Like most digital artists in the world, the name I hear the most when it comes to digital art tablets is Wacom. Wacom this, Wacom that, and maybe an occasional mention of a Wacom alternative here and there.
With that much support for Wacom you can’t help but wonder, are the alternatives even worth considering?
Yes. They are.
Think of it this way. Only looking at Wacom is like only looking at the highest end computer. Sure, it has everything you could possibly ask for, but all that extra performance is probably unnecessary for someone who only uses their computer to surf the internet and play solitaire, right?
It’s the same concept with tablets. Wacom gives you every feature they possibly can, but whether you really need them enough to warrant paying all that extra cash is a whole different story.
I wholeheartedly recommend that you take the time to explore all your options. It’s very possible that you’ll be satisfied with a 100 USD Huion H1060P instead of a 350 USD Wacom Intuos Pro, or a 550 USD XP-Pen Artist22E instead of the 1700 USD Wacom Cintiq 22HD. Even just the possibility of saving that much money should be more than enough reason to spend some time researching the alternatives.
A Slight Introduction to Wacom Alternatives
In the past, it was unheard of for people to be considering Wacom alternatives, much less buying them. They were only slightly cheaper than their Wacom counterparts and they were abysmally worse. It was completely within expectations for an alternative tablet to have horrible drivers which seemed programmed to screw with you, and the products themselves seemed to be made of much cheaper materials than anything Wacom offered by far.
Weighing the pros and cons between the two, it would actually be pretty stupid not to go with a Wacom.
However, the past is the past and what we need to look at is the present. The alternatives have become increasingly more competent and ever since 2017 rolled around, driver problems have stopped being the main issue plaguing Wacom alternative tablet reviews. It’s no longer about whether the alternatives work or not, but rather about whether they fit your personal tastes.
Sure, you might prefer Wacom even at their higher price point, and you decide that for yourself, but know that it won’t hurt to at least know what other options you have.
The alternatives may not have been worthwhile before, but that is now completely a thing of the past. If the alternatives suit your personal tastes and needs, you’re going to be in for quite a lot of money saving.
How I View Wacom and Wacom Alternatives
I view Wacom as the industry standard and that is a completely irrefutable fact. They have the quality, software, and track record necessary to back that and I am not trying to argue that they are not. However, Wacom is not the “baseline” of tablets and people need to realize and acknowledge this. The proper way to look at it is to consider the alternatives as the “baseline” product, and Wacom as the “luxury” product.
As Youtube channel Rebel Pixels said in his Why I DO Recommend Wacom Alternatives video, a Wacom is basically like a BMW and the alternatives are like a Toyota Corolla. “Yeah, the BMW is better than the Toyota Corolla, but the Toyota Corolla is way more affordable and targeted to a completely different kind of consumer than a f—ing BMW.”
If you consider the BMW the “baseline”, then obviously the Toyota Corolla is going to look like total crap which should never be considered, but because we look at the Toyota Corolla as the “baseline” car, we’re able to see its pros and cons properly in comparison with the “luxury” BMW.
Do you need the extra features that Wacom offers, or is a tablet which “does the job” enough for your art? As long as you know what extra features Wacom offers, you should be able to see whether it’s necessary for you as an individual to pay more for a Wacom, or save money and settle with an alternative.
My Goals For This Blog
What I aim to do with this blog is to inform people (mainly artists) about their drawing tablet choices. I want to give them an overall view of the current drawing tablet market and help people find out whether avoiding Wacom and saving money is an option for them. Or if they’re better off staying with Wacom due to certain features that you can’t get from any other company.
Unfortunately, I only look at the market from a North American point of view, so the prices I mention and comparisons I make may not be the same for your region. Even so, I believe that it is still worthwhile for you to know all the other options that are out there, so do not let the region difference deter you.
I have a fair collection of tablets and I will be doing my own personal reviews from time to time, although you should note that my experience is mainly skewed towards screen-less tablets as they are more accessible to a hobbyist like me who is not often chosen to receive review samples.
I may also attempt to write guides for choosing tablets occasionally, but much of my time on this site will probably be spent updating my masterlists of drawing tablets so that they are relatively up to date at all times.
Please note that this blog is being run by a single person as a hobby, so updates and new content may be sparse.
I hope that you find my blog informative as well as helpful!
Thanks for reading,