Edit (Apr. 26, 2019): GAOMON’s most recent posts about this tablet on their Facebook page is apparently advertising Android support on this tablet.
My unit, however, was bought before they announced Android support, so it does not come with an Android adapter for the cable. Because of this, my review will not go over this tablets android functionality whatsoever.
The GAOMON S620 is a new GAOMON tablet which competes in the small (~6×4 inch) tablet category. It offers a battery-free pen with a relatively low retail price of ~35-40 USD on AliExpress, which is the only place I can currently find it being sold officially by GAOMON. Edit: It is now officially released on Amazon.
I bought this tablet through AliExpress because it had a fairly ridiculous sale coupon available for it which gives you 13 USD off the S620 specifically (it’s still available while I’m writing this review), and it was also on sale for 35 USD from it’s original 40 USD price in addition to the coupon. I also used an AliExpress first time buyer 2 USD coupon.
So in total, it just cost me a little over 20 USD!
If I am honest, my expectations for this tablet were fairly high considering I had noticed that GAOMON uses altered Huion drivers for their tablets (and Huion drivers are quite good overall).
However, as usual, my expectations were a bit too high and the GAOMON S620 turned out to be just a “decent” tablet if anything. I could argue it’s pretty good for a 20 USD tablet, but I don’t think I would recommend it at its normal retail price of 40 USD.
Anyways, that’s enough introduction. Onto the review!
P.S. You may notice that this review is done with a slightly different format compared to my previous reviews. This is because I am cleaning up my review methodology to include some more pen tests. I hope to update my other recent reviews to include these tests as soon as I can as well.
-I am not a Mac or Linux user!! I mainly only tested this tablet on Windows 10 version 1803.
-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.
-Always check multiple reviews to cross reference their information before you make a conclusion about a tablet.
Table of Contents
- How good is this tablet?
- Specifications at a glance
- What’s in the box?
- Tablet drivers
- Drawing tests
- The drawing experience!
- Places to buy the tablet
Design choices: Pretty good!
-Nitpicks: Button placement
Hardware quality: Not fantastic, but not bad.
-Nitpicks: Plastic-y texture
Tablet drivers: Very good!
Drawing test results: Decent, but lacking.
-Nitpicks: High IAF (Initial Activation Force)
Actual drawing experience: Usable, but not pleasing.
-Nitpicks: High IAF
Overall: A pretty good tablet for 20 USD, but lacking at 40 USD.
I would probably only recommend this while it has the 13 USD off coupon available for it on AliExpress (look here for coupon), and even then, only to the people who really can’t afford anything over ~20 USD.
At its actual retail price of 40 USD, the high initial activation force makes it lose out to other options like the XP-Pen G640/G640S and Huion H640P.
Price: 39.99 USD (when this review was written)
Active Area: 6.5 x 4 inches
Pen Type: Battery-free
Pen Buttons: 2 side buttons, no eraser
Pen Pressure: 8192
Pen Tilt Sensitivity: None
Shortcut Keys: 4 buttons
Other features: Android compatibility (?)
The tablet comes in a really simple white box with just the GAOMON logo in the middle and the name of the tablet in the corner. I admit that I actually really like this kind of box design, so it gave me a good impression when I first saw it.
The things that come in the box:
- GAOMON S620 tablet
- GAOMON Artpaint AP32 battery-free pen
- Felt pen pouch
- Tablet cable (USB type-A to Micro-USB)
- Pen nib replacements x8
- Anti-fouling glove
- User manual
- Driver installation instruction card
- Warranty card
The tablet has a fairly simple design with the textured drawing area covering most of the front surface of the tablet. The tablet itself is very compact and small.
I noticed that any hand oils you get on the tablet are very noticeable.
There is some flex when doing a simple twist test by gripping both ends of the tablet and twisting, however, the tablet does not creak at all which means that the pieces are properly built and fit snugly together.
The surface of the tablet has a decently rough finish to it to imitate a paper-like feeling. Unfortunately, you can clearly feel that the texture is more plastic-y than paper-like, so you probably won’t enjoy it if you were expecting a “like paper” experience.
However, with that said, it is not particularly bad and is completely usable, it’s just more on the plastic-y side if anything.
