The Best Drawing Tablets for Beginners: Reviews by Wirecutter
If you want more space to draw or paint on, get the larger Huion 1060 Plus. The 1060 Plus features a large 10-by-6¼-inch active area (compared to the Intuos Draw’s 6-by-3.7-inch active area), 12 customizable keys (versus the Draw’s four), and 8,192 levels of pressure sensitivity (while the Draw has 2,048 levels). More pressure sensitivity theoretically makes it easier to draw varied strokes and control line opacity, but as we discovered in testing, most people won’t notice the difference beyond 2,048—what’s more important is if pressure sensitivity actually works, and the 1060 Plus’s does. The Huion 1060 Plus isn’t nearly as customizable as the Intuos Draw and it doesn’t come with any art software, but it has a larger active area, more keys, and a great pen for about the same price as our top pick—larger Wacom tablets cost two-and-a-half to four times as much.
The 1060 Plus performed well in our tests, with no lag and only one glitch: The pressure sensitivity stopped working in Photoshop, but reinstalling the driver fixed it. Drawing on it felt natural, and we could smoothly vary our line weight and opacity in all of the art programs we tested. The Wacom tablets had better pressure sensitivity and control in our tests, allowing us to draw the exact same line consistently, and gradually taper lines in Photoshop. But the 1060 Plus was a close second and should work for most beginners’ needs.
The Huion has a much smoother tablet surface than the Intuos Draw; the pen glides in a way that feels more like drawing on a glossy iPad screen than paper. Since there’s less friction, you shouldn’t need to replace the nibs as often. But if you prefer a traditional pencil-on-paper feeling rather than a slick drawing-on-a-screen feeling, this is something you’ll need to get used to.
The 1060 Plus’s pen is the second-nicest we tested, right behind the Wacom Intuos Pro’s. It’s about the size of a Sharpie marker, with a smooth barrel at the top and a rubber grip at the bottom. The rechargeable pen is heavier than those that don’t require batteries, weighing a bit less than a AAA battery. It’s not uncomfortably heavy, though, and some might even prefer the heft. Huion rates the pen’s battery life at 800 hours of continuous use after one hour of charging. We were unable to test this claim, but charging the pen with the included USB cable should be only an occasional inconvenience. Huion includes a pen cap and a stand that houses four nib replacements.
No company so far has matched Wacom in support and customizability, but the 1060 Plus offered the best customization of the Wacom alternatives. Using Huion’s software, you can assign functions to the two pen buttons, adjust the tablet sensitivity, assign keyboard shortcuts for the 12 hard keys, map the tablet to a specific area of the screen, and assign shortcuts for the 16 soft keys that run across the top of the tablet. The included carrying case, drawing glove to reduce friction between your hand and the tablet, and 8 GB SD card for storing images directly to the tablet are nice bonuses, too.
At the time of this writing, the 1060 Plus has fewer Amazon reviews than other drawing tablets we considered, because it’s a newer model. The 1060 Plus is Huion’s successor to the H610Pro, one of the most popular, well-liked Wacom alternatives.