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The best tablets with a stylus pen for drawing and note-taking in 2021

Best tablets with a stylus for drawing: Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Plus
(Image credit: Samsung)

The best tablets with a stylus pen can make such a difference to your workflow and your life. Having a portable means by which to draw whenever and wherever you like is a boon for any creative, and many of the best tablets are multi-functional, meaning you can also use them to jot down notes on a presentation, sketch out a rough idea for redoing the living room, or whatever else springs to mind!

There's simply loads of choice out there. Do you want to go for a specialist artist's tablet, with a stylus pen that offers granular pressure and tilt sensitivity? If so, you may want to get the premium, best-in-class models from Wacom, or you may want to try and save some cash by looking at rival names like Huion or XP-Pen.

Of course, you may prefer the idea of a tablet and stylus combo that can do a lot of things as well as drawing. You may also want something that integrates really well with your existing device setup. If that's the case, then you may be best off looking at options from the likes of Apple and Samsung. Once, the idea of drawing on an iPad might have seemed like a cheap gimmick. These days, it's one of the best artist experiences around.

It all depends on what you need, and how much you want to spend. That's why we've put together this guide to what we reckon are the ten best tablets with a stylus available right now. We've picked a range of models, some large, some small. Some cheap, some expensive. Some with screens, some that need to be plugged into a separate display. Whatever your needs, we feel confident there will be a tablet and stylus here for you.

Of course, if you need even more choice, you can look at our guide to best drawing tablets. For alternatives to Apple's own tablet stylus, don't miss our guide to the best Apple Pencil alternatives , and we've also got a guide to the best tablets for photo and video editing for those whose needs run in this direction.

But for now, let's get into the best tablets with a stylus you can buy right now!

The best tablets with a stylus pen available now

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(Image credit: Apple)

01. Apple iPad Pro 12.9 (2020)

Refreshed for 2020, the Apple iPad pro 12.9 is a superb tablet

Weight: 643g | Dimensions: 280.6 x 214.9 x 5.9mm | OS: iPad OS | Screen size: 12.9-inch | Resolution: 2732 x 2048 | CPU: Apple A12Z Bionic | RAM: 8GB | Storage: 128/256/512GB/1TB | Front camera: 7MP | Rear cameras: 12MP / 10MP

Unbeatably fast performance
Liquid Retina display
Costs as much as a high-end laptop
Pencil an additional expense

When you consider the fact that this is one of the best tablets ever made, then the fact that it's got one of the best styluses ever made, it becomes pretty inevitable that the Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2020 would hit the number-one spot in a guide like this.

The obvious caveat is that it's expensive, but if it's within your budget the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil is a transformative combination. Apple has pushed things up a notch from the previous iPad Pro, and this model houses an A12Z Bionic chip with an 8-core graphics engine. The previous model already ran with enough power to rival a decent laptop, and now this one is even faster – more powerful than its big rival, the Microsoft Surface Pro 7. The Retina display is a sublime piece of engineering, impressively bright and covering a wide colour gamut.

This isn't the most important issue for artists though. The big question is, how is the drawing experience? Thanks to its generous 12.9-inch screen, the iPad Pro is one of one of the largest tablets on the market; for a screen any bigger, you have to get into the world of professional artist's tablets. With this, however, you can download one of the brilliant drawing apps for the iPad in the App Store, and then you're away. Though do remember that you do have to shell out extra cash for the Apple Pencil, which is not included. Once you've got it, however, it can be attached to the magnetic strip at the top so it's always to hand.

So, ultimately, it's a question of whether you can afford it, or if you even want to pay this much. There are more cost-effective options, for sure. But if you do have the cash, this is the best drawing tablet with stylus you can get right now.

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(Image credit: Wacom)

02. Wacom Cintiq 22

The most affordable Wacom drawing tablet of its size – ever!

Active drawing area: 19.5 x 11.5in | Resolution: 1,920 x 1,080 | Pen pressure sensitivity: 8,192 levels | Connections: HDMI, USB 2.0

Fantastic price
Satisfying drawing experience 
Lower resolution 
No built-in shortcut keys 

There had to be a Wacom here of course. The company makes some of the finest drawing tablets on the market, and is deservedly one the biggest names in digital art. 

