple rubber tip, while the stylus pen includes both the rubber tip and writing instrument in one. 

  • Tip

The tip along with the pressure levels used is what decides the precision of your stroke. Just like a traditional paintbrush or drawing pencil, thicker tips are better for coloring and broader strokes. Whereas, thin tips give you more precise results and a smaller stroke.

Conclusion – The ultimate best cheap drawing tablet

Being industry leaders, Wacom tablets are very well known for their professional grade drawing experience. Whereas Xp-Pen are more commonly known for a slightly more budget friendly product that is packed full of features, and aimed at entry level artists.

Some artists will find that XP-Pen’s high amount of features and specifications compromise its overall quality in terms of its physical feel and sturdiness, and therefore tend to lean towards a slightly more durable product.

Wacom in this regard are a little more conservative with their tablet features and specifications, but balance this out with an overall higher quality drawing experience, that as a result has led to their widespread popularity amongst most (if not all) professional digital artists.

With that all said, Huion fall’s in the middle here and offers a very comparable stylus’ and a similar drawing experience, it wont beat Wacom’s superior hardware and durability, but as an all round cheap drawing tablet its a winner in our book!

Final verdict… the Huion HS610 Pro Graphic Drawing Tablet

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This Post Has 16 Comments

  1. Ash

    I feel that recommending 6 different tablets for 6 categories that even I’m struggling to find much difference between is done just for affiliate link clicks. Giving readers a choice of 6 instead of 1 certainly increases the chances they might buy one thru your links. You’ve put far more effort in than most others doing the same thing tho, which I have to respect. But it’s a respect borne out of today’s internet not supporting the user, that’s all.

    1. archi soup

      Hi Ash

      Thanks for reaching out and you’re absolutely right, there are an abundance of sites out there simply looking for clicks …and in fact, that was one of the main drivers behind creating this page, as we wanted to offer more.

      Which reading between the lines of your comment, hopefully we have, but are always open to improvement.

      As for showing five products over just one clear winner, this is a roundup article discussing what we consider to be the best options for lower budgets based on the huge catalog of products currently available.

      …which in short concludes that there is not one clear winner as each artist will have slightly different requirements and ways of working, that we hope at least one the above tablets helps to satisfy.

      That all said, the Huion H610 Pro Graphic Drawing Tablet is in our opinion a very worthy all-round winner, with the remaining four tablets each providing a slightly alternative specification that other readers may find more useful in terms of size, weight and/or price for example.

  2. qianshan

    thanks this was super helpful!

    Also is xp-pen https://www.xp-pen.com durable compared to Wacom? I wish to use it for 7-10 years. Would be bad if it breaks too soon.

    1. archisoup

      Hi Qianshan

      We’ve added a small subsection on this just above, but in short, when comparing Wacom and XP-PEN, Wacom comes out on top with an overall better build quality and durability.

      …We know of a few Wacom tablets that are +10 years old!

      However for both, and to ensure their longevity, you will still require a screen protector and must ensure that you regularly replace nibs before they get too sharp.

      Thanks

  3. Abhishek Verma

    What would be the best pen tablet under 10000 for note making by student on its laptop???

    1. archisoup

      Hi Abhishek,

      We have a full breakdown of the tablets we recommend are the most suitable for note taking below…

      http://www.archisoup.com/studio-tools/best-tablets-for-note-taking

      But in short, for us the winner here is the iPad Pro, closely followed by the Microsoft Surface Pro depending on your overall requirements.

      Thanks

  4. Saeesh Nayak

    Hi Archisoup,

    Thanks for profiling the most affordable drawing tablets, to begin with.

    I am an animator looking to buy an affordable tablet for building low-cost 2D animations with minimal 3D functionalities. What would the best drawing tablet that you would like to recommend me with?

    1. archisoup

      Hi Saeesh,

      If your budget can stretch to a display tablet then the recommendation for a solid low cost model would be a GAOMON PD1560 …However, this is significantly more expensive than any of the above cheaper graphics tablets.

      In which case you might want to start out with a graphics tablet, and then upgrade at a later date if and when required.

      In which case the recommendation is a Wacom Intuos small or medium tablet …much more on this here…

      http://www.archisoup.com/studio-tools/best-drawing-tablets-for-animation

      Thanks

  5. G S

    Hey, I was wondering which tablet from this list would you recommend for manga.

    1. archisoup

      Hi GS,

      Would this be for drawing or reading manga?

      1. GS

        For drawing manga.

        1. archisoup

          Hi GS,

          In our opinion:

          Budget – Huion H610 Pro
          Beginner – Wacom Intuos
          Mid range – Huion KAMVAS Pro 16
          High range – Wacom Cintiq 22

          To be honest unless you’re carry out realistic brush work and require precise tilt recognition, any of the tablets features here (http://www.archisoup.com/best-drawing-tablets) would be more than capable.

          More commonly it is the choice of software that has the largest impact, and so firstly ensure that your chosen tablet is compatible.

          Thanks

  6. Sonia

    Hi archie,

    I would like to buy a tablet withscreen as my old laptop can’t manage the programs no more. At the same time I am thinking at buying a full desktop and a no rren tablet, thing is I havno ideea what kind of requirements are for thprograms to run properly and what kinof screen should I getlime the resolution and so on.
    If you could help me out with some info in this direction, which eould be a more proper investment for a beginner, iI would truly appreciate it!
    Great article btw, kep upthe good work!

    1. archisoup

      Hi Sonia,

      So this is highly dependent on the type of work you will be doing and therefore the type of programs you wish to run. But if you’re looking to replace and/or substitute your existing laptop with a drawing tablet, then your best and really only options are discussed in the below article:

      http://www.www.archisoup.com/studio-tools/best-standalone-drawing-tablet

      For a beginner looking for a tablet with a screen, as we highlight in this (www.www.archisoup.com/studio-tools/drawing-tablets-for-beginners) article, we consider the XP-PEN Artist15.6 Pro 15.6 to be a very worthy contender to higher end tablets.

      That said and as highlighted in the same article, as a beginner, you are best suited to a graphics tablet and putting the money saved towards to new laptop.

      Thanks

  7. andrew

    It’s sure confusing with all the different models out, I can’t tell the difference between them sometimes, especially starting from scratch in this field. I was initially looking at a Wacom because I have heard of it before but am looking at the HUIONS but there are so many models around that price range. Initially I saw this one, Huion New 1060Plus. Do you know if this model is better than the one you mention?

    1. archisoup

      Hi Andrew

      We actually review the Huion 1060Plus tablet on the below page:

      http://www.archisoup.com/studio-tools/drawing-tablets-for-beginners

      But in short and to compare the two tablets side by side, there are a few minor differences other than the price.

      The drawing functionality is essentially the same, but the new external cable design of the 1060 plus does help to keep it out of the way whilst using the tablet, and so has slightly improved usability.

      The primary difference is the 12 physical shortcut keys and 8GB microSD card on the 1060 plus, compared to the 8 express keys on the H610 Pro and no internal storage capacity.

      Design wise the 1060 plus has one seamless surface area, whereas the H610 Pro has a noticeable divide between the express keys and drawing area.

      Thanks

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