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GAOMON M1220 Review:- A smooth tablet with low IAF

GAOMON M1220 Review In Few Words (Mini Review)

I received GAOMON M1220 from GAOMON to review & give my opinion on. For a starter, it has a lovely thin design. It’s medium tablet, which is the size I tend to recommend for a first tablet. Setting it up was easy for the most part. I haven’t had any issue setting it up & starting drawing, but I faced minor issues that has nothing to do with that, like getting media keys or the wheel to work, but I managed to get them to work with simple solutions. I quite liked the semi-smooth surface GAOMON M1220 has, and the very low IAF is a huge plus over the other tablets I reviewed recently. It has 8 hot keys, which are easy to press, but feels a bit clicky. The wheel makes it much easier to resize your brush and do similar tasks like zooming. The AP32 pen that comes with it is battery-free, so there’s no need to charge it at all.

Besides the hot keys. GAOMON M1220 also has a media bar, which makes it easier to control your media playback while drawing. You could also use it to lock your computer & do few other things.

GAOMON M1220 works with both Windows & Mac, and it can be used with Android with the right OTG dongle (it comes with a USB-C dongle out of the box).

You could say that GAOMON M1220 is slightly more expensive than similar tablets, but you get more features & better drawing experience along with it. If you can shell out the additional cost, then I believe you will get your money worth from it.

You can check out GAOMON M1220 in the following affiliate links:-

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Pros Of GAOMON M1220

  • Requires very little force with the pen to make strokes appear (in other words, it has a really low IAF)
  • The drawing surface has a nice feeling to it.
  • In addition to the hot keys, you also get a media bar for other things like controlling your media.
  • Has all the main features you would want from a regular graphics tablet.

Cons Of GAOMON M1220

  • Is considered slightly more expensive compared to similar options, but it gives you all sort of features with it.
  • The hot keys feel a bit clicky
  • You can’t reprogram media bar keys

Technical Specifications

    • Model Number:- M1220
    • Hot Keys:- 8.
    • Has a touch wheel.
    • Comes with a media bar with 13 keys (You can’t customize these)
    • Tablet Dimensions:- 341.4 X 213.7 X 7.6mm
    • Active drawing area (PC Mode):- Approximately 10 X 6.3 (258.4 X 161.5mm)
    • Active drawing area (Phone Mode):- Approximately 6.3 X 3.5 Inch (161.5 X 90.8mm)
    • Pressure sensitivity:- 8192 Levels
    • Tilt Sensitivity:- ±60°
    • Pen Resolution:- 5080 LPI
    • Accuracy:- ±0.3mm
    • Report Rate:- 266PPS
    • Uses USB-C port on the tablet side.
    • Comes with the wireless pen AP32.
    • The AP32 pen has two buttons on the side.
    • Compatible with Windows 7 or later
    • Compatible with MacOS 10.12 or later.
    • Compatible with Android 6.0 or above

Unboxing & Setting Up

One of the first things I noticed about GAOMON M1220 is how its design is different than most of the graphics tablets I saw. Usually, a tablet is a rectangular slab of plastic, with drawing surface and maybe hot keys on the side. GAOMON M1220 isn’t exactly rectangular. It has a small notch on the top for multimedia keys. This notch is called the multimedia bar, and I will talk about it in details later in this review. The tablet itself is thin & elegant, and looks elegant when you place it on your desk. Even the back of the tablet is beautiful, with a large “GAOMON” embossed on it (see the picture). The USB-C port is placed nearly on the left side of the tablet, along with the L-Shaped USB-C cables that comes with it, You could set it up so that the cable won’t get in the way (depending on how your desk is arranged, a regular USB-C cable may work better).

Setting up GAOMON M1220 was easy for the most part. I downloaded the latest driver from GAOMON’s website, and upon installing it. The tablet worked right away. I was able to draw with pressure sensitivity working and all. I was also able to customize the hot keys as well. But besides that, I faced two small issues.

