This is quite a common question from people who have not used a graphics tablet before and are taking their first steps into using such a device. The question might actually be better asked as “what is the best graphics tablet for the first time user”. I would assume that someone who wanted a graphics tablet would already have some knowledge and experience of using software such as Adobe Photoshop and has outgrown (or become too limited by) their mouse. Those who might be looking for their very first graphics tablet to start digital art or editing once they get it are probably few and far between.
So, what is the best graphics tablet for beginners? I guess the answer is “it depends” – on the following things:
1. Prior experience
Have you used a graphics program before and are looking to move from mouse to tablet? Again, this all hinges on your current capabilities. If you are already drawing in a graphics program, you will be more interested in a tablet that can give you a good pressure sensitive pen and one that perhaps allows you a wireless capability, so that you can rest it on your lap whilst drawing.
2. What will you be using it for?
Is your new toy just going to be used for signing and annotating documents, cropping pictures of your children, scrapbooking or full blown digital creations in Photoshop? I like to use the theory that “the smaller the tablet, the smaller the use”. If you opt for a Wacom Bamboo Fun, you are most likely going to be making small edits to your images, or allowing your kids to draw using the computer. If you are using it for Computer Aided Design (CAD), you will need a tablet as big as possible.
3. What is your budget?
As a beginner to such things, you won’t want to be paying a massive amount of cash, only to find that you prefer your mouse after all. A beginners graphics tablet should definitely not set you back more than $100. Many of the top selling models, even those from Wacom, are under $100, so that should be enough to dip your toe in the water. Those of you who have more money should still settle for something in the same price range. There is no need to spend lots on a high end model when you are first starting out.
Conclusion – just tell me which one to buy!
In my experience, the best option is to set yourself a budget and buy the best Wacom graphics tablet you can. Models like the Wacom Bamboo Capture and or the Bamboo Splash are more than adequate for a person wanting the best graphics tablet for a beginner. Wacom are cheap enough to appeal to beginners and new users, but also technically competent to last well beyond a beginners needs.