Wacom Intuos 5
Wacom makes drawing tablets. They've been around for a while. They've gotten pretty good at it -- and they make a whole bunch. It wasn't easy to choose the Wacom models we'd highlight here, but we did manage to find a mix of characteristics with a broad range of appeal. Since the Intuos range was just updated in spring 2012, it seemed like a promising candidate and worthy of a closer look.
The Intuos 5 is in the mid-range of the Wacom lineup, which means that it comes with some pretty nice features at a decent price (comparable to an entry-level regular tablet). You're first likely to notice that the drawing surface is surrounded by a rubberized frame. This might come as a disappointment if you're the type who likes to doll up your gadgets with colorful cases or patterned protective wraps, but Wacom products tend to be pretty stark. Whether or not you like the aesthetics, the texture is a nice feature that will improve handling and durability.
So while the Intuos 5 might be short on external glamour, much of its magic is found in the screen. It features multitouch (yup, like an iPad) which eliminates the need for a mouse (a common burden of drawing tablets). Wacom is known for super-sensitive stylus input that allows the artist to have intense control and the Intuos is no exception. It even goes a step further -- Wacom claims the screen can distinguish between deliberate and accidental touches (such as brushing your wrist against the frame, which could cause a huge digital smear or paint spill across your composition).