Having a standalone tablet is great if you want to work without having to always carry a computer with you. But finding the best standalone tablet is obviously a huge challenge compared to simple drawing tablets without screens.
Standalone tablets are pricey and much more complex. There are a lot of things to consider when buying one – which is why we are here to help you. So, without any further ado, here are our top 8 picks and here is also why they are our top picks!
- Wacom Mobile Studio Pro: Best overall standalone tablet. It's bulky, heavy, and expensive. But if you are serious about drawing, it's hard to find a better alternative – unless portability is a bigger concern
- Apple iPad Pro 2020: Your best bet if you want something that offers a fine balance between portability and power. Just be ready to restrict yourself to Apple's ecosystem – which is the case with all Apple devices
- Microsoft Surface Book 3: A 2-in-1 laptop and tablet. Very few devices are this flexible or expensive
- Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+: The best Android tablet that you can get for drawing right now. And that's unlikely to change in the near future
- Huion Kamvas Studio 22: Superb choice if you are more interested in having a big display rather than portability. But keep in mind that it's not a fully standalone tablet. It only turns into a standalone tablet when you connect it to a computer
- Microsoft Surface Studio 2: Another huge tablet that is truly standalone and also truly overpriced. Prepared to dig deep into your pockets for this one and don't even think about taking it anywhere
- Apple iPad: The best budget option that you can get. And while $300 isn't exactly a cheap price tag, it's pretty cheap compared to all of our other picks
- Chuwi UBook Tablet: A great cheap option if you prefer Windows over the iPad OS. But keep in mind that cheap Windows devices are not that fast
- Quick Peek
- 1. Wacom Mobile Studio Pro: Best Overall Standalone Tablet
- 2. Apple iPad Pro 2020: Best Alternative Standalone Tablet
- 3. Microsoft Surface Book 3: Best 2-in-1 Laptop and Tablet
- 4. Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+: Best Android Tablet
- 5. Huion Kamvas Studio 22: Biggest Display (Not Fully Standalone)
- 6. Microsoft Surface Studio 2: 2-in-1 Desktop and Tablet
- 7. Apple iPad: Best Budget Standalone Tablet for Drawing
- 8. Chuwi UBook Tablet: Best Budget Windows Tablet
- Things to Look out For When Looking for the Best Standalone Tablet
- Wrapping Up
1. Wacom Mobile Studio Pro: Best Overall Standalone Tablet
The Wacom Mobile studio is more than a tablet. It's a powerful, portable computer with its own stand and a battery-free pen with tilt support. So, if you are looking for a workhorse that's as powerful as smart, it's hard to go wrong with this one!
- Display: 15.6 inches – 4K (3840 x 2160)
- Hardware: Intel Core i7 8559U, Nvidia Quadro P1000, 16 gigabytes of RAM, and 512 gigabytes of SSD storage
- Extra features: Battery-free pen with tilt support and built-in stand
- Battery: 5.5 hours
- Operating system: Windows 10
Let us start by saying that the one thing we dislike about it are its bezels. It's already pretty big with its 15.6-inch display and the bezels make it even larger than it needs to be.
If you are among those who have a habit of grabbing the edge of the tablet with one hand, this may turn out to be a good thing for you. But we imagine that most people won't find it to be pleasant.
The overall bulk of the tablet is another downside. But that's a price that you have to pay if you want powerful hardware. We are talking about an 8th gen Core i7 CPU, a Quadro P1000, and 16 gigabytes of RAM that you can upgrade if you wish to.
And don't forget that this standalone tablet comes with a full-fledged version of Windows 10, a 4K display with 85% Adobe RGB coverage, 5.5 hours of battery life, and a pen with 8,192 levels of pressure sensitivity.
Last, but not least, the extra shortcut keys and the free 6-month Adobe Fresco subscription are both welcome additions.
