This is a companion journal to go along with me "Cintiq Alternatives
" entry. While Cintiq's are amazingly cool, and so are their alternatives, they are still $300 or more. A lot of people just DON'T have that money. So this journal focuses on drawing tablets that compare to Wacom's Intuos Pro
Note: This is a US based perspective, so most links will be referring to North American customers. However, many of these brands are available internationally!
There are several brands that offer up alternatives to Wacom tablets. They are Huion/Turcom, Monoprice, and Ugee.
Things to keep in mind with ALL of these tablets. They all come with battery powered pens. Either rechargeable or ones you need to manually replace (usually AAA batteries). I've never heard of the weight (from the battery) bothering anyone. The quality of the pens vary from model to model. None the pens have the "eraser" and "tilt" functions. (If you don't know what those are, then you won't miss them. If you do know what those area, you likely still won't miss them...)
Driver compatibility can be an issue, depending on your OS and what drivers are already installed. Wacom drivers and Windows default tablet drivers are notorious for interfering with alternative-brand drivers. You must completely purge your system of Wacom drivers, old alt-tablets drivers, and turn off as many default settings with Windows as you can before installing alt-tablet drivers. And ALWAYS install drivers before plugging in your alt-tablet!
If by some small chance you're using Ubuntu (or a derivative) these tablets ought
to work natively with that OS
. However, getting it to work under WINE might be tricky
. Just thought I'd give the Linux users some love.
Huion offers tablets that are 4x2, 8x5, 8x6, and 10x6. The most people tablet from the Huion lineup is the H610 Pro
. The H610 gets good reviews across the internet
and comes highly recommended from "people in the know"
. The active area is 10x6, 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity,
and it comes with a nicely designed rechargeable pen.
If you look at the Turcom Amazon.com store front
, you'll notice that their tablets are either very similar or EXACTLY like Huions. I know that the two companies are technically
different, but I wonder if they get much of their hardware from the same source. I imagine some of the tablets have drivers that could be shared between the brands (though probably not all). The main difference seems to be the pricing. Turcom is about $10 cheaper (as of this writing) than Huion.Monoprice
is another big name in alt-tablets. Monoprice tablets with the product number 10594
and 10593 are essentially rebranded Huion tablets.
My husband has the 12x9 Graphic Tablet
, which is the biggest on the market for alt-tablets (it only has 1024 pressure sensitivity though, which is on the low side for alt-tablets). If you're transitioning from paper-to-digital, this size might suite you best. There other models are OK, but personally I'd just stick with Huion.Lastly is Ugee
. The company itself has been around for some time but only recently started making strides in the Western market. They have a very nice offering of tablets, similar to Huion in size offerings and sensitivity levels. The difference between the two brands is that Ugee tends to have more robust drivers (for Windows, anyway), uses a different kind of pen, and has a more streamlined look. The Ugee M708
would be the main competitor to Huion H610 Pro, though it lacks a rechargeable pen.
So which one should you buy? The specs are all very similar, with the differences mostly being in appearance and what kind of pen you get. What really matters in the end is customer service and driver support. Both Huion and Ugee keep their drivers updated, meaning they fix bugs and keep up with newer OS support. The customer service support seems to be very hit-and-miss though. Turcom's reputation seems to be middling at best... though they do keep up with their drivers (they have Windows 8 support at least). Monoprice has excellent customer service but, unfortunately, poor driver support.
Ultimately, what tablet works best is a personal decision based on your actual experiences. I generally recommend people try one of these alt-brands before buying a Wacom. Buy from a reputable retailer with a good return window and return policies, so that if the tablet doesn't work for you, you can get your money back. Go cheap and only go more expensive when the cheap brands don't work for you!
Also, each brand and model of these alt-tablets has online reviews for them. They're often fairly extensive too. Through other people's experiences, you can find out whether the tablet meets your needs or if the customer service and driver support is any good.
Lastly, many problems people have with these tablets comes down to the drivers. I have a FAQ that talks about almost every single problem that you can encounter with these tablets.
It is an old FAQ, for Windows 7, and it's not updated any more. BUT certain bits of advice are pretty well universal and can be applied regardless of OS.