Product Review: GAOMON PD156 Pro Tablet Display
With so many options available, choosing a Graphics Tablet and Display is not easy. To help make things easier, we reached out to Gaomon to review one of their most popular displays, the PD156 PRO.
Before we jump in, it's important to make sure you understand the difference between a graphics tablet and a pen display monitor.
Pen Display Monitor: Built-in external monitors that hook up to your computer. They offer a natural experience and help take your creative ideas and illustrations to the next level. Apart from looking stunning, you can draw or paint directly on the screen using your favourite 2D Software or 3D Software which makes it more intuitive and responsive for the digital artist to use.
Graphics tablets or Pen Tablets: Don't have screens are more common and affordable. They’re basically large, pressure-sensitive trackpads that you control with a special stylus.
GAOMON PD156 PRO Overview
The 15.6 inch pen display with 12.5mm in thickness and weighs only 1.3kg is always ready to support your creativity no matter when and where the inspiration strikes. The tablet has an overall dimension of 442 x 274 x 12.5 mm, making it easier to carry in your backpack.
Below is a video I recorded showing the unboxing in all its glory. There is nothing like peeling a screen protector off and digging through quality packing like this one created by GAOMON.
How easy was that? Open it up, plug it in, (download the latest driver), and you are ready to draw!
Here are some photos of the tablet display in all its glory. It really is a beautiful looking product that feels great to touch. The size is perfect for anything you could throw at it, and it even comes with a travel sleeve so you can get creative outside the office.
Build Quality & Design
When you first pickup the tablet display, it feels super comfortable, strong and high quality. There really is no mistaking that this product has been manufactured with the end user in mind.
The tablet button are easy to access, and the central dial-button is very intuitive to use and completely customisable, making workflows super efficient.
The only negative that I felt lacked in the design department, was the stand that the display rests upon. When setting up, I found it a little flimsy and the display often slipped off the base lip. I also felt that it should be bigger and more sturdy.
When applying pressure with your stylus and wrist to the top-corners of the display, there is noticeable creaking and wobbling. I understand the desire to keep the stand to a smaller footprint, but I don't feel a larger stand would deter from the overall design and appeal, but it would drastically improve stability and sturdiness.
Setup and Configuration
As demonstrated in the Unboxing Video, setup is super quick and easy. After downloading the latest drivers from the GAOMON website, it's literally plug and play to an HDMI input.
What makes the setup even more impressive is there are two different options. Option one (shown above) is the easiest, simply going direct from tablet to computer. Option two involves adding an additional power cable to the configuration. Too easy!
This configuration setup is a huge win in my eyes, as other tablet display monitors have required another power outlet and extra cables to work.
Cable connection can be streamlined with the provided two-in-one cable, where the data and power ports are combined as one besides an HDMI connector.
Performance and Precision
The precision of the pen and the accuracy of where the interaction occurs is perfect. When drawing, the tip of the pen is super accurate in terms of where you expect the lines to appear.
The specs on the stylus are rock solid with no lag, enough levels of pressure sensitivity for everyone (8192 levels to be precise), and ±60° tilt support. With This is as close as a digital display comes to replicating the feel of physical drawing.
As the name suggests, the screen is a 21.5-inch display. It features 1080p resolution which is more than enough to work with and doesn't cause any eye strain. However, I did feel that menu times suffered from pixelation. I think this comes from a life of using 4K monitors and Macbook Pros.
To be fair though, for the price point of this display, the resolution is absolutely fine and 100% useable. I think this is me just being a spoilt brat and needing to war glasses these days.
Here is a quick video of a sketch I was messing around with during my testing.
Display and Colours
My configuration included a Macbook Pro Retina Display and a LG HDR 4K Display. Even though the PD156 PRO has a smaller resolution (1920 x 1080) in comparison, I really didn't notice it compared to other tablet display monitors that I have used previously. All buttons and UI text was easy to read without obvious banding or pixelation.
You can see in the image below that the brightness and gamut is slightly less than the other displays in my setup, but this is like comparing apples and oranges. There is also a huge difference in price between the hardware so it's not fair to compare. Having said that, you will not be disappointed with the gamut, brightness and colour of the PD156 PRO, they are more than adequate for all your creative needs... including watching HD Youtube videos is super high quality.
Stunning Laminated Screen
One of the features that really caught my attention was that the PD1560 PRO has a laminated screen. Now don't worry, this doesn't mean that there is some additional layer like a screen protector on the top, it's quite the opposite.
In conventional non-laminated displays, the screen sit at the bottom. And the touch panel and top glass layer are stuck together. In this type of arrangement, an air gap builds up between the two layers. The air gap causes disturbances in the light coming in and out of the screen. These disturbances affect the quality of the image produced.
Laminating the three layers of a display screen addresses the problems. This means better image quality, reduced glare, better viewing angle and outdoor visibility, and improved overall usability or user experience.
TL:DR: A laminated screen means a thinner profile, improved display quality, better outdoor visibility, wider viewer angle, more accuracy (no parallax).
This is where things get interesting. You can purchase the GAOMON PD156 PRO for only US$399.
Honestly, at this price I believe this is one of the best investments you could make to help take your digital artist skills to the next level in both 2D and 3D.
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This is my first GAOMON product that I've ever used. In all honesty, I really didn't know much about the company or its product range until recently. During my career I've always used Wacom tablets and displays, but the price point can be inhibitive to many and with products like the GAOMON PD156 PRO, they have some serious competition on their hands.
- Great build quality and precision
- Laminated screen
- Leather travel sleeve!
- Adjustable stand would benefit from larger size
- Stylus nib squaked a little (need more time to see what happens)
So, would I buy one? Yes.
I think the tablet display is a solid investment and a great way to help improve your creative skills. If you're still using a mouse or trackpad to do anything design related, then you are kidding yourself. Save your pennies, do what you need to do. Invest in yourself. You will not regret the decision.
I'm happy to award this a rating of 4.5/5!