Wacom made an extremely welcome update to its Cintiq range in 2019, phasing out the Cintiq 22HD in favour of this new Cintiq 22 – one of the most affordable, high-quality drawing tablets of its class. The physically large drawing area of the Cintiq 22 makes it comfortable and intuitive to draw on, while the anti-glare glass surface has been laminated to create a slight texture that give some nice bite to your stylus movement. Its resolution isn’t as high as the previous Cintiq 22HD, so the picture is a little softer, but the drawing experience is fantastic.

The tablet comes with the Pro Pen 2 stylus, a fantastic tablet pen that gives you 8,192 levels of pressure sensitivity to work with. It doesn’t need a battery, taking power from the electromagnetic properties of the screen, and its comfortable heft makes it satisfying to draw with. The Cintiq 22 may not be as affordable as some of its rivals, but for a Wacom tablet it’s incredibly well priced.

Read more: Wacom Cintiq 22 review

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(Image credit: XP-Pen)

03. XP-Pen Deco Pro

The best budget tablet with a stylus

Active drawing area: 11 x 6in | Resolution: 5080 LPI | Pen pressure sensitivity: 8,192 levels | Connections: USB-C

Amazingly affordable
Sleek, stylish design
Some software jank
'Small' version is too small

When discussing the "best" drawing tablets with a stylus, it's easy to get carried away talking about highly sophisticated models that cost thousands. It's important to recognise that different users have different budgets, and not everyone can spend that much on a tablet. If you're working to a tighter budget, then we definitely recommend the XP-Pen Deco Pro.

It comes in two flavours, Small and Medium, and to be honest, the price difference is minor enough that it's worth spending more to get the medium unless you really can't afford it. You'll be thankful for the extra drawing space.

The Deco Pro provides a comprehensively capable drawing experience, with a sophisticated stylus that boasts up to 8,192 levels of pressure sensitivity. Which is good enough for anyone! Bear in mind you'll need to hook a display or other device to the Deco Pro to see the fruits of your labour; it's all easy enough to set up via the USB-C connection. The software that comes with it can be a bit of a chore to install, but once you're up and running, you'll be enjoying something pretty damn close to a premium drawing tablet experience, at a much lower price than you'd pay for one of the big boys from Wacom or Apple.

Best drawing tablets with a stylus

(Image credit: Samsung)

04. Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Plus

The best Android tablet with a stylus pen

Weight: 575g | Dimensions: 285 x 185 x 5.7 mm | OS: Android 10 | Screen size: 12.4-inch | Resolution: 2800 x 1752 pixels | CPU: Snapdragon 865 Plus | Storage: 128GB/256GB | microSD slot: Yes | Battery: 10,090mAh | Rear camera: 13MP + 5MP | Front camera: 8MP

Gorgeous display
Suite of Android apps
Expensive
S Pen can be temperamental

The latest in Samsung's impressive Galaxy Tab S range, the S7 Plus is the biggest and best of Android tablets right now. With huge battery life, an enormous, high-fidelity screen and powerful processing engines, it's more than equipped for everything artists need. Plus, the S Pen comes as standard in the box, so no hidden extra costs for artists!

This is a good thing as, frankly, the S7 Plus is not cheap. You get a lot of functionality for your money, but it's a lot of money by anyone's standards, and it is an inescapable fact that the overall experience is not quite as smooth as using the iPad OS. The power you get is undeniable though, and that gorgeous display with its better-than-ever refresh rate is a treat to draw on.

Larger than ever, but also razor thin, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Plus is the best Android tablet with a stylus for drawing, and one of the best tablets full stop. If it's just that bit too dear for you, scroll further down the list and have a look at its smaller sibling, the Tab S7...

Best tablets with a stylus: Huion Kamvas 22 Plus

(Image credit: Huion)

05. Huion Kamvas 22 Plus

One of the newest tablets, this is a dreamy option for a great price

Active drawing area: 18.7 x 10.5in | Resolution: 1,920 x 1,080 | Pen pressure sensitivity: 8,192 levels | Connections: USB-C

Spectacular colours
Great from every angle
Anti-glare display
Lower resolution than others

The best and flashiest tablet from Huion's newly updated Kamvas range, the Kamvas 22 Plus is a fantastic budget alternative to big boys like the iPad Pro 12.9 or the Cintiq 22. Though its display is only a 1080p version, which is lower resolution than some of its contemporaries, it packs in such incredible colour performance that you'll likely be hard-pressed to care. Colours on the Kamvas 22 Plus look absolutely great, and thanks to its 178° wide viewing angle, they do so from every angle. It covers 140% of the sRGB colour gamut while also minimising harmful blue light.

