Photoshop Level: Best Tablet For Photo Editing [2020 Update]

Gone are days of using a mouse to edit photos. If you compare using your mouse and a tablet to edit photos it is similar to comparing a paintbrush and a brick.

The question is how do you pick the right tablet to edit your photos? Nowadays, a tablet is becoming an almost necessary device for a photographer; it is a dinky-computer that you can slip into your camera pouch to access the web, show your catalog and edit your photos but the option is not as simple as it has been with so many brands in the market today.

I am going to try to make it easy for you by breaking down the important factors so that you can get the best tablet for photo editing.

photographer using a tablet

Product Roundup

Product

OS

Screen Size

Weight

Battery Capacity

Processor

Type

iPad Pro 2018

Fire OS 5.5

12.9”

1.39lbs(631g)

9720mAh

A12X Bionic

Convertible

Wacom Intuos Draw

-

6.0 x 3.7

0.64lbs(290g)

-

-

Graphic Tablet

Samsung Galaxy Tab S6

Android 9 and upwards

10.5”

0.93lbs(420g)

7040mAh

Snapdragon 855

Convertible

Huion KAMVAS 20

-

19.5”

13lbs (5896.7g)

-

-

Pen Display

Apple iPads have been on top for a long time for their sharp display, great colors, and fast processors.

The 2018 iPad Pro has a 12.9” screen with a resolution of 2048 x 2732 and a total of 265 pixels per inch. It has physical dimension of 11.05 x 8.46 x 0.23 inches (280.6 x 214.9 x 5.9 mm) and weighs just 631g.

The 2018 iPad ships with the A12X Bionic chip which includes a Neural Engine that can execute five trillion functions per second and allows adaptive artificial learning.

But what does that mean for users? The device is quick and robust enough to accommodate your photo editing requirements.

Additionally, the ProMotion feature in this device provides up to 120Hz refresh rates that automatically change. This makes the use of the Apple Pencil a smooth experience.

The Pencil is super-sensitive thanks to the ProMotion tech. It also sports a 20-millisecond market best latency which is ideal for editing purposes. It would feel as if you were drawing on paper.

The device has a battery capacity of 9720mAh and an average of around 10 hours on just web usage.

It comes with a 4GB RAM and has storage options starting from a minimum of 64GB and to 1TB which is coupled with a faster 6GB RAM compared to the lower space models.

PROS

  • Super-fast
  • Beautiful colors and Sharp Images
  • Sensitive screen

CONS

  • Expensive
  • Pen sold separately
  • Storage cannot be expanded
Apple iPad Pro (12.9-inch, Wi-Fi, 64GB) - Silver (3rd Generation)
12. 9-Inch edge-to-edge Liquid Retina display with Promotion, true Tone, and wide Color; A12X Bionic chip with Neural Engine

This isn’t exactly a tablet PC but it’s a graphic tablet that had to be included in our list due to the ratings and popularity of the device.

None of the factors discussed above is relevant to this device but let’s take a look at how it can help you with editing your photos.

Don’t let the lack of a display screen make you ignore this device. Just plug and play.

When combined with a PC, on almost any software, you can do photo edits. The tablet has a 6.0 x 3.7-inch drawable space and only weighs around 290g. The main aspect of the Intuos however is its size and also the extremely sensitive stylus it provides.

This stylus can operate by itself without ever having to be plugged in or charged, thereby saving you valuable time.

It also incorporates a few controls, enabling you to create simple shortcuts that can be useful when editing. Since it is smaller in size it only gives a pressure sensitivity of 4096 levels.


PROS

  • Affordable
  • Lightweight

CONS

  • Flimsy design to carry around (body might get damaged easily)

Probably the best android photo editing tablet out there in my opinion.

With a weight of just 420g, it is among the market's lightest and most compact tablets. Nevertheless, don’t be misled by its look, this sleek tool has enough strength to handle on-the-go picture editing with precision.

The Tab S6 is packed with PC-like applications, with up to 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB of storage which can be expanded using a microSD card so there's enough space to hold big images.

The S6 is fueled by a Snapdragon 855 chipset underneath the hood, which means it can tackle photo editing applications such as Photoshop or Lightroom with ease.

The device has a 10.5-inch Super AMOLED display which HDR-ready that allows viewing images a pleasure and the S Pen comes with the device for the purchase price, which is not the cases with Apple or Microsoft Devices.

The display has a resolution of 1600 x 2560 pixels and a PPI of 287.

The Tab S6 ships with a 7040mAh battery which can last about 15hours standby on a single charge and has a fast-charging ability.

If you should ever find the need to step things up, just use an HDMI cable to tether the Tab to a wider display and Samsung’s special Dex mode will step in. You will get a Desktop experience, and your productivity will skyrocket.

PROS

  • Robust battery
  • Quick charging
  • Pen included

CONS

  • No headphone jack
Sale
Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 10.5", 128GB WiFi Tablet Mountain Gray - SM-T860NZAAXAR
Computer_cpu_manufacturer: Qualcomm; Connectivity_technology: Bluetooth;USB;Wi Fi Built In

With its large spectrum of budget-price specifications, the Huion KAMVAS has found fame among digital artists. This device has a 19.5′′ vivid IPS display with 1920 x 1080-pixel resolution which is suitable for photo-editing applications.

