Artist Review: Parblo Coast 22 Pro pen display

Review unit provided by Parblo

The Parblo Coast 22 Pro is the largest pen display from Parblo and is an upgrade to the Parblo Coast 22 released in 2016. It seems like Parblo has discontinued the Mast series of pen displays so now they only have the Coast series which comprises Coast 12 Pro, Coast 16 Pro and the Coast 22 Pro.

Here's the bottom line up front. The drawing performance is good, but both Mac and Windows drivers have issues working with dual display setups.

Since this pen display has many similarities with the Parblo Coast 16 Pro I reviewed recently, I'll be re-using some text and photos from that review over here.


Official retail price is USD 549. The pricing is slightly higher than pen displays of similar size from other brands, but pricing is still quite competitive.


These are the items included in the box:

  • Pen display
  • 3-to-1 cable (HDMI + USB-A data + USB-A power)
  • USB-C video cable
  • Power adapter
  • Artist glove
  • Parblo P11 Pen
  • Pen stand
  • Pen pouch
  • 8 replacement nibs
  • Nib remover


The 3-to-1 cable has connectors for full-size HDMI, USB-A for data and USB-A for power.


The brand new pen display will have a small white label informing you to remove the protective film.


This pen display uses a matte screen protector. Make sure you don't peel off the matte screen protector when peeling off the protective film.


The matte surface does introduce slight colour noise and grain to the image quality. It's not a big deal and is the compromise for having a nice textured surface to draw on.


Design of the pen display is clean and simple. There are no shortcut buttons.

This is a massive 21.5-inch display to draw on.


The display is IPS LCD. Viewing angles are good with minimal colour shift and drop in brightness.


Colours look good out of the box. With a Spyder5Pro colour calibrator, I measured colour support for 100% sRGB, 91% P3, 91% AdobeRGB, 86% NTSC and a maximum brightness of 192 nits.


Resolution is just 1920 x 1080 so there is noticeable pixelation.


Display is laminated so the gap between the pen tip and line is small.


The back has a built-in stand that actually can collapse into the pen display.

There's also a 10 x 10cm VESA mount.


There's a latch at the top to release the stand.


Base of the stand has many bumps to hold the pen display in different angles.


This is the lowest angle.


This is the highest angle.


The pen display is quite thin, and could be thinner if the stand had been built outside of the pen display. Having a stand that collapses into the pen display does make it look quite sleek.


There are buttons at the top right for the power and OSD menu. Navigating through the OSD is easy with the navigation buttons. When not in the OSD menu, the + - buttons can be used to adjust brightness, and "A" button is for changing video input source.


The brightness is controlled by the Backlight and Brightness settings in the OSD. I always find it confusing when companies include both backlight and brightness settings. With this product, adjusting Brightness to 100% will make the colours look wash out. I'm using this pen display at 70% brightness and that's around 150 nits, which is still sufficient for use in bright room environment.


Display settings that can be changed with the OSD are

  • Backlight
  • Brightness
  • Contrast
  • Saturation
  • Colour temperature
  • Hue
  • Gamma


The USB-C ports are not interchangeable. Note the extruded part in the hole for the USB-C cable.


The groove on the included USB-C cable matches that extruded part. This is an unnecessary design that prevents you from just buying any USB-C video cable in case the included cable breaks for whatever reason.


If you want to use USB-C connection for video, you will still need to use the 3-to-1 cable for power. USB-C port does not provide enough power for such a big display. Single USB-C cable connection is not possible.

Pen


This is the Parblo P11 pen. The body is matte textured and comfortable to hold. The pen is not powered by battery so no charging is needed.

The pen supports tilt and 8192 levels of pressure sensitivity.


There are two side buttons which are customisable. The pen has minimal movement.


Interestingly, the pen designs are different for Coast 12 Pro (bottom), Coast 16 Pro (middle) and Coast 22 Pro (top). They are interchangeable though and can work with other the other two pen displays.


The pen holder is tilted at an angle. There's some weight added so it's not just a plastic shell. The bottom is padded with rubber for grip.


Stored within the pen holder are 8 replacement nibs and a nib remover.


Cursor tracking is quite accurate except at the extreme edge where the cursor will stray a few pixels away. Cursor misalignment at the edge is minimal and is a small issue. It's better to look at where the cursor is instead of pen tip when clicking things near the extreme edge.

