Parblo Bay B960
Parblo Bay B960

Review: Parblo Bay B960 9″x6″ Graphics Tablet

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The brand name Parblo doesn’t carry as much weight as Wacom. But Parblo is known for sturdy and reliable graphics tablets that come at a fraction of the price.

One of their larger models is the Parblo Bay B960 which sports a drawing surface area of 9” wide by 6” tall. It’s a very affordable tablet that can be a great investment for aspiring concept artists and illustrators.

This is one of the few cheap tablets that come with a wide enough drawing area to be considered an intermediate-level tablet(in my opinion). Based on the price you really wouldn’t notice, and it’s likely why so few people have tried the Bay B960. But this is a tablet that’s well worth the price for both physical construction and drawing behavior.

Overview

All the raw tech specs on this device are right in rage for an intermediate-level drawing tablet. The B960 has 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity which generally come with the mid-to-high tier tablets.

While the drawing area measures 9″ wide by 6″ tall, the actual tablet is a bit bigger. The whole thing measures ~14″ wide by ~9″ tall. The depth is incredibly thin measuring only ⅓ an inch in height.

parblo bay b960 thin

It does seem very thin but it’s not so thin that you’re afraid to break it. The tablet definitely has some weight to it and feels sturdy under your hand.

The tablet comes with a single USB cable which offers power and a connection to the computer. This means you have no wall cable which makes drawing on the go a lot easier.

Inside the box you’ll get:

  • The B960 graphics tablet
  • One Battery-free stylus
  • One USB cable
  • Driver & Software CDs

The Parblo pen works just as well as any other graphics tablet on the market. I don’t really have any complaints about this pen. It’s very lightweight and without any batteries it’s even lighter.

The one really cool addition to this pen is the digital eraser added to the top. This way you can flip the pen over and erase what you’ve drawn digitally. It’s a fairly common feature in higher-end tablets but I was surprised to see this in the Parblo B960.

The pen tilt registers up to a 60° change in angle across the entire tablet. However this seems to work best towards the center of the tablet. When getting closer to the edges of the drawing area you can lose a bit of sensitivity.

One other thing I really like is the quick key shortcuts located along the left side of the device. It comes with 7 different hotkeys that are fully programmable to any command in your painting software of choice.

Not to mention the stylus also has two clickable buttons for left-click and right-click actions. You can use this tablet and pen as a replacement for your mouse if you’re quickly switching between tasks.

Overall this tablet is a fully loaded beast ready for production work. It comes with absolutely everything you need to draw/paint digitally and it’s easy to learn regardless of skill level.

Basic Setup

It seems like most Parblo tablets come with very poor installation instructions. I mentioned the terrible setup process in my Parblo Coast10 review. I’m sorry to say that the Bay B960 has a very similar setup process.

The instructions are not written in proper English. They’re OK to follow if you want to dissect broken English. But honestly you shouldn’t expect much help from the included manual.

On the plus side there really isn’t much to the installation process. You might want to remove old tablet drivers before installing the Parblo drivers. But I didn’t bother and my installation was fine(using Mac OS X 10.11).

parblo bay b960 box contents

In the package you’ll get two discs: one for the tablet drivers and another for the Parblo software. But thankfully the discs are optional and you can download drivers directly from the Parblo support page.

Start by installing the drivers first and connect the tablet only when asked to do so. You should wait until the tablet is recognized to install the software, although it all needs to be installed for calibration & recognition in painting programs.

Calibration is super easy and should be rather quick. I had to recalibrate mine a couple times during setup to get the whole thing working. But on the 2nd time it was in line with all my strokes and pressure points were recorded accurately.

The total setup should not take you more than 10-20 minutes. It might be even quicker if you have a newer computer.

I didn’t notice any jitters or issues while testing on my machine, but I only tested on a Mac.

Also if you do have trouble getting the tablet to install be sure to check for other drivers on your computer. You might have to uninstall other tablet drivers before installing the B960 to get it working properly.

Top Features

My overall positive impression is that this tablet does exactly what you’d expect it to do. Drawing feels very natural and there’s almost no delay between strokes and recognition on the monitor.

You get a large drawing area and access to quick buttons on the left-hand side. It pulls all power from the USB port so you only need to worry about one cable.

All of the programmable hotkeys work as expected and feel quite comfortable. I wish they could be pressed a little more because mechanically it doesn’t feel like I’m really pushing the buttons down far enough. But that was just my experience and other users may like how the buttons feel.

Just a little bit of pressure is enough for them to register so they’re easy to use. But I’d like to see a more solid design on these buttons in the future.

I really like the tablet’s eraser on the stylus pen. Not many of the cheaper models come with pens that have erasers on the ends. And while you can always buy a different pen it’s nice to get everything bundled together with one tablet.

Looking over the design it’s definitely a comfortable drawing experience. It’s not the most comfortable tablet I’ve ever used because it is fairly large. But it does offer a natural drawing experience like you’d expect in any great tablet.

However I wouldn’t say there’s anything mind-blowing about this tablet either. But just the fact that it works and functions is enough to praise the efforts of Parblo’s design team.

If you’re traveling or drawing on-the-go this is an awesome tablet for the price. It does take up a lot of space so it’s not the best mini-portable tablet. But nonetheless it is portable if you have the space for it.

Negatives Points

The first thing I noticed when setting up this tablet is its size. The full tablet measures over a foot wide and almost a foot tall.

While it is rather thin it still takes up a large surface area. This may be a problem if you have very little desk space to draw. Even the Intuos Pro is a bit smaller than the B960, although it costs quite a bit more.

Another problem I have is with the general installation process.

You get a very simple installation booklet in the box and nothing more. Since this book is written in broken English it may be a challenge for non-technical people to get this tablet installed. I had no problem because I’ve done this stuff for a while. But if you’re not great with computers it might be a pain in the ass.

I’m not sure where Parblo is located but I’d assume somewhere in Asia. The tablet works fine from a technical standpoint. But getting it installed to the point where you can use it might be frustrating.

Another downside is the sensitivity around outer edges of the screen. Now this isn’t a huge downside because I was still able to draw comfortably without hitting the edges.

But I do notice a decent drop in recognition towards the edges of the drawing area. This is fairly common in graphics tablets and the B960’s pressure sensitivity is great everywhere else. I can’t say the outer edge sensitivity is a serious issue, but it is something to consider before picking one up for yourself.

If it helps I personally had no major issues with edge sensitivity because the drawing pad is large enough that you’re working near the center at all times.

parblo bay b960 painting

To Summarize

I don’t have too many negative things to say about this tablet, and I’m surprised to write that. The B960 is genuinely affordable and for the price you’ll be getting a lot of bang for your buck.

The installation is a bit of a pain but nothing terrible. I also feel like the shape of the device is a little odd on my desk. It can feel quite large being over a foot wide in total width. But this is a minor complaint compared to the quality experience of drawing on this tablet.

I would recommend the Parblo Bay B960 as a starter tablet or an upgrade from an older smaller tablet. There is another option from Parblo named the A610 which has a similar drawing area but fewer features(and a lower price tag).

If you’re moving into an advanced level of drawing/painting and if you have extra money I would recommend a Wacom instead of a Parblo. But if you have the space and want to save some cash you can’t go wrong with the B960. It should last you just as long as a Wacom if not longer.