The drawing experience is sublime thanks to the digital pen PW517 stylus, which provides 8,192 levels of pressure sensitivity and a highly stable drawing experience. It's comfortable to use even for prolonged periods, allowing you to really get engrossed in your projects. The glass has been chemically etched to make this process smoother.

The tablet is also easy to connect to your computer thanks to its 3-in-1 USB-C Cable, meaning you can quickly back up and share your creations. Overall it's a fantastic way to get a premium drawing experience for a reduced price.

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(Image credit: Microsoft)

06. Microsoft Surface Pro 7

A spec bump with a punch

CPU: Intel Dual-Core i3; Quad-Core i5-i7 | Graphics: Intel UHD Graphics; Intel Iris Plus Graphics | RAM: 4GB-16GB LPDDR4x | Screen: 12.3-inch, 2736 x 1,824 | Storage: 128GB-1TB SSD | Ports: 1x USB-C, 1x USB-A, 1x Surface Connect port, microSDX card reader, headphone/mic jack | Cameras: 8MP rear-facing autofocus camera (1080p full HD video); 5MP front-facing camera (1080p full HD video) | Mic: Dual far-field Studio Mics | Weight: i3 / i5, 1.7 pounds (775g); i7, 1.74 pounds (790g) | Size: 11.5 x 7.9 x 0.33 inches (292 x 201 x 8.5mm; W x D x H)

Faster than ever processing speeds 
New and improved mics
USB-C port 
Battery not as good as Pro 6
Design remains the same 

The latest Surface Pro model, Surface Pro 7, is a small update over previous models, but it remains our top choice for a Windows tablet. Unlike Android or iOS devices, you’re getting a tablet that will run full-fat desktop software – so think Creative Cloud  apps such as Photoshop CC without any compromise on features or performance – and use it with Microsoft’s excellent Surface Pen stylus.

In fact the Surface Pro 7 has an Intel quad-core chip, of the same variety that you might find in a laptop. So you can expect it to sail swiftly through tricky filters and have no problem loading complex designs.

And being a Windows PC at its core, it will have no problem connecting to any peripheral you could think of. We'd just like to see a bit more innovation in the next Surface Pro.

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(Image credit: Samsung)

07. Samsung Galaxy Tab S7

A more affordable version of the S7 Plus, with impressive battery life

Weight: 498g | Dimensions: 253.8 x 165.3 x 6.3 mm | OS: Android 10 | Screen size: 11-inch | Resolution: 1600 x 2560 pixels | CPU: Snapdragon 865 Plus | Storage: 64GB/128GB | microSD slot: Yes | Battery: 8,000mAh | Rear camera: 13MP & 5MP | Front camera: 8MP

Brilliant battery life
Display is excellent
Sometimes laggy
Not expensive, but not cheap

If you like the look of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 Plus but worry it seems a little big and bulky, then the Galaxy Tab S7 might be right up your street. It's still got a gorgeous display and a powerful Snapdragon processor, but is a little smaller and about 80g lighter, making it great for slipping into a bag and travelling with for drawing on the go.

It still comes with the S Pen included, so you get your stylus in the box and don't have to shell out extra. The display is smaller and lower resolution than the S7 Plus: an 11-inch LTPS IPS LCD screen with a resolution of 1600 x 2560 pixels, though you still get that impressive 120Hz refresh rate, so using and drawing on the screen is a hugely pleasant experience. The S Pen works pretty well, and having the suite of drawing apps for Android is no bad thing.

The only real downside with the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 is that it kind of sits between too worlds. It's not as expensive as the S7 Plus or the latest iPad Pro, but by no stretch of the imagination is it cheap. If you're looking for a cheap tablet there are more affordable options, and if you're looking for an expensive tablet there are better options. It's a great tablet, there's no question of that – but it's in a competitive world. 

