The Best Standalone Drawing Tablets that Don’t Need a Computer

Contents

Drawing tablets come in many shapes and sizes; ranging from small graphics tablets suitable for novices and developing artists, through to large professional screen displays. One element that they all have in common however, is that most require a physical connection to a computer and monitor.

That said, there are one or two exceptions to this rule; where a select few are completely portable and standalone, and do not require an additional computer to function.

These are called “standalone drawing tablets”

For those in a hurry, the below shortlist contains what we consider to be the 5 best standalone (and portable) drawing tablets currently available.

But to learn more about how we created this shortlist, and how you can in fact also create your own, read on past the reviews to learn more.

In a hurry? …The best Standalone Drawing Tablets

Our pick

Wacom Mobile Studio Pro

The powerhouse of drawing tablets …this is a high performance tablet jam packed with features built for serious professionals and hobbyists

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The Wacom Mobile Studio Pro 16 sits at the very top of the drawing tablet price pyramid, but for a very good reason. Purposely targeting serious professionals, this tablet is a compact computer designed for creatives who require ultimate portable performance for demanding workloads. Despite the expense of what is really a powerful performing computer, the 4k display lets you view and work with full versions of your favourite applications in vivid and rich colors.

Runner up

Huion Kamvas Studio 22

Portability at an affordable price …that doesn't compromise on quality, and much like the above Wacom Studio Pro, is aimed at those requiring portable performance.

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Like with most of their tablets, Huion do a very good job of providing a great substitute to Wacom without the accompanying price tag, and the Kamvas Studio 22 is no different. Simpler to the above, this is as much a portable computer as it is a drawing tablet with fantastic drawing performance, all viewed through a true laminated display with excellent color accuracy and brightness.

Also great

Apple 11-inch iPad Pro
Pros:
  • Excellent battery life.
  • High processing speed and performance.
  • High-resolution display.
  • Face ID.
  • Good response time.
Cons:
  • Lacks matte display.
  • No stylus pen supplied.
  • Expensive.
  • Limited external device support.
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For those looking for a little more portability over drawing tablet performance the iPad Pro needs little to no introduction. Since the integration of a mouse and trackpad support in 2018, the iPad like many of these standalone tablets is now much more of portable computer than a tablet.

The 5 best portable and standalone drawing tablets that don’t need a computer are…

Wacom Mobile Studio Pro 16″ (standalone) Drawing Tablet

Wacom Mobile Studio Pro

The powerhouse of drawing tablets …this is a high performance tablet jam packed with features built for serious professionals and hobbyists

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Dimensions: 22×17.6×6.4 inches | Display area (Active area): 16 inches | Item weight: 4.7 pounds | Display resolution: 3840 x 2160 Pixel | RGB Gamma Ray: CIE 1931 | Multi-touch: Yes | Pen pressure level: 8,192 levels | Express keys: Yes | Customizable express keys: Yes | Viewing Angle: 178

The Wacom Mobile Studio Pro is suitable for any creative artist looking for a powerful and highly innovative tool.

Featuring Wacom’s famous and trusted build quality, its high resolution (3840 x 2160) screen features superior color, that when combined with its memory capacity of up to 16GB and a further upgradable memory of up to 512GB, creates a very effective digital tool.

Pros

  • Flexibility and portability – fits perfectly well in a sizeable laptop bag, and is easy to carry around.
  • Pen technology. It works effectively and faster on illustration, animation, and CAD, utilizing Wacom’s famous Pro 2 Pen.
  • Works perfectly like a computer. The device comes with real software but not a dumbed-down app version or cheesy mobile application.
  • Possesses illustrator and Photoshop, 3D, and CAD programs.

Cons

  • It doesn’t come with many accessories
  • The stand is fairly short
  • Questionable battery life

Overall, the Wacom Mobile Studio Pro 16 is a compact device ideal for experts looking to handle demanding creative workloads. With its 4K display feature, it provides a shard visual experience that is rich in color.