- Powerful hardware
- Superb pen
- Shortcut buttons are a welcome addition
- Comes with a 6-month subscription to Adobe Fresco for free
- Big display
- Decent battery life (Considering the specs)
- Big bezels
- Very Expensive
2. Apple iPad Pro 2020: Best Alternative Standalone Tablet
Not a fan of Windows 10 or bulky tablets? Then you should definitely check out the Apple iPad Pro 2020. It's a hell of a useful monster for its size!
- Display: 12.9 inches – (2732 x 2048)
- Hardware: Apple A12Z chipset, 128 gigabytes up to 1TB of SSD storage, and 6 gigabytes of RAM
- Extra features: Stand with magic keyboard, Apple Pencil with pressure sensitivity, and dedicated cameras (Keyboard and pencil need to be purchased separately)
- Battery: 9 to 10 hours
- Operating system: Apple iPadOS
The first thing that you are likely to notice is the lack of dedicated graphics and the small amount of RAM that's available. But it's worth pointing out that Apple's operating system is not as resource-heavy as Android and Windows. Both it and all of the software that you can get on Mac's ecosystem are very well optimized.
Of course, the only downside to having such superb optimization is that you must restrict yourself to Apple's ecosystem. Apple products work so much better with each other compared to other options out there.
A great thing about the iPad Pro 2020 is certainly the option of adding attachments to it. The magic keyboard with the stand along with the Apple Pencil are both superb – and maybe even a necessity if we are talking about graphic design.
But, unfortunately, you have to buy them separately from the iPad that's already rather expensive at $1000. $1,449, if you want to get 1TB of storage.
Needless to say that the Apple Pencil comes with pressure sensitivity – which is what makes it a great pick for drawing and design. Last, but not least, you also have the option of paying a small premium to get a version with cellular support.
- Relatively lightweight
- Great attachments
- Superb battery life
- Beautiful to look at with small bezels
- The cameras are a welcome addition
- Offers an LTE version
- Sort of restricts you to the Apple Ecosystem if you want to get the best experience out of it
- Smaller display than our top pick
- Relatively weak hardware (But it makes up for it with great software optimization)
- Expensive (But cheaper than our top pick)
3. Microsoft Surface Book 3: Best 2-in-1 Laptop and Tablet
This is not tablet that you can attach a keyboard to. This is a tablet that you can attach to a full-fledged laptop or a desktop workstation. Crazy, right?
- Display: 13.5 or 15 inches – (3000 x 2000)
- Hardware: Intel Core i7 10th gen, 32 gigabytes of RAM,and Nvidia GTX 1660Ti
- Extra features: Surface pen, detachable keyboard with ports and battery, and the Surface Dock 2 for turning your tablet into a full-fledged desktop
- Battery: 7 hours
- Operating system: Windows 10
When it comes to drawing, this device has only one major downside; and that's pricing. For more than two grand, you could probably buy yourself a separate desktop and a great tablet if you wanted to. But if you want the flexibility that the Microsoft Surface Book 3 offers, it's hard to go wrong with it.
Specifications-wise, it comes with a quad-core, Core i7, a dedicated GTX 1660 Ti GPU, 32 gigabytes of RAM, and up to 2 terabytes of SSD storage. It's definitely nothing to laugh at. But at more than 2 grand, it's worth pointing out that you can get much more – unless you absolutely want that beautiful 2-in-1 laptop and tablet combination.
Needless to say that at this price point, the Surface Pen is just as good as top competitors. It has tilt support for shading and virtually no lag. The only minor downside is that you have to charge it through the detachable keyboard – but you do need a place to store the pen in anyway.
Last, but not least, the advertised battery life of 15.5 hours when connected to the keyboard are great. But real-world testing shows that you generally won't be able to get more than 7-8 hours of use – especially if we are talking about heavy activities such as gaming or rendering.
- Very beautiful and elegant with reasonably small bezels
- Great specs (Even if a bit underwhelming at this price point)
- Flawless 2-in-1 design
- Great additional attachments
- Works for some gaming if you want it to
- Superb keyboard
- Most expensive standalone tablet on this list
- Could have used more powerful hardware at this price point (Though, we do understand that there are restrictions to how much power you can put on a portable tablet)
4. Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+: Best Android Tablet
Android isn't exactly a professional's first choice for drawing and design. But if you are feeling content with it, we can't think of a better choice than the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7+!
