There are two types of drawing tablets: standalone drawing tablets and traditional drawing tablets. Standalone drawing tablets do not require a computer in order to draw on them; traditional tablets do.

In this article, I will talk about the differences between a standalone drawing tablet and a traditional drawing tablet.

Standalone Drawing Tablet vs Graphics Drawing Tablet

Standalone Drawing Tablets, as the title implies, means that you don’t need an additional computer in order to draw on it; you just need the tablet and pen. You can even create art in the airplane. There are a few other differences.

Standalone Drawing TabletTraditional Graphics Tablet
Comes with a DisplayCan come with and without Display
Computer is not requiredA computer is required
Serve multiple purposesGenerally made for drawing
ExpensiveLess Expensive
Portableimpractical

Traditional graphics drawing tablets(also known as passive drawing tablets) are generally more affordable than standalone drawing tablets. However, this cost advantage is accompanied by impracticality, as they require a constant connection to a computer for functionality.

In my opinion standalone drawing tablets offers best of both worlds. Art & Entertainment.

Why Do Drawing Tablets Need a Computer?

All the software must be stored somewhere, and they can’t be stored on a graphics tablet. Therefore, a computer is required. They also rely on your computer’s processing power to interpret and transmit the user’s input to the screen.

When the user moves the stylus on the tablet’s surface, the tablet captures the movements and sends them to the computer, which then displays the corresponding lines and strokes on the screen.

Some drawing tablets come with their own software, such as Wacom’s Bamboo Paper or Autodesk’s SketchBook, but users can also use other graphics software, such as Adobe Photoshop or GIMP.

In other words, traditional graphics tablets are not powerful enough to be able to run designer apps on their own; that’s why they are dependent on your computer/laptop.

What Are The Best Standalone Drawing Tablets?

These are the best options, but which one is the best for you comes down to your preferences – the screen sizes you prefer, the apps you want to work with, and the operating system you would like.

artist drawing on tablet

I prefer the iPad Pro since you can draw, take notes, watch movies, and be productive on the device; that’s something the Wacom, Huion, and Xencelabs brands can’t offer. Samsung can, but iPad Pro has the Procreate app, which is not supported on the Android operating system or others.

Can You Connect the iPad To the Computer For Drawing?

While iPads are excellent standalone artistic devices, they also offer the versatility of connecting to both Windows and MacBook computers. This connection can be particularly beneficial for streamlining your workflow or accessing Windows-specific drawing apps on your iPad.

In order to connect your iPad to Windows or Mac you will need to download Astropad Studio. You need to download it on your computer and on your iPad. It’s free.

With the Astropad app, you can connect your iPad to your PC either wirelessly via Wi-Fi or physically through USB. I recommend using Physical connection, since you will have reduced latecny.

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Best iPads For Procreate & Ones You Should Avoid
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ernests embutnieks wolfoftablet
Founder & Chief Editor | +37122300405 | ernests@wolfoftablet.com | + posts

I'm a writer and editor in iPads & Android Tablets, Windows Tablet section. I'm passionate about technology, especially about tablets. I'm on a mission to assist people in discovering their ideal tablets. In addition, I'm dedicated to producing helpful how-to guides and sharing top-notch tips and tricks. In my early carrier I founded and became and editor at worldoftablet and have been a guest author at many other tech blogs. In wolfoftablet I'm focusing on iPads, Tablets, Apple Pencil, Apps, Reviews, Buyers Guides and Tablet Accessories. In free time I like to play games on my PS5 or iOS.