The back of the tablet has 4 round rubber feet and the usual information sticker. The rubber feet did their job properly and prevented the tablet from moving around while I was drawing.
The dotted design may not be for everyone, but I didn’t notice it until I started taking pictures since you don’t see the back when drawing on the tablet.
The front edge of the tablet is slightly beveled.
I appreciate this beveled design choice because a lot of screen-less tablets now have non-beveled edges (they’re just cornered edges), and I find those ones uncomfortable to work on for longs periods of time because they dig into my wrists the way I rest my arm on my tablets while drawing.
The tablet has 4 shortcut buttons on the top left edge of the tablet. These buttons are quite nice because they don’t click obnoxiously loudly, and they also don’t require a large amount of force to press either. The only con about them is that they feel a bit cheap, but I think I could ignore that because they’re relatively good otherwise.
Clearly, this tablet was not created with left-handed people in mind as those buttons are completely unusable in left-handed mode. (Unless you flip the tablet upside down. I think that could work.)
At least for right-handed people, the placement of the buttons is at least logical and usable, but again, this design doesn’t seem to consider left-handed use at all.
The tablet port is a standard Micro-USB port with no tunnel in front of it.
The tablet cable is a ~150cm cable. It comes with a non-painful velcro strap attached for holding the cable together.
The GAOMON S620 uses the Artpaint AP32 model battery-free pen (according to the product page) which is a very simplistic but nicely designed pen. It has a semi-hard/semi-soft rubber grip with two side buttons.
Holding this pen feels very comfortable and I have no complaints about using it. It’s a pretty good quality pen which I didn’t expect with such a budget tablet. I was completely expecting a simple hard plastic pen to be completely honest, so seeing it had a comfortable rubber grip was a pleasant surprise.
The two side buttons protrude noticeably from the surface of the pen which helps a lot with feeling where they are.
The common complaint about protruding buttons is that you accidentally click them sometimes, but I would much rather have protruding buttons I can actually find without looking, rather than buttons that I can’t find at all (therefore making them useless) because they are flush with the surface of the pen.
The top of the pen does not have anything.
The pen nib wear on this tablet is pretty high due to the rough texture of this tablet. My pen nib already has a fairly large flat side after just 1-2 days of straight use.
The tablet surface on the other hand is not scratched at all despite the wear on the pen nib.
This tablet comes with a felt pouch to hold the pen if you feel the need to use it.
The tablet drivers were very simple to install. Just go download the latest version from gaomon.net and uninstall all other tablet drivers you have on your computer before installing it.
If you’ve installed the driver successfully, there will now be a desktop shortcut and a system tray icon. The system tray icon will show up in your system tray (where your clock is), and this is the icon which shows that your driver is running and also gives you quick access to the driver settings.
Although the installer doesn’t prompt you to restart your computer after it finishes, I wholeheartedly suggest restarting your computer anyways to allow Windows to properly integrate the driver files into your system.
Oddly enough, the GAOMON driver does not properly auto-start on my Windows 10 computer after turning on/restarting the computer. It also doesn’t automatically make a auto-start option in the “Startup” section of Task Manager.
I found this odd because all my other tablet drivers properly add a auto-start option for themselves on the same Windows 10 computer, and my Windows 8.1 laptop also auto-starts the GAOMON driver properly (also adds the GAOMON driver to the “Startup” section in Task Manager) unlike my Windows 10 computer.
I contacted GAOMON support about this and they just told me to Google how to manually make a program auto-start on restart/login. Hm.
This obviously isn’t a particularly big issue (because you can just start up the driver manually when you’re ready to draw), but I would have appreciated if they had at least tried to figure out whether it was the GAOMON installer or my computer which is the problem, rather than tell me I should just accept it as is and put in extra effort to fix it for myself.
In the driver, you will have the ability to configure your tablet shortcut buttons, pen buttons, pen pressure curve, and work area. There’s also the option to save and open your settings using the Export and Import buttons.
You will see an “Administrator privileges” button along the bottom, but there is no need to worry about it. I’ve tried working without pressing that button and I’ve noticed absolutely no difference in performance or anything, so I don’t think it does anything important.
