Jeremy Laukkonen is automotive and tech writer for numerous major trade publications as well as the creator of a popular blog and video game startup. A fan of EVs since the early 2000s, he stays up-to-date on the myriad complex systems that power battery electric vehicles.
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Lifewire / Jeremy Laukkonen
Full HD display
Great color gamut
Includes 10 shortcut buttons
Comes with two drawing gloves
Parallax increases a lot at the edges
The 3-in-1 cable isn’t very functional
Doesn’t fit in the included travel case unless you remove the stand
No touch or gesture controls
The Gaomon PD1560 is a 15.6-inch drawing tablet that combines a lot of premium features into a compact package that comes with a surprisingly low price tag.
We purchased the Gaomon PD1560 so our expert reviewer could thoroughly test and assess it. Keep reading for our full product review.
Most pen displays like the Gaomon PD1560 tend to be prohibitively expensive if you aren’t already making a living as a graphic artist, or cut so many corners that you’d be better off with a less expensive drawing tablet. The 15.6-inch IPS display has a Full HD resolution of 1920 x 1080 and a color gamut that’s sufficient for hobbyist and professional work. The price is also fairly reasonable. Overall, the PD1560 looks, feels, and performs like a much more expensive piece of hardware.
We put it to the test to see how it holds up against the competition, and whether it’s actually worth the money.
The Gaomon PD1560 is a 15.6-inch pen display that has a nice, premium look and feel. The main case is made out of fairly smooth plastic, and the front surface is capped almost entirely with glass. The left inch or so of the front is plastic, like the main case, and features eight large shortcut buttons along with two slightly smaller ones.
It’s exceptionally thin, even when compared to other pen displays in this same size range, and light enough that you can easily pick it up and hold it with one hand if you prefer that to using the included monitor stand.
The bezel that surrounds the display itself is thick, but the PD1560 still manages to be fairly compact and lightweight for such a large pen display. It’s exceptionally thin, even when compared to other pen displays in this same size range, and light enough that you can easily pick it up and hold it with one hand if you prefer that to using the included monitor stand.
There is no bulge on the back to accommodate cable connections, so the HDMI and USB-C ports both emerge from the right edge of the display. That means the cables are visible at all times, and there’s no way to neatly hide them away. Even with that minor issue, the PD1560 still looks and feels like a premium product despite its middling price tag.
The setup process was painless on our test machine, although your mileage will vary depending on the hardware that you’re working with. On our Windows 10 test machine, we uninstalled our old drawing tablet drivers, installed the included Gaomon drivers, connected the HDMI and USB cables, and powered the PD1560 up. It was ready to go pretty much right out of the box.
In addition to carefully installing the drivers before hooking the display up, the only additional setup is to install the included monitor stand. The stand allows you to adjust the angle of the PD1560 display for optimum comfort, and installing it is a quick job.
The PD1560 features a 15.6-inch IPS display with a high definition resolution of 1920 x 1080. The display looks great, with excellent viewing angles and vibrant colors, but it does suffer from a somewhat poor color gamut.
Gaomon reports a color gamut of 72 percent NTSC, but we found it to be lower than that in practice. The best we were able to get out of it was about 55 percent RGB, which is fine for basic work, but could end up being a problem if you need accurate color reproduction. In our testing, images created using the PD1560 ended up looking oversaturated on our other monitors.
The Gaomon PD1560 is a pen display with 8,192 levels of pressure sensitivity, and the baked-in pressure curve feels really nice. There’s no way to change the pressure curve in the included driver software, but we didn’t feel the need to during our testing.
The pen performed flawlessly during the testing process, with the minor caveat that the side buttons aren’t very pronounced. They’re easy to click, but they’re also easy to lose track of if the pen, which is quite smooth, rotates in your grip at all.
The pen performed flawlessly during the testing process, with the minor caveat that the side buttons aren’t very pronounced.
The shortcut buttons are well-placed and easy to activate. They do feel a bit mushy, but we didn’t have any problems with a shortcut button failing to activate, or multiple buttons clicking at once, during our testing procedure.
The Gaomon PD1560 is a highly functional pen display that only has a handful of usability issues, most of which aren’t dealbreakers. The widescreen HD display leaves plenty of room for user interface elements without getting in the way of your workspace, and the included drawing glove allows your hand to slide across the surface of the display effortlessly.
During our testing, the biggest issue we ran into is that parallax gets worse at the edges of the display. Parallax is the effect where the tip of your pen doesn’t precisely match the location of your drawing due to the small amount of space between the glass surface of the device and the actual display beneath. It’s barely noticeable near the center of the display, but it gets significantly worse at the edges.
