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Best Tablet for Procreate: A Buyer’s Guide for Digital Artists & Designers

Wearing my badge of honor as an Apple-certified engineer from my tech support days, I’ve had the privilege of personally testing the crème de la crème of tablets in the market. Given that Procreate is my go-to tool for a significant chunk of my UI design doodling, I’ve meticulously all the tablets below present you with an unbiased, comprehensive overview for the best tablet for procreate for any budget.

So, are you all geared up to craft some breathtaking digital art? Let’s dive in!

Best Tablets for Procreate

Procreate is a powerful digital sketching and painting app designed exclusively for the iOS platform and is the top-grossing iPad app in 120 countries. This creative powerhouse is compatible with all models of iPad that run iPadOS 15.4.1 or later, turning your tablet into a portable artist’s studio. Here are 5 models at different price points worth considering:

Apple iPad Mini (6th Generation)

Light on your pocket, and in your pocket yet heavy on features, the Apple iPad Mini is your dream portable partner for Procreate!

Pros

  • Speedy, smooth performance thanks to the A15 bionic chip
  • A crisp, vibrant 8.3-inch Liquid Retina Display infused with P3 wide color and True Tone for stunning visuals
  • Touch ID and Apple Pay integration making your life breezy!

Cons

  • If you’re after a bigger screen, this isn’t the model for you
  • With 64GB, you have decent storage for your digital creations, but remember, art files can bloat quickly!
  • Just a heads up – like most Apple goodies, the Apple Pencil is sold separately

I loved testing the Apple iPad Mini because it’s so compact, it really unleashes your inner artist and brings your imagination to life simply because its hard to put down! Its vibrant 8.3-inch Retina Display will make your Procreate sketches shine bright and bold too, as you’d expect from Apple’s lineup of gadgets.

The iPad Mini is a great option for artists who want a smaller device for on-the-go drawing.
– Matt Gonzalez

As the smallest iPad I tested, the A15 Bionic chip is pretty awesome and doesn’t hold Procreate back too much but it’s obviously not in the same league as the more powerful iPad Pro’s. As one of the newer models, it’s compatible with Apple Pencil version 2, and it’s size lends well to portability. it doesn’t come with an Apple Pencil, you can easily snap one up separately.

I’d personally use the iPad Mini as a secondary device to my daily driver (the iPad Pro), it’s great for taking out when leaving the house. But, it’s also perfect for first time designers with a lower price point.

The Apple iPad Mini stands out as a wonderful low cost choice for Procreate enthusiasts. With its consistent performance, stunning display, and wallet-friendly price, it’s the go-to micro tablet for digital creators on a budget.

Apple iPad Wi-Fi 64GB (10 Generation)

Apple iPad 10th Gen

Seeking an affordable, feature-rich tablet for Procreate? Look no further! This iPad delivers an outstanding performance without breaking the bank, but it’s a little annoying.

Pros

  • Delivers a seamless Procreate journey
  • Power-packed for extended creativity
  • Budget friendly

Cons

  • No audio jack – You’ll need an adaptor if you’re into using pluggable earphones, or a bluetooth alternative.
  • Storage could be a factor – At 64GB, you have plenty space but it depends on how large you go on design files.
  • Remember, you’ll need a USB Type-C interface to charge the Apple Pencil v1 (sold seperately).

The Apple iPad 10th Gen Wi-Fi 64GB is another great option for Procreate enthusiasts on a budget. With a snappy A14 Bionic chip, it’s pretty much a seamless, lag-free drawing experience. Plus, its 10.9-inch Liquid Retina display is awesome — vibrant colors and razor-sharp clarity that make your creations come to life.

With most of the latest iPad models, you can indulge in your artistry all day long, without the constant worry of finding a power source. The batteries in most iPad models are superb.

Okay, let’s talk about the slight hitches. Traditional headphone users, you’ll need an adapter. All good on the Bluetooth side? Great, you’re golden. The 64GB storage might feel tight for artists with heftier projects, but it’s plenty for novices.

Don’t forget, this iPad rocks a USB Type-C port, which means a few extra connectors and cables if you plan on using the Apple Pencil. Apple Pencil 2 is only compatible with iPad Pro models released in 2018 or later so you’ll need to consider the Apple Pencil version 1 instead. Not a dealbreaker, but a lot more cables and connectors to support all the accessories. (annoying, right?)

All in all, if you’re a Procreate user in search of a tablet that promises performance, features, and affordability, the Apple iPad 10th Gen Wi-Fi 64GB is a great option.