The first one, after I turned the touch wheel on, it didn’t work at all, and I wasn’t able to customize it. It turned out the turning it on in the driver program actually turns it off and vice versa. To turn it on, you have to uncheck the scroll wheel option in the program, like this:-

It’s worth noting that the wheel is enabled by default, but I thought I was actually enabling it by checking the box.

The second issue is a very technical issue, while the multimedia keys worked flawlessly, some of the other keys didn’t. Like the key to lock your computer. It turned out that this issue happened because they keys work similar to pressing the physical keys on the computer. They don’t send the keys programmatically. Since I tend to remap the CTRL, Alt & Windows keys on my computer to match the Mac layout (which I think is better personally, even though I stopped using Macs long ago). So whenever I try to lock the computer using the lock key, it sends whatever key I mapped to the Windows key, which is Alt in this case. I am fully aware I am in the minority here, and that very few people will face this issue, so I won’t complain or consider this a flaw in GAOMON M1220. I still think it would be good to write about it here for anyone facing it.

Once I sorted out these two problems. The tablet worked right away, and I could experiment with drawing with it, which the next part is all about.

Drawing Experience

Now let’s talk about how drawing feels with GAOMON M1220. For a starter, the drawing surface has what I call smooth friction. Typically, graphics tablets & pen displays come in two kinds of surfaces, a slippery glass surface, or textured one that causes friction with the pen tip. Tablets with friction tend to have various degrees of friction. In case of our tablet here, it has a smooth surface with a little friction on it. The main advantage of having friction is that it allows you to draw more accurately, and if you prefer smooth surfaces, this gives you the best of both worlds.

I am fully aware this is all a matter of preference. If you’re an artist who prefers to have more friction, you can use the cover that comes with it, which make the surface rougher, it also changes the design of the tablet itself:-

The active drawing area is roughly 10 X 6.3 Inch (or 258.4 X 161.5mm), which is marked by the dotted area on the tablet, making it a medium-sized tablet. Depending on how you draw, you may want a smaller surface, but for the most part, medium-sized tablets are the ideal size for many people. It’s the size I recommend for new artists usually (Most people won’t like large tablets, and they are kinda rare anyway). If you ever felt like trying a smaller drawing surface, the driver program would allows you to resize the drawing area, and that makes GAOMON M1220 act like a small tablet, which gives you the chance to try two sizes at once:-

For more information about graphics tablet sizes, you can read my detailed post about it here:-

What graphics tablet size to get? Including Small VS Medium VS Large size comparison

GAOMON M1220 supports connecting to Android devices via the OTG dongle that comes with it (you can’t use that on PC). It allows you to connect it to the USB-C charging port of your Android phone or tablet. Since my phone has a micro USB charging port, I had to use a OTG dongle on my own. Once I asked the phone to detect USB devices, GAOMON M1220 was detected GAOMON M1220 right away. I tried drawing with it using ibis Paint X, and I it worked fine. It’s worth noting that the active drawing area while in Android mode is roughly 6.3 X 3.5 Inch (or 161.5 X 90.8mm).

When it comes to actually drawing with GAOMON M1220, the tablet itself is very responsive. One thing I quite like is how very little force you need to apply with the pen on the tablet surface to get strokes to appear. This amount is called Initial Activation Force, or IAF. It even passed my usual test of dragging the pen across the tablet surface, and see if the pressure from the pen’s weight would produce strokes, and to my surprise, that produced very thin strokes. Most of the non-Wacom the tablets I tested failed that test. Granted, that doesn’t make them bad tablets, and you don’t strictly need that to draw or create art, but it’s very nice & satisfying to draw on tablets with low IAF.

GAOMON M1220 has a pressure sensitivity of 8192, which is typical for graphics tablets these days, and it’s more than you will ever want. It will allow you to draw thinner or thicker lines based on how much you press the pen against the tablet surface. It also has a ±60° tilt sensitivity. That allows you to tilt the pen to vary your strokes, similar to how regular pencils work. It’s a less useful feature than pressure, but it’s there if you need it, or if you want to try it out.

