If you read some of the reviews on this site, it is pretty clear that Wacom make the best graphics tablet today. They are definitely the industry leader and their products are used by all types of people, from the lowly scrapbooker at home to the digital artist working on the latest 3D films.
However, are Wacom the best choice for you? There are definitely some reasons what you should choose another make of tablet. Lets examine a few reasons not to buy Wacom.
Are Wacom Products The Right Price?
When you are the market leader you can get away with charging that little bit extra for your products without your customers becoming too annoyed. Wacom do appear to charge a slight premium for their products, but are they worth the extra cash?
After all, as long as the pen strokes you make on the tablet correspond with the markings on your screen and everything works, why should you pay extra for a nicer feel to the drawing area or a few extra “smart buttons” that you may not ever use?
It is worth checking the competition before you slap down your cash for the latest Intuos Touch model.
Perhaps Wacom Provide The Best Support?
When you are a large company like Wacom, you will need a good dedicated support team to back up your products. I have never had to use the official support for any of my graphics tablets, including the ones we have had on test, but I assume it is excellent.
Would a graphics tablet from smaller company come with no support? Possibly. Certainly some of the cheaper names you have never heard of that appear on sites like Amazon may lack someone on the end of the phone to help you if you get stuck installing the drivers.
Before you buy Wacom, just because you know the name and assume they have a team of smiling, helpful people there to assist you, check out the website of the other manufacturers and see what they offer. You may not even need the support at all. You know how to use Google, right?
What About Compatibility Issues?
Sometimes it can seem that every time you read the press, a new version of Windows has been launched or is just around the corner. A good company like Wacom will definitely be ready, testing their products and re-releasing drivers to work with the new version on the day it comes out.
Is this Also true for the companies who produce similar graphics tablets at lower prices? Almost definitely, yes!
It is in their interest to produce products that work with all versions of Windows and OSX and they should therefore release software drivers too. Just because they are smaller companies, it doesn’t mean they don’t want to keep their customers.
Check out the support pages of the other manufacturers before you stump up some cash to Wacom. You may also find that Apple and Microsoft have built in drivers that “just work” anyway.
Will The Specification Be Worse Than A Wacom?
As I have stated earlier, Wacom lead the pack and tend to offer their products to higher end users who want the n’th degree of control when drawing and editing. But does the home user really need such complicated products?
Graphics tablets are normally defined by a few key specifications. The drawing area on the tablet and the level of sensitivity that can be detected by the pen.
The latter is possibly more important if you are interested in very fine work, but would you care if the pen is telling the computer that you are pressing not-too-slightly-hard, when really all you want to do is edit your photographs? Sometimes these specs can be alluring and are good selling points but to most people, the difference between 1024 and 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity will be almost impossible to see.
Don’t be suckered in by the impressive specifications on the Wacom tablets. Try to work out what you will be using your tablet for and then buy accordingly.
Are You Worried About What Comes In The Box?
Bigger companies will be able to use their buying power and influence to bundle applications with their graphics tablets, so you expect to find a trial or “lite” version of a painting program on the CD or via a download that you can use straight away.
But do you really need this? Not many people decide to buy a graphics tablet without already owning some software that they have already tried and decided the the mouse is impossible to draw with.
Also, the versions that come bundled with the tablets are not always the full versions and you may have to pay to get the really nice brushes or, in some cases I have seen over the years, the ability to even save what you are working on.
Do you need the software package that Wacom provides? Could you save money by buying a similar specified tablet that only gives you what you need to draw with?
On the flip side of these arguments, if someone came to me for advice on buying their first graphics tablet, I would tell them the following.
- Work out what you will be using it for and buy accordingly. Don’t be fooled into thinking that you need a large multi-touch tablet when all you might need is a small model, suitable for your scrapbooking program or signing your name on your documents.
- Set your budget and stick to it, buying the best you can afford. I will always recommend Wacom to people as they are well known and well supported products. However, if you have set your budget, read the graphics tablet reviews on this site and taken our advice, you may find that a better tablet from a company other than Wacom will be ideal.
- Communicate with other people who are already doing what you want your tab,et for. Our Facebook page is a great place to start a discussion about what the best tablet for digital painting is, so come and say hello. There are also a large number of forums out there, where people can offer practical advice on the products that they use themselves.
I hope you found this article informative and that it will help you decide if you are going to buy a Wacom device or shop around for a slightly better deal. If you liked what you read here, please share this article or leave a comment below. Thanks.