The Press Keys tab allows you to customize the functions mapped to your shortcut buttons.
As you can see above, the Press Key Settings menu has keyboard shortcuts, pen clicks, “switch” functions, and run program features.
These drivers allow you a lot of freedom with the functions you can create, and you can mix and match the categories if you need to.
The buttons on the GAOMON S620 also have anti-ghosting capabilities, so you are able to activate more than one shortcut button function at the same time.
The Digital Pen tab allows you to customize the pen buttons and the pen pressure curve. The pen buttons have the same configuration options as the shortcut buttons.
Usually, you will want to uncheck the “Enable Windows Ink” option to prevent Windows Ink from messing with your pen inputs. With that said, however, some programs such as Photoshop require you to enable Windows Ink to have pen input. Adjust this option as you see fit.
The Work Area tab allows you to customize the monitor your tablet is mapped to, and the size of the active area your tablet uses. Pick your monitor from the drop down menu, then click the Full Area button, and then click the Screen Ratio button to properly adjust your tablet area to match your monitor.
There is also the option to rotate your tablet input as needed.
These pen tests are all done with the same settings for both the canvas and the pens. These tests are only done in Clip Studio Paint as that is the only program where I totally understand how to remove all unwanted variables.
If you are worried about whether this tablet will work with your art program, don’t be afraid to contact support to ask them directly.
-The canvas will always be a 3000x3000px 300dpi page (the above test page is a 3000x6000px 300dpi page, so just two pages stuck together).
-The test pens are mostly all 100px linear pressure curve pens. Pen pressure for size and/or opacity is enabled based on the test.
-The slow ruler line test uses a 10px no pen pressure pen to clearly show wobble and jitter. I also use a 50px pen pressure enabled pen to see the visibility of wobble/jitter with pen pressure is enabled.
-The IAF (Initial Activation Force) test uses a 300px linear pressure pen to show the thinnest lines possible, as well as demonstrate the IAF of the tablet.
1) Scribble Test – Grade: Pass-ish
Test pen 1 – 100px – pen pressure: size
Test pen 2 – 100px – pen pressure: size+opacity
For my pen tests, I always start out with a few pen pressure scribbles to see if I can do some nice squiggly lines with increasing pen pressure. I also do some back and forth shading and some spirals with increasing pen pressure.
With the GAOMON S620, I had a little bit of troubles getting really thin lines consistently in my scribbles. I had to try pretty hard to get the scribbles to start with really thin lines, and the lines would often start quite thick.
However, since I was able to get thin lines a fair amount of times, I can give the tablet a pass-ish grade here.
2) Slow Ruler Line Test – Grade: Pass
Test pen 1 – 10px – pen pressure: none
Test pen 2 – 50px – pen pressure: size
The slow ruler line tests done with a no pen pressure pen were pretty good on this tablet. The only time the wobble became noticeable was when I was holding the pen as tilted as I possibly could.
I think it is unrealistic to expect that people will be using the pen at that angle because this tablet does not have pen tilt, so I believe the wobble is negligible on this tablet as there is almost no noticeable wobble at a normal drawing angle.
If you use your pen tilted as far over as it can go, then consider yourself warned.
This tablet gets a pass here.
3) Quick Hatching Test – Grade: Pass
Test pen 1 – 100px – pen pressure: size
The quick hatching test is to check whether the tablet keeps up with pen inputs. Usually, the only way to fail this section is if the pen is noticeably laggy and causes unwanted inputs like fishhooks at the beginning or end of the line.
As you can see, this tablet appears to have no problems with fishhooks. I also never saw the cursor lagging noticeably, so it gets a pass here.
4) Short Release Taper Test – Grade: Pass-ish
Test pen 1 – 100px – pen pressure: size
This test is meant to see the smoothness of the pen pressure taper when going from max to min pressure quickly. Basically, you press your pen down hard then flick to the side to see how smoothly the stroke tapers.
With the GAOMON S620, I would sometimes get uneven tapers, and other times get nice tapers. Good tapers occurred more frequently than bad tapers, so I’ll give this tablet a pass-ish for this section.
5) Pen Pressure Control/Transition Test – Grade: Pass
Test pen 1 – 100px – pen pressure: size+opacity
This section is to test the smoothness of the transitions in pen pressure.
