Review: Parblo A610 Graphics Tablet

Parblo sent me another graphics tablet to check out. This time, it's the Parblo A610.

The main difference between the A610 and the A609 that I reviewed earlier is the A609 has support for tilt sensitivity. And A610 has 8 physical shortcut buttons while A609 has only 4.

Before I start, let me say that I've tested this tablet on Mac and Windows. Unfortunately, it did not work well on Windows so all the user experience below are from the Mac perspective.

Here's a quick look at the specifications that matter:

  • Active area: 10 by 6 inches
  • Resolution: 5080 LPI (Lines Per Inch)
  • Response rate: 230 RPS
  • Pressure levels: 2048
  • Hover distance: 1cm

If you have no idea what those numbers mean, it doesn't matter. Just know that nowadays, most graphic tablets have already reach the point where specifications are more than enough to satisfy any beginner digital artist.

Build quality

The build quality is sturdy enough. The plastic finishing does feel a bit cheap but it doesn't affect drawing performance.


There are 8 physical shortcut buttons on the side. If you're left handed, you can change the settings for left handed use in the driver. The buttons have limited customisability. You can only choose the pre-defined shortcuts. You cannot create your own keyboard shortcuts.


The buttons are shiny and located just beside a long vertical strip that's as shiny. Looks like they can be scratched easily so be careful.


That's the stylus and stand included.


The stylus feel sturdy but light. The rubber grip covers the bulk of the body. Don't know if you can see it but it can attract lots of dust.


The stylus is powered by battery and needs to be charge with the cable provided. When it runs out of power, it can still be used while charging.


Inside the pen stand, there are eight replacement tips and a nib remover. The stand can hold the stylus horizontally as well as vertically.


On the left is the USB cable used to charge the stylus. On the right is the 1.5m long cable to connect to the tablet.

Drivers

On the Mac, the drivers installed fine.

On Windows, I had problems with the installation and the driver. I tried installing the latest driver from Parblo's website and my installation process freeze halfway. I'm using Windows 7 Pro with Service Pack 1. Then I tried installing from the CD provided and it installed fine.

After rebooting Windows, it takes a long time for the tablet driver to be recognised so that it can be used. After using it for a while, the driver would stop working and the stylus would not be able to move the cursor anymore. Needless to say, it's very frustrating. It's almost the same problem I have with the Artisul Pencil tablet.

I did a quick check on Amazon and noticed that there were several other reviews complaining about the driver setup and functionality with Windows. So driver compatibility is something to take note of. I experienced it myself too.

On the Mac though...


You can adjust the pressure sensitivity here but there's no pressure curve.


Left handed users can change the settings here.


This is the full list of shortcuts that can be assigned to the physical buttons. Note that there's no way to create your own keyboard shortcuts, so you can only use those available.

Drawing experience

Drawing experience is satisfactory. For a tablet under USD $60, it's good enough.

The drawing surface is matte and has a nice texture with the stylus tip.

The pressure sensitivity worked quite well with the various graphic apps that I've used with the exception of Adobe Illustrator (I'm using CS5 on the Mac). I've tested Photoshop CS5, Mischief, Medibang Paint Pro, Krita, Affinity Photo and Tayasui Sketches.


Illustrator CS5 (Mac) doesn't have pressure sensitivity.


Medibang Paint Pro (Mac)


Mischief (Mac)


Photoshop CS5 (Mac)

Conclusion

Build quality is fine. The tablet feels a bit cheap but since it's so affordable, it's not really a surprise.

The tablet performed reasonably well when there are no driver issues. Having read the few reviews on Amazon taking about driver issues on Windows, I would be a bit wary. The A609 by comparison has less issues with driver functionality from my experience, as well as from the other users who have left reviews on Amazon. The price difference between A609 and A610 isn't that great either, so my suggestion is actually to get the A609 instead.

If you do get the A610, do share your opinions on Amazon with a review. It would help other artists.

Availability

You can find the Parblo A610 through the following links:
Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk

And Parblo Island A609 here:
Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Parblo.com

Purchases though the links get me a commission at no extra cost to you, and helps me put out more reviews like this.

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