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Inexpensive Graphics Tablets from Monoprice

By November 17, 2009

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I've known about Monoprice.com for a while. They are one of the cheapest sources for cables and adapters for computer, audio, and video equipment. Recently I bought an LCD monitor wall mount from them and was very impressed with it for the price paid. Well, my good friend Jacci from About.com Desktop Publishing just informed me that Monoprice also sells their own brand of graphics tablets. I had no idea!

They list 4 different sizes on their web site, although at the moment all are out of stock with expected time of arrival of 11/30/09 for the two larger models. The 8 by 6 inch model has 14 user reviews on Monoprice.com with a very high satisfaction rating. The tablet comes with 2 pens and extra nibs for the pens. Driver software is included for both Mac and Windows.

I have had both good and bad experiences with budget-brand graphics tablets, but the Monoprice name and Jacci's recommendation gives me some confidence that these could be a good low-cost alternative to a Wacom tablet. If you've used a Monoprice graphics tablet, please share your experience in the comments.

Monoprice Graphics Tablets
Top Pressure-Sensitive Graphics Tablets
Before You Buy a Graphics Tablet

Comments
November 17, 2009 at 5:10 pm
(1) jacci says:

As Sue mentioned, I recently got one of these. Actually, my husband bought two of them. He bought them at a discount electronics store down the street from us so he paid a little bit more than the online price but not much.

Installation of the drivers and software were super simple. The instructions are clear (although I think they might have been translated from another language — some odd phrasing). My main initial complaint was that it wouldn’t work with my dual monitors — but a reboot fixed that.

I’m just now starting to use the hot cells, at least the preprogrammed ones. Very cool. They have a little picture of an arrow that you follow with your pen to activate a command (for example, trace over a little C shape drawing to cut, a downward diagonal arrow to minimize a window, or a P to open the Print dialog). Haven’t tried programming the user-defined hot cells. If you have no use for the hot cells you can deactivate them and use that additional space for drawing.

The pen is quite comfortable to hold and the sensitivity is great. My husband tells me that he is loving doing drawings with it just like he’s always done with plain old art pencils. He uses it with GIMP. I’ve tried it out in Photoshop CS4 and it works well (the tablet also comes with a trial version of Photoshop CS3 and a trial of Corel Painter X although I didn’t install them).

Would love to read what others have to say though — any caveats, things to watch out for?

November 18, 2009 at 1:19 pm
(2) Roger says:

Sorry to use your blog this way, but I was unable to use your email link. Anyway, I found an image on bing.com entitled Christian Symbols. Can I use this image?

Roger Ball
rogerball121@yahoo.com

November 18, 2009 at 1:22 pm
(3) Sue Chastain says:
December 22, 2009 at 8:21 pm
(4) timothykc says:

After reading this post, and the positive reviews on the monoprice site–and comparing the prices to wacom!–I figured, what did I have to lose with a $40 dollar investment (as opposed to $300-$400)?

The 8×10 tablet I received looks and feels well made, and the setup on my macbook pro took less than 5 minutes. (it came promptly within 4 days of ordering from their website!)

It works great with my CS4 illustrator and photoshop. One issue that came up with Illustrator and the monoprice tablet was I could not initially customize pressure sensitive brushes . That problem was resolved when I tried installing my tablet on another mac that already had wacom bamboo drivers… It seems the wacom drivers activated the necessary features on illustrator, which the monoprice can then piggy back on.

Thus, if you wish to activate the pressure sensitive or tllt brush features for Illustrator on your computer without a wacom, first install wacom drivers, and then remember to re-install the monoprice ones (or else the tablet won’t work properly).

In summary, while it may not be the ultimate, top-of-the-line tablet(with top-shelf pricing…), for $40 dollars, it’s a great buy and will serve the casual enthusiast, and most professionals more than adequately.

Believe the reviews, this tablet just makes great sense for such a great balance between price and performance!

December 23, 2009 at 6:10 am
(5) Nilla in Oregon says:

After stumbling across this article and reading the comments, I decided to buy this tablet as a Christmas present for myself. Thank you so much for the article!

January 27, 2010 at 3:42 am
(6) Larry Elmore says:

OK, Does anyone use dual monitors? I purchased a Monoprice 8×6 tablet and it is limited to my primary monitor. This really bites. My whole work flow is based on having the tools on one monitor and the artwork on the other.