(Image credit: XP-Pen)

08. XP-Pen G640S

A terrific budget tablet and stylus, especially for beginners

Active drawing area: 6.5 x 4in | Resolution: n/a | Pen pressure sensitivity: 8,192 levels | Connections: USB-A (USB-C / Micro USB adapter included)

Great price
Slim and portable
Smaller drawing area
No built-in screen

For a simple, affordable drawing solution that just works, we'd happily recommend the XP-Pen G640S. A straightforward drawing surface that can be hooked up to a computer, phone, tablet or other smart device, the G640S provides a smooth and sensitive drawing platform. The stylus/tablet combination offers up to 8,192 levels of pressure sensitivity, meaning you can get super-detailed and granular with your pen strokes. The tablet is also only about 9mm thick, meaning it's easy to throw in a bag and take with you wherever you're going. 

The downside of course is the lack of a built-in screen; you have to get used to drawing on one surface and seeing your creation come to life on another. This can take a bit of a co-ordination adjustment if you're not used to it. 

The six customisable ExpressKeys help with making things more intuitive, as you can map preferred settings to the keys to ensure the tablet operates how you want it to. Broad computer and software compatibility also makes it easy to slot the XP-Pen G640S into an existing workflow. Overall, while it can't compete with many other tablets here in terms of features and processing power, this is an absolutely fantastic way to get drawing on a budget.

(Image credit: Google)

09. Google Pixel Slate

Google's foray into tablets is actually better than its rep

Weight: 721g | Dimensions: 202 x 291 x 7 mm | OS: Chrome OS | Screen size: 12.3-inch | Resolution: 3000 x 2000 pixels | CPU: 8th Gen Intel Core M3 | RAM: 8GB / 16GB | Storage: 64GB/128GB/256GB | microSD slot: Yes | Rear camera: 8MP | Front camera: 8MP

Excellent Google stylus
Likely to get cheaper
Lower-RAM models lag
No new models forthcoming

The first thing you'll notice about the Google Pixel Slate is its display. Incredibly sharp thanks to its impressive pixel density, and brighter than many of its competitors with up to 337 nits, this display was the star of the show when this tablet was announced in 2018. Pair this with the Google Stylus Pen and you've got an impressive combination on your hands, with 2,048 pressure levels to work with and a smooth, responsive drawing experience.

The Chrome OS mostly works well and isn't as buggy as it was at launch, though you still won't quite get the smoothness of Android or iOS. If you are tempted by the Google Pixel Slate then we would recommend springing more for the 16GB RAM version if you can, as it runs noticeably smoother than the smaller tablet with 8GB of RAM.

The Google Pixel Slate wasn't an enormous success on release, and Google later announced that while it would continue to offer support and software updates for the tablet, it wouldn't be releasing any more of them. The upside of this is that the Pixel Slate is generally available for a better price than it was at launch, and that this price is likely to go down still further as time goes on; the downside is that you won't find a fresh but familiar sequel model to upgrade to when the time comes.

(Image credit: Wacom)

10. Wacom Intuos Pro Small

Wacom brings its excellent drawing tech to a portable, affordable tablet

Active drawing area: 6.2 x 3.9in | Resolution: 1,920 x 1,080 | Pen pressure sensitivity: 2,048 levels | Connections: MicroUSB | OS: Windows or macOS

Travel-friendly
Exceptional Pro Pen
Fewer ExpressKeys
Smaller drawing area

Released in 2019, the Wacom Intuos Small is, as the name implies, a smaller version of the much-loved Intuos Pro. While it's not exactly pocketable, at 269 x 170 x 8 mm it's certainly noticeably smaller than its bigger brothers and a similar size to the iPad Air. It comes with all the useful features you'd expect from a Wacom tablet, such as a customisable Touch Ring and ExpressKeys that can be assigned to your preferred function – though here you only get six rather than the eight you get on the medium and large versions.

It's bundled with a battery-free Pro Pen 2, which provides 8,000 pen pressure levels and 60-odd levels of tilt sensitivity. The Intuos Pro Small can also connect to a Mac or PC via microUSB or Bluetooth. The Intuos Pro Small is also available at a more attractive price than something like the iPad Mini, so if budget is at the forefront of your mind when picking a tablet, this is an option well worth considering. It's great to see Wacom catering for entry-level and space-conscious users with its excellent Intuos Pro tablets, and long may this continue!

Read more: Wacom Intuos Pro Small review

If you choose one of the tablets above that doesn't come with a tablet pen in the box, you can either take a look at our detailed guide to the best stylus for Android devices or head below for today's best stylus deals:

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