Review unit provided from Gaomon
I've reviewed several Gaomon pen tablets before but this is the first time trying out their pen display .A pen display, in case you don't know, is a monitor you can draw on so you'll need to connect one to a computer in order to use it.
Gaomon PD1320 is a 13.3-inch pen display with 100% sRGB IPS panel with matte drawing surface. The pen supports tilt sensitivity and 8,192 levels of pressure sensitivity. Price at the time of this review is US $319 and is available from Gaomon's website and Amazon (links further below).
There's also another model Gaomon PD1220 which is 11.6-inch priced at US $279.
Colours available are Terra Red, Charcoal Grey and Alice Blue.
If you have the budget, definitely go with the larger 13.3-inch model which will give you a drawing area close to an A4-sized paper except shorter on the shorter end.
These are all the items included in the box:
- Pen display
- Foldable cover for the pen display
- 2-in-1 HDMI+USBA to USB-C cable
- mini HDMI to full-size HDMI cable
- Pen stand
- 8x replacement nibs
- USB wall adapter with country specific plug
- Artist glove
- Micro fiber cleaning cloth
- Quick start guide
The pen display supports USB-C to USB-C connection but there's no USB-C to USB-C cable included. If your computer has USB-C ports, I recommend you get that USB-C cable.
Using a USB-C to USB-C cable will remove cable clutter.
If your computer doesn't have USB-C ports, you'll have the use the HDMI cable and the 2-in-1 cable (for power and data).
If your computer has USB-C port, it doesn't make sense to use a USB-C adapter (mine shown above). Just buy a USB-C to USB-C cable.
This is how the connection looks if you computer has HDMI and USB-A ports.
A foldable cover stand is included. It's the type of foldable cover commonly used with tablets. On this cover is double-side tape that you can use to stick to the back of the pen display.
When you fold the cover into a triangle, it will prop up the pen display at an angle to provide a more comfortable angle for drawing. However since it's just a cover, it's filmsy and there will be movement when you're drawing.
This is the Gaomon GMS01 stand that's sold separately for US $49.
And this is the Gaomon GMS02 stand that's sold separately for US $52.
My recommendation is to get a proper stand. I recommend the Parblo PR100 instead because the edges of Gaomon PD1320 actually curves inwards from the back until the middle where it's thickest. I'm not sure if the latch on the Gaomon stands is long enough to prevent the pen display from slipping off.
The pen stand unfortunately does have rubber on the bottom so it's kinda slippery on the table.
8 replacement nibs are included inside the pen stand.
The lightweight pen feels slightly plasticky but build quality is alright, solid enough. It's not powered by battery so no charging required.
On the side are two customisable side buttons. The rubber grip has good grip but will attract dust easily. Pen nib has slight movement to it.
Before you use the pen display, you've to peel off the plastic film that protects the matte screen protector beneath.
You're supposed to pull the red stick to remove the plastic film. I did that and the red sticker came off. So I had to use my finger nail to remove the plastic film.
Make sure you do not remove the matte screen protector. The display is not supposed to be glossy.
Design of the Gaomon PD1320 looks clean and simple with rounded corners. There are no physical shortcut buttons on the front.
On the back are four big rubber feet for grip, and a huge Gaomon logo.
Ports on the right side are 2x USB-C and mini HDMI.
This pen display is about as thick as most recent laptops, which is to say it's thin.
Ports on the left are 3.5mm audio jack and a toggle-push button. Button at the top is for switching between HDMI and USB-C video inputs. The top button will also power off the pen display with a long press.
The toggle-push button is for adjusting the brightness. When an earphone is connected, the toggle will adjust volume.
Pushing the button will get you the OSD. With the OSD you can adjust brightness, contrast, dynamic contrast ratio, colour temperature and RGB.
Colours of the pen display look good out of the box.
Using a Spyder5Pro colour calibrator, I measured colour support for 100% sRGB, 82% NTSC, 87% AdobeRGB, 93% P3 and 160 nits maximum brightness.
Colour accuracy is good. The maximum brightness is good enough for indoor use but I wish it could be brightness, like at least 200 nits would be nice. 160 nits is not bad.
Resolution supported is 1920 x 1080. Pixelation is noticeable.
There will be some fuzziness/grain/colour noise from the matte screen protector. It's the compromise for having a tactile drawing experience on the matte screen protector vs the affected image quality. Overall image quality is alright. I don't have major complaints.
I've reviewed numerous pen displays and all matte surfaced displays have affected image quality.
Having said that, the tactile drawing experience on this Gaomon pen display is considered on the smoother side. I won't say the pen nib is slippery but it certainly glides very smoothly.
Note that matte screen protectors will eventually develop scratches. if you want to prevent scratches, you can adjust the pressure curve to draw with a lighter touch.
