Parblo Coast13 Review

Warning:
This review is now well over 1 year old and may contain outdated information.
I suggest looking for a newer review if possible.


1-Parblo Coast13

The current Parblo Coast13 driver really REALLY messes with your computer when you try to uninstall it on Windows 10. When you uninstall it, it resets your colour profile associations, and the first restart opens Windows with extremely low resolution, requiring you to restart again to get your native resolution back. Honestly, it’s just a mess…
Until they fix the driver, I completely recommend you steer clear of this tablet. The driver you need to steer clear of is the one with the installer that says “Modified on: December 7, 2017” in the file properties.

I was very interested in the newest Parblo Coast13 tablet so I decided to buy it off Amazon to become my bring-around screen tablet (because my Ugee HK1560 is too big to carry around), and to review it because it’s a new tablet which has basically no reviews yet.

Unfortunately, the unit I received has a defective vertical area on the screen. The fortunate part is that the defect is only in that vertical area of the screen, so I could draw on the tablet and review it as long as I avoided that area.
I felt a bit betrayed running into a hardware defect after all my excitement about getting this tablet, but the defect won’t affect the overall review.
***I have confirmed with the seller that this is a defect with my tablet, and not a problem inherent in all their Parblo Coast13s***

This is a drawing monitor. In other words, it is a monitor which needs to be connected to a separate computer to function.

Please note!
-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 the tablet?

Design and build quality: Very nice and rigid!
Tablet drivers: Mostly customizable.
Drawing experience: Very good everywhere except on the edges.

Overall: A decent Cintiq 13HD alternative.

The quality of the Parblo Coast13 is better than the Artisul D13 (the only other cheap 13-inch Wacom alternative tablet), but there are some give and take differences between the two tablets even though they’re the same price.

  • The Parblo Coast13 does not come with a stand, the Artisul D13 does.
  • The Parblo Coast13 has a pen eraser, the Artisul D13 does not.
  • The Parblo Coast13 only has 1 pen button, the Artisul D13 has 2.
  • The Parblo Coast13 scroll wheel is non-programmable, the Artisul D13 has many premade functions for major programs. Neither of them have a custom function creation option for the scroll wheel.

My verdict:
-If you are considering this as your first drawing monitor, this tablet is a decent choice. However, if you do not need the expresskeys and pen eraser, you should take into consideration the Huion GT-191 which costs 50 USD more (500 USD) but gives you a much bigger screen by comparison.
-If you have experience with drawing monitors, this tablet is still a decent product. The only problem really being the fact that it doesn’t come with a tablet stand, and the pen sensitivity on the edges is not fantastic. You could consider it if you’re looking for a budget “bring around” tablet.


Important specifications

Price: 449.00 USD (when this review was written) Amazon.com
Active Area: 11.5 x 6.5 inches, 13.3 inch diagonal
Resolution: 1920 x 1080 (16:9 ratio)
Pen Type: Battery-free
Pen Buttons: 1 side button, eraser
Pen Pressure: 2048
Pen Tilt Sensitivity: No
Expresskeys: 8 buttons, 1 rocker ring
Multi-touch: No
Special features: None


What’s in the box?

2-Parblo box

The Parblo Coast13 comes in a nice box with a slide off outer cover around the box. The design is fairly simple and it’s easy to open.

3-Box contents

The things that come in the box:

  • Tablet
  • Pen
  • Pen case
  • Tablet cable (HDMI and USB cables bound together)
  • Pen nib replacements x6
  • Driver installation CD
  • User manual

The tablet has a nice crisp screen with display colours that aren’t skewed towards any certain colour. It matches the rest of my screens, so I assume it’s not too far off from the norm, but I’m no expert in colour calibration.

4-Tablet surface

The tablet has a small amount of texture to give it a little resistance compared to the completely smooth glass screens that you find on bigger alternative tablets. It gives it enough resistance to feel like you’re not slipping, but not so much that you feel like you’re ruining your screen. You can probably use this tablet without a screen protector and it should be fine.
As you can see from the picture, the screen has a decent amount of glare but the glare isn’t as pronounced as it would be on a smooth glass screen.

The tablet is also fairly small so you should have no problems fitting it into your bag and bringing it around with you.

5-Tablet underside

The tablet has 4 rubber feet to stop it from sliding. They work, but since I’m used to having my screen tablets at an angle and this tablet doesn’t come with a tablet stand, I decided to draw with this tablet on my lap instead of on the table.

6-Expresskeys

The expresskeys on this tablet feel very good. They have enough resistance to prevent accidental pushes, but don’t take too much effort to press. The rotating key also works quite well and would be amazing if it could actually be customized.

