Wacom versus iPad Pro – Who’s The Real Pro? [2020 Update]

Wacom is a Japanese company that set out to make work digital – all forms of work. They have gained popularity by making some of the most-loved graphic tablets and digitizers. While Apple’s success can mostly be credited to the iPhone, its tablet range has also been loved by customers all around the world. Within the iPad range, the iPad Pro often has higher specs compared to the others.

So let’s see who wins the competition of a better tablet – Wacom versus iPad Pro.

Our Take on The Two

Wacom and Apple products are essentially quite different. Most of Wacom’s drawing tablets are designed to be just that – drawing tablets. They only serve that purpose and need to be connected to a computer to do so. On the other hand, an iPad is designed to work like a computer or a combination of smartphones and computers. However, designers and artists have been seen to use both kinds of tablets for illustrations and drawings.

So we went ahead and found how some of Wacom’s best compare to Apple’s best.

apple iPad Pro

Wacom Cintiq

Cintiq is Wacom’s most popular range of pen displays. Cintiq 16 and 22, Cintiq 22HD, and Cintiq Pro are all designed for professional artists. Here’s what you get in the Cintiq range.

Cintiq 16 and Cintiq 22 have mostly the same specifications but vary in size:

  • Screen size:
    • Cintiq 16 – 15.6” (142.24 mm) diagonal
    • Cintiq 22 – 21.5” (546.1 mm) diagonal
  • Resolution: 1920 x 1080 (full HD)
  • Color Depth: 16.7 million (8 bits)
  • Viewing angle:
    • Cintiq 16: 176/176 degrees
    • Cintiq 22: 178/178 degrees
  • Report rate:
    • Cintiq 16 – 25ms
    • Cintiq 22 – 22ms
  • Weight:
    • Cintiq 16 – 4.2 pounds (1900 g)
    • Cintiq 22 – 12.35 pounds (5600 g)
  • Pressure sensitivity: 8192 levels
  • System requirements: Windows 7 or higher, Mac OS X 10.12 or above

The Cintiq Pro range is a more expensive group of products with even more size options – Cintiq Pro 13, Cintiq Pro 16, Cintiq Pro 24, and Cintiq Pro 32 – with the sizes evident in their names. The Cintiq Pro 13 and 16 are very similar to the regular Cintiq range in features but vary in size. And of course, the bigger your screen, the higher the price. Here are some upgraded features you can get in the larger sizes of Cintiq Pro:

  • Screen size:
    • Cintiq 24 – 23.6” (599.44 mm) diagonal
    • Cintiq 32 – 31.5” (800.1 mm)diagonal
  • Resolution: 3840 x 2160 (ultra HD)
  • Color Depth: 1.07 billion colors (10 bit)
  • Viewing angle:
    • Cintiq 24 – Up to 88 degrees (vertical)
    • Cintiq 32 – Up to 64 degrees (vertical)
  • Response rate:
    • Cintiq 24 – 12ms
    • Cintiq 32 – 8ms
  • Weight:
    • Cintiq 24 – 15.43 pounds (7 kg)
    • Cintiq 32 – 28.66 pounds (13 kg)
  • Pressure sensitivity: 8192 levels
Wacom DTH1620AK0 Cintiq Pro 16" Graphic Tablet with Link Plus,Black
Integrated stand for working at an inclined angle. Compatible with Windows and Mac

Basic Differences with iPad

Which one you would prefer depends on what you will be doing on the tablet.

  • The iPad Pro is a lighter, more portable device and being a standalone tab, does not need a computer
  • The iPad Pro comes in two size options whereas the Cintiq range gives you multiple sizes to choose from
  • Any one of the larger screen sizes of Cintiq comes at a much higher price than iPad
  • But the one reason why you may opt to choose a Cintiq is the number of applications you can use. The drawing apps on Apple devices are limited and even though you can get some third-party apps, they do not work very well all the time. With the Cintiq, you don’t have to worry about that at all. Whatever your computer can run, your tablet will work with.

A pen display might be a better option for you, depending on your type of work. That is, if you are a professional and need to use multiple applications.

Apple iPad Pro (3rd gen)

The latest version of iPad Pro is the 3rd generation. There are two size options you can get for the screen – 11” (279.4 mm) and 12.9” (327.66 mm). Outside their screen size and the accompanying resolution, the two versions are almost identical. With a 5.9mm thickness, this is Apple’s thinnest iPad. With its 4GB/6GB RAM and Liquid Retina display, this is tablet is one incredible piece of technology.

Device specs:

  • Screen size – 12.9” (327.66 mm) diagonal
  • Display Type – Liquid Retina display
  • Resolution:
    • iPad Pro 11 – 2388 x 1668 pixels
    • iPad Pro 12.9 – 2732 x 2048 pixels
  • RAM – 4GB or 6GB
  • Internal Memory – 128GB / 256GB / 512GB / 1TB
  • Weight: 
    • iPad Pro 11 – 1.03 pounds (471 g - WiFi), 1.04 pounds(473 g - WiFi + cellular)
    • iPad Pro 12.9 – 1.41 pounds (641 g - WiFi), 1.42 pounds (643 g - WiFi + cellular)
  • Battery:
    • iPad Pro 11 – 28.65-watt-hour
    • iPad Pro 12.9 – 36.71-watt-hour

They come in two color options – silver and space gray – and both look very elegant. The screen is fully laminated and makes images look super clear and life-like. The average battery life is about 9 to 10 hours with heavy usage.