Apple iPad Air (5th Generation)

Apple iPad Air

The Apple iPad Air (5th Generation), sporting the M1 chip and a stunning 10.9-inch Liquid Retina Display, delivers a perfect blend of performance and mobility for Procreate enthusiasts.

Pros

  • M1 chip packed with power!
  • An expansive 10.9-inch Liquid Retina Display fine-tuned for Procreate.
  • Storage options from 64GB to 256GB

Cons

  • Apple Pencil sold separately
  • Not the most powerful option for heavy design files

I’ve spent a lot of time playing around with this iPad Air and it truly shines as a Procreate tablet. Its M1 chip delivers a smooth, seamless operation, making intricate designs a breeze, while the vibrant 10.9-inch Liquid Retina Display brings every artwork to life.

Thanks to its speedy and responsive interface, the iPad Air can effortlessly handle heavy design files. It’s the kind of snappy performance we’ve come to expect from Apple.

The iPad Air is a great option for artists who want a powerful device without the high price tag of the iPad Pro.
– Christine Chan

The only downsides? You’ll need to buy accessories like the Apple Pencil (2nd generation) separately. But with storage options starting from 64GB, you can choose the one that suits your needs.

In summary, the iPad Air (5th Generation) is an outstanding Procreate tablet. Its remarkable performance, stunning display, and sleek design make it a worthwhile investment for professionals and hobbyists alike.

Apple iPad Pro 12.9-inch (6th Generation)

I couldn’t resist purchasing one for myself. With its remarkable M2 chip performance, it truly represents the epitome of iPad experiences. BUT – it’s very expensive.

Pros

  • CPU and GPU performance: Absolutely flawless!
  • Liquid Retina XDR Display: It’s breathtakingly good. Words can’t do it justice!
  • Battery Life: Superb! It comfortably powered me through an entire movie marathon day without needing a recharge.

Cons

  • A bit pricey, particularly for the high-end specs
  • May be too much if you’re a drawing tablet newbie
  • Heads up! It’s heavier than the iPad Air, just in case you’re considering portability

While I’m not an Apple superfan, I can’t deny the prowess of the iPad Pro, especially for Procreate enthusiasts. It’s a multitasker’s dream, perfect for heavy-duty editing in video, photography, and more.

When budget isn’t a constraint, the iPad Pro emerges as a top contender – offering unrivaled performance and a spacious screen. It boasts Apple’s speedy M2 chip, the powerhouse also under the hood of the MacBook Pro 13-inch (M2, 2022). Expect a fast, smooth experience on Procreate, with your creations radiating on the mini-LED XDR display.

The iPad Pro is the best tablet for artists, designers, and creatives.
– Lance Ulanoff

The extensive screen real estate transforms the iPad Pro into a versatile digital canvas. Bear in mind, though, its size surpasses other iPads and tablets, potentially impacting portability.

Combine it with the Apple Pencil 2, and you’ve got an outstanding Procreate setup. It’s worth noting, though, that this combo comes with a hefty price tag. If you don’t need all this raw power, more affordable iPads can still do justice to Procreate without breaking the bank.

Apple 10.2-inch iPad Wi-Fi (9th Generation)

Apple 10.2-inch iPad

Looking for a ultra affordable Procreate experience? Apple’s 10.2-inch iPad Wi-Fi 9th Generation is a dynamite choice.

Pros

  • Really affordable option, and still performs beautifully
  • Buttery smooth Procreate performance for the most part
  • Another marathon runner of a battery

Cons

  • May be limited in storage for some
  • Only works with Apple Pencil V1

I personally love these models, especially at the cost they go for today. With a crisp, vibrant 10.2″ IPS (2160 x 1620) display, the 9th generation iPad brings your Procreate creations to life. Performance is pretty much seamless in my testing, handling quite a lot of complex files with ease.

Its impressive battery life keeps you productive for extended periods, a blessing during those long commutes or travels. Just as all iPads tend to do, even the older generations blow my mind with how much battery life they have after extended use.

However, the 64GB storage capacity may be a little tight for those who juggle multiple design apps and large project files. The solution? Periodic offloading to cloud storage keeps things running smoothly. Procreate also has a limit to the number of layers you can run on older model iPads. Not a dealbreaker for most at this price point.

Considering its exceptional features and user experience and super low price, it’s a worthy investment, especially if you’re just getting started with Procreate.

Overall, the Apple 10.2-inch iPad Wi-Fi 9th Generation offers an outstanding display, smooth Procreate performance, and a long-lasting battery, making it a top contender beginners seeking a tablet for Procreate.

