Review: Parblo Island A609 Graphics Tablet -- It supports tilt!

Disclaimer: Parblo sent me this tablet for review. This is not a paid review.

Special thanks to Parblo for sending me the tablet for review.

Prior to receiving the tablet, I don't really have any impressions of Parblo tablets. I've seen them on Amazon and that's about it.

The Parblo Island A609 is the latest budget tablet from the company. Here are the key specifications

  • 5.25 by 8.25 inches working area
  • 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity
  • 220points/sec report rate
  • 5080LPI resolution
  • 60 degrees tilt sensitivity

What's interesting to me is this tablet actually has tilt sensitivity. Having tilt sensitivity is quite uncommon for tablets and more so on budget tablets. This tablet is currently selling for less than USD $45 on Amazon (at the time of this writing).

Build quality and design

The build quality is pretty standard, no different from other screen-less graphic tablets that I've reviewed. It feels solid. For the price, the build quality is satisfactory.

The working measures 5.25 by 8.25 inches. That's almost A5 size. It's considered a medium size and it's a comfortable size to work on.

The drawing surface is smooth and the stylus glides on it smoothly. The Wacom Intuos 2015's surface has more texture on it so by comparison the A609's is a bit slippery. Not a big issue though.


Corners of the tablet are rounded off.


The drawing surface is a large seamless piece. There are 4 glossy physical shortcut buttons that are flushed to the surface.


The 2m long USB cable is attached permanently to the tablet. I hope that connection doesn't spoil in the future.

Installing the driver

No driver CD is included. You've got to download the driver from their website. Make sure to connect the tablet first before installation.

Oh, yeah, remember to uninstall other tablet drivers if you have them to prevent conflict.

For my review, I've tested the tablet on both Windows and Mac.

I noticed on Windows, after installing the driver, it made my system slow. I'm not sure if it's because of my computer, which is slow to begin with, or it's because of the driver. I can't confirm. But when drawing inside graphics application, the speed is fine.


These are strokes from Photoshop CS5.


This is the settings dialogue box. You can check the pressure curve, button settings, mapping, left and right handed use.

There is ability to bind a specific keyboard shortcut to one of the four physical shortcut buttons on the tablet. However, you can only set the keys to the on-screen keyboard buttons shown to you.


With the driver, you get to adjust the pressure sensitivity.

If you're left handed, you can change the orientation of the tablet too.


The 4 physical shortcut buttons can be assigned functions or keyboard shortcuts.


On the menu that pops up when you click on the buttons, there's nothing that says you can assign a key. However the function is actually there, just that it's not labeled properly. It's the third menu item from the bottom.

When you choose to assign your own keyboard shortcuts, an on-screen keyboard will appear. This on-screen keyboard only has limited keys. That means there will be some shortcuts that you won't be able to set. For example, in Photoshop, to change brush sizes is to press either [ or ]. Those two keys are not on the on-screen keyboard. Bummer.

For Mac users, the drivers can be found under System Preferences.

The stylus




Build quality of the stylus is decent. It has a matte surface and feels good to hold. The stylus is rather long and has a nice lightweight feel to it.

The stylus does not require any battery. There's no eraser on the back though.

There are two buttons on the side which you can customise.


5 replacement nibs are provided, together with a nib remover.

Drawing performance

The tablet performs quite well with all the graphics applications that I've tested.

Pressure sensitivity works well. There's no lag. Lines appear instantly as they are drawn.

Actually, pressure sensitivity works too well. I had to use the driver to make it less sensitive.


These are strokes from Photoshop CS5 in Windows 7.


These are strokes from Photoshop CC (Win). The vertical strokes were drawn with a brush that has tilt function. The thick lines were drawn with the pen tilted while the thin lines were drawn with the pen held almost vertically.


This is Adobe Illustrator CC (Win).


This is Medibang Paint Pro (Mac)


Adobe Illustrator CS5 (Mac)


Adobe Photoshop CS5 (Mac)

Conclusion

Overall, I'm very satisfied with the performance of the tablet. Everything works as expected and the way I want them to be.

The only issue is perhaps the drawing surface is a bit smooth. That will take a while to get used to.

As a general purpose graphics tablet, it works very well. If you're looking for a tablet that supports tilt sensitivity, the Parblo Island A609 is a good one to consider.

The size is just nice and it's priced right.

Availability

You can find the Parblo Island A609 through the following links:
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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