REVIEW: GAOMON PD1560 Pen Display
We take GAOMON’s powerful PD1560 Pen Display graphics tablet for a spin to test its versatility, responsiveness, and a host of other features…
With the PD1560 Pen Display, GAOMON aim to offer a powerful, capable graphics tablet at a highly competitive price point. Though it’s currently at the highest end of GAOMON’s product range, the PD1560 only costs around £340 or $360 at the time of writing, which is its greatest advantage when the closest competing models are around twice the price. We take a closer look at this impressive device and some of the features it has to offer.
The whole PD1560 package is simple but well thought out. The box contains the tablet, a rechargeable stylus with a holder and extra nibs, a detachable stand, manual, drawing glove, felt tablet sleeve, and all cables and adapters you should require.
I confess I got off on the wrong foot with this tablet: the matte screen protector was very hard to apply, to the point where I had to throw it out (followed by two replacements which GAOMON kindly sent, and I also botched). However, GAOMON have already shown great initiative in this regard, and as of April 2019, the PD1560 ships with a matte screen protector already applied. So though my experience with the matte protector was not ideal, GAOMON deserve credit for their speed and willingness in rectifying this issue and revising their product to make it as user-friendly as possible. Just note that there won’t be any photos of the shiny tablet screen here, as they don’t do justice to the product as it is now.
The stand does not come attached, so if you want to work with the tablet free-standing on your desk, it’ll be a few minutes’ work to screw it on. This is easy to do with the tools provided, and the stand is great, with secure rubber feet and a lever that allows you to adjust the tablet’s angle to a very precise level, from around 20 degrees through to almost completely upright. Whatever angle you prefer to work at, the PD1560 has it covered.
Hooking the tablet up to your computer or laptop is fairly simple, with a 3-in-1 cable and plug adapters helpfully included. Two plugs go into the tablet, two into your computer (HDMI and USB), and one to the power socket. Provided that you’ve removed any potentially conflicting tablet drivers from your computer first, GAOMON’s drivers are easy to install, readily available from their website. You may need to go through your computer’s monitor display settings and the GAOMON driver software to fine-tune the work area, but otherwise you can be connected and running within minutes. The software isn’t pretty, but is clear to navigate, allowing you to customise your hotkeys, stylus settings, and display in detail.
The tablet and stylus
The PD1560’s 15.6-inch, 1080p HD screen offers plenty of drawing surface for most artists’ needs. The tablet’s build quality is impressive; the screen, buttons, and stand feel sturdy and thoughtfully made. I found the colours and contrast to be clear and vibrant right out of the box, but you can use the tablet’s menu buttons to navigate through colour, brightness, contrast, and sharpness settings if you’d like to refine the display further.
You can use the GAOMON driver software to calibrate the stylus if needed, but you’ll find there is naturally a small air gap between the nib and cursor. The minor parallax effect is noticeable if you’re looking for it, but it’s on a par with most other tablets of this kind and something you will very quickly get accustomed to. The stylus is fluid and responsive, and I found no issues with lines glitching or wobbling – the PD1560’s 8192 pen pressure levels put it on a par with the WACOM Cintiq Pro for sensitivity, and contact with the tablet surface feels smooth and effortless. It’s a very comfortable monitor to look at and draw on.
The stylus feels a bit hollow and insubstantial, with a smooth body that rolls easily in the hand and makes it easy to miss the buttons or click them by mistake. It could be more ergonomic, but really it’s fine and functional – just a little underwhelming compared to the tablet. It has no tilt support or eraser, but comes with two remappable buttons, a stand that doubles as a container for the extra nibs, and a very generous eight spare nibs. The USB charger cable plugs neatly into the end, and the resulting battery life is great. If the prospect of a rechargeable stylus is a concern, rest assured that you won’t need to charge this one often.
One of the PD1560’s major selling points is its generous number of hotkeys, with ten customizable buttons on one side of the device. By default these are geared towards artists drawing with their right hand and using the hotkeys with their left, but left-handed users can rotate the display in the tablet software and use the hotkeys on the other side. The keys are intuitively placed and easy to press, with smooth, indented shapes that are comfortable to navigate without looking. All ten keys can be customized from within the GAOMON driver software – perfect for assigning to Undo or the Eyedropper tool.
As for the extras, the sturdy grey felt bag is only large enough for the tablet alone, without the stand and cables; if you’re transporting the tablet, the bag is more for protection than for carrying everything you need. Though the tablet is a slim 19.5 mm and lightweight on its own, the stand does bulk it up and is not something you would screw and unscrew frequently, so it’s unlikely that you’ll be toting the PD1560 around often. The bag is a handsome addition to the package but probably something that’ll rarely be used.
The two-finger drawing glove is a lovely finishing touch, enabling you to keep the screen smudge-free and feel pretty cool as you do so. The soft, stretchy material will fit most people, left- or right-handed.
I really enjoyed my time with the PD1560, which surpassed my expectations for a device in this price range. While some elements of the accessories and software lack the finesse of mainstream competitors, the core experience of working with the tablet is excellent: smooth, responsive drawing results, a high quality display, a comfortable stand, and plenty of hotkeys to tailor the device to your creative process. Investing in an alternative tablet brand can be cause for apprehension, but GAOMON’s helpful customer support and the availability of detailed troubleshooting information online inspire a lot of confidence. If you are planning to invest in a display tablet, especially with space and budget to consider, the PD1560 is a worthy choice, offering a great drawing experience for a competitive price without losing out on utility and features.
The GAOMON PD1560 is compatible with Windows 7 or later, and macOS 10.11 or later. To find out more information or where to purchase it, visit the GAOMON website.