I was skeptical about the new Wacom One 13 Touch. I was fully wireless digital artist for years now. My iPad Pro and I am inseparable. It’s my sketchbook, my professional productivity work machine and my favorite artistic tool. How could a connected screen tablet even begin to compare to my beloved iPad Pro?
Well, after some time with Wacom’s new graphics tablet, I found myself using any excuse to put the pen to the screen.
Having fun with a stylus
Right out of the box, you’re just a cable away from using the Wacom One Touch. The setup process couldn’t be simpler. This is a shining example of how easy USB-C takes you to the display configuration. No hassle with HDMI cables: simply plug one end into the tablet and the other into your graphics card or laptop. Even without Wacom drivers, it functions as a basic touchscreen.
When you first slide the pen across the screen, it’s immediately clear that this is a precise and responsive drawing display. The pen glides effortlessly across the matte, textured 1080p display, leaving behind soft, precise brushstrokes. To say it’s a pleasure to be inspired by is an understatement. Whatever the tool, the more pleasant it is to use, the more likely you are to use it. I found myself inventing additional reasons to use the Wacom One just for fun. I even used it to write handwritten notes during a work meeting and to mark up that review draft with corrections and edits.
The pen tip is removable and replaceable, not only to account for wear and tear, but also because Wacom offers different types of tips to customize your drawing experience. (The ones provided in the box were perfect for me.) If you know the Apple Pencil, you know how it sometimes feels a little… sticky. There is none of that here. On-screen, Wacom nibs provide a tactile drawing experience comparable to using a soft graphite pencil on a semi-textured sketchbook page. Gentle but with the slightest satisfaction scratch.
The other thing I love about this stylus is that it’s completely battery-free. You don’t have to charge it. The Wacom One 13 Touch uses electromagnetic resonance (EMR) to detect pen position, pressure, and angle. The lack of batteries means it’s a lightweight little thing too. There’s no weight like that of the Apple Pencil or other powered styluses, meaning your hands and wrists won’t get as tired when using the Wacom One for long periods of time.
Wacom also added touchscreen capabilities in this tablet (if you couldn’t tell from the name), and it’s a nice option, especially if you like to move your mouse and keyboard around while you use the Wacom One. Tapping the interface in Windows and macOS feels responsive and is much more intuitive than reconfiguring your desktop because you forgot to close a window or two. If you don’t like touchscreens, you can save money with the Wacom One 12which removes this feature and is slightly smaller for a lower price.
Take the right turns
My biggest complaint with the Wacom One 13 Touch is that it’s not wireless. I so wanted to pick this thing up and carry it with me to the couch and snuggle up for some relaxing drawing time. Instead, I found myself leashed at my desk, trapped by the tyranny of that USB-C cable. But to reach the Wacom One’s $500 price point (affordable compared to the rest of its lineup), there are some give-and-takes when it comes to professional-grade features.
It is very light and the back plate is made entirely of plastic. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I found the weight to be a positive, as it made it easy to move the device around on my desk while I worked. But compare the build quality to a ipad air, and there is a pretty big chasm. Same when you compare it to the high-end Wacom Cintiq tablets. There are none of the additional input options you’ll find on higher-end models. No buttons, remote controls, or heavy-duty stands to lean on with confidence.
Wacom took all the right shortcuts here. The Wacom One 13 Touch is not a multi-thousand dollar professional illustration tablet. It’s $500, and at that price, it’s what you might call “entry level.” To be clear, I hate this label and only apply it because it’s affordable, not because a professional artist couldn’t produce professional quality work on this subject. You could definitely do it. This is a tablet you can use for years without running into any professional hurdles, and for $500, that’s pretty incredible.