PRODUCT REVIEW | Parblo Coast22, Pen display
High-Touch Experience is to Bring More Creative Passion!
I could not think of a better title for this review so I decided to go with theirs.
Are alternatives to Wacom Cintiqs and tablets worth it? That depends on what you need and what your budget is.
Full disclosure before I continue:
- Cintiqs are still the best option, and if you have the cash to drop on one of their models, go for it. If you are on a budget, you can't beat Parblo's $645.99USD ($459 for just the display) price tag.
- I ended up returning my pen display due to a hardware/manufacturing error which I discuss later on.
About the Parblo Coast22
- 21.5" hard screen with a resolution of 1920 x 1080
- 170° horizontal and verticle viewing angle
- Battery-free stylus
- 2048 levels of pressure (same as many Wacom Cintiqs)
- Options for HDMI, VGA, or DVI
- More specs from their website
What's in the Box
Package list: 11/10 Parblos
Let me tell you about this package that arrived. A large unmarked cardboard box that was filled with so. much. stuff. Extra adapters, extra cords, tablet glove, monitor arm, and a screen bag. I don't understand this accessory. When does one use this? I imagine a scenario where someone yells, "Quick! Hide the screens!" and I go, "Sure! Where you keep the screen bags?!" The bag doesn't even close or anything. It's like one of those slipcovers you put over cars. But you know what, I like that they included it. It came with a felt pen case for another unknown scenario, your standard pen holder with extra nibs. A mini-CD with drivers, a little screen cleaning nappy, and more. I give the accessory hand-outs 11/10 Parblos. Most of these add-ons could have easily been charged as extras.
Delivery: 10/10 Parblos
I tracked it from China to Toronto in 3 days! Three days!! That seems nutty to me. Plus free shipping, my dudes. The subsequent return and refund were just as fast and easy.
Pen Display: 6/10 Parblos
I really want to give this a better score but for now, I can't go higher than 6 Parblos. There are so many promising aspects and I still believe this could be a good solution for anyone who likes working on a pen display with their 3D programs. Sketching, drawing, and taking handwritten notes, not so great. Sketching in photoshop was not bad at all but not as smooth as a Wacom. OneNote was unable to recognize the pen.
3D Modeling on the display is nice.
The pen display has no programmable buttons and this was actually a plus for me. I appreciate the minimalist look that the screen has without buttons. I never used those tablet buttons anyway because I hated moving my hand from my keyboard to awkwardly push in one of those gummy little buttons. Yuck.
The display seems somewhat prone to screen burn. I left a photoshop document open for about 2-3 hours and it left a very faint mark on my screen that did eventually fade. Maybe I should have covered it with the screen bag?
Again, it's definitely not a Wacom Cintiq but it's still pretty great. I will happily talk about what it's like to use the screen on its own or compared to Cintiqs, but god help you if you try to pull me into a Wacom fanboy comparison conversation. Leave me out of it. I'm serious. I'll throw my coffee at you.
PR200w Thumb Keyboard: 9/10 Parblitos
The little guy comes equipped with Gateron black switches only. That's a linear switch that requires a wee bit more force to push down than other linears like red or brown switches. I prefer linear switches and though I am partial to browns, I am quite happy with the feel of the black switches. I had some trouble reprogramming the keys. You can download a "key reprogramming software" from their website. Once you're able to reprogram it, it's quite nice. It offers 4 modes, so you could have a MODO set up, a Photoshop set, a game setup. It allows you to program combination keys, mouse clicks, macros, and more. I give the Parblo P200w 9/10 parblitos. I'd give it 10 but I'm a bit of a keyboard snob and I would have liked the opportunity to choose what switches I got.
Stylus: 6/10 Parblos
The pen itself is nice. It has a nice form and weight to it but it only has one button! Worse, the button is designed as a rocker button like the Wacom pen which makes it seem like it has two buttons but it doesn't! Who could live like this?! Even worse still, the button sucks. Like 0/10 parblos. It works half the time and awkwardly. I reprogrammed two of buttons on the PR200w to function as middle-mouse-click and right-mouse-click which served as a satisfactory work around me. My hand is always on the keyboard anyway and the response is great with no perceivable lag.
Customer Service: 10/10 Parblos
Parblo is doing their best to put their best foot forward in customer service. That means a lot, especially if you're going out on a limb with a new product. I am way less apprehensive trying out a new product if I am confident I can speak to someone if I am unhappy. Parblo is quick to respond to emails and they have a facebook page that responds quickly to inquiries and posts frequent contests and community artwork. They even post welcomes to new community members. For comparison, I would give Wacom's customer service 2/10 Wacoms.
So there you have it, Parblo Coast22 is great if you don't want to drop 2K+ on a pen display. The price may outweigh to cons depending on your priorities and budget, and there are some functional workarounds for the aspects that actually suck.