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Review unit provided by Gaomon
Gaomon PD156 Pro is a 15.6-inch pen display that supports tilt and 8,192 levels of pressure sensitivity. The display is laminated and supports 100% sRGB colour gamut.
The price is US $359 at the time of review. Gaomon also sells pen displays at other sizes, from 12 to 22 inches.
The items included in the box are:
- Pen display
- USB wall power adapter
- USB extension cable, 1.5m long
- Y-cable (HDMI and USB-A to USB-C), 1.5m long
- Pen and stand
- 8 replacement nibs
- Micro fiber cleaning cloth
- Artist Glove
- Quick start guide
I’m quite surprised a case is included. The included case is made with PU leather. The cover flap has magnets but are too weak close tightly. It should provide some protection if you need to bring the pen display around.
First thing to do is to peel off the glossy protective film covering the matte screen protector. Do not peel off the matte screen protector! I actually had to use my fingernail to peel off the protective film because pulling the sticker just removes the sticker.
The pen display is quite thin, slightly thinner compared to my laptop. Build quality seems solid enough.
The buttons on the right are for power and adjusting brightness. There’s the USB-C port in the middle.
The 2 connectors on the Y-cable are full-sized HDMI and USB-type A which will go to the computer. The other end is USB-C which goes to the pen display.
There’s no USB-C to USB-C connection. So if you use a computer with only USB-C ports, you’ll need a USB-C adapter with HDMI and USB-A.
If your computer’s USB port is not able to provide enough power to power the pen display, you’ll need to use the extension cable to connect to a power source. There’s going to be some cable clutter.
The tablet stand is made of metal and plastic. Build quality is quite sturdy. The design can collapse into a flat profile.
This is the lowest angle of the stand. There are rubber pieces at the right places to prevent scratches to the pen display. On the back are rubber feet that provide good grip on the table.
This is the highest angle. There’s a total of six angles for deployment.
The pen feels plasticky but is solid enough. It supports tilt and 8,192 levels of pressure sensitivity. it’s not powered by battery so no charging required.
The two side buttons are customisable and have firm click to them. Rubber grip is comfortable to hold. Pen nib has slight movement.
There are eight replacement nibs inside the pen stand. There’s no rubber grip beneath the pen stand to prevent it from gliding around.
Design of the pen display looks good. The10 physical shortcut buttons on the side and dial are all customisable.
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I measured colour support for 100% sRGB, 85% AdobeRGB, 83% NTSC, 93% P3 and a maximum brightness of 148 nits. I wished the display could be brighter. 148 nits is sufficient for indoor use. Colour accuracy for this pen display is quite good but the lower brightness is unable to show off the true vibrancy of the colours.
The display is 15.6 inches and supports a resolution of 1920 x 1080 so there’s slight pixelation. The matte textured surface nicer texture to draw on, but it will also affect image quality because it adds colour noise/grain. That’s the compromise with matte textured surfaces.
The matte screen protector will provide anti-glare and diffuse reflection.
Viewing angles are quite good. Colours do not shift much when viewed from the side, but there’s slight drop in brightness. It’s a none issue since you’ll be working mostly from the front.
The laminated display has no gap between the surface and the LCD beneath. There’s no parallax and misalignment. There’s no gap between the line and the pen tip.
Cursor tracking is quite accurate even up to the extreme edge. The cursor will only stray 1-2 pixels away from the pen tip at the extreme edge. Clicking on wrong things is not an issue on this pen display.
To get into the OSD, you have to press and hold the bottom shortcut button for 3 seconds. Then you can use the two buttons above and below the dial to navigate and adjust settings in the OSD.
The more important settings you can change are brightness, contrast, colour temperature and RGB.
The drivers I’ve tested are Windows driver v18.104.22.168 (24 Aug 2021) and Mac driver v22.214.171.12410127 (5 Feb 2021).
This is where you can customise the pressure sensitivity and two side buttons. There’s only one control point for adjusting the pressure curve.
Here’s where you can customise the shortcut buttons and dial. For the dial, you can customise up to three shortcuts and use the button in the middle to switch between those shortcuts.
These are the possible customisation for the shortcut buttons and the pen’s two side buttons.
If the cursor is offset from the pen tip, you can do monitor calibration here. And if you’re left handed, you can change the orientation so that the shortcut buttons are on the right side.
Medibang Paint Pro (Mac)
Clip Studio Paint (Mac)
Sometimes the pen display is not be detected through USB-C adapter. It happens with Apple M1 Macbook Air I’m using. And the pen display also doesn’t wake upon boot or restart.
All the issues I have with the M1 Macbook Air are not present with the M1 Mac Mini (my main computer) though.
Old windows driver can stop working randomly.
Adobe Illustrator on MacOS has no pressure.
If you have problems with the cursor not following the pen tip, it could mean your workspace is not set up right. This usually means the pen is controlling the cursor across dual displays. You need to set the pen to work only one one display at a time.
If there are issues with pressure sensitivity, try toggling the Windows Ink functionality on or off with the Gaomon driver.
The Gaomon PD156 Pro is a good looking pen display with solid build quality. Colour accuracy is good. The pen is very sensitive with minimal initial activation force. My overall drawing experience is positive.
The main downside for me is the matte screen protector introduces grain/colour noise to the image quality. But it’s not a deal breaker though. The other thing is I wasn’t able to get pressure to work with Adobe Illustrator on MacOS.
Where to buy
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