Tablets & Smart Pens

We recently set up our GF and are thrilled. We’ve been cranking out magnets and ornaments. I’m realizing that I could potentially save a LOT of design time if I invested in a tablet and smartpen. I’m wondering if others have found these a useful addition to their toolbox and if so, which tablets, pens, and programs you’re using? I unfortunately recent sold my iPad mini because I hadn’t touched it in months, but I’m hoping someone will suggest something a bit more affordable than Apple since the GF design will be the primary function.


I am a big fan of Apple products. I have multiple older tablets and .computers that are still working like a champ. And I’m talking 2010 vintage. That said not all iPads work with the Apple Pencil. Last I looked it was just the pro models. The good news is, it’s Black Friday season so there will probabilities be deals.checkout B&H photo. And maybe adorama. They sell Apple products, have sales and don’t charge sales tax unless you are in their state. If you go with a windows tablet, maybe a MS surface and it can be your computer too.

I’m currently rocking a MacBook pro circa 2010 and have been contemplating a Surface as a replacement but I’ve always been a devout Apple customer so I’m struggling with that decision. Do you personally use the Apple Pencil for designs?

A used cintiq or iPad might do it too. Could be hard to find but you might get lucky.

I have one. As it turns out I am artistically challenged.i am trying to learn to use it better, but myADHD gets in the…oh look! A squirrel!!!

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And just FYI, I have a Wacom tablet and it suffers the same malady

As much as I hate to give Apple love I have to here. I have a Microsoft laptop with a pen and the latency makes it almost impossible to use but that almost magical white pencil and a iPad pro is well, almost magical.


I like B&H photo, too! Watching this thread as I’ve considered getting a smartpen & tablet system–but have a very tight budget, so it’s not a high priority.

(But internet sales tax rules are changing & there are laws in place that require retailers to collect sales tax for other states when exceed thresholds, not just the state they are located in!).

Sorry to hear that, is it an actual Surface?

I’m using an original Surface Book and a Surface Studio and finding both holding their own against a current iPad Pro.

Yes the original surface book as well. Maybe I have a very low tolerance? It’s fine in some programs but in others it bogs down.
In iOS I’ve never detected any pencil lag at all! I might have to wait for the program otherwise but the pencil, never.

Hrm… perhaps check your pen settings and for an update? I’m running current full Adobe Suite and several cad/3D programs without any lag issues. (Both of mine are first gen)

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I picked up a plain Wacom tablet and it took a little “getting used to”, but it’s perfectly functional and accurate for my needs. I’ve been using a laptop (Macbook), and their touchpads, vs. a desktop computer for a decade or more now. Not saying it’s the best solution, just sharing what has worked for me.

That’s a very good idea! I always forget about looking for updated drivers and I should not as they can make a huge difference.


When I tried out the surface (pro3) and pen at the display in best buy, I was horrified by the latency… lag being counting in seconds rather than milliseconds, crazy straight lines when it was trying to catch up. The ipad pro (first version) and pencil, along with a textured screen protector, was way closer to the accuracy and feel that I was used to with my wacoms.

granted, I have not tried out the newest versions of any them.

Thank you for being the kick-in-the-pants to finish and write up information on Android tablets and drawing apps!

I bought a Samsung Tab S4 (not S5, not reviewed as well for drawing). I use it allllll the time, like right now to read the GF forum, take product pics, post on Instagram, and draw vector lines for cut/score designs on my Glow-Zomb. If you are open to Android, it is an awesome tablet for my laser design purposes! :heart_eyes_cat:

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