Help me find a drawing tablet that doesn't constantly crash!
January 9, 2019 3:26 PM   Subscribe

I am a long-time user of USB drawing tablets -- the kind that plug into your computer so that your pen movements on the tablet are duplicated on the screen. I feel like the default state of every tablet I've owned is "your driver has crashed."

I am wondering if a tablet exists, preferably somewhere in the $50-$100 range, that isn't quite so darn... fundamentally broken? While it's possible that I just Did Something Wrong the first time I tried to update a driver after a crash and set myself up for future woe, apparently buggy and unreliable drivers are a common problem with Wacom tablets. Except... isn't Wacom the leading brand for art tablets? So if Wacom is too buggy to use, is there something that works better or has some kind of more foolproof UI-guided driver update system built in?

The problem with my current one might be solvable, but it has some structural design issues too (re: unplugging itself), so I'd kind of like to replace it either way and just start over.

Please share your reliable art tablet recommendations with me! Bonus points if it's a good drawing tablet in other ways, but really, I've set the bar at "functional." I'm so sick of troubleshooting drivers!
posted by space snail to Computers & Internet (7 answers total)
What system are you using? I've been using a Wacom Bamboo Pen (No longer made) since ~2012, and I can't remember the last time I had driver issues on Windows 10. I've set it up on multiple computers, and all it takes is a quick google search to find the driver on the Wacom website, and done, no more updating after that. The only headache I've had in the last few years is that I did need to install a specific "Wintab" driver for my HP x2 detachable (a tablet with a removable keyboard). A friend who has a Wacom Intuos and a Macbook recently had problems with their driver (no pressure) after a system update, but downloading an older driver off of the Wacom website fixed the issue.
posted by devrim at 3:35 PM on January 9

My OS is Windows 10, if that's what you're asking!
posted by space snail at 3:46 PM on January 9

I've used Wacom tablets for over 10 years. I've had 4 different ones, 3 different models of Intuos and a Bamboo. I did have some driver issues with my Surface Pro 2 running Win 10, but that was totally an issue with that particular computer, not a problem with the tablet. A legacy driver fixed it. I've never had or heard of buggy drivers being a common occurrence but perhaps this is something more specific to Win 10 or its recent updates, as I haven't used it in a few years.

I am wondering if you have just had bad luck with your tablets-- are you buying them new or refurbished? If your tablet has structural issues, definitely call Wacom and see if they will repair or replace it. Other than that maybe try deleting and reinstalling the driver? That all sounds very frustrating.
posted by ananci at 6:01 PM on January 9

For what it's worth, I've also used a small variety of Wacoms over time, and my experience is also that they are reliable. The graphics professionals I work with swear by them.

You may have something else going on here - can you tell us more about the rest of your system?
posted by mhoye at 6:33 PM on January 9

I would guess you have something else going on - these are reliable tablets IME, although I've only used them on *nix and OSX. The simpler ones are plug-and-play. Are you plugging directly into the computer or going through a hub? Is it a wired or wireless model you're having trouble with?
posted by aspersioncast at 5:03 AM on January 10

I have no experience with any drawing tablets but was just reading a thread on twitter about Wacom not being great and plenty people recommended huion instead. Might be something worth investigating.
posted by Fence at 11:43 AM on January 10

Hi all! While I appreciate that the possibility of user error or system issues is real, I'd really just like to get product recommendations out of this question! So if you've never had an issue with a Wacom tablet, awesome, this gives me hope for the future! But rather than use this thread for tech help reviving my old and deeply broken tablet (my dislike of this tablet has transcended rationality and I do not wish to save it or badger the manufacturer to give me a functional twin), I would much rather know the model number of one of the tablets that you've used and enjoyed.

If I get a new tablet and it also has issues, then I'll know I really just have to troubleshoot, but I'm replacing it either way, so I'm just going to cross that bridge when I come to it.
posted by space snail at 3:16 PM on January 10

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