-The circles at the top are one of Youtuber Brad Colbow’s tests. It is used to check if you can properly control the pen pressure all the way around a circle. If there is a pressure jump, some circles will feel impossible to control due to that jump.
-The lines at the bottom are slow strokes done with smooth increases or decreases to pen pressure in mind. The arrow points in the direction which the stroke was done, and the smoothness of the gradients show how smooth the pen pressure transitions.
For this tablet, there didn’t seem to be any particularly noticeable pressure jumps. You can see a slight jump at the low end of the pressure curve, but everywhere else seems to be very smooth.
I think I can give this tablet a pass here.
6) Initial Activation Force & Lightest Pen Pressure Test – Grade: Fail
Test pen 1 – 300px – pen pressure: size
This test tries to demonstrate the IAF of the tablet, and also shows the lowest possible pen pressure the tablet is capable of producing.
IAF is the amount of force necessary to cause the pen to output a line. Ideally, your tablet will have an extremely low IAF where the pen will output a line with the least amount of force possible.
A high IAF causes issues such as light pen taps not registering as clicks, and the inability to sketch very lightly, both of which become quite annoying the more you experience it.
For this test page, the squiggly lines should begin right on the start line.
-If the line begins right on the start line, this indicates that the IAF is extremely low (low IAF is best) and the line just appears naturally without effort.
-On the other hand, if the line does not begin on the start line and instead begins further along the stroke, this means that the IAF is so high that I needed to search for the IAF by increasing my force little by little until I finally started outputting a line.
An example of the ideal test page is the Huion New 1060 Plus (2048) IAF test page which I included above for comparison. Almost all the lines begin right on the start line, and the lines are almost transparent, showing that the tablet is also capable of drawing extremely light pen pressures.
The GAOMON S620 on the other hand has a relatively high IAF and I had troubles getting the lines to begin near the start line in the test page.
As such, I cannot give a passing grade to the GAOMON S620 in this test.
A funny thing I noticed is that I could use my Huion PW100 pen on the GAOMON S620, and the IAF for that pen was extremely low in comparison to GAOMON’s pen. The very last line on the GAOMON S620 test page is done with the Huion PW100 pen, and I was easily able to begin the stroke on the start line because the IAF was so much lower on the Huion pen.
If GAOMON wants to improve the S620, perhaps they could start by improving the pen that it uses.
So all in all, the drawing test results are:
1) Scribble Test – Pass-ish
2) Slow Ruler Line Test – Pass
3) Quick Hatching Test – Pass
4) Short Release Taper Test – Pass-ish
5) Pen Pressure Control/Transition Test – Pass
6) Initial Activation Force & Lightest Pen Pressure Test – Fail
Ideally, all the above tests should have at least a “Pass-ish” for their grades because the most vital function of a drawing tablet is to draw properly and predictably. Failing any of these tests means that it doesn’t do that.
My actual drawing experience with the GAOMON S620 was okay, but it certainly wasn’t particularly enjoyable.
The high IAF showed itself too frequently in the form of my clicks not being registered when I was tapping options and tools. I also had a hard time adapting to the pen pressure because my lines just wouldn’t appear when I pressed as lightly as I was used to pressing on my other tablets.
Aside from the high IAF, there weren’t any particularly notable issues and I could actually use the GAOMON S620 to draw, but the high IAF was more than enough to ruin the overall drawing experience for me.
Like I said before, I wouldn’t really recommend this tablet to anyone, especially at its actual retail price of 40 USD.
If you simply don’t have more than ~20 USD to use on a tablet, or you have some money you want to throw around, you can consider the GAOMON S620 for the coupon price of ~20 USD on AliExpress (look here for coupon), but I wouldn’t suggest this tablet to anyone who’s looking for a serious tablet they want to practice drawing with.
If you absolutely need something cheap, you can go for this tablet with the AliExpress coupon, but I seriously suggest that you save up just a tiny bit more to get one of Huion or XP-Pen’s equivalent small size (~6×4 inch) offerings which perform noticeably better, especially with regards to the IAF.
If you have any questions about the tablet, feel free to ask me!