We have a full product review here

Huion Kamvas Studio 22 Drawing Tablet

Huion Kamvas Studio 22

Portability at an affordable price …that doesn't compromise on quality, and much like the above Wacom Studio Pro, is aimed at those requiring portable performance.

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Dimensions: 23.2×13.5×0.8inches | Display area (Active area): 21.5 inches | Item weight: 10.5 pounds | Display resolution: 1920 x 1080 Pixel | RGB Gamma Ray: 120% Gamut | Multi-touch: No | Pen pressure level: 8,192 levels | Express keys: Yes | Customizable express keys: Yes | Resolution: 5080 LPI | Viewing Angle: 178

The Huion Kamvas Studio 22 is a unique standalone design that merges creativity with efficiency and portability, boasting excellent features that offer the user a remarkable experience.

The tablet has a ST100 feature that enables its users to adjust the viewing angle, and when combined with the 21.5-inch high resolution (1920 x 1080) IPS display, provides a comfortable positioning, and presents lines and colors accurately.

10 fully programmable express keys and a touch bar feature on both sides of the tablet to provide a customizable and convenient workflow for both right and left handed artists.

Pros

  • It is compatible with Mac OS, Windows 7, and mainstream applications like Clip studio, Adobe photoshop, FireAlpaca, etc.
  • It is a precise and fast model with up to 266 PPS.
  • It is a slim, portable, and compact design, making it easy to use and carry around.
  • It is an affordable model with excellent built quality.

Cons

  • Some users may find updating drivers difficult.

Overall, The Huion Kamvas Studio 22 is a high-quality drawing tablet that doesn’t compromise on quality, and much like the above Wacom Studio Pro, is aimed at experienced artists, but with a slightly more competitive price tag.

We have a full product review here

HP Zbook X2-G4

HP 3XT78UT Zbook
Pros:
  • Excellent build quality.
  • Durable for its size.
  • Powerful processor.
  • Lightweight and versatile.
Cons:
  • Poor stylus compared to other options.
  • Some will find it expensive.
  • Comes with a single USB 3.0 port.
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Dimensions: 18.9 x 14.2 x 5.8 inches | Display area (Active area): 14 inches | Item weight: 11.03 pounds | Display resolution: 3840 x 2160 Pixel | RGB Gamma Ray: 2.2 | Multi-touch: Yes | Pen pressure level: 4096 levels | Express keys: Yes | Customizable Express Keys: Yes | Resolution: 5080 LPI | Viewing Angle: 178

Made by HP, the Zbook x2-G4 is a premium build tablet with a sleek design packed with unique features. Here it stands out for its versatility and portability, and is much closer to a fully functioned laptop than a singular drawing tablet, however maintains a full array of functions to ensure it is just as capable.

Fully equipped with a detachable bluetooth keyboard, the Zbook can quickly adapt to become a fully functioning portable computer, with a processing speed of up to 1.8 GHz and large storage capacity.

Overall, HP Zbook X2-G4 is ideal for anyone looking for a high performance standalone drawing tablet with laptop-like qualities. Its unremarkable stylus is perhaps all that lets it down.

Apple iPad Pro

Apple 11-inch iPad Pro
Pros:
  • Excellent battery life.
  • High processing speed and performance.
  • High-resolution display.
  • Face ID.
  • Good response time.
Cons:
  • Lacks matte display.
  • No stylus pen supplied.
  • Expensive.
  • Limited external device support.
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If you click this link and make a purchase, we earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

Dimensions: 22 x 10.5 x 0.7 inches | Display Area: 12.9 inch Liquid Retina display | Weight: 1.41 pounds | Connectivity Type: USB-C | Storage Capacity: 128GB | Face/Touch ID: Face ID | Battery Life: 10 hours

For many of us, whether we are digital artists or not, the need for an iPad is increasingly overwhelming. And the Apple iPad Pro provides an excellent portable platform to both draw and create from.

