Review: Veikk VK1560 Pen Display

Big thanks to Gearbest for sending over another pen display to be featured on the blog. Veikk is a company from China, just like many other pen display makers.

I had reviewed their small S640 tablet recently and found it alright, but it's a more of a tablet for marking documents than for drawing. The Veikk VK1560 is however, designed for digital artists.


This is the only box that holds the pen display. There's no packaging art whatsoever. As long as the product is packed properly and works fine, I don't mind not having packaging art as long as it can keep the price low. Not all artists have deep pockets, as many Wacom Cintiq alternative makers have found out.


These are the items included:

  • Pen display
  • Power cable and adapter
  • HDMI cable
  • mini DisplayPort to HDMI adapter
  • USB cable
  • Pen and pen case
  • 10 replacement nibs and nib remover
  • User manual
  • Micro-fiber cleaning cloth

Specifications

  • Brand: VEIKK
  • Type: Pen without power
  • Display Area: 15.6 inch
  • Pressure Sensitivity: 8192
  • Resolution: 5080LPI
  • Read Speed: 230 point/s
  • Reading Distance: 10mm
  • Response Time: 19ms
  • Product weight: 2.0000 kg
  • Package weight: 3.2000 kg
  • Product Size(L x W x H): 42.20 x 26.20 x 1.65 cm / 16.61 x 10.31 x 0.65 inches
  • Package Size(L x W x H): 54.00 x 32.50 x 12.50 cm / 21.26 x 12.8 x 4.92 inches


With electronics from Gearbest, sometimes you have the option to choose the appropriate power plug for your country. If you don't have that option, you'll need a travel adapter.


The pen display has a protective film on it when you first take it out of the box.


After you peel off the protective film, it reveals a matte screen protector that's pasted on the screen. This is a 15.6-inch display with a 1920 x 1080 resolution.

The bezels are huge. When looking at them, it really feels that those black borders are framing the screen.


On the side are 7 physical shortcut buttons, and a dial with a button in the middle for switching between functions. You can assign specific keyboard shortcuts to those buttons. For the control dial functions, they did not work well for me on the Mac. I was only able to scroll with the dial. On Windows, I was to switch between scrolling, or using the dial to control brush sizes.


On the other side, there's a built in pen holder. It's actually quite convenient compared to pen holders that take up space on the table. The pen clicks firmly in place.


The pen case provided feels quite cheap, and there is this huge unnecessary "Stylus Pen" printed on the lid. lol.


The pen is lightweight and has a matte surface body. It feels alright when held. Some may find it too light though.


There are two side buttons, no eraser. This pen does not require any battery and supports 8,192 levels of pressure sensitivity. Not requiring any battery is a huge plus since you don't have to charge it, the pen is always "on" and there's no additional cable mess.


10 replacement tips are included. The 4 gray ones are hard tips and they are smooth on the drawing surface. The 6 white ones have a more rubber-like texture to them and provides more friction when used on the screen, hence they provide more control.


The stand is built into the pen display. This is not VESA mountable.


At the highest angle, the screen is almost vertical.


This is the lowest angle.


The VK1560 doesn't take up much space on the table with its flat profile and 15.6-inch screen.




Colour accuracy is better than I expected. I measured 99% sRGB, 87% AdobeRGB and 81% NTSC colour support using a Spyder5Pro colour calibrator.

If you're using Mac, do change the gamma to 2.2 in the display's menu. Menu buttons are located at the back of the display.

Driver

There's no driver disc so you have to download the driver from Veikk's website.


The driver has very minimal functions. At least you can adjust the pressure curve rather than a slider.

There's one particular function that I have to highlight, and that's the ability to switch the cursor between different screens. This is incredibly convenient if you're using extended screen with dual monitors. Unfortunately, this function works with the Mac driver and not the Windows one.


This is where you can map the working area of the pen display to your desktop. It's usually a 1-to-1 map so you don't have to do anything. You have the option to calibrate the pen display too. When calibrating, you'll click on the 5 cross hairs that appear on screen. Unfortunately, with both the Mac and Windows driver, the calibration didn't really do anything for me. There's still the slight offset from the cursor to the pen tip. And the offset is more when it's towards the side when the pen is closer to the edge. It's a bit annoying but not a deal breaker for me yet. After a while, I find that I'll get used to that offset, but having no offset is obviously better.


This is where you can assign specific keyboard shortcuts to the buttons. You can also create shortcut groups for different apps that you use. So when you switch to using the app, you can have all the physical buttons work specifically in that app.

Other shortcuts include the ability to launch applications. Another shortcut is going into Accurate Mode where the cursor will move very slowly so that you have more control.


