By Tjeerd Royaards
For the past month, I've been testing the Gaomon PD2200, a 21,5 pen display to use for digital drawing. It is available for around 400 euro, making it less than half the cost of a similar size Wacom pen display (the market leader). I own and use a 21,5 inch Wacom, so this provided me with a good comparison.
As with all our reviews, we received the pen display from Gaomon for free to review, but they do not exert any other type of control over this review.
Let's start with the positives. I love the amount of screen real estate that you get. Given the size of the screen, I was actually pleasantly surprised about the overall size. Unpacking the tablet from the box, it was smaller and lighter than I had expected it to be, with a smaller border around the screen than my Wacom. Setting it up was straightforward. It comes with the usual connections, power, HDMI and USB: plug these into the wall and into your computer, download the latest driver from the Gaomon website, and you're good to go.
More positives can be found in the drawing experience; although I know it's very subjective, I really like the screen feel of the Gaomon. Many artists complain about the slick, slippery feel of drawing screens, but the Gaomon offers nice resistance to the nib of your (battery-free) pen. I was also impressed by the almost complete lack of parallax; the nib is so close to the line you are drawing, it might even be better than the Wacom.
The Gaomon comes with two rows of buttons on either side. In theory, this is a great feature, giving you the option of zooming in and out, using the eraser and some other options, with the quick touch of a button. However, the designer of the display apparently didn't account for the 10% of the world population that is left-handed (including yours truly).
The moment I started drawing, it became clear the buttons on the left were completely unpractical for me. Lefties have their hand pressed to the screen/paper while drawing, which in this case meant inadvertently pressing the different buttons as I drew. It didn't make for a very good experience. Luckily, the display settings give you the option of turning off the buttons. If the tablet is ever redesigned, I would suggest placing these buttons at the top, so they are out of the way.
Another redesign I would suggest the tablet stand. This seems a little bit too small for the tablet; for most of the time, it's fine, but when you start drawing in the upper corners of the screen you can feel a small amount of wobble. The Wacom doesn't have this issue.
The resolution (1920 X 1080) and the pressure levels (8192Levels) of the Goamon are exactly the same as the Wacom. Here below are photos of the wo screens for compaison. Having the same specs, the drawing experience is quite similar on both. One thing I did experience was some glitches in Photoshop with the Gaomon, but this was solved by removing and reinstalling the multiple tablet drivers I have on my computer. After that, everything seemed to be working fine.
I must admit, I really like this tablet. It definitely doesn't feel like a budget Wacom and I would be happy to use the Gaomon on a daily basis. The biggest negative is the somewhat wobbly stand, but given the price difference with the Wacom I would still recommend it.