I think a lot depends on what you want and what you’re willing to spend. For some people, “entry level” is $100. For others, it’s $1k. So, don’t be offended or discouraged if I talk about an option thats well outside of your budget.
First thing to decide is if you want a tablet that works with your current computer, or if you also want it to be the computer.
There are pluses and minuses to both. A huge plus of the tablet that pairs with a separate computer is that they don’t automatically become obsolete in 6 years, or however long a computer normally lasts. Its essentially just a mouse and/or monitor. And even if you get a top-of-the-line wacom tablet, they haven’t changed all that much in the last 5-10 years. Yeah, they add features like touch screen and express keys, more levels of pressure sensitivity, and endlessly larger tablet sizes, but the core of what it does and how it works hasn’t really changed.
The downsides are they’re pricey if you want to draw on the screen. Even “cheap” alternatives like Huion Kamvas series will cost $500-1k. That is a ton of money for something that needs a computer to even work. But it’s also less money than a wacom cintiq.
If you want it to be a computer, you have a lot of options. From the absolutely dreadful wacom companion 1 & 2 monstrosities they need to take outback and shoot (I may have strong feelings about those that do not accurately reflect other people’s experiences). I hate them. How did they design the lovely cintiqs and then go so dreadfully wrong? The world may never know. To iPad (have not used a pro. I have used an older iPad to draw and the palm rejection was nonexistent, so it was very awkward and uncomfortable to use. But I would expect youd be able to try one in store before buying, which could help you decide. Whereas you probably don’t have that option if you want to try a wacom product). I will say, there are some very nice, inexpensive apps for iPad that I really enjoy.
I have a surface pro something something laptop that I got a couple of months ago after I smashed the aforementioned iPad and then dropped in the sink (it still works sort of. Those things are surprisingly resilient. The surface pro is not. I smashed that last week. I am not a careful person, I think). I quite like drawing on the surface, but I do not like the actual touch screen aspect of it. Or rather, it doesn’t like me. It doesn’t pick up my touch very well at all. That said, the palm rejection works great when you get the settings right. I run a fairly large art program on it and never have any problems with it not being able to handle it. Lenovo makes a tablet, too, that quite a few artists like, but the name of the specific one escapes me.
If you don’t feel you need to draw on the screen, and are just looking for a tablet, I would recommend checking out bamboo or intuos pros. If you’re comfortable buying used, there are always gently used intuos pros around, and they are great. I think they tend to be better for certain types of art (like, painting vs precise line art), but they’re much more affordable.
So… That’s a ton of information without an answer😊 Probably not very helpful, but there are so many more options now than even just 5 years ago, that there are a lot of avenues to explore. You might have an easier time narrowing down your search if there are some things you know you definitely do it do not want.
Portability is one that will eliminate quite a few. Are you the sort who wants to work at a cafe and on the couch and on the plane? If so, forget every wacom option. Even if the cintiq companions were amazing (and they arent, in case I’m being too subtle here), they’re too big and heavy. And you can’t really balance a laptop and a separate tablet in your lap. I love my cintiq, and I wouldn’t hesitate to buy another one. But they’re just not good for on-the-go. For portability, I’d go with a laptop or iPad or something like that. They’re lighter and smaller. Just, ya know, don’t smash them. Or buy the extra warranty. Best Buy is probably going to regret upselling that little add on by the time I’m done with them.
If price is the most important factor, I’d look at used wacom bamboo and intuos tablets. You should be able to find something that works well for $100-300, depending on size and model. Or maybe even cheaper.