Gaomon is often considered to be a lesser-known and slightly cheaper brand to the other industry heavy weights, but is no less serious about being a worthy contender to Wacom. Although they wont be overthrowing them just yet, there are however a lot of positive elements that this brand offers and that we think a lot people will appreciate.
In this article we compare the primary Gaomon line of pen tablets against the industry standard that is Wacom, and discuss how they serve a certain niche of artists and other drawing tablet using professionals and hobbyists that Wacom doesn’t quite reach.
Who are Wacom?
Wacom needs very little introduction, but for the sake of formality they are a Japanese company that specializes in making interactive pen displays, pen tablets, and styluses. They’ve been around since the ‘80s, and over the years have grown to dominate the drawing tablet industry. They have produced legendary product lines, including the Intuos and Cintiq, and one gets the sense that most newcomers simply try to copy them, while perhaps skimping on a few things here and there to significantly lower their price in comparison to the incumbent so they can appeal to a certain market niche.
Speaking of price, Wacom products are not only of a premium quality, but also command a premium price. They are consistently more expensive than similar products from competitors. However, due to the massive brand reputation that Wacom has garnered over the years, it doesn’t suffer sales losses as a result of pricing its products so high. Wacom is, in many senses, the Apple of the drawing tablet industry.
Who are Gaomon?
Gaomon is a Chinese technology company that focuses on “animation products and handwritten input digitizer products” according to the ‘About’ section on their website. They have been around since 2011, though for the first 5 years they only served the Chinese market. However, in 2016, they took on the global market by launching their Gaomon S56K on Amazon. Over time, more and more of their products have been marketed internationally, and have received a warm welcome.
Gaomon is the new kid on the block. Not only that, but it’s the small new kid on the block compared to Wacom. Nobody is claiming a David vs. Goliath story here. More like Gaomon has certain great features that make it great for serving a niche market A.K.A “artists who are starting out and don’t have enough money to splash on a premium Wacom product”.
In this article, we shall look at two of Gaomon’s most popular products and compare them to their Wacom analogues so you can see how they stack up.
Gaomon M10K Pro vs. Wacom Intuos M
In a hurry?…
Very affordable within reason, and suitable for new artists, hobbyists, and professionals alike, the M10K Pro is well built and highly functional. It provides excellent drawing performance on both Windows and Mac operating systems, and sits firmly in the same league as both Huion and XP-Pen.
Durable, accurate, and precise, the Wacom Intuos Pro has tilt recognition, multitouch capability, Bluetooth, 8 Express Keys, and a convenient touch ring for analog functions. That said, it comes with a price tag that’s almost 4x as much as the above Gaomon M10K pro!
First, we shall do a comparison between the tablets. Both the M10K Pro and the Intuos M graphics tablets and therefore need to be connected to a screen to be used. We will compare them along familiar dimensions, such as pressure sensitivity, stylus, working area, and so on.
The Wacom Intuos M’s pen is the Wacom Pen 4K, which comes with 4096 levels of pressure. On the other hand, the Gaomon M10K Pro comes with 8192 levels of pressure in its pen. It would seem like the M10K Pro gains an upper hand over the Intuos M here, since it has double the number of pressure sensitivity levels.
However, for most artists, 4096 levels of pressure are more than enough. Unless you really need that extra sensitivity for something, you don’t have to worry about whether you’re getting double or not.
Working area and tablet size
Here the Gaomon M10K Pro is clearly larger. This tablet is 10 inches by 6 inches large, which makes it almost the same size as your average laptop. It’s quite substantial, and will take up its fair share of space on your desk, so make sure you have ample space to allocate to it.
The Intuos M, on the other hand, has dimensions of 8.5 inches by 5.3 inches. It is still fairly large, though significantly smaller than the M10K pro.
It is understandable that these tablets would be so large. As once connected to a monitor they need to be large enough that you get sufficient mapping to the screen and don’t feel disoriented while drawing.
Here the Gaomon M10K Pro is larger, and probably significantly less portable, however, it gives you more of a drawing area to play with. It is also quite thin, and comparable to most other tablets out there.
The Gaomon M10K Pro has 10 customizable buttons and a touch wheel to the left of the drawing area. 10 customizable buttons is a lot, and it allows you to customize all sorts of functions. The touch wheel allows you to customize the functions that need fine-tuning, so there’s lots of room here to make the tablet truly your own by vastly improving your workflow. You can add to that the two shortcut pens on the stylus and you have even more options!
