When it comes to buying a graphics tablet that doesn't require hand-eye coordination, with the strokes taking shape directly in front of your eyes, as they would on a notebook or a conventional drawing pad, you can quickly get lost in front of the large number of devices available on the market. To find out which tablet is best suited to your needs, and to understand the specifications it must have in order to work efficiently, we have chosen 4 key tablet models to guide you in your choice. Wacom Intuos Pro Paper M, Apple Pencil 2nd generation, Remarkable 2 or ISKN Repaper. Opt for the market leaders, or invest in the new challengers with incredible value for money, it will be straightforward for you to purchase your device following our comparison.
A graphics tablet for what purpose?
The purchase of a graphics tablet depends first of all on the usage that you will make of it. It is therefore important to define your needs in order to choose the best tablet. If you're looking for versatility, the ISKN Repaper tablet will stand out from its competitors. Indeed, for professionals or beginners, Repaper allows a comprehensive use, from the graphic designer wishing to use the most popular professional graphics software on the market, to the apprentice illustrator wishing to have a tablet that allows him to draw simple sketches wherever he is, to the teacher or student wishing to take notes, explain concepts by mapping them or add annotations to a text. With a sheet of paper that can be attached to the tablet's touch-sensitive working surface, and the ability to use any of your favorite pencils, Repaper is a natural fit for both drawing and handwriting.
On the other hand, a tablet like the Remarkable 2, despite its artificial paper writing sensation, can only be used as an e-reader or interactive tablet, to take notes and edit documents. It does not allow designers and graphics artists to work with it. As far as a graphics tablet like the Wacom Intuos is concerned, it will certainly be versatile, as it uses the same principle as the Repaper, but the user will need to already have a certain experience with this type of tool, with this manufacturer, as the use of the brand's stylus is mandatory with this tablet. It is impossible for the illustrator or teacher to use usual pencils, which are easy to handle, inexpensive and without significant additional costs in case of loss. In the same way, a tool like the Apple Pencil requires the purchase of a recent iPad pro or iPad air tablet to be used. It then becomes difficult to use it as an educational tablet, or for people who are not in the world of professional design, as the total price of the whole device becomes expensive for someone who wants a versatile and easy to use device. Repaper becomes the most affordable tool, and can be used by anyone who wants to invest in a graphics tablet, from a beginner to a professional.
What tools should I use with my tablet?
Pencils and styluses.
The main tool to use a graphics tablet is the stylus that will allow you to draw and write directly on the working surface of the tablet. There are several types, and generally, the brands of tablets require to use their own stylus. This is the case with the Wacom Intuos Pro Paper M, the iPad and its Apple Pencil or the Remarkable 2 interactive reader. The real concern with this policy is that in case of loss or damage, you need to be able to replace your stylus with the same model, which is often expensive, to keep using your graphics tablet. Where the ISKN Repaper once again stands out is its ability to utilize your favorite pen or pencil directly on a paper sheet placed on the active surface of the tablet. The magnetic Ring placed around your favorite pencils and pens makes any of these tools compatible with the tablet, and the comfort of use and ergonomics become incomparable for users who no longer need to change their habits. With this functionality, you can work smoothly and get to grips with the tablet instantly after purchase. For people who are already accustomed to working with a stylus, especially when working with software, or using the programmable and customizable shortcuts, this is also possible with Repaper. Its hybrid nature with traditional pen or digital stylus offers the versatility to quickly adapt to the tool, regardless of its use.
Paper or touch surface? Screenless mode for versatility.
There are two main types of graphic tablets: those with a touch surface only, and the so-called "Scanner" tablets that allow you to place a standard sheet of paper directly on the drawing area. For the first type, as with the iPad and its Apple Pencil, or the Remakable 2, even if the sensations tend to be as close as possible to drawing on paper, especially for the latter, the sensation is still imperfect and may discourage beginners to use these touch tablets. Not so with scanner tablets like the ISKN Repaper or the Wacom Intuos Pro Paper M. Since these tablets use a real sheet of paper, their intuitive use makes working and drawing digitally enjoyable for anyone. This is especially true for Repaper, which unlike the Wacom, allows you to use your own favorite pencil, and not a stylus, hence making the sensations really identical to traditional drawing. The scanner tablet also allows you to use a so-called screenless mode, so you can sketch projects anywhere, with the comfort of paper and without the need for a computer or mobile application at hand. With Repaper, for example, drawings are saved within the tablet to be imported later with the dedicated Repaper Studio application and its import function.
How to choose the right technical configuration?
Weight and size are critical.
The physical characteristics of your graphics tablet determine how you can use it. Too large and you can't carry it around easily, but it provides a large work area, and too small and it will be uncomfortable to use. At Wacom, with the Intuos Pro Paper M, you get the largest tablet (about 20-25% larger than the other models shown here). While this size gives you more room to work, the weight of the tablet makes it more difficult to use it on the go (more than 50% heavier than the other tablets in this buying guide). On the other hand, the Remarkable 2 is the smallest. This characteristic is not necessarily the best solution for drawing, as this graphic tablet is not made for this use anyway. The Apple Pencil requires the use of an iPad which will feature different dimensions depending on the size of the selected display. You can then opt for a tablet like the ISKN Repaper, with a medium size and a relatively light weight, around 450 grams. This allows you to carry it everywhere, while keeping a comfortable working surface for the user.
Autonomy to work in total serenity.
