This review is now well over 1 year old and may contain outdated information.
I suggest looking for a newer review if possible.
This is a review of the discontinued GAOMON M10K. There is now a newer model called the GAOMON M10K 2018 and I do not know how that one performs.
As such, you should avoid judging the performance of the 2018 version using this review and instead look for reviews of the actual 2018 version.
This tablet was kindly supplied to me by GAOMON for review.
I actually had my eye on this tablet from before it was released because it looked like Wacom’s Intuos Pro but with 2 more expresskeys. So I was thinking that it would be a great alternative for people who didn’t want to pay the premium 350 USD for the Intuos Pro. Unfortunately, it wasn’t quite what I expected it to be, but it is still a fairly good tablet.
Anyways, on to the review.
-I am not a Mac or Linux user!! I only tested this tablet on Windows 8 and Windows 10.
-Prices may have changed since I wrote this review.
-Check when a review was written. Some aspects may improve or change over time, so it is in your best interest to concentrate on reviews which are less than 1 year old.
Table of contents
- How good is this tablet?
- Important specifications
- What’s in the box?
- Tablet drivers
- The drawing experience!
- Places to buy the tablet
How good is this tablet?
Design and build quality: Excellent!
Tablet drivers: Satisfactory.
Drawing experience: Fairly good!
Overall: A decent tablet for 76 USD.
-If you are considering this as your first graphic tablet, I can recommend this tablet if you are not going to be using the expresskeys.
-If you are experienced with tablets, you should get this if you want a quality tablet with a battery-free pen, pen tilt, and pen eraser. If you’re looking for a tablet with customizable expresskeys, you will need to look elsewhere.
Price: 75.99 USD (when this review was written) Amazon.com
Active Area: 10 x 6.25 inches
Pen Type: Battery-free
Pen Buttons: 1 side button, eraser on end
Pen Pressure: 2048
Pen Tilt Sensitivity: Yes, +-60 levels (?)
Expresskeys: 10 buttons, 1 touch ring
(?) Levels unspecified, but there is tilt sensitivity.
What’s in the box?
The tablet comes in a simple white box with the tablet printed on the front. The doodles above the tablet are quite cute and pleasing to look at.
The things that come in the box:
- Tablet cable (USB type-A to Micro-USB)
- Pen nib replacements x4
- Pen pouch
- User manual
The tablet has a nice overall design with a simple black surface for drawing. It has a fairly big active area, but the tablet itself should fit into any standard backpack or bag along with your laptop.
The surface of this tablet is very smooth with a little texture. It is the exact same texture used on the Huion New 1060 Plus.
However, unlike with the Huion New 1060 Plus, drawing on the GAOMON M10K felt kind of slippery at times. This most likely has something to do with the pen nib material and how it interacts with the tablet surface, but all you need to know is that it felt a little slippery.
The back of the tablet has four rubber feet and the usual information sticker. The four rubber feet properly do their job and the tablet did not slide around while I was drawing.
The front and back edges of the tablet are beveled and allow you to comfortably rest your wrist on the tablet.
The expresskeys on this tablet all feel fantastic. The buttons all give great feedback when clicked and are very easy to click no matter where you press on them, and the touch wheel works very smoothly.
Unfortunately, despite how good the actual buttons are, the programming on them is different from standard expresskeys and severely limit expresskey users.
The problem with the expresskeys is that they do not support long presses. So basically, any press and hold function such as; holding spacebar to pan the canvas, or holding ctrl+alt to change your brush size in Clip Studio Paint.
You could argue that for functions like brush size, zoom in/out, rotate canvas, you can just split each function and map those onto two different expresskeys each, but there is no solution for spacebar for panning the canvas. The only solution would most likely be to manually drag the scroll bars around your canvas, but this will really chop up your workflow.
The problem with the touch wheel is that it reverses direction on the right side of the wheel. So if you’re scrolling down a page by using a clockwise motion on the touch wheel, when you reach the right side of the wheel, the page will scroll upward a little before continuing to scroll down. And this continues to happen each time you go over the right side of the wheel.
I have confirmed with GAOMON that this is inherent in all their M10K tablets. It is not certain whether it is a hardware or software bug, but for now the temporary solution is to only use the left side of the touch wheel.
The tablet has a pen holder on the right side, but it is very loose around the pen and should not be trusted to hold your pen securely. The idea is nice, but it is clear it was not made for the included pen.
This is the pen which the M10K uses. It is a battery-free pen so it works without recharging or a battery, just like Wacom’s pens.
The pen is made of matte plastic and it tapers gradually from the tip to the top. Because of the taper, it feels fairly good to grip and doesn’t slip out of your hand when applying heavy pressure.
This pen has only a single side button unlike most other tablet pens you will find. I prefer having two buttons on my pen and I have no idea why this pen was made with only one, but it shouldn’t be too big of a problem for most people.
The button is also completely flush with the surface so it is extremely hard to find by rolling the pen around in your hand. Having the buttons bulge out would be much more preferable to be able to use the buttons without looking down at the pen.
The pen has an eraser on the top end. This is a feature that you currently do not see on any screen-less tablet outside of Wacom’s tablets.
It has its own pressure levels but it is a little harder to control than the pen nib pressure sensitivity.
Surprisingly enough, this pen also has tilt sensitivity! It is not advertised to have tilt sensitivity anywhere, so I had no idea until I noticed it in the tablet drivers.