January 27, 2010 at 9:10 am
(7) Sue Chastain says:

Larry: Did you read Jacci’s comment (#1) above about dual monitors?

February 24, 2010 at 11:55 pm
(8) Gary says:

Just purchased a Monoprice tablet and cannot get my Macbook Pro to recognize it in extended desktop. Works great on a PC but not the Mac. Anyone have any similar issues and hopefully a fix?

THX
Gary

February 26, 2010 at 4:26 pm
(9) Anonymous says:

Just got mine today. My old Aiptek died last week. I’ve been playing with it for an hour now. I’m pretty pleased with it actually. It was well worth the $47 I paid with shipping.

I did install the Wacom Intuos drivers as someone suggested here. It did activate the other features quite nicely.

The pen could use a revamp. The mouse buttons are just plain inconvenient placed where they are, but otherwise it’s perfect for my needs.

I have used a Wacom Intuos 3. I can’t say I see a whole lot of difference between that and this with the Wacom drivers installed and at 1/10 as much this tablet will do me just fine.

A pro illustrator might still need more, but I think for a lot of people this tablet will be an acceptable alternative. It’s light years better than my old Aiptek was and and that wasn’t half bad for a non-Wacom pad in it’s day.

I definitely wouldn’t trade this for a similarly sized Bamboo. I might swap it for a larger pro Wacom someday if I was ever flush enough to be able to afford one, but this is the best thing and I’m pretty impressed with it regardless.

Excellent budget tablet, a steal for the $$$.

There’s a reason they’re back ordered all the time. If you’re not a pro illustrator and can actually actually get one when they are in I’d go for it. This one was worth a bit of a wait, I think.

June 15, 2010 at 1:30 am
(10) Hanna says:

I want a low price tablet, but I also want one that is a good quality and for professionals…please help, as I don’t want my first tablet to be a flop!!!:(

July 9, 2010 at 3:45 pm
(11) Patrick says:

I got one a while back, and it worked perfectly with wacom drivers on my old laptop with Vista, but I’m having problems with it on my new laptop. I managed to load the tablet and the wacom drivers successfully, but when I turned on the computer today, it lost the pressure sensitivity. So I now have to go through the process of uninstalling and reloading the drivers. I hope I don’t have to do this every time I turn off my computer.

July 27, 2010 at 1:01 am
(12) SYLVIA says:

I’ve had this tablet for almost 4 months and am not thrilled. I’ve had Wacom Graphires and had a problem w/ the wire on them developing problems so thought I’d try the Monoprice. I have had a constant problem with the cursor “jumping” about and have had no help from their tech support. The first TS I emailed w/ had scant knowledge of english, the second simply was no help. They have offered a return but want my order # from them and I don’t know that. I’ll have to see if I can work something out. The reason they give 2 pens is that the pens are junk. I’m on pen #2 already. Also the pens need a battery which needs replacement pretty often and which makes the pen fatter and not as easy to hold.

August 25, 2010 at 2:43 am
(13) Patti says:

Hi! I’m wondering if anyone has ever tried using Wacom pens with the Monoprice tablet? Can you do that if the drivers are installed?
- newbie

September 12, 2010 at 11:20 am
(14) MR HOLLYWOOD says:

Good point Patti ! My only thought would be, it might not work considering that the Wacom pen has no battery. The battery must play some sort of a roll in the Monoprice pen. If it works that would be FANTASTIC. With the Wacom drivers install that might make it possible.

Finger Crossed

CHEERS

September 24, 2010 at 6:30 pm
(15) Brett says:

Patti,

You can not use a Wacom pen with the Monoprice tablet. The reason Wacom’s are so over-priced is because of the battery-free nature of the Pen. Inside the Wacom tablets is a woven layer of wire that is supplied with a low voltage. The Wacom pen contains a small capacitor and the capacitor is inductively charged through the wiring in the tablet. It does not “hold” a charge like a battery.

I can’t say I agree with Sylvia, I’ve had no issues with my 10″ tablet it’s super simple to install and use on a PC and I’ve used it with Gimp and Photoshop and it has performed flawlessly, it’s certainly performed better than any mouse will, with PS or Gimp.

September 30, 2010 at 11:21 pm
(16) Robert says:

Yes, I got one of those tablet but I hate to replace battery. I just got a Hanvon from http://www.Telbak.com. Same technology as Wacom.
Basically, there are only two companies in the market now with Battery-less technology pen tablet, they are Wacom and Hanvon. A few Hanvon tablets are distributed by Telbak Technology in the US.