With 30 hours of continuous use, the Remarkable 2 is the undisputed champion of autonomy. But it remains a regular interactive reader and requires less energy than other tablets to run. A graphics tablet does not consume much energy anyway, and even the ISKN Repaper allows you to work continuously for 6 hours, which is a more than reasonable amount of time to work on your designs, even when you are on the go. Also, since a graphics tablet is rechargeable via a basic USB cable, this makes it much easier to use outdoors, and is more convenient than the Apple-branded cable required to connect a touchscreen tablet like the iPad.
Internal memory is essential to store your creations.
To be productive, it is important to limit the time allocated to each topic to avoid endless meetings. To do so, do not hesitate to structure your meeting in several parts, to which you will define in advance a certain length, and to summarize certain key points to save time. Not getting lost in unnecessary details will make your interventions more productive and the participants will stay more alert during the whole time of the meetings you lead.
Export your files from the dedicated application.
Exporting files from the dedicated application of the tablet can be interesting for those who want to show or rework their projects directly after their creation. In this respect, the Wacom and the Repaper do well, both providing the most relevant export formats via their dedicated applications, with a slight advantage for the Wacom also offering PDF format in addition to JPG, PNG, SVG or PSD to retouch your work in Adobe Photoshop. The mp4 video export allows you to monitor the progress of your work and is also possible on these two models. On the iPad, with its Apple Pencil, everything will depend on the application on which you will work, but generally, these are charged in order to allow useful export formats. The Remarkable 2, with its use not really dedicated to design, only offers " literacy " formats with ePub and PDF.
How to choose an accurate and easy-to-use graphics tablet.
Pressure levels, an important decision regarding accuracy.
The pressure level of the operating surface of a graphic tablet and the consideration of the pen's tilt are important criteria, if not the most important criteria for the artist, who will be able to use his or her tablet more or less accurately depending on these parameters. Depending on the tablet model, this can vary from single to double, and while a device like the Remarkable 2 will provide 4,096 levels of sensitivity, the ISKN Repaper and Wacom Intuos Pro Paper M tablets will provide twice as many. The stroke will be twice as precise on the latter and you will get a high-resolution drawing, reproducing exactly the pressure you applied with your pencil or pen. As for the Apple Pencil, the brand did not want to communicate this information, which may suggest that it does not surpass its competitors.
Detection of the natural tilt of the pencil.
In the same way as for pressure levels, the tilt sensitivity of the pen or stylus will be decisive to be able to reproduce your strokes effectively on the software, in a natural and realistic shape. While the Remarkable and Wacom tablets do very well with an average pen tilt of 50 and 60 degrees respectively, it is the ISKN tablet that, with an average tilt of 70 degrees (90 degrees maximum using the best tools), wins the prize. Its technology combines a magnetic ring, which can be adapted to any pencil. With the magnetometers integrated in the tablet, it allows a great drawing precision, and reproduces faithfully what you draw on paper affixed to the tablet. Apple and its Pencil, like its pressure levels, also did not want to communicate this information to the public.
Software compatibility to satisfy your needs.
Mac or PC? Android or iOS?
Users can benefit from the connectivity of their graphics tablet to multiple devices, and being able to switch operating systems to use your device anywhere and with any device available is a real plus. For this element of comparison, the Remarkable 2 is already out of the picture, as it only uses its native operating system, and cannot be connected to a computer, smartphone or iOS and Android tablets. In the same way, the Pencil provided by Apple requires an iPad to function, and can only be used on iOS. We can then focus on the last two competitors, and it is once again the tablet from ISKN that wins this duel. While the tablet from Wacom will be able to connect easily to Windows and Mac OS X, implying at least a laptop for those wishing to work on software, the Repaper will also be compatible with Android and iOS. This allows it to connect via Bluetooth to a cell phone or tablet, even an entry-level one, and to be able to work on software at any time, even when travelling.
What software and applications for my tablet?
Whether it's for graphic design software, collaborative work or distance learning applications, ISKN and Wacom are still at the top of the game by offering compatibility with all major software available on PC and Mac. From the Creative Suite (Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator), to Krita, Powerpoint, LibreOffice and Zoom, among others, everything is made possible with these graphic tablets. In addition, ISKN offers the use of Repaper Studio to work on smartphones and touchscreen tablets, along with Android and iOS. As with the operating systems, the Apple Pencil is limited in that it can only be used with compatible applications available in the App Store. The Remarkable 2 cannot be included in this comparison, as it can only be used as an interactive reader, and only uses the options already integrated in the tablet.
Choose your best value for money tablet.
As we have seen throughout this comparison, finding the ideal touch tablet starts with an analysis of your needs. If the tablet from Remarkable 2 can be used in a very specific context, it is not very versatile and still comes at a rather high price, around 450 euros. The Apple Pencil also suffers from its high price, as it requires an iPad to be used. The package including the tablet and the pen quickly rises above 800 euros, and it becomes complicated, for a novice or someone wishing to use it only for distance learning or in a traditional business setting. Investing so much money in a system can be difficult. The Wacom Intuos Pro Paper M and the ISKN Repaper have very similar purposes, and even if the Wacom's battery is a little more efficient over time, and the brand's reputation makes it a model of choice, the other elements clearly lean in favor of the ISKN tablet. More versatile, it will really suit everyone, whether a beginner in the world of graphic tablets or someone with experience, and being able to use any personal pencils is a real plus in the long run, as they are significantly less expensive to replace in case of wear, breakage or loss. Finally, the price of 199 € for the Repaper, against the 429 € of the Wacom Intuos Pro Paper ends up convincing us in favor of the first one, offering a really unbeatable value for money in this category.