Viewing angles are good. Colours don't shift much when viewed from the side. The anti-glare is not particularly aggressive in the sense that I can still see the image behind the white haze when viewing from the side. You'll get best colours when viewing the display from the front obviously.
The display is laminated so the gap between the pen tip and the LCD beneath the glass is minimal. When drawing lines will look like they appear from directly beneath the pen tip.
The drivers I've tested are the Mac driver from 5 Feb 2021 and Windows driver from 19 Dec 2020.
Mac and Windows driver functionality is quite similar except Windows has the additional Windows Ink feature which you may have to toggle on or off to troubleshoot when pressure sensitivity is not working properly. The Mac driver works with MacOS 11 Big Sur after enabling the accessibility and permissions settings.
Pen pressure and side buttons can be customised here. If you use dual displays, you'll want to set Switch Display to a side button.
These are the customisable shortcuts.
If for some reason the cursor does not appear directly beneath the pen, you'll need to calibrate the display.
My unit has good cursor tracking accuracy for most areas on the pen display except the extreme right edge.
At the right edge, the cursor will stray few pixels to the bottom of the pen tip even with proper calibration. So the remove the offset, I had to use the driver to calibrate by trial and error on the right-side area until the cursor matches the bottom of the pen tip.
After proper cursor and pen tip calibration, cursor tracking is quite accurate.
Overall drawing performance is good.
Initial activation force is minimal so drawing thin lines is easy even with a thick brush. Lines can transition from thin to thick easily. Lines can taper smoothly. Lines always come out the way I expect. Line quality is consistent and predictable.
The only issue/glitch I discovered is pressure sensitivity does not work with Adobe Illustrator CC on MacOS (even with the Wacom driver installation hack). Pressure works alright with Adobe Illustrator on Windows.
Affinity Photo and Designer work fine.
Tilt sensitivity works fine with Krita.
Tilt sensitivity works right to the edge of the pen display.
Gaomon PD1320 can work with Android devices that can output video signal. So current it can work with phones and tablets with Samsung Dex Mode or Huawei PC Mode. And below are the compatible models at time of this review:
- Huawei P20/P20Pro/P20RS
- Huawei P30/P30Pro
- Huawei P40/P40 Pro/P40 Pro Plus
- Huawei Mate 10/Mate 10 Pro
- Huawei Mate 20/Mate 20 Pro/Mate 20 X
- Huawei Mate 30/30 Pro
- HONOR Note 10
- HONOR V20
- HONOR 30Pro+
- Samsung Galaxy Note 8, 9, 10/10+/10+5G
- Samsung Galaxy S8/S8+, S9/S9+, S10/S10+/S10e
- Samsung Galaxy S20/S20+/S20 Ultra
- Samsung Galaxy Fold
- Samsung Galaxy A90 5G
- Samsung Tab S5
- Samsung Tab S5e
- Samsung Tab S6/S6 Lite
- Samsung Tab S7/S7+
And additional power cable is needed to power the pen display. When the display is powered, it can also charge the Android devices that's connected (via the USB-C port).
There's no Android driver so you can't customise the pen's side button or pressure sensitivity. And since the pen display is not a touchscreen, it does not support finger gestures so using drawing apps on Android can be challenging. In the photo above, I've connected a Samsung Note 20 and was able to draw but I can't zoom in and out, and to pan around I have to select the Move tool first, and to draw I have to switch back to the Brush tool.
The pen display worked better with Samsung Tab S7+ because in this case, SamsungDex allows you to use the tablet as a trackpad and supports finger gestures for navigating the canvas.
However, since the Samsung Tab S7+ is already a 12.4-inch display you can draw on, it doesn't make sense to connect it to a pen display to draw on that.
Anyway, using the pen display with Android should not be the main reason why you're buying this.
The Gaomon PD1320 is a good looking pen display with solid build quality.
The pen is quite sensitive and drawing performance is pretty good. The only glitch I experienced is with Adobe Illustrator (Mac) where pressure sensitivity doesn't work.
Overall drawing experience is pretty good.
Main thing to note is you may have to spend extra money to buy a stand and the USB-C to USB-C cable.
Pros and cons at a glance
+ Design looks good.
+ Solid build quality
+ 13.3-inch still a good size to draw on
+ 1080P resolution sufficient for 13.3-inch display
+ Good colour support at 100% sRGB (measured)
+ Matte screen protector has nice texture to draw on, but on the smoother side
+ Display is laminted
+ 8 replacement nibs included
+ Pen does not require charging
+ Pen supports tilt and 8192 levels of pressure sensitivity
+ Initial activation force is minimal
+ Relatively accurate cursor tracking (after calibration)
- Included foldable cover stand not that useful
- Proper stand sold separately
- No USB-C to USB-C cable included
- Pressure does not work with Adobe Illustrator (Mac)
- Maximum brightness just 160 nits (measured)
Where to buy
Gaomon PD1320 can be purchased from