More than it being a standalone tablet it is more of a pen display allowing the artist to naturally paint or edit directly on to the display. Still, however, you have to plug the device into your PC.

The device weighs around 13lbs (5896.7g) and is bulkier than your traditional tablet PC.

The 19.6-inch display is an IPS display and is full HD. The viewing angle is quite astonishing. It can be easily adjusted with the display stand attached to the device, which has a range of 20 to 80 degrees. There is no color shift mainly due to the IPS feature. The color gamut is also quite wide with around 72 percent NTSC.

Colors are quite bright if viewed without the matte screen protector that comes pre-installed.

The screen has 8,192 levels of sensitivity.


PROS

  • Wide display
  • Ships with 2 pens

CONS

  • No shortcuts
  • Matte screen protector limits colors

Factors To Pay Attention To

When it comes to photo editing, the most important thing to pay attention to is your tablet screen. These include the resolution, pixels per inch, sensitivity, and many other things. Apart from the display, a good processor and a spacious RAM should also be available for a lag-free experience.

I will talk about the display in detail and run over a few more features before unveiling the best tablet for photographers and editors.

DISPLAY

Screen Size & Resolution

The first thing to talk about when it comes to the display of a tablet is the size and then, of course, resolution.

The size of the tablet is measured by the diagonal width of the screen. The overall size is also determined by the dimension or size of the screen.

Screen sizes vary from as little as 5-inches up to 18-inches or more.

While a large screen is always encouraged for photo editing, you have to strike a balance between convenience and usability. By convenience, a tablet is known for its portability so, comprising on portability might just be a lost cause.

The higher the resolution, the better your display quality will be. Resolution is measured in pixels on the screen horizontally and vertically.

Most tablets can’t even fully display 1080p videos without lowering them down to lower resolutions. For editing photos, you need a powerful display that can at least play a 720p video without an issue.

Higher resolutions drain the battery quicker.

Aspect Ratios

Simply put, the aspect ratio is the relationship of the width to its height.

You may ask why is this important?

It will affect how your image will be composed and how big it will turn out to be.

Many tablets have a 16:10 ratio which is quite common with widescreen PC monitors as well. Using such a ratio is beneficial when using the device in landscape mode and not so much in portrait mode.

The other traditional ratio is 4:3, which manages to strike a healthy balance between portrait and landscape mode.

PPI (Pixels Per Inch)

This relates to image sharpness and image rendering. The more pixels per inch, the higher the sharpness and smoother rendering.

Angles of Viewing

This isn’t advertised often by manufacturers. Generally, tablets have wider viewing angles than widescreen displays or laptops.

Pay attention to the color shifts and especially the brightness when testing viewing angles. You know a tablet has good viewing angels when the brightness isn’t affected, and the color doesn’t shift when viewed from the widest angles.

Brightness and Screen Coatings

Always test out the display under direct sunlight and see how visibility is. Usually, glossy displays have poor visibility and when combined with coatings that reflect light such as Gorilla Glass, this is made worse.

You might think this issue can easily be overcome by increasing the brightness. Yes, you could increase the brightness, but you might as well be walking around with a power outlet.

Wacom Intuos Draw

Processors

Tablet processers or Mobile processors are quite complicated.

On many Android devices, you will find either a Snapdragon processor or a Samsung Exynos processor if the tablet is manufactured by Samsung.

Windows tablets will usually have Intel Processors and in my experience, the smoothest processors are found in Apple devices.

Apple A12Z Bionic is amazing and snappy. It is found in the latest iPad Pro 4th Gen.

Check out this comparison between the latest chipsets used in tablets right now.

RAM

Photo editing software such as Adobe Photoshop or other high-end software requires strong processors and better than average RAM capacity to run lag-free.

RAM capacity can range from 1GB to even 16GB on a device like the Microsoft Surface Pro 7.

Better RAM capacity will lead to a smoother editing process.

Storage

Heavily edited photos from DSLR cameras can take up quite the space. So unless you have an external hard drive or cloud storage, considering a tablet with bigger or expandable storage is recommended.

Most tablets have limited but expandable storage. However, convertible devices like the Surface Pro 7 can have storage options of up to 1TB.

TIP OF THE DAY: Always have a backup of your data.

Battery Life

Now, this is important if you’re always on the go.

While paying attention to the display of a tablet, try not to forget its power source.

Higher display resolutions, brightness, and prolonged use of editing software can easily drain the battery life of the tablet.

Generally, smaller tablets will have a smaller battery capacity and hence will only survive for a few hours on a single charge. The higher the battery capacity, the more likely it is for your device to be heavier and larger in physical dimensions.

The Samsung Galaxy View 2 has a battery capacity of 12,000mAh to power its enormous 17.3” screen. Guess how much the device weighs?

It weighs 2230g to be exact, and that’s almost as heavy as a chihuahua.

Budget

Last but not least, your budget for a tablet also comes into play.

You can get tablets under 50 dollars, but let me be honest, with a tablet at such a budget, you won’t put up much competition at photo contests!

So, you will probably have to invest quite a bit to buy a good tablet with the features recommended above.

I’d reckon at least $500 or more.

Tablets for photo editing can be different when compared to normal tablet PCs but you can use tablet PC too.

If you are a professional photographer or editor, it is recommended that you go for a powerful high-end tablet PC or a graphics tablet. If you want to casually edit photos, a mid-range or even budget tablet PC with a sharp resolution and processor would do.

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