Its resolution of 2732 x 2048 pixels produces vibrant images with outstanding color accuracy. But the quality really comes from a perfect balance of pressure sensitivity, quick response rates, accurate tracking, tilt recognition, and excellent ergonomics.

Overall, for any artist looking forward to buying a standalone drawing tablet with a great camera, wonderful response time, and full multitasking options, then the Apple iPad Pro is an excellent choice.

Microsoft Surface Pro 6

Microsoft  Surface Pro 6
Pros:
  • High-quality battery life.
  • Powerful performance.
  • Highly versatile.
  • It is sleek, light, and easy to use
Cons:
  • Some will find the design dated
  • No USB-C ports
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Dimensions: 11.50 x 7.90 x 0.33 inches | Display Area: 12.3 inches | Weight: 1.7 pounds | Connectivity Type: USB-C | Storage Capacity: 128GB | Performance: Intel Core i5, 8GB RAM | Battery Life: 13.5 hours

The Surface Pro 6 is one of the great standalone drawing tablets that uses windows as the operating system.

All the conveniences with this option are thanks to its prominent features. Arguably, it is light (1.69 pounds) and a slim model, making it easy to carry. It is versatile, which means that you can utilize it in distinct ways, including presentation, streaming, managing email, etc.

Overall, if you want a windows tablet, the Microsoft Surface Pro 6 is the perfect mix of portability, versatility and performance.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+

Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+
Pros:
  • Great build quality
  • High resolution display
  • Battery-free pen
  • Laminated display
  • MicroSD slot
Cons:
  • No holder for S Pen
  • No replacement nibs for the S Pen
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The Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+ is a powerful multi-purpose device with a large 12.4-inch super AMOLED display and boasting a resolution of 2800 x 1752 pixels. It also has a powerful 10,000 mAh battery and supports fast charging via the included charger.

It comes with the S pen, though there are no replacement nibs. The good news is that you can find those cheaply if you look around.

We love the design. The bezels beat the iPad Pro’s bezels when it comes to how thin they are, and the rounded corners make the tablet look sleek and stylish. Interestingly enough, the tablet is thinner than the stylus. At just 575 grams, it’s also pretty lightweight as well.

With a 16:10 aspect ratio, it’s also pretty wide. This makes it ideal for landscape mode when drawing. In fact, we would advise defaulting to landscape mode, as the color palettes on some drawing apps may occupy too much space in portrait mode.

The resolution is great enough that you can watch videos in 1440p, which you won’t see in many other tabs. The AMOLED display also ensures better clarity than even the iPad Pro can provide. The colors are very vibrant, though controls are available to make them more muted if you want.

The Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+ comes with a microSD card slot so you can use older memory cards. You can also buy microSD cards cheaply on the market up to 1TB.

The S Pen stylus is well-balanced, with great build quality and a smooth matte surface. It’s comfortable to hold and snaps magnetically to the back of the S7+. While it comes with a battery, drawing and writing doesn’t require battery power, only wireless air command gestures.

It supports pressure and tilt sensitivity and gets recognized at a distance of up to 1cm from the screen. The laminated display also means there is no parallax effect. With a 9ms latency, it is just as good as the Apple Pencil. Also, the screen has a 120Hz refresh rate, significantly reducing the lag between pen tip and cursor position.

New Microsoft Surface Go 2Best cheap drawing tablet that doesn’t need a computer

New Microsoft Surface Go 2 - 10.5" Touch-Screen
Pros:
  • Great sleek design
  • Low price for the base model
  • Great build quality
Cons:
  • Need to buy pen, cover, and stand separately
  • Comes with Windows S
  • Pen is fairly limited in capabilities
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The Microsoft Surface Go 2 is the successor to the original Surface Go. It is a massive improvement in that sense, with a better display, battery life, performance, and, most important of all, drawing experience.

Unfortunately, you only get the Surface Go 2 and its charger in the box. The Surface Go type cover and Surface Pen are to be purchased separately. This is a little disappointing since you absolutely need the pen to draw, which means you will definitely need to spend more money.