My Coast13 has a problem with the 4th button from the top which is very insensitive and doesn’t work easily like all the rest. The pictures I took above shows you that only the 4th button is sunken deeper into the tablet than the rest of the keys, and it doesn’t click as nicely as the rest so I assume that’s a defective button. This is most likely not a problem occurring across all Coast13s.

The buttons on the right side of the Parblo Coast13 bring up the monitor menus and the menu itself seems to have everything that it should unlike some other alternative drawing monitors.
The power button is the glowing green button on the far left.

The cable consists of two cables stuck together. A simple HDMI to mini-HDMI cable, and a USB type-C to USB type-A cable.
The ports on the tablet are mini-HDMI and USB type-C.
The ports needed on the laptop are HDMI and USB type-A. You can use the second USB type-A connector to supply more power to the tablet if needed.

The pen is made of a full matte plastic and is made to be wider at the tip and thinner at the top. It feels good in the hand and the weight is distributed slightly more towards the tip than the middle. It’s also a passive pen just like Wacom’s so you just pick it up and draw. I don’t have anything against recharging pens, but it’s always nice to have a no maintenance battery-free pen.

One thing that’s different about this pen compared to other tablet pens is that it only has 1 side button. I was surprised because the side button totally looks like 2 buttons, but there is no second side button on this pen. I can’t fathom why they decided to remove one of the buttons.

12-Pen eraser

Another thing that’s different about this pen compared to other tablet pens is that it actually has a plastic pen eraser on the top. Of course, Wacom has always had that, but anyone who knows about Wacom alternatives will know that pen erasers are a rare feature outside of Wacom.
The pen eraser has pressure sensitivity and works with Clip Studio Paint. However, I’m not sure how it decides what is the eraser tool and what isn’t because the driver doesn’t say what it’s mapped to. This also means that it’s not customizable.

Maybe the pen eraser makes up for the one missing side button, but I would have preferred to have 2 side buttons either way, with or without the eraser.

This tablet comes with a pen case and no pen stand. The lack of a pen stand is actually somewhat annoying because the pen is really good at rolling off the table when given the chance. Not a big problem if you properly place it in the case or somewhere safe, but dang can this pen roll.


Tablet drivers

14-Tablet driver

The tablet drivers are easy enough to install. You go to the Parblo website and download the latest drivers, then install them.
I have a habit of keeping my tablet unplugged until the installer asks me to plug in the tablet. I guess I’m just a bit paranoid that Windows will automatically install some tablet support program and screw things up for me before the drivers are installed.

But anyways, like any other tablet, you need to uninstall all other tablet drivers before running the installer for the Parblo driver, otherwise there will be driver conflicts which you want to avoid.

Please note!
The Parblo drivers are extremely hidden! They don’t appear in your taskbar and searching “Parblo” on your computer doesn’t bring it up!
On Windows 8, click the Windows key and search “Tablet” and the Parblo driver should be the result called “Tablet Setting”. You can also find it by looking for “Parblo 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 “T” and there should be a folder named “Tablet”. The Parblo driver should be in there. You can also find it by looking for “Parblo tablet” in your control panel.

15-Tablet driver tabs

Once you find and open your driver, you should be able to customize your pen button, change the mapping of your pen, and customize your expresskeys.

16-pen tab

In the Pen Setting tab, you should be able to customize the single pen button and the pressure curve. To adjust the pressure curve, you spin the grey wheel to the right of the pen.
Honestly, I had no idea that controlled the pressure curve until I accidentally clicked and spun it. It’s not very intuitive, especially since it’s placed so far away from the pressure curve chart.

The pen button can be customized to basically everything except for the pen/eraser toggle function that most tablets have. The pen eraser is probably supposed to make up for the lack of that function.

17-Keyboard

When you press the “keyboard” option, it will bring up a keyboard and you make your functions there by clicking the keys. The “clean” button erases your current function.

18-Mapping tab

In the Mapping tab, you choose the display your pen will be mapped to. Choose your Parblo monitor in the drop down menu and that’s it. The pen is machine calibrate by default, so it’ll appear directly under your pen wherever you use it.
If you want to use the calibration, it is only 4-point calibration. I don’t use it because I’m used to machine calibration (where the cursor maps directly under the pen everywhere), but anyone who likes to personalize calibrations probably won’t be happy with just having 4-point calibration.

Make sure you press the “Save” button after every change. Switching to a different tab makes you lose all the changes you made if you don’t click save before doing so.

In the Key Setting tab, you get to choose the functions your expresskeys have. The expresskeys all have the same amount of customization as the pen button, but the rotating wheel… Ugh, the rotating wheel is the biggest disappointment about this tablet.

20-Rotating wheel functions

The above image shows absolutely everything you can do with the rotating wheel. That’s seriously all there is for it. Where am I supposed to put my rotate/cycle layers/etc???
At least the Artisul D13 had a whole plethora of pre-made functions even though it didn’t have custom functions! *Rants*

Overall, the tablet drivers are decent, albeit looking unreliable and old.