- Display: 12.4 inches (1752x2800)
- Hardware: Snapdragon 865+ chipset with up to 512 gigabytes of storage and 8 gigabytes of RAM
- Extra features: Galaxy S Pen, detachable keyboard, dual cameras with a selfie cam too
- Battery: 8 hours
- Operating system: Android 10
As is usually the case with our top picks, the only big downside of the Galaxy Tab S7+ is its price. If you want to get the version with the most memory and RAM, the Galaxy Tab S7+ is going to cost you just as much as an iPad Pro, if not more.
Don't get fooled by the 6 or 8 gigs of RAM, though. Android is nowhere near as demanding on hardware as Windows 10. You are highly unlikely to ever use more than 5-6 gigs of RAM on an Android tablet.
As with most of our picks, you can use this tablet with a keyboard and the Galaxy S Pen. But the dock itself is nowhere near as powerful and flexible as pricier options like the Microsoft Surface Book 3.
One of its biggest strengths is no doubt how portable and lightweight it is. Especially if you consider how much it offers.
Overall, if you are after the best Android tablet for drawing, you just found your match.
- Relatively lightweight and portable
- Offers a lot of pricing options from $500 to more than $1200
- Optional attachments such as the keyboard are always a welcome addition
- Decent battery life
- The high-end variants are expensive
- Android can be a bit more limiting than other operating systems in terms of creativity
5. Huion Kamvas Studio 22: Biggest Display (Not Fully Standalone)
Let us start by saying that this is not a fully standalone tablet. You have to connect it to a computer with Windows, Mac, or Android with DEX support. But when it is connected it works just like any other standalone tablet. So, we thought it's worth a mention for those who like having a huge display – even if some don't think that it deserves a spot on this list.
- Display: 21.5 inches (1080P, unspecified. But 1080P usually stands for 1920x1080)
- Hardware: Uses your computer's hardware
- Extra features: Stylus with 8192 pressure levels and dedicated buttons for extra control
- Battery: Doesn't have one as it works straight through a power plug
- Operating system: Whatever your host device is using
The main reason we include a table that doesn't work fully on it sown is due to the fact that some people like having a huge display for drawing. And if you find yourself in that category, you'll have a rough time finding anything that's equal to this and is also a fully standalone tablet. Except for the Microsoft Surface Studio – which is out of reach for most. More on that later.
At 21.5 inches with the very sensitive stylus, this makes for a great drawing experience. The only downside is that you need a powerful enough host device as you are using its hardware to power the tablet.
Of course, the compromise to having a huge display is that you won't be able to carry it with you. Or at least you won't be able to do it with ease.
One of the things we dislike about this tablet, though, is that it has only a 1080P resolution while other tablets with half of its size can go as high as 4K.
- Relatively affordable (But you need to already have a powerful host device to use as its hardware)
- Huge display
- The extra buttons for ease of use are a welcome addition
- Low-resolution display compared to other options (But we are not sure if this affects the end experience since 1080P at 22 inches is still considered okay. If there are any experts reading this, feel free to let us know about your opinion in the comments)
- Relies on other devices for hardware
- Not very portable, if at all
6. Microsoft Surface Studio 2: 2-in-1 Desktop and Tablet
If you are on the lookout for a tablet that's huge while also being fully standalone, we can't think of a better solution than the Microsoft Surface Studio 2!
- Display: 28 inches (4500 x 3000)
- Hardware: Quad-core Core i7 7820HQ, dedicated GTX 90xx or 10xx GPU(Depending on the model you'll get), and up to 2TB of storage with 32 gigabytes of RAM
- Extra features: Keyboard and mouse, Surface Pen, and the desktop/tablet base
- Battery: Doesn't have one as it works straight through a power plug
- Operating system: Windows 10
The reason this is considered more of a desktop/tablet combo rather than a laptop/tablet one is due to how huge it is. At 28 inches with all of its IO ports, you can easily use this as a full-fledged desktop, if you want to.