The base model costs around $400 and comes with an Intel Pentium Gold CPU, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB internal storage. The most expensive model costs in the region of $730 comes with an Intel Core m3 8100Y CPU, 8 GB RAM, and 256GB SSD internal storage.

We would recommend going for this for the best drawing experience, though the base model is also okay if you don’t have too many needs.

The display is 10.5 inches large with a 1920 x 1280 p resolution. That means you can play 1080p videos on it. It has 77% AdobeRGB, 100% sRGB, 77% P3, and 71% NTSC, with a maximum brightness of 360 nits, which is pretty impressive!

The display is also laminated, which means no parallax when drawing or writing.

At 535 grams, the Surface Go 2 is pretty lightweight, and just as thin as its stylus, making it a very compact tablet. It comes with a built-in stand capable of some very low angles.

That said, it’s a little annoying that the stand doesn’t have any lock, which means you can only use it in the lowest angle. That can be very uncomfortable. You would have to buy a cheap laptop stand to solve this problem.

The Surface Pen can snap magnetically to the side of the tablet, which also has the power and volume buttons, and the sim card slot. On the right is a USB-C port, a charging port for the Surface, and a 3.5mm audio jack.

There’s also a microSD card slot behind the stand, letting you expand the storage as you like.

What is a standalone drawing tablet?

A standalone drawing tablet combines the features of a computer and a regular drawing tablet. Precisely, it’s a drawing tablet that does not require a connection to a computer, unlike its more traditional counterparts, hence the name “stand-alone.

Standalone vs. traditional drawing tablet

The most evident distinguishing feature between a portable standalone tablet and a traditional drawing tablet is the potential to operate without the need of a computer.

In addition to its unique design that enables it to work like a computer, a standalone tablet also has a pen-enabled screen for a smoother drawing experience. In some circumstances, a traditional drawing tablet may be lacking a digital screen.

Portability and versatility, are another significant factor, as a standalone tablet can used in any location, at any time, as long as it has been charged.

However this does come at a cost. A standalone tablet on average costs significantly more than most other (traditional) models.

Advantages and disadvantages of standalone drawing tablets

Advantages

  • They have an inbuilt computer.
  • Highly portable.
  • Does not require additional hardware.
  • Digital drawing platform
  • Depending on the brand and model, they can support keyboard accessories
  • Broad choice of size and operating system.
  • Drawing experience is generally better.

Disadvantages

  • There are little to no upgrades available.
  • Some artists may find the screen too small.
  • Certain models struggle with complex 3D applications.
  • High price tag.

Types of standalone drawing tablets

Standalone drawing tablets have two classification criteria: Based on size and type of operating system.

Size – The size of a portable tablet ranges from 10 to 13 inches, through to 22 inches or 27 inches, which obviously has a significant impact on its level of versatility and how useful it will be as a standalone device.

Operating system – Predominantly there are three types of operating system; android, Windows, and IOS.

Each of these systems have their own unique strengths, for example android is known for its excellent optimization and personalization, windows boasts of application integration, and IOS carries the trophy for fluidity and integration of the brand’s eco-system.

While the features of an operating system might differ, the most important things are the applications that you use during drawing, all of which can be supported by the above.

What makes a good standalone drawing tablet?

Battery capacity – An important question to ask when choosing a standalone tablet is the length of time you will require the device to sustain its power without it needing to be recharged.

Having to always ensure that you have close access to a power supply can not only be inconveniencing but also reduces the portability capacity of the tablet.

Several factors can influence battery life; among them is the screen resolution and brightness of the display and the nature of the tasks to be carried out. All in all, a good tablet should be capable of serving you for a significant 10 hours without regard to these factors.

Cost – There’s no hiding that these tablets sit in the higher price bracket, but a good product should always combine the aspects of quality and affordability.