November 13, 2010 at 1:51 pm
(17) Ismael says:

I was impressed with the reviews I read on this tablet so I bought one but I was really disappointed.
First I could not get it to work at all, I tried uninstalling and reinstalling the drivers several times. First I thought i was a hardware issue, but I noticed that sometimes the light on the tablet would light up so it was detecting the pen, but nothing would come up on the screen.
Then I found out if I slide the pen from the bottom of the tablet up into the drawing area the pen would actually write, but as soon as I lifted the pen it would stop. Even then the lines I drew seemed to follow a predetermined grid of horizontal and vertical lines. If I traced a line horizontally for example it would draw a perfectly straight line, this would not work at all for me as I wanted to use it for drawing and I need perfect sensitivity. I had to send the tablet back but I am surprised that no other people seemed to have that problem.

November 24, 2010 at 9:38 am
(18) Artpro305 says:

I have been using this tablet for a year and a half now. I cannot complain about the result I get from it. Of course it got some limitations but it does the job. Since my 2 years old son love the PC he is using it every day, this is to tell that it is tough enought to resist the banging. So if you are budget limited I will recommend it.

December 18, 2010 at 3:30 pm
(19) GraphicDesigner says:

While I absolutely love the graphics tablet (the one with the hot keys especially) I deplore the pen.

I need a replacement pen because mine keeps breaking (the little button continually pops off, I’m starting to bend it on accident because of the cheap design and the way you have to insert the battery) and its driving me nuts because I have yet to find an individual pen for this graphic tablet available online. I am not buying another one just for the sake of getting a pen.

I have looked on Ebay and I can’t buy one. I despise the pen, but I love the tablet. If you want a tablet with a great pen, get a Wacom. But if you want a tablet with a terrible pen, try the monoprice.

May 26, 2011 at 11:01 am
(20) Gary Neal says:

Do you know if i could find long hdmi cables there? We’ve got a big system in the basement and I need some that are maybe 5′ or 6′?

June 5, 2011 at 6:11 pm
(21) Lily says:

I have used a Monoprice tablet for a bit over two years, and as a digital artist on a budget, it’s practically amazing. However, in the two years that I have had it, the pen’s metal harness for the battery snapped FOUR TIMES, even after having taken extra precaution. They do not sell the pens separately, and you can’t expect to find them on the market, so once your warranty is out, or you don’t have your serial number, you’re really out of luck.

July 5, 2011 at 5:06 pm
(22) Clint says:

I have been looking into getting one of these, and saw the many complaints about the pen……but I have noticed that the Monoprice website does sell the pens separately for about $10 a piece: http://www.monoprice.com/products/subdepartment.asp?c_id=108&cp_id=10841

Look at the bottom…no pic, but it says “Graphic Drawing Tablet Pen”

September 18, 2011 at 9:05 pm
(23) Jess says:

Im new to tablets and I want one to draw with. I normaly use graphite…if that means anything.
Ive heard some bad things about the pens, but I saw then for sale onling for 4.99 and that cost less than a good traditional art pen. Is there any other complaints?

November 27, 2011 at 6:23 pm
(24) voxleo says:

Anyone know if these are the same pens used with adesso cybertablet and aiptek hyperpen series? Sounds like the same build from the descriptions and problem with the battery part breaking off -

Those lines as well as some from trust, medion, genius, vistablet and possilby even digipro all are waltop oem rebranded identical to each other and used the same stylus but pens are impossible to find. The mono site does sell the pens alone, so I am curious if it would work with my 12000u tablet also…

February 2, 2012 at 8:29 pm
(25) jeff says:

the pen that mono price sells works on all monoprice tablets it is an upgrade pen and screws together instead of pressing together like the stock pen did. i purchased the 2nd to largest tablet with side hot keys the upgrade pen and 5 packs of 10 replacement pen tips for $68.41 total with shipping if you buy a monoprice tablet do yourself a favor buy the upgrade pen and replacement tips. i will leave another review as soon as i get some time on it.

February 20, 2014 at 3:48 pm
(26) Audio Crazed says:

Was reading about their updated version recently, looks promising. Any updates on this?

April 12, 2014 at 5:24 am
(27) Barry says:

Is there any way to use this with Office 2010 and Win 7?

April 13, 2014 at 8:52 pm
(28) Sue Chastain says:

I don’t see why not.

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