And when it's time to use it as a tablet, you can bring it down to surface level or just closer to your hands thanks to its sturdy dock and hinges. That's the magic of it.
The only downside it has is that costs so much money that it's out of reach for most people. This particular version that w are linking to above costs $4,300 if you get it brand new.
And when you get it, this is clearly made for desk use. It's so large that you won't be taking it anywhere. It's a serious tool – or a very expensive piece of machinery – depending on how you look at it.
- Enormous display with high fidelity
- Powerful hardware
- Can be used for gaming (Your mileage may vary depending on the GPU, though)
- Both a desktop and a tablet in one package
- Ridiculously expensive
- Not portable at all
7. Apple iPad: Best Budget Standalone Tablet for Drawing
"Apple" and "Budget" are two words that you don't commonly see together. But in this case, the Apple iPad is surprisingly cheap – at least when you compare it to our other top picks it is.
- Display: 10.2 inches (1620 x 2160)
- Hardware: Apple A12 Bionic (6 cores), up to 128 gigabytes of storage, and 3 gigabytes of RAM
- Extra features: Apple Pencil (Not Apple Pencil 2, though) and smart keyboard
- Battery: Up to 10 hours
- Operating system: iPadOS
You can definitely tell how this iPad is a bit more outdated and weaker compared to pricier options. The bezels are thick while the hardware is kind of mediocre. The 3 gigabytes of RAM and 32 gigabytes of storage, in particular, are two things that can be worrying for some.
The processor, however, is still great; especially for the money; and don't forget that we're still dealing with iPadOS here. Apple's operating system and software, in general, is nothing to laugh at.
iPhones can compete with Android devices that offer twice or even thrice the amount of RAM. That's just how good Apple is at working with software, and that's clearly visible if you look at how fluid the iPad is for the money.
One of its few downsides is that it only works with the first generation of the Apple Pencil. This means that you are stuck with its less natural design, while you also need to charge it through the Lightning port.
Still, we'd say that this is a small price to pay for getting such a great, cheap, standalone tablet. If you want a budget solution for about $300, or less, depending on if there are any sales going on, you can't go wrong with the iPad 2020.
- Relatively cheap
- Very fast and fluid for the money
- The camera is a welcome addition
- Decent battery life
- Thick bezels
- 32 gigabytes of storage and 3 gigs of RAM may feel underwhelming for some (But you can at least get a 128-gigabyte version if you are willing to spend a bit more)
8. Chuwi UBook Tablet: Best Budget Windows Tablet
A decent Windows computer can easily cost $1000 or more. So, a $350 Windows tablet such as the Chuwi Ubook is at the very least worth checking out.
- Display: 11.6 inches (1280 x 1920)
- Hardware: Intel N2120 (4-cores), 256 gigabytes of storage, and 8 gigabytes of RAM
- Extra features: Detachable keyboard with stand and stylus-like pen with 4096 levels of pressure sensitivity
- Battery: 3-5 hours
- Operating system: Windows 10
It's worth pointing out that not only this is one of the cheapest tablets on this list – but it also performs like a cheap tablet. And that 's precisely why we recommend getting an Apple iPad over pretty much any other budget tablet.
But if you absolutely need a Windows tablet, Chuwi's offering is the one. It comes with everything you'll need to get the job done on the cheap. We are talking about an okay processor, an 11-inch 1080P display, along with its stand, a detachable keyboard, and a pen for drawing.
It really gets the job done. But you must show a little bit of patience with it. Compared to our other picks, the Chuwi UBook is noticeably slower.
And if you are a heavy multitasker, that's where the cheapness of the tablet stands out the most. Not only due to its relatively weak processor but also due to the lack of RAM. Cause, remember, Windows is much more resource-hungry than most operating systems – including iPadOS. You can't tell how fluid different tablets with different operating systems are just by checking out the hardware.
In such cases, YouTube reviews are often a better solution.