The Wacom Intuos M isn’t nearly so generous out of the box. It comes with 4 customizable shortcut buttons sitting across the top of the drawing area. It also has two shortcut buttons on the stylus and that’s it.
Now, this might not feel nearly enough, but you’ve got to give it up to the minimalism of it all. For most artists, 4 shortcut buttons is plenty. So, while we certainly love to have our options with 10, we can understand the reasoning behind Wacom’s choices. That said, if you do want more shortcut buttons on your Intuos M, you can buy the ExpressKey remote, which has additional buttons and a touch wheel.
Here the Gaomon wins for sheer quantity. Again, which one appeals to you more will depend on whether you’re into more shortcut buttons or less.
Both styluses are actually very well-built. The M10K Pro’s stylus is slightly larger than that of the Intuos M, though we felt that the Intuos M’s stylus was significantly heftier.
If you like a weighted stylus, and find that it is grounding whilst working, you might like the Intuos M. If you want your pen to feel light and free, even when it is large, then you should probably go for the M10K Pro. That said, both pens are pretty ergonomic and sit well in the hand.
As for technology, both of them use the electromagnetic resonance method. This means they are battery-free and you don’t have to worry about them running out of charge.
The M10K Pro comes complete with a pen case and a slot on the side of the tablet that you can slide your pen into for storage. We find this happening a lot with Wacom alternatives. They come with all these freebies, such as an artist’s glove (which the M10K Pro includes in the box as well), a pen case, extra replacement nibs, and a tablet case, all of which the M10K Pro has. If you want a place to store your pen, you certainly won’t lack options here.
As for the Intuos M, all you get is the pen holder across the top. You can store your pen in it while you’re working, but if you want to store it more permanently, you will have to buy a pen case separately.
We’ve got to admit, the M10K Pro wins this one hands down.
Both have great surface texture, though the Intuos M’s surface feels a lot grittier and closer to paper than that of the M10K Pro. The M10K Pro, while still having a great drawing surface, does feel a little smoother, and this may or may not be a good thing, depending on an artist’s preferences.
Personally, we like a little texture to our drawing area. It makes the drawing process feel a lot more natural. The downside is that the extra friction wears down your nib faster, so pick your poison well.
Neither of these tablets have multitouch functionality, unfortunately. They only respond to the pens. we personally don’t mind it, considering the fact they are special purpose tablets that we would only use with a pen anyway.
Gaomon pd2200 vs. Wacom Cintiq 16
In a hurry?…
Gaomon are doing an astounding job of competing with the likes of XP-Pen and Huion in the Wacom alternatives race, and the PD200 is further notch in their belt with very similar product quality but at an even more completive price.
With Wacom firmly positioned at the top of most of our guides, when it comes to architecture, interior design and landscape architecture, the Cintiq 22 is a clear winner with its exceptional performance and large high quality drawing area.
With Wacom firmly positioned at the top of most of our guides, and good reason, the Cintiq 22 is renowned for its quality and performance, but this does come with a hefty price tag.
And now that we’re done with pure graphics tablets, let’s talk about the pen tablets from each brand. In this case, we’re pitting the Gaomon pd2200 against the Wacom Cintiq 16.
Both of these tablets feature 8192 levels of pressure. Fortunately, you don’t have to choose between one or the other. Again, we maintain that having so much pressure sensitivity isn’t something that most people will appreciate.
You can do just as well with 4096 levels of pressure. However, since you’re getting double that in both cases, have fun!
Working area and tablet size
The pd2200 is quite large. It measures 18.76 inches by 10.55 inches. The cost of this, of course, is that you don’t get that much portability. Not only is it quite large, but it is also heavy. However, considering we would only use this tablet for drawing and nothing else, portability is less of an issue here.
The Cintiq 16 is smaller at 16.6 inches by 11.2 inches. It’s still quite large though, measuring only 2 inches smaller along the length while being longer along the width. Again, very little portability here, considering the fact that the Cintiq 16 weighs 1.9 kg.
That’s a little like carrying a chicken around all day. Not as many feathers, but just the same load. Again, since you would likely only use this for drawing with your laptop or desktop, it’s not such an issue.