Standalone tablets provide a very unique workflow, and so be sure you will use it.

Programs – A good standalone tablet should be capable of running and storing your preferred drawing software. The storage capacity should have a minimum of 8GB RAM to run even the most complex of graphic programs.

Internet access – Internet access can be a huge benefit, and removes the need for a secondary device. Whether it be downloading and updating software or just general searching, having online access increases efficiencies and improves workflow.

Weight and portability – Often the fundamental reason for buying a standalone tablet is the high level of portability it provides, and this is largely dictated by its weight.

So determine how and where you intend to use it, and think about just how portable it needs to be.

Can I use a drawing tablet without a computer?

Yes you can. However, that doesn’t mean you can do that with all drawing tablets.

There are 3 main types of drawing tablets:

  • Smart tablets: These are drawing tablets that don’t require a computer to draw. You can draw, paint, and write on them, as well as a host of other things. Wacom, Samsung, and Apple are popular for making these tablets.
  • Touchscreen tablets: These are giant tablets with nice screens on which you can draw, sculpt, and animate. However, they cannot work without a computer as they use special software to render and transfer graphics. These are high-end professional devices used by artists at large companies, like Pixar and Disney.
  • Basic graphics tablets: These are more basic drawing tablets that are cheap enough to be affordable for most people. They absolutely need to be connected to a computer and use special software to draw. Drawing on them is much like drawing on paper, except you should keep your eye on the computer screen as you work. It can take some time to get used to them, but once you do, they feel very natural to use.

Why do you need a computer with a drawing tablet?

While there are many drawing tablets that can work without a computer, there are many advantages to using a computer with one.

  • The graphics are much better on a computer. Computers have better resolution and brightness levels than most drawing tablets.
  • The screens are larger. Computers, even laptops, have much larger screens than most drawing tablets, giving you a bigger canvas to work with.
  • Computers have better hardware specs. You can take advantage of a faster CPU and RAM when using your drawing tablet for a smoother performance.
  • Computers also offer more software options. Many drawing and design apps work exclusively on a computer, as opposed to a drawing tablet. Hooking your tablet up to a computer allows you to take full advantage of them.
  • Computers also make it drawing tablets more affordable. The cheapest drawing tablets can only work with a computer. Standalone smart tablets are far more expensive.

FAQs

Are Wacom tablets standalone?

Not all of them. Some Wacom tablets, like the Wacom Mobile Studio Pro, for example, can be used as standalone Windows pen computers. Others, like Intuos, absolutely need a computer to work.

Which Wacom does not need a computer?

The Wacom Mobile Studio Pro can be used as a standalone drawing tablet. It runs on Windows and can be used as a regular Windows pen tablet. The same goes for the Wacom Cintiq Companion and Cintiq Pro.

Can a Wacom one drawing tablet be used without a computer?

No, the Wacom One cannot be used without a computer. The only standalone tablets from Wacom are the Mobile Studio Pro, Cintiq Companion, and Cintiq Pro.

Do Wacom Cintiq drawing tablets work without a computer?

Not all of them. Only the Cintiq Companion and Cintiq Pro can be used as standalone drawing tablets.

Does Huion have a range of standalone tablets?

Yes, the Huion Kamvas studio line of tablets can be used as standalone drawing tablets.

What is the best non-screen display drawing tablet?

Our recommendation is a Wacom Intuos graphics tablet. It could be small, medium, or a large one, but we recommend the large one for the best drawing experience.

Can I get a standalone drawing tablet for under $300?

Yes it’s possible. Tablets like the Samsung Galaxy S6 Lite, Lenovo Smart TAB, and Huawei Mediapad M5 all retail for less than $300 and offer a great drawing experience.

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This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Sally

    That Huion Kamvas Studio 22 Drawing Tablet is not a standalone tablet. I don’t think Huion actually make any standalone tablets.

      1. tikki

        i think they got confused because the link is to ‘Kamvas pro 22’ not ‘kamvas studio 22’

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