Advice for New Pen Tablet / Stylus for Magic Trackpad?

Last week, my pen tablet died. I was using a Turcom (Huion) TS-6580 (footprint 12x8"; active area 8.5x5.5"). It’s the stylus that died, so I could just replace the stylus, but I see this as an opportunity to up my game in the pen tablet arena.

Important Note: I have a repetitive strain injury in both of my arms from having a job at a non-ergonomic workstation many years ago. I use Dragon Dictate for most things (including this post), I have a magic trackpad 2 to the right of my keyboard, an ergonomic left-hand mouse to the left of my keyboard, and a full size keyboard with real keys that are easy to press. Oh, and I use an iMac from June 2017 running High Sierra 10.13.6.

The tablet sits on the desktop while the keyboard, mouse, and trackpad are on the keyboard tray. The most comfortable device for me to use for basic navigation is the pen tablet. I can get by with the mouse and trackpad but it takes twice as long to do anything and causes some residual pain in my arms. So I need to make a decision on a new pen tablet quickly.

I also used to be a graphic artist and occasionally do graphics work in CreativeSuite 5. I am planning to do more of this work in the future, so I like the idea of a graphics tablet that can accommodate that.

Here are some ideas kicking around my head:

  1. Purchase a new, better quality pen tablet with some of the newer features. Something that is preferably smaller than what I have now, and definitely not any larger. It would also be nice if it had a stand or feet at the back so it could tilt upward a little bit so I’m not reaching too far to use it.

  2. Purchase a stylus that works with my magic trackpad. I don’t know if this option would actually replace a pen tablet, but the benefit would be that I could use the stylus for navigation and use the multitouch system with my fingers. I tried using a basic rubber tip stylus on it, and it does work, but really poorly. Way too much drag and no precision.

  3. Purchase a smaller size pen tablet such as the Wacom Intuous small that can actually replace my magic trackpad entirely. That way I can sit it right next to my keyboard and never have to reach up on top of the desk to get to a tablet. But I have heard mixed reviews on the small. Some people say it’s fantastic, replaces a mouse and also works for graphics and other people say it is too small to work well for graphics.

Ultimately, I’d like to replace my mouse/trackpad entirely with a pen tablet system, but I also like to have the ability to do graphics work on my tablet. Multitouch would be nice so I could use it as a trackpad also, but is probably not entirely necessary. Things like “tilt recognition” are great, but not dealbreakers. Also, would like to keep the cost under $300.

There are so many options out there and some conflicting reviews, so I really wanted to post to this group to see if anybody has suggestions for me. Thanks so much!

In Catalina and iPadOS, you’ll
Be able to use an iPad as a tablet, similar to the way Luna works now. Of course Catalina won’t be released until September, so Luna might be an option in the meantime.
Unless you already have an iPad, this will be over your budget. Nevertheless, something to consider and google around.

Thank you for the suggestions!
I do have an iPad Mini 4 right now. I don’t want to use my iPad for this as I take my iPad with me everywhere and would rather have a dedicated pen tablet to always keep with my computer.
Also, I’m not looking for a “screen tablet” where you see an image on the tablet itself. I’m looking for a pen tablet that uses a stylus to navigate my iMac screen.
I’ve never heard of Luna, so I will take a look at that.

Just checked out Astropad. That looks like a great thing for me to think of migrating to in the future, but a little too much for what I need right now.

I would start with a bigger desk and better setup. It appears to me that you took the non-ergonomic workstation home.

LOL! You are not wrong.
This desk, while as ergonomic as I can make it, is rather small, but I don’t think I can fit anything bigger in this space nor want to spend the money on a new desk at this time. I will probably hold onto this desk for a few more years.

I decided on this:

it’s a New Wacom Intuos Art Creative Pen Tablet - Small blue- CTH-490/B0 Pen & touch
I found it on eBay for $90, including shipping. It’s an older product but it has the touch screen feature that the new ones don’t have.

I’m hoping I can actually replace my trackpad with this. (It should arrive in a couple of weeks - on it’s way to USA form Japan)