Wacom Mobile Studio Pro

In my opinion, the only fair way to compare Wacom with Apple is by bringing the Mobile Studio Pro face-to-face with the iPad Pro. The Mobile Studio Pro is a Windows-powered tablet and Wacom’s only range of what they call pen computers. There are two size options you will find - Wacom Mobile Studio Pro 13 and 16.

Device specs:

  • Screen size:
    • Mobile Studio Pro 13 – 13.3” (337.82 mm) diagonal
    • Mobile Studio Pro 16 – 15.6” (396.24 mm) diagonal
  • Resolution:
    • Mobile Studio Pro 13 – 2560 x 1440 pixels
    • Mobile Studio Pro 16 – 3840 x 2160 pixels
  • Color depth - 16.7 million (8 bits)
  • RAM – 16GB
  • Internal Memory – 512 GB
  • Processor – Intel Core i7
  • Response rate:
    • Mobile Studio Pro 13 – 30ms
    • Mobile Studio Pro 16 – 25ms
  • Pen pressure sensitivity – 8192 levels
  • Weight:
    • Mobile Studio Pro 13 – 3.17 pounds (1440 g)
    • Mobile Studio Pro 16 – 4.63 pounds (2100 g)

Wacom Mobile Studio Pro v/s iPad Pro

If you go through the details, you might have already found the major differences. But too many numbers can get confusing. So here is a simpler comparison for you to make a decision.


iPad Pro

Wacom tablets

Screen size

Only options are 11” (279.4 mm) and 12.9” (327.66 mm)

A whole range starting from 13” (330.2 mm) to 32” (812.8 mm)

Portable device

Very light and slim. You can carry it around anywhere.

The smaller sized ones may be portable but are still quite heavy, and the larger ones are not made to carry around.

Use of multiple graphic software

Software support limited.

This supports almost all the latest ones.

Use with computer

A computer on its own.

The Mobile Studio Pro range can be used on its own, but can also be used with a computer like the other pen displays. So the choice is yours.

Added features

The screen has anti-reflective coating, so you can also use it outdoors.

The screen on Mobile Studio Pro is laminated, so parallax is minimal.

Wacom Pro Pen v/s Apple Pencil

Wacom gives you a whole range of styli to choose from. Even though each tablet comes with a pen, all other Wacom pens can be used on any of the tablets. They also make pens for Apple devices! Even Apple doesn’t give you that many options. But they have created the Apple Pencil, 1st and 2nd generation that is quite impressive itself.

  • Wacom Pro Pen 2 is the latest version and uses state-of-the-art creative pen technology. Over 8000 levels of pressure sensitivity and unparalleled tilt recognition means that every move of your hand is followed with unerring accuracy. The pen does not require any charging, so you can use it for hours without interruptions. The pen gives you tilt support and just enough grip to make clear straight lines. And in case this is not right for you, there are a bunch of options you can choose from like the Bamboo Solo, Bamboo Duo, or Alpha.

  • For the iPad Pro, only the 2nd generation Apple Pencil is supported. It is the better option. It attaches magnetically to the side of the iPad for charging, which is also a comfortable way of carrying the stylus with your iPad. This one is designed to look like an actual pencil. The matte body provides a good grip and the tilt support is great. There were virtually no lagging issues with the pencil and it charges very fast.

Unlike Wacom styli that come with their tablets, you will need to purchase the Apple Pencil separately. So here is where you can find one:

Some Other Features That Might Interest You

  • The Wacom Mobile Studio Pro 16 also gives you the option to expand your RAM (as well as storage).
  • There is an 8 MP rear camera and audio jack on the Wacom Mobile Studio Pro, and you can perform most of the activities on this like a regular tab.
  • The iPad Pro has dual cameras of 10 MP and 12 MP with an ultra-wide lens.
  • The display on iPad Pro is laminated and has a True Tone display, which means the colors are richer and shades are more accurate.
  • iPad Pro has huge internal storage starting from 128GB to up to 1TB, so you can store your art files right in the device, however big the size may be.
  • Final Thoughts

    The Wacom tablets give you a professional drawing experience. The screen is large and great for creating large and elaborate drawings. But the device is pretty heavy and not the best to carry around, even when it does not require a computer to operate.

    Even with the added cost of the Pencil, the iPad Pro is more cost-effective compared to the Wacom Mobile Studio Pro range. It does have some perks. And it will probably work better in the long run if you only need a graphic tablet. But considering that iPads give you so much to do and are still just as good for drawing – it is a tough call.

    To know about more options for artists, head to our facebook page.

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