Driver

The drivers I've tested are Windows driver v3.6.3.2 and Mac driver 3.6.3_3, both released on 18 July 2022. The drivers can be downloaded from Parblo's website.

Since the driver for Coast 22 Pro is similar to Coast 16 Pro, I'm reusing the screenshots for the Windows driver here.


These possible customisation for the shortcut keys.

Here's a potential deal breaker for those who want a dual display setup.

Switch Display is a feature available with most pen display drivers and allows the cursor to move from one display to another in a dual display setup. Unfortunately, Switch Display feature is not available with the Mac driver. The Windows driver has mapped Switch Display to WinKey+P keyboard shortcut which just calls up the OS presentation display mode instead.

Without Switch Display, it's a hassle to use this pen display in a dual display setup with a desktop. If you're just using the pen display as your main display, then no problem. If you use the pen display with a laptop, you can still use the laptop touchpad to control the cursor across both display. Parblo really needs to update the driver to add proper Switch Display functionality. This is a very basic must-have feature.

Drawing performance


These are line tests created with Medibang Paint Pro.

1. The pen has minimal initial activation force. You can draw a line without pressure as long as the pen tip is in contact with the display.

2. Lines can taper smoothly and sharply. That's how thick the brush is for test #1.

3. There's minimal wobble/jitter with slow diagonal lines. There's some variance with the line thickness though.

4. Here I'm trying to draw lines with consistent thickness by applying consistent pressure. There's some random variance with the line thickness.

5. With Medibang Paint Pro, you have to tap and drag the pen tip slightly to get a dot. With other drawing apps, you can create dots just by tapping the pen tip.

Overall line quality is good. The initial activation force is fantastic, really low. This is a sensitive pen. The only issue is when drawing long lines, there's some variance to the line thickness. It's a minor issue though.


Here's a sketch drawn with Medibang Paint Pro. The lines were able to come out just the way I expect them to.


This was drawn with Affinity Photo.


Tilt is able to work right to the extreme edge. Tilt did not work with Coast 16 Pro on MacOS.


This was drawn with Clip Studio Paint.


This was drawn with Photoshop.

I did not encounter any issues with the four drawing apps I've tested above. Overall drawing experience is positive. Drawing performance is consistent and predictable, and that's great.

Pressure works with Adobe Illustrator on MacOS. Pressure did not work with Illustrator (Mac) on Coast 16 Pro.

Hardware issues


The review unit has some ghosting issues. In the photo above you can see the palettes are sharp but the drawing is blur. If you move the image too fast, or scroll too fast, you can see image retention before it disappears for that split second. It's not a major issue for me though.

Another issue is, there are occasions I can detect backlight flickering. It's not obvious, but I just hope it does not develop into something more serious. It's not something I can capture in my video review.

Conclusion

I find it interesting that the drawing performance is better with the Parblo Coast 22 Pro vs Coast 16 Pro. Perhaps that's due to the Parblo P11 pen which is better than the P10 pen used by the Coast 16 Pro?. More specifically, the lines are able to taper more smoothly and sharply with this pen display.


The Parblo Coast 22 Pro is a good looking pen display with good drawing performance. It's a reasonably bright and colour accurate display with 100% sRGB and 91% AdobeRGB gamut support and 192 nits brightness.

The main downside is the lack of proper dual display support with the Mac and Windows drivers. There's no Switch Display with Mac and Switch DIsplay is programmed wrong with Windows.

It is quite satisfying to draw on such a huge pen display. It would be great if the resolution is 1440P instead of 1080P.

Is this pen display worth the US $549? You can decided based on the findings I've presented.

Pros and cons at a glance
+ Nice looking design
+ Good build quality
+ USB-C support
+ 100% sRGB colour support
+ Max brightness 192 nits
+ Laminated display
+ Tactile drawing surface with matte screen protector
+ Built-in stand
+ Pen is not powered by battery
+ 8 replacement nibs included
+ One artist glove included
+ 8192 levels of pressure sensitivity with pen
+ Pen is not powered by battery
+ Does not produce much heat
- Unique USB-C connector design
- Matte screen protector affects image quality
- Switch Display does not work with Mac and Win drivers
- May have cursor misalignment at the extreme edge
- No shortcut buttons
- 1080P resolution has noticeable pixelation

Availability

You can find the Parblo Coast 16 Pro at these locations:

The pen display is also available on Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.de | Amazon.fr | Amazon.it | Amazon.es | Amazon.co.jp

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