Choosing the best tablet for Procreate: Buyers guide

As a designer, I know the pain of choosing the best tablet for Procreate, given the multitude of options available. But fear not, this guide is here to help you navigate through the essentials and pinpoint your ideal device.

Display Size and Resolution

One of the crucial factors to consider when picking a tablet for Procreate is its display size and resolution. A larger display allows for more accurate drawings and finer details. Simultaneously, a higher resolution ensures your artwork appears crisp, clear, and visually stunning. Striking a balance between the two is key to suiting your creative needs.

Apple Pen vs Everyone Else

Apple and its accessories have a unique bond. Almost always, it’s a smart choice to pick Apple’s native options over a 3rd party stylus. In my experience, I’ve spent a lot of time with graphic tablets like Wacom and e-ink tablets such as Remarkable, but haven’t ventured into third-party stylus terrain yet on any of these devices. Generally, the best options is the one made by the manufacturer. And just so you’re aware, the Apple Pencil is compatible with the iPad Pro, iPad Air 3rd generation, and iPad 6th and 7th generation.

Battery Life

Don’t overlook battery life. It dictates how long you can use your tablet without needing a recharge. Tablets boasting a longer battery life let you dive into your projects without fear of losing power mid-creation. Luckily for you, all iPads that are compatible with Procreate have stunningly long battery lives. So no problem here.

Connectivity Options

Also, connectivity is a significant consideration, especially when it comes to transferring your artwork. A tablet with multiple connectivity options – Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and USB-C – ensures hassle-free art transfer between devices. In this regard, iPad’s are pretty well connected. You’re iPad can also be used as a drawing tablet for mac with a few extra apps and tweaks.

Budget

Finally, take a moment to consider your budget. There’s a plethora of fantastic tablets across various price ranges. By factoring in your budget, you can find a tablet that not only ticks all technical boxes but also aligns with your finances. The older models may have some drawbacks like additional connectors and cables. There may be limits to how many layers you can work on in Procreate.

None of this should put you off, especially if you’re just getting started. You may even want to consider getting hold of a 2nd hand model, most of which are in good condition or need a basic battery change to bring back up to full speed.

Remember, all these factors are important in finding the perfect Procreate tablet. Choose wisely for an optimal drawing experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a difference in Procreate performance between iPad models?

Indeed, Procreate’s performance varies across iPad models. Typically, newer iPads packed with advanced processors and more RAM offer a smoother sketching session, quicker rendering, and support a greater number of layers in Procreate.

Which tablets are compatible with Procreate?

At the time of writing, Procreate is exclusively designed for Apple iPads running on iPadOS 15.4.1 or later. It is not available for Android or Windows tablets. For the best Procreate experience, I recommend using an iPad Pro, iPad Air, or iPad Mini with an Apple Pencil.

How does the Apple Pencil enhance the Procreate experience?

The Apple Pencil significantly enhances the Procreate experience by providing precise control, pressure sensitivity, and tilt functionality. This allows me to create more realistic strokes, shading, and achieve a higher level of detail in my design work. Apple Pencil 2 is only compatible with iPad Pro models released in 2018 or later.

What is the minimum iPad specification needed for Procreate?

The minimum iPad specification needed for Procreate at the time of writing is an iPad running iPadOS 15.4.1 or later. Further information on older models can be found on Procreates FAQ, including performance limitations and limitations on features in the app.

Is the iPad Air sufficient for using Procreate?

Yes, the iPad Air is sufficient for using Procreate. Although it may not perform as well as an iPad Pro, the iPad Air still provides a satisfying drawing experience, supports the Apple Pencil, and has enough processing power for most artists’ needs.

Do all iPad models support the same number of layers in Procreate?

No, the number of layers supported in Procreate depends on the iPad model and the canvas size. Newer iPads with more RAM generally support a higher number of layers. To optimize layer usage, I recommend experimenting with different canvas sizes and adjusting the layer limit within the app settings.

Conclusion

Choosing the perfect iPad for Procreate is a decision that involves considering your budget, portability preferences, and the level of performance you need. Each of the iPads discussed in this article – iPad Pro, iPad Air, iPad Mini, and the standard iPad – offers its unique strengths.

iPad Pro stands out for its powerful performance, iPad Air for its balance between power and price, iPad Mini for portability while the standard iPad is excellent for beginners on a budget. Ultimately, the best tablet for procreate would be the one that best fits your specific needs and goals.

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