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Parblo is one of the newest Wacom alternatives offering high-quality products for artists. I recently found their line of tablets and decided to check out the Parblo Coast10.
This tablet spans 10.1” and comes with a bunch of accessories like an artist’s glove and an extended USB port.
Display quality is glorious and this is one of the cheaper tablets with a fully functional on-screen display. It doesn’t recognize finger taps but the pen can function as a mouse which makes it a versatile tablet for any occasion.
If you’re looking for a much cheaper alternative to the Cintiq I would recommend the Parblo Coast10 for beginner-to-intermediate artists on a budget.
For its size and price the Parblo Coast10 is one of the nicer tablets on the market. Artists constantly look for Wacom alternatives to save money and to have backup/replacement tablets for emergencies.
I think this Parblo model fits the bill perfectly. The LCD screen measures 11.4″ x 8.3″ which is large enough to get professional work done. This is very close in size to the Wacom Intuos Pro which is one of the best higher quality non-screen tablets you can buy. But since this Parblo model has an on-screen monitor you get the best of both worlds.
The Parblo Coast10 comes with clips in the back which fold out for upright drawing. It can also rest comfortably on your lap. At only 2.5lbs it’s barely noticeable.
This is one of the few models that can be powered solely by USB to the computer. There’s no power adapter that plugs into the wall, making this an excellent companion while traveling.
The top of the tablet comes with a resting place for the pen when not in use. It’s conveniently sized to be large enough for painting, but small enough to feel no larger than a laptop when on the go.
It does not have any hotkey buttons, although the pen does have buttons to replicate your mouse.
All physical components of the tablet will work exactly as you’d expect. The screen is bright and very crisp. The Parblo pen is super light and easily glides across the screen. The only issues you might encounter are with drivers & calibration, but once you get past this step you’re golden.
Components & Features
If there’s one consistency with this tablet it’s the build quality. Everything just fits together and it feels like a solid piece of hardware.
The screen offers high viewing angles up to 170° from any direction. Short of laying your face directly onto the surface you should always be able to see what you’re drawing.
The display is super crisp and it’s much easier than drawing on a non-screen tablet.
The pen is battery-free which is definitely a plus. This makes it much lighter and easier to work with since you’re not worried about replacing any batteries. It also features clickable buttons to replicate mouse clicks, making it a decent replacement for your actual mouse too.
The additional items make this an incredible purchase. Few tablets come inclusive with an artist’s anti-fouling glove, nevermind the added 4-port USB extender.
Since this runs off your computer’s USB port it will suck up some extra energy. This means drawing on your laptop unplugged may drain the battery quicker. But this is to be expected with such a tablet, so be willing to charge your computer in brief spurts.
If you’re working off a desktop this will prove to be invaluable to your setup. The extra 4-port USB hub is incredible and the tablet’s ergonomic design makes it easy to draw from any surface.
When using the device it feels so gentle and smooth that you might compare it with any smaller-sized Wacom. I can’t say that I’m super familiar with the Parblo line, but this particular model is fantastic and makes drawing a lot of fun.
I also really like the battery-free pen because it feels so lightweight and natural. It doesn’t hinder the drawing experience and it’s super easy to control.
Pressure sensitivity is also right on point so the tablet is great for production artwork of all sizes. I truly believe industry professionals could use this as a travel tablet and still find it valuable.
Another huge benefit is the addition of the drawing glove. Granted this wouldn’t cost much to buy separately, however it’s really great to see this included with the package for free. The glove simply glides across the LCD surface with very little restriction.
Because of its light size and simple shape the Coast10 is one of the best tablets for traveling. The pen clips right into the tablet so it’s very compact, and since it doesn’t need a wall charger you save room with fewer cables too.
While the screen does shine brilliantly, it also has a rough glare when positioned in certain angles with lighting. The solution is to crank up your brightness settings or to work in the dark away from windows or major light sources.
If you can get a protective covering over the screen this may also solve the problem.
However the biggest downside is definitely the setup process. I didn’t have a super rough time, but others have posted complaining about the poor setup process.
The manual/install CD doesn’t use proper English so it’s tough to follow Parblo’s directions. And the CD only comes with Windows drivers, so Mac users will need to download Parblo Coast10 drivers from the Parblo support page.
But even with the drivers downloaded you may still have issues.
The manual doesn’t explain the process very well so this can be frustrating. The first thing you should try is to uninstall any previous drivers from other tablets. Then you should try installing the Parblo drivers, first the DisplayLink software and then the tablet drivers.
One other issue is the calibration setup. I’ve noticed that outer edges sometimes have issues when it comes to configuring any graphics tablets. I noticed this myself with the Coast10 setup.
Sensitivity isn’t terrible and it’s mostly a pen recognition issue rather than a sensitivity issue. I tried recalibrating but didn’t notice much of a difference.
Near the edges you might find a very slight skew from the point where you place the pen compared to where the mark gets made. I only notice this within maybe ½-¼ of an inch from the edge.
Driver issues can be solved with patience if you’re good with computers. If you’re not then this may be a challenge to setup.
Parblo’s customer support isn’t great either, and since the manual isn’t very descriptive there’s very little recourse to get help with the setup.
But once you can get this up & running you shouldn’t have issues with the daily activity of drawing/painting on this tablet.
The Parblo Coast10 is somewhat of a hit or miss tablet. I think the quality is definitely there and for a USB-powered tablet with a battery-free pen it operates brilliantly.
I would recommend this if you’re open to a drawing tablet with a bigger display and a screen you can actually see, but requires effort to configure. This is likely a better on-screen alternative than the Huion GT-190, but the two are very comparable when it comes to price and functionality.
Mac OS X users may have a tougher time getting the Coast10 installed compared to PC users. However it is compatible with all major versions of both OS’, so ultimately it’s a matter of patience.
Artists who want something with a little more functionality might also check out the Huion GT-185. It’s a little bigger than the Coast10 with some extra buttons and features to go along with it.
But there’s really no major issues with the Coast10 aside from setup. And the smaller size is a massive benefit when traveling.
So if you’re looking to save money and want a display tablet that actually works and feels solid then I’d recommend the Parblo Coast10 hands down.
Installation may be tricky but once you get through it you’ll be surprised just how intuitive the tablet feels.