In this article I will share with you my recommendations on the best Android tablets from 2023 to get for drawing. My recommendations are based on my experience of having review the many Android tablets this year.
You may notice the 2024 in the title. That's because I plan to update this article with tablets from 2024.
Help me out
If you have intention to buy any of the tablets, consider making your purchase through the affiliate links. I earn some money at no extra cost to you and the money is used to create the reviews on my blog.
Most important thing to know
Make sure to get an Android tablet that has support for an active stylus which can give you tilt, pressure sensitivity and palm rejection. Make sure the company advertises pen support for the tablet.
Tablets that do not support pens can be used with rubber-tip or disc-tip stylus but those pens do not provide good drawing experience. Hence such tablets should be avoided.
iPad vs Android tablet
Apple iPads have fantastic drawing performance with the Apple Pencil. Android tablets nowadays have drawing performance that can match iPads. Both iPads and Android tablets are good enough for creating professional artworks.
There are too many differences between Apple and Android tablets to cover so I shall just list the ones that I think are important:
- Aspect ratio for iPad display is around 4:3 which is more suitable for use in both landscape and portrait orientation
- iPadOS advantage for visual content creators is there are more apps that handle typography, layout and text
- Android tablets may come with microSD card slot for affordable expandable storage in the future
- Android tablets can be used as an external storage device itself with a cable connection to your computer
- iPads will continue to receive OS updates years after Android tablets
Samsung is the only company that makes Android tablets that provides more years of updates compared to other companies. Samsung promises 4 years of OS updates and 5 years of security updates. I won't worry too much about not getting updates on Android tablets though because not getting them does not mean your apps will stop working.
There are many capable drawing apps on Android (above) as well as from the Apple App Store.
The one main reason to get iPad over Android tablets there are more apps that support typography, layout and text. E.g. Adobe and Affinity graphic design apps are not available from the Google Play Store.
For drawing purposes iPad and Android tablets are on par.
By the way, all the tablets below have smooth lag-free performance and are capable of handling large artworks with lots of layers.
SAMSUNG GALAXY TAB S8 or S9 and S PEN - highly recommended
The tablets are available in 11-inch, 12.4-inch Plus and 14.6-inch Ultra models, with wifi and LTE options. Prices for the Tab S8 series are from USD 699 to 1099 but are now cheaper with the new Tab S9 out. Prices for Tab S9 are from USD 799 to 1199.
These are the best Android tablets in the market if you have the budget for them. The Samsung S Pen drawing performance is fantastic and the pen is included with the purchase. Samsung has been making tablet OS for years and Samsung One UI has many features for multi-tasking, integration with cloud storage services to the file management system, SamsungDex desktop UI mode and more.
The tablet can be configured with 8 - 12GB RAM, 128GB to 1TB storage. There is a microSD card slot for expandable storage.
ONEPLUS PAD and ONEPLUS STYLO - Recommended with reservations
This is the only Android tablet with a display with aspect ratio (7:5) that almost matches the iPad. I love this aspect ratio.
The tablet comes with 8GB RAM and 128GB storage with no microSD card slot. The price is USD 479 and is not inclusive of the OnePlus Stylo which is USD 99.
Drawing performance of the pen is comparable to the Apple Pencil and Samsung S Pen.
The pricing, even after adding the pen, is still lower than the Samsung tablets so that's one selling point.
The main downside is the lack of microSD card slot when there's only 128GB of internal storage included. And OxygenOS v13.1 does not have as many features compared to the Samsung One UI.
HUAWEI MATEPAD 11 (2023) and M-PENCIL 2 - Not recommended
Huawei MatePad lineup is confusing because there are so many models. The difference between the Pro and non-Pro models isn't significant so there's no disadvantage to getting the non-Pro models. These tablets are not available in USA.
The price of the Huawei MatePad Pro 11 (2023) here in Singapore is SGD 598, around USD 440 and the M-Pencil 2 is around USD 85. So the total is around USD 525.
Pen's drawing performance is fantastic.
The tablet hardware is good but the one thing that prevents me from recommending Huawei tablets is HarmonyOS which does not come with Google Play Store. While you can install Google Play Store from the GSpace app available from Huawei app store, I personally have problems updating apps from Google Play Store from GSpace. It's just a hassle to troubleshoot all these software related issues so it's best to just go with tablets from other companies.
SAMSUNG TAB S6 LITE (2022) - Recommended with reservation
This is the cheapest tablet from Samsung that supports the Samsung S Pen. This 10.4-inch tablet is priced at USD 269 on Amazon with 4GB RAM and 64GB storage with a microSD card slot for storage expansion.
The tablet uses the S Pen so drawing performance is fantastic.
The specs for this tablet isn't that great since it's considered a budget tablet but the performance is generally smooth and lag-free. Main downside for me is the display quality is just alright and not at the high quality level you get with the pricier Samsung tablets. You get what you pay for applies here.
SAMSUNG TAB S7 FE (2021) - Recommended with reservations
The 12.4-inch Samsung Tab S7 FE (2021) is the budget version of the Samsung Tab S7 (2020). The price is currently USD 429 on Amazon for the model with 4GB RAM and 64GB storage. There is a microSD card slot so no worries on running out of storage.
The tablet comes with the Samsung S Pen.
While the tablet is almost 2 years old now, it's still a pretty good tablet at this price category from USD 400 - 500. Although the tablet will not perform as well for gaming compared to the pricier Samsung tablets, you can still expect smooth lag-free performance for general use and drawing.
LENOVO TAB EXTREME (2023) - Not recommended
Lenovo Tab Extreme is a 14.5-inch tablet with an OLED display that almost matches the Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Ultra in terms of quality. The tablet comes with 12GB RAM and 256GB storage with a microSD card slot. The price is USD 949.
Lenovo Tab Extreme supports the Lenovo Precision Pen 3 (USD 69) which suffers from diagonal line wobble when I tested on the Lenovo Tab P12 (2022). Maybe the Lenovo Tab Extreme may have better drawing performance but I can't confirm.
I've not tested the Lenovo Tab Extreme so I can't say much about the drawing performance.
The overall cost together with the pen is USD 1018. At that price, you can almost get the Samsung Tab S8 Ultra (2022) with proven guaranteed fantastic drawing performance.