I personally don’t find tilt sensitivity useful, but if you want a tilt sensitive tablet with higher build quality than the budget Parblo Island A609 (the only other screen-less tablet with tilt sensitivity aside from the pricey Wacom Intuos Pro) then you may want to consider the GAOMON M10K.
This tablet comes with a pen pouch instead of a pen stand or pen case. It’s for carrying your pen around safely.
The replacement pen nibs come in this pouch.
The tablet driver are pretty simple to install. You download the driver from GAOMON’s site and run it. Once it prompts you to connect your tablet, you connect it and it’ll finish the installation.
Like with any other tablet, make sure you’ve uninstalled all other tablet drivers from your computer and restarted before trying to install the GAOMON driver.
The GAOMON drivers are extremely hidden! They don’t appear in your taskbar and searching “GAOMON” on your computer doesn’t bring it up!
***The middle button of the touch wheel is made to bring up the tablet drivers, and that is probably the easiest way to open it.
On Windows 8, click the Windows key and search “Tablet” and the GAOMON driver should be a result called “Tablet Setting”. You can also find it by looking for “Pen Tablet” in your control panel.
On Windows 10, click the Windows key and go to the “All apps” tab on the left sidebar. Scroll down to “P” and there should be a folder named “Pen Tablet Driver”. The GAOMON driver should be in there. You can also find it by looking for “Pen Tablet” in your control panel.
The Pen Setting tab lets you control the pen button and the pen pressure curve. The circle dial on the right controls the pen pressure curve.
You can test your pen pressure in the “Try Here” canvas. You can also check that the pen tilt is working properly by looking at the circle in the top left of the “Try Here” canvas. It shows the direction the pen is tilted while your pen is hovering over the canvas.
The pen button can be mapped to all mouse clicks and keyboard keys. Unfortunately, it does not support press and hold functions, so for example, mapping spacebar to it does not allow you to drag the canvas by holding the pen button.
When you choose the keyboard function, it brings up a full size keyboard with every key possible and you can create your function using that.
The Mapping tab lets you choose which monitor your tablet is mapped to. You should use the Auto Setting button to make sure your tablet is mapped with the correct ratio to the screen.
Make sure you save before moving to a different tab so you don’t lose any of the changes you’ve made.
The Key Setting tab lets you map functions to your expresskeys. You can map all keyboard keys and mouse clicks to the expresskeys, but as I explained before, the expresskeys do not support press and hold functions.
The touch wheel is also quite disappointing in that it only has 2 functions and no free customization of its functions. The middle button of the touch wheel is also only for bringing up the tablet driver and cannot be configured.
The About tab shows you the version number of your driver and nothing else.
I ran into a problem with Clip Studio Paint on Windows 10 where my cursor did not show up on my canvas and I was unable to draw anything. This did not occur on Windows 8.
I was able to fix it by enabling the option in Preferences as shown in the screenshot above.
If you use Clip Studio Paint on Windows 10, you may also need to enable that option to get it to work.
The drawing experience!
This tablet gave me a fairly good drawing experience aside from the times where it felt like the surface was too slippery for me to control my lines properly. I am still unsure what causes this tablet to feel slippery when the Huion New 1060 Plus, which has the exact same surface texture, did not feel slippery at all.
Drawing on the GAOMON M10K certainly did not feel like drawing on paper, but it gives a nice drawing experience nonetheless.
I only test my tablets on Clip Studio Paint because that’s all I use. You should contact GAOMON support directly if you want to know if the tablet is compatible with the drawing program you use, but most major drawing programs should be compatible. Their customer support is also very kind so there’s no need to be afraid of contacting them directly.
The stroke control for this tablet is very good and the lines taper quite nicely for both long and short strokes. You can see a slight bit of wobble when doing slow lines with a ruler, but they are extremely slight and should not affect drawing at all.
The pen pressure was decently easy to control, but I had to change the pressure curve to be a little harder because the pen pressure felt too soft to me.
Like I have mentioned so many times, the surface texture and pen felt a little slippery when I compare it to all the other tablets I have drawn on. I could feel myself not in control of my lines quite a few times, but it may be something you could get used to over time. I just wasn’t able to get used to it over my few days of testing on it.
The cord placement is quite nice for a right-handed person like myself, but I doubt it would be as nice when used in left-handed mode by flipping the tablet around because of how the cord is made.
The GAOMON M10K is actually quite a decent tablet for the 76 USD it’s priced at on Amazon.com. I can certainly see it being a decent alternative to the Wacom Intuos due to its bigger size and battery-free pen, but it is nothing more than “decent” due to the limitations of the expresskeys and touch ring.
For any beginner digital artist who has the budget to consider an Intuos, I would suggest that they get this instead. The GAOMON M10K is bigger and the pen is way better in build quality. Basically, the only thing you’d be gaining by getting a Wacom Intuos instead of the GAOMON M10K is the Wacom brand name that everyone seems to admires.
For any experienced digital artist, take into consideration all the pros and cons of this tablet and make your choice based off of that. I can suggest this tablet to anyone looking for a quality tablet with a battery-free pen, pen tilt, and pen eraser. If you’re looking for a tablet with customizable expresskeys, I would suggest against this tablet because of the limitation that you can’t use press and hold functions.
Places to buy the tablet
Amazon.com | Amazon.ca
People living in other regions should check their regions Amazon or contact GAOMON directly to see if they will ship to them.
If you have any questions about the tablet, feel free to ask me!