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Wacom One review

An excellent choice for beginning artists

Wacom One
(Image: © Wacom)

Our Verdict

The Wacom One is a great tablet for artists wanting to delve deeper into the digital drawing game.

For

  • Android Compatible
  • Affordable
  • Comfortable to Use

Against

  • Only two available angles
  • Not very colorful
  • Lack of express keys

Drawing tablets such as the Wacom One cater toward seasoned artists, and their price points reflect that. The Wacom One breaks this cycle, offering artists a display tablet at a lower price, but with the reliability expected of a Wacom product. Plus, with the inclusion of Android support, it’s now easier to get into digital art for people who can’t afford a laptop to run painting software. 

I remember how, years ago, the only option available for a display tablet was the Wacom Cintiq, which ran anywhere from $1,200 to $2,500. Competitors like Huion and XP-Pen have recently  released much more affordable versions of these tablets, and as such, Wacom is taking strides to stay the “it” drawing tablet company. The Wacom One is the first budget-friendly display tablet Wacom has released, although at $399.95, some people would still consider that pricey. 

The Wacom One is a great tablet for beginner or intermediate artists, or even hobbyists looking for the reliability of a Wacom product at a lower cost than some of the company's  more expensive alternatives. 

Wacom One Price and Configuration Options

The only configuration of the Wacom One Pen Display is a 13.3-inch, 1080p model with a light-gray backing. There are no other color, size, or resolution options available. This tablet is currently available for $399.95 which, compared to the $799.95 Wacom Cintiq -- the only other display tablet Wacom makes -- is a much more reasonable price. 

Wacom One Design

Surrounding the Wacom One's 13.3-inch display are thick, black bezels which measure approximately a half inch on all sides. The screen is semi-matte, and uses plastic instead of glass in order to simulate the feel of paper. The only thing interrupting the solid light grey on the back of the Wacom One is a strip of black near the top, which is where you’ll find a  kickstand that props the tablet up for comfortable drawing angles. Hiding under the kickstand legs are three replacement pen nibs, as well as a tool to help remove them from the pen.

(Image credit: Wacom)

One thing that stood out to me about the Wacom One was the lack of express keys. Normally, drawing tablets have anywhere between  four and eight express keys, which can be programmed to shortcuts. Even the $69 Wacom Intuos CTL4100 has four programmable express keys. The XP-Pen 15.6” Pro display tablet has eight programmable express keys as well as a dial for actions such as zooming in and out, changing brush size, or scrolling up and down. 

The lack of these features makes the experience of digital drawing more awkward, but it's circumventable if you have a keyboard stationed nearby and the time to learn your drawing software’s shortcuts. The Wacom One can make your desk setup a little clunky even though the tablet is relatively small, measuring at only 14.1 x 8.9 x 0.6 inches.  

Wacom One Ports

There isn’t much need for additional ports on drawing tablets, aside from a USB-C input, which is used to connect the Wacom One to the computer and to the power as well. The Wacom One comes with what they call an “X Cable”. The power plugs into the top of the tablet, and the cord is split into three separate cables - HDMI, USB-A, and a seperate USB to plug into the AC adapter. Yes, confusing, I know, and if you plug the wrong USB into the computer, the computer won’t recognize the tablet as a drawing device, which I discovered the hard way. 

(Image credit: Wacom)

There isn’t even a place for the pen to plug into because Wacom pens, like the one included with this tablet,  are cordless and battery-free.Instead, you get a flexible holder attached to the top of the tablet for storing the pen. 

Wacom One Display

During the trailer for the movie Secret Garden, the Wacom One’s 13.3-inch, 1080p display performed decently. The greens were vibrant, but the purples seemed subdued. This is a little disappointing for an artist’s tablet, where you would hope that the colors and contrast would be accurate. According to our colorimeter, the Wacom One scored a 72% on the NTSC scale, which is about average for a tablet. 

(Image credit: Wacom)

The screen is treated with an anti-glare film that makes drawing in a well lit area much easier because you aren’t constantly battling for the perfect angle to see what you’re drawing. While you can technically draw outside on a regular Android device, the sun tends to wash out colors a bit more, so it might be wise to keep the One indoors. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to measure the brightness for this tablet.

Wacom One Pen

Wacom once again blew me away with the natural feel of its pen. With 4,096 pressure levels, every line felt completely in control and accurate, just how it might come out on paper. Additionally, the tablet supports tilt angles up to 60 degrees, making paint brushes in Photoshop dynamic and easy to use. Unlike Wacom's normal pen design, the Wacom One’s stylus is much thinner and feels cheap. 

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

This would normally be a downside, but the tablet is compatible with stylii produced by different companies, such as the Samsung Galaxy Note's S Pen, Staedtler Noris Digital, and several more.  This gives you the ability to personalize your drawing experience even further, though you’ll obviously be shelling out more cash if you opt for another company’s stylus.

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

I drew a few cool ladies in my time with the Wacom One, and it proved to be a very smooth drawing experience. Wacom has never let me down in this area. There was virtually no lag and no parallax which makes the experience as close to drawing on paper as you could want out of a tablet of this caliber. The pen has just one programmable button, which I programmed to pan/scroll to make moving around the canvas easier, but it’s possible to program any key, or combination of keys, to personalize your art process. 

Wacom One Software and Warranty

In order to take advantage of the pressure-sensitive pen and the programmable button on said pen, you must download the Wacom One driver. Along with it comes the Wacom Desktop Center. This program works as a hub if you have multiple Wacom products. It’s an all-in-one program where you can customize settings, update drivers and request support. 

(Image credit: Wacom)

The Wacom One also comes with a few other programs, such as Bamboo Paper, which is a cute program that simulates any kind of notebook you could imagine. With the Wacom One you get all of the Pro Pack options, which includes different brushes and book styles. It also comes with 2-month access to Adobe Creative Cloud, and a 3 month free trial of Clip Studio Paint Pro.

The Wacom One comes with a one-year warranty if you live in the US, Canada, Latin America, Asia Pacific or China, and a two-year warranty in Europe, Middle East and Africa. 

Bottom Line

The Wacom One is catered toward the beginner artist who dreams of more. Wacom is no newcomer to drawing tablets, but it seems like it’s finally branching out to being more accessible to artists who aren’t beginners, but don’t quite have the income to drop $2,000 on a drawing tablet.

At $399.95, most people would agree that the Wacom One comes at a fair price. With 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity and the natural, paper-like feel to the screen, drawing or writing comes almost as naturally as it would in a sketchbook or notepad. It would have been nice to see the inclusion of a few express keys in this otherwise well-rounded tablet. 

If your goal is acquiring an on-the-go tablet, The Wacom One is not for you. Although it is lightweight, the tablet requires a power source at all times, and you need a USB-C hub if you wanted to connect it to your Android device. However, the Wacom One offers a very pleasant at-home or in-the-office experience. 

If you’re looking to get into the digital drawing business and want the recognition and reliability of a brand name such as Wacom, the Wacom One is a great choice. If you’re looking for something a little more budget friendly, check out the XP Pen Artist12 Pro, although the drivers can be a bit spotty.