The drawing experience!

This tablet has good pen tracking and drawing on it feels quite good. However, the pen tracking is somewhat iffy in a roughly 0.5cm area on all the edges, and the corners where the bad areas meet are horrendous, yikes! Honestly, this doesn’t affect drawing since most people don’t draw on the edges, but it can be a small nuisance pressing buttons along the edges.

The tablet surface itself doesn’t exactly feel like drawing on paper, but it’s not as smooth as drawing on glass either. I think it’s a good mix of resistance and smoothness.

21-Testing

I only test my tablets on Clip Studio Paint because that’s all I use.
You should contact Parblo 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.

The stroke control of the tablet is very good. There is no weird tapering or sudden changes from thick to thin, all of it is properly controlled to give you smooth lines according to your pen pressure. You can see a bit of wiggle when doing slow diagonal lines, but it is extremely minimal.

The expresskeys on the tablet have good feedback and are not too hard to press. Aside from my one defective button, the rest give me a very good experience overall when using them. The rotating key works quite nicely as well, not making big jumps when changing zoom and cursor size, but I still can’t get over how it only has those 2 functions. Like seriously, only zoom and cursor size?

The fact that the tablet doesn’t come with a stand is something you should take note of. I draw with the tablet on my lap and my neck starts hurting pretty quickly in that posture. If you want to prop your tablet up at an angle, maybe try using a very thick dictionary, or even consider buying the Artisul Freestyle stand (I have the stand and the Parblo Coast13 fits very snugly on it).


My (unfortunate) tablet screen defect

22-My screen defect

The defect that my Parblo Coast13 has is that a vertical area of the screen is unusable and will not properly sense my pen. As you can see, the diagonal lines drawn with a ruler completely jump right over the area.

I seriously doubt this is a problem with every Parblo Coast13 out there. Holly Hearts Art’s Parblo Coast13 did not have this defect in her Youtube review of the Parblo Coast13 so I’m probably just unlucky. The same goes for the one expresskey that’s defective on my tablet.
***Again, I have already confirmed with the seller that this is a defect with my tablet, and not a problem inherent in all their Parblo Coast13s***

However, the other problems that I mentioned are most likely inherent in all Parblo Coast13s so take note of those ones for sure when considering this tablet (aka screen edge pen sensitivity, lack of rotating button customization, lack of pen eraser customization).


Conclusion

This is a decent tablet which should be fantastic for taking out with you and your laptop for drawing outside of the house. It’s 450 USD on Amazon.com and it’s the same price as the other Cintiq 13HD alternative, the Artisul D13, however I believe this one has much better quality than the Artisul D13, but the pen tracking on the edges could use a bit of work.

I was truly hoping that the rotating wheel on this tablet would have the option of custom functions, but I was disappointed to find that it only has 2 pre-built functions for the rotating wheel.
It was also a bit surprising to find that it also doesn’t come with a tablet stand, or any kind of stand apparatus built in to the back of the tablet, but I suppose the higher quality makes the tablet itself cost more, and the stand was a necessary sacrifice to sell the tablet at the low price it’s currently set at.

If you’re looking for a portable 13-inch drawing monitor, this one is an alright choice. It really stands out as a Wacom competitor with the battery-free pen, pen eraser, and the number of expresskeys available for customization.


Places to buy the tablet

Amazon.com | Amazon.ca
People living in other regions should check their regions Amazon or contact Parblo directly to see if they will ship to them.

If you have any questions about the tablet, feel free to ask me!

Author: Nikage

I am a hobbyist artist. Ever since I bought my first Wacom alternative tablet, I've become interested in finding out what other alternative tablets are good, and trying to guide people to see that there's more than just Wacom on the market.

4 thoughts on “Parblo Coast13 Review”

    1. Hello,

      The Parblo Coast13 is a fairly decently built device which aims to compete with the Wacom Cintiq 13HD.
      I personally found it to be a decent device, so I suggest that you look up reviews for it on Youtube to understand more about it.

      Parblo is a trustworthy company which values customer support quite a bit.
      Their products are decent, but I would suggest also looking at the other options that are available such as the Artisul D13, XP-Pen Artist13.3, and Bosto 13HD.

      Like

      1. Hi there,

        Unfortunately, I do not think I will ever be getting a Bosto 13HD. They are too “silent” of a company and they haven’t released any new products since a few years ago. It’s almost like they’re a company which is about to disappear, so it’s hard to even recommend considering them anymore.

        Until they have some sort of compelling selling point which other companies don’t offer for similar or lower prices, I do not think I would ever recommend them over the more active and long-standing companies like Wacom, Huion, and XP-Pen.

        Hope that answers your questions,
        Nikage

        Like

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