You can assign different functions to the dial. For example, you can set the dial to control brush size, zoom and scroll. You'll then need to press the button in the middle of the dial to switch between those functions. Unfortunately, this works properly only on Windows and not on the Mac.

Drawing performance

In short, performance depends on the app that you use. On some apps, pressure sensitivity works, on others, there's no pressure sensitivity.


With Photoshop (Mac), pressure sensitivity works well, strokes taper well and curve smoothly. The pen is very sensitive and strokes come out just the way I expect. Even though I mentioned parallax earlier, it did not affect my drawing. But it does take time to get use to the amount of offset.


Medibang Paint Pro (Mac) works even better than Photoshop.


Pressure sensitivity works with Affinity Photo (Mac), but the transition from thin to thick is always quite abrupt, not as smooth or gradual compared to what you can get with Photoshop and Medibang Paint Pro.


Clip Studio (Mac) works great.


In order to get pressure sensitivity working with Illustrator (Mac), Wacom Intuos driver needs to be installed. Another problem is, it's impossible to move palettes around. Palettes will snap back to their original position. You can, however, use the mouse to re-position the palettes.


Pressure sensitivity does not work with Krita (Mac).


Tayasui Sketches Pro works, but the thin and thick lines you see are actually styles from the app and not pressure sensitivity.


Pressure sensitivity works well with Photoshop (Win). I tried drawing diagonal lines slowly and the strokes wobble slightly. There should be no wobble when drawing at normal speed. Performance is not different from other pen displays I've tested in this aspect.


There's pressure sensitivity with Illustrator (Win) but there's some lag. The strokes don't appear after a split second delay after they are drawn. It's quite irritating.


Krita (Win) works well without any problem.


Pressure sensitivity works with Sketchbook Pro (Win).

Pressure works with Sketchable (Win)


Pressure sensitivity works with Affinity Photo (Win) but it has the same issue with the Mac version. The transition of the strokes from thin to thick is too abrupt, not smooth enough.


Yes, you can use this tablet to take notes as well. The app above is Wacom Bamboo Paper (Win).

Warranty

I wasn't able to find any warranty information on Veikk's website. Even the Contact page leads to a blank page. They have a chat function on their homepage and I was able to contact them and they responded in a day.

So if you have driver problems or software issues, you can probably assume you're not going to get any support.

Anyway, all items bought from Gearbest comes with a 1 year warranty. You can read more about the warranty on Gearbest warranty and returns page. In case of hardware problems, Gearbest will reimburse your postage cost.

Conclusion

The design of the Veikk VK1560 looks good and the build quality seems sturdy. I like that it already has a matte screen protector applied. The colour accuracy was much better than I expected. The colours are better than the similarly priced XP-PEN 15.6 that I've reviewed before.

As for drawing experience, there are some driver issues where pressure sensitivity would not work with some apps. If you need pressure to work with those apps, then it's a deal breaker. For the apps that have pressure sensitivity working, it's generally a satisfying experience to be drawing with this pen display. It feels good drawing on the screen with the pen. The strokes come out as expected. The only downside is the parallax or offset that can't be corrected by the driver even after calibration. It's not really a deal breaker because your muscle memory will get used to the offset as it's not a big offset to begin with. But any offset from the cursor and tip is not welcome, of course.

The price of the VK1560 is around US$340 to $360 currently.

So that's my review, you decide whether it's worth your money.

Pros and cons at a glance

+ Good build quality and design
+ Pen does not require battery
+ Pen is quite sensitive
+ 10 replacement tips included
+ Pen holder build into the display is convenient
+ 7 shortcut buttons included
+ Matte anti-glare screen does not have reflections
+ Nice texture on screen to draw on
+ 1080P resolution on the screen this size is sharp enough
+ Screen has decent colour accuracy and viewing angles
+ Does not heat up significantly. Can be used for long periods of time without discomfort
+ Drawing performance generally good but depends on the OS and app that you use
+ Lines have little to no wobble and jitter
+ HDMI-miniDisplay port adaptor included
+ Price is very competitive for a screen of this size
+ Built-in stand included
- Matte screen protecter affects sharpness of the screen but a good tradeoff for the texture it provides
- Some issues with the specific drawing apps mentioned in the review
- Parallax/offset exists and cannot be corrected by calibration
- Not VESA mountable
- Various bugs in Mac and Windows driver

Availability

You can find the Veikk VK1560 pen display at
https://www.gearbest.com/veikk-vk1560-_gear/?lkid=15546271

Use coupon code GB-CNVK1560 to get it at USD $320.
Code expires on 15 Sept 2018.

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