- Relatively cheap
- Gets the job done
- Comes with both a stylus and a detachable keyboard
- The included stand is a big plus
- May feel a bit sluggish depending on how hard you push it
- Mediocre battery life
- Not the sturdiest of stands and keyboards
Things to Look out For When Looking for the Best Standalone Tablet
Still unsure on what to pick? Then maybe you don't know what to look out for. Here are some of the most important things to keep in mind.
Size, resolution, color accuracy, display technology – every little thing can make a big difference. But all of our picks here have a decent display – unless otherwise specified.
So, it's mostly about size at this point. And that's a matter of personal preference. Some people prefer having relatively small tablets that they can carry around. Others prefer huge displays that they can use on the desk.
2. Operating System, Software, and Capabilities
All operating systems have their own pros and cons. When it comes to tablets:
- iPadOS: All-around lightweight and offers most of the stuff you'll need. But there are no cheap options and you'll have to restrict yourself to Apple's ecosystem in order to take full advantage of it
- Android: Offers plenty of options in terms of pricing and is somewhat lightweight. But it's not the best choice if you are a serious professional or demanding user since it's limited in both hardware and software
- Windows: Super flexible in both software and hardware and it allows you to do everything you want to. But it requires powerful and expensive hardware for you to take full advantage of it
The more demanding that the software you are after is, the more powerful that your hardware needs to be in order to support it.
But hardware is not linear. It's a complicated thing to learn about. First, different operating systems ask for different resources. For example, Apple's operating system is so very-well optimized that it can wipe the floor with any Android device that's twice as powerful.
Then there is also architecture and power demands to keep in mind. A decent quad-core desktop processor is much more powerful than any octa-core Android chipset because it doesn't have the same power and thermal limitations.
There's too much to talk about here in terms of hardware. But generally, it's better to have a bit more power than you need rather than not having enough. Just don't compare devices with different operating systems and different CPU architectures cause they are not the same thing. The numbers can be deceiving if you don't know what they mean.
The least that you'll need is a good pen that you can use for drawing. Anything else such as docks, adapters, keyboards, and anything else is just an extra attachment that can come in handy. Most people will actually agree that at least a dock is essential too.
5. Battery and Portability
Last, but not least, pay attention to how much a tablet can last on battery – if it has one. The big, powerful ones that are made for desk usage are almost always going to rely on getting fed through the wall.
And when it comes to battery life, it's important to look not at what the manufacturer claims, but real-world results. That's why we often report different battery life estimations when reviewing products.
What is the Difference Between a Standalone Tablet and a Drawing Tablet?
A drawing tablet is nothing but an add-on – that is why you need a computer or another tablet to use it. A standalone tablet, on the other hand, is a full-fledged computer with hardware, software, as well as drawing capabilities.
There are also options in-between. Tablets such as the Huion Kamvas Studio 22 offer a display and drawing capabilities, but no hardware of their own. And that is why you still need to connect them to a computer.
Can you use a Wacom Tablet Without a Computer?
It depends on the tablet. The Wacom Mobile Studio Pro is a fully standalone tablet, so, it doesn't need a computer. But that doesn't apply to most budget options and that is why you should always be careful with what you get.
What is the Difference Between a Drawing Tablet and an iPad?
Drawing tablets are additional tools that you can only use for drawing. They are not made to be full-fledged computers. An iPad, on the other hand, offers all of the software and hardware that you need. You can use an iPad not just for drawing, but also for watching movies, browsing the web, etc.
Should I get an iPad or a Drawing Tablet?
It depends on what suits you best. Drawing tablets are great if you already have a computer and all you need is a tool for drawing on it. But an iPad is an all-in-one package with the only downside that it's rather expensive.
Which iPad Should I Get for Digital Art?
We'd definitely recommend the iPad Pro 2020. It offers a nice balance between power and portability while you can also use the superb Apple Pencil on it for drawing.
These are our top picks for now. Do you have anything else to recommend? If so, feel free to let us and everyone else know about it in the comments section down below!
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