The shortcut buttons are well-placed and easy to activate.
The next biggest snag that we ran into has to do with the 3-in-1 cable, which we will talk about at greater length in the next section. The problem is that, while the 3-in-1 cable simplifies matters, it isn’t implemented very well. It tangles together with itself very easily, and it requires the HDMI and USB ports on your computer to be very close together.
Another issue is related to portability. This is a thin, lightweight pen display that should be fairly portable, and it even comes with a slip case to protect the screen if you want to take it with you to sketch outside your office. Unfortunately, the display only fits in the slip case if you remove the monitor stand, and the stand is connected via four screws instead of a quick-release mechanism.
Gaomon uses a 3-in-1 cable to reduce the number of ports on the PD1560. Instead of having separate ports for data and power, in addition to one or more ports for video, the PD1560 has a single USB-C port and a mini HDMI port. The 3-in-1 cable plugs into both the USB-C port and the mini HDMI port, and then the other end of the cable has a standard USB connector, a standard HDMI connector, and a wall plug for power.
Both ports are situated on the left side of the display, which is a good position. The cables don’t get in the way when you use the pen display in conjunction with the included stand, although cable management may get a little messy if you use a flexible monitor arm.
While the USB-C standard is capable of providing more power than regular USB, you can’t power the PD1560 simply by plugging it into a USB-C port on your computer. You have to use the included 3-in-1 cable, which includes a standard USB connector and a wall plug for power.
If you’re using a Mac that doesn’t have an HDMI port, Gaomon recommends that you connect the included HDMI cable to a USB-C adapter. They don’t include a USB-C adapter in the box though.
The PD1560 comes with drivers on a CD, and we were able to get it up and running on our Windows 10 test machine with very little headache. If you have trouble, make sure that you have uninstalled any other drawing tablet or pen display drivers that you may have installed previously, and install the PD1560 driver before connecting the device to your computer.
Gaomon also provides access to their latest drivers directly through their website. We didn’t need to download the updated driver to get this pen display working, but that is an option if you have trouble.
The configuration utility that comes with the driver is fairly basic and reminded us a lot of the software that comes with Huion’s GT-191 Kamvas. The driver allows you to customize the shortcut buttons, adjust the active work area of the display, and provides limited customization options for the pen.
The driver allows you limited control over the pressure sensitivity, but there is no built-in way to adjust the pressure curve. The pressure curve, or how quickly line width changes based on the pressure you apply, felt fine during our testing.
The Gaomon PD1560 typically retails in the $360 to $410 range, which represents a pretty good value for what you get. This definitely isn’t a Cintiq, and it does have a handful of issues like poor color gamut, but it has a lot of features, and performs quite well.
For comparison, you can look at something like the Huion Kamvas Pro 13 GT-133, which has an MSRP of $360. It has a better color gamut, but the screen is just 13.3 inches, compared to the 15.6-inch screen of the PD1560.
The XP Pen Artist 16 Pro is another 15.6-inch pen display, and it typically retails between $360 and $490. It has a better color gamut than the PD1560, and has slightly less parallax, but it’s usually priced somewhat higher to reflect that.
The Gaomon PD1560 is a nice little drawing tablet that suffers from a couple of hangups, so some artists will need to look at the competition. The biggest issue is color gamut, which isn’t that big a deal if you’re a hobbyist or don’t need super accurate color for your work. If you do, then the XP Pen Artist 16 Pro is definitely worth a look. It’s available in the same general price range, and the color gamut is better.
The XP-PEN Artist 15.6 Pro is a similar tablet that has the same size display and great color gamut, but it comes with some additional features. It has a dial control to supplement its shortcut buttons, and it also supports the pen tilt function. All that comes with a price tag to match, as the MSRP is $399.
Another great pen display that has a better color gamut is the Huion GT-191. This is a larger display, and it comes with a higher price tag of about $500, but it’s worth a look if you’re in the kind of place where you need a big display for your workflow, and require a high color gamut, but can’t spend money on a Cintiq.
An excellent pen display with a disappointing color gamut.
The Gaomon PD1560 looks, feels, and performs a whole lot better than its mid-range price tag would suggest, but it’s impossible to ignore the handful of flaws. If you can find a PD1560 on sale, and you don’t need a high color gamut, it’s definitely worth a look. If you do need a high color gamut, then you might have a better experience if you check out the XP Pen Artist 16 Pro instead. We like the look and feel of the PD1560 better, but the Artist 16 Pro just has a superior display.
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