While leaps and bounds have been made with modern low-to-no latency styluses with tilt detection and pressure, a dedicated surface which is highly sensitive can provide you with even more accuracy than you’d normally be able to achieve.
The size of the active surface is an important consideration for most artists, especially with graphics tablets. If you tend to draw small anyways you’ll be fine with a smaller screen, otherwise you’re going to find yourself zooming in and out quite a bit in order to add fine details to your artwork.
One of the main reasons for Wacom’s popularity is the fact that many of their products also mimic the feel of lightly grained paper. This makes for a drawing experience as close to the real thing as possible, since paper is rarely completely smooth. Others don’t mind the smooth surface, of course, so it’s really a matter of personal taste.
There are also some other things to take into account when it comes to the more technical aspects. The reporting rate is probably the most important of these and the easiest to understand for those who aren’t technophiles. A higher reporting rate means it will report more data at a time, making latency less of an issue.
The surface resolution is equally important. The higher the resolution, the finer the details you’ll be able to produce without having to zoom in further. This means an increased workflow efficiency, and on drawing tablets where you’re drawing directly it also means a better display.
Don’t forget to check if your device can utilize finger commands. This can make your workflow much more efficient since you won’t have to manually zoom in with the mouse when you’re working. Instead, if you find that you want finer details you can simply use your fingers.
If you have touch capabilities you’ll want to make sure that it also has palm rejection. Palm rejection will make the surface ignore your hand while it’s on the tablet, otherwise you may need to purchase a specialized glove.
If you already have a favored software program, it’s a good idea to make sure that your digital drawing tablet will be able to work with them. Usually a quick Google search will tell you, otherwise you may want to check message boards associated with the program.
For the most part, compatibility is far less of an issue than it used to be. Wacom tablets are renowned for their ability to connect with nearly any software and there are usually different options available when you purchase one which will allow you to also gain access to software specifically designed for what you’re planning on doing.
This becomes more of an issue if you choose to go with an off-brand. Just double check before you make your final purchase if you heavily favor one program already.
There are a couple of different types of connection which you will find available for graphics tablets as opposed to dedicated devices.
Bluetooth or wireless are generally more highly regarded, since you don’t have to physically connect the devices with a wire. This means you can set your laptop up on a table and kick back on the couch without having to keep track of the connection to avoid tripping over it or accidentally unplugging the device.
Many wired devices can be accessorized to achieve this, so if you’re stuck on a cheap wired drawing tablet you should definitely take a look and see if you can expand its capabilities to include being wireless.