The Gaomon pd2200 technically doesn’t come with any shortcut buttons in the traditional sense. However, it does have 8 touch keys distributed on the left and right hand side.
These allow you to customize all the functions you would normally need for your workflow. The difference between touch keys and buttons is that touch keys don’t press like buttons. You ‘touch’ them to activate their function. This might not suit every artist.
The Wacom Cintiq 16 has neither shortcut buttons nor touch keys. The screen area is completely clean of traces of either. You can, however, change different functionalities directly on the screen. Depending on how heavily you rely on shortcut buttons, this may or may not be a problem, on the flip side, no shortcut buttons means more drawing area.
The Gaomon pd2200 stylus uses electromagnetic resonance so it’s battery free. It’s a high quality pen with a great build and ergonomics factored into its design. As mentioned earlier, it has 8192 levels of pressure sensitivity, so you should be able to simulate the lightest of touches, the heaviest, and about 8090 other touches of varying lightness and heaviness in-between.
The Wacom Cintiq 16 uses the Wacom Pro Pen 2, which is also battery free. As you might expect, the pen is of a superior build quality and ergonomic design. It’s also quite hefty, which some artists like as it helps their hands to feel more grounded whilst drawing.
The Gaomon product wins yet again here. With the pd2200 you get both a pen case and a pen holder on the tablet, making it convenient to store the pen both temporarily on the tablet and permanently in the case.
As for the Pro Pen 2 on the Cintiq 16, you only get a pen holder on the side of the tablet. If you want to store your pen more permanently, you would have to buy a pen case separately.
We actually like the texture on both of the screens. The Gaomon pd200 comes with an anti-glare cover built in and has paper-like texture to make drawing feel more natural.
It’s exactly the same with the Cintiq 16, which features Active Matrix TFT LCD technology. We would give the Cintiq 16 a few more points for texture, but the difference between the two isn’t significant enough that you would feel any quality losses.
Neither of these have multitouch capabilities. In fact, both of them only respond to styluses.
Warranty & support
Unfortunately there is no information on Gaomon’s website on whether they offer a warranty on their products, so we would assume they don’t. Wacom does offer between 1 and 2 year warranties, depending on what region the consumer is from.
As for support, both sets of products support major operating systems, including Windows, Mac, and Gaomon even supports Android.
Customer support is significantly better at Wacom, seeing as they have physical shops and 24/7 customer support agents you can call. Gaomon has an extensive knowledge base, online customer support, and also email support, but we wouldn’t say the response is as fast as at Wacom.
Gaomon products are significantly cheaper than Wacom products.
Gaomon is clearly trying to serve the market for artist’s who are looking for cheaper Wacom alternatives, while Wacom serves premium products at premium prices.
Despite their cheap prices, Gaomon products have great build quality. We loved the feel. They felt like they were made from good quality materials and would last. Wacom products as always are made from the most premium products with great build quality.
We’re not sure about Gaomon’s long-term reliability, as we haven’t owned any of their products for a significant amount of time, especially when you consider the fact that they only began selling their products internationally in 2016.
The longest most people in the US will have had a Gaomon tablet is then 4 years as of this writing. However, based on the build quality, we’ll venture a guess and say that they are likely to be highly durable.
As for Wacom, no convincing is needed. we have owned quite a few Wacom products, some for more than a decade, and they never disappoint. Long-term reliability is guaranteed here.
Is Gaomon a good brand?
Gaomon is a fantastic brand. Despite being cheaper than Wacom, they actually put a lot of work into making high quality products with lots of extra features and goodies. We would say this is a good option for anyone who might have gone for a Huion or XP-Pen.
Is Wacom still the best?
Yes, Wacom still remains the industry leader. Wacom products are built from premium materials, are very durable, and have great features.
While they are expensive, they are the industry standard and are used in most professional shops. It’s really hard to beat Wacom. Most brands just prefer to build products for niches that aren’t covered by Wacom.
And with that we come to the end of our article. As you can see, Gaomon is a great new brand and definitely worth looking into. We loved our experience with it and will definitely be following the brand’s progress more closely.
If you’re just starting out and want something affordable but feature-rich, Gaomon is an excellent option. Wacom remains the industry leader, with some of the best products in the market ever. While Gaomon covers specific niches that Wacom doesn’t, Wacom still remains at the top. Until next time, happy drawing!