For more information about pressure sensitivity, you can refer to my dedicated article about it:-

Graphics tablet pressure sensitivity, and what does it mean?

You can check out GAOMON M1220 in the following affiliate links:-

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Hot Keys

GAOMON M1220 Has 8 hot keys on the side. These buttons can be customized to work like keyboard shortcuts. Besides that, the driver program gives you other options to customize them. These options are:-

    • Keyboard key:- Assign a shortcut key to the button.
    • Mouse key:- Assign a mouse button to the button, like left click or right click
    • Switch functions:- Assign a hot key to switch the screen the tablet is mapped to here.
    • Multimedia:- Assign a hot key to act as a multimedia key. You can make the button adjust the volume, mute it, go to previous song & so on.
    • Show/Hide:- Make the key show the tablet settings (the driver program), or to show you a screen with all the hot key functions you programmed (in case you forget what key you assigned to each function).
    • Launch the program:- Launch a program of your choice.
    • No function:- Completely disables the hot key.

The hot keys are quite easy to press, but they make a clicky sound every time you press them. They aren’t exactly quiet. This isn’t an issue if you draw while listening to something, but it can be if you did so in a quiet room.

I quite liked having the touch ring on the side. Whether a tablet has a physical or touch-based ring, this feature is always welcome. It’s more intuitive to resize the brush using it than to press two separate hot keys for that. As I mentioned earlier, I had a little issue getting it to work, but since you’re reading this review, you are unlikely going to be affected by this.

The driver program allows hot keys to be application-specific. Meaning that you could make a hot key switch to the eraser tool in Photoshop, and create a new layer in Sai. This is useful in case you use different drawing programs that uses different shortcuts. It makes hot keys way more useful, even for the tasks that has nothing to do with drawing or creating anything.

Generally speaking, I like having hot keys on graphics tablets. They make it possible to do simpler tasks without the need of the keyboard. If you’re a heavy user of shortcuts, then no amount of hot keys will be enough for you. If GAOMON M1220 is your first tablet, then getting a tablet with hot keys is a good chance for you to try them on your own.

Multimedia Keys

As I mentioned earlier in this review, in addition to the hot keys, GAOMON M1220 has a row of touch keys on the top of the tablet, this bar is called the multimedia bar. In the long past, graphics tablets used to have a row of keys like that more often, and they worked as additional hot keys. But since they aren’t very accessible, they were mostly useful for the tasks you don’t do very often. I mean, you wouldn’t want to use them to switch to the eraser tool, for one, but you could use them for the shortcuts you use occasionally, like the “Save For Web” dialog in Photoshop, which I don’t use while drawing, but to produce the final image once I am done with it. Unfortunately, you can’t reprogram the keys on the media bar, so that’s not even an option here.

The keys can only be activated by touching them with your finger. You can’t activate them with your pen or anything. They make it easier to control your media playback or do some common tasks like saving or locking your computer. Here’s a full list of what they do (In Windows machines):-

    • Adjusting the volume up & down
    • Mute the volume.
    • Pause/Play
    • Go to the next or previous song or video
    • Lock your computer
    • Open a new window
    • Save your work
    • Open Files Explorer
    • Show/Hide Desktop
    • Open Task Manager
    • Switch program (similar to Alt + Tab)

In case the media bar keys didn’t work, make sure they are enabled from the driver program.

The AP32 Pen

GAOMON M1220 uses the AP32 pen, which is a battery-free pen. So you don’t need to charge it at all. These kind of pens have quickly became the norm with tablets nowadays.

The pens come with the standard two buttons, which you could customize just like any of the hot keys. There’s no eraser at the back of the pen. I don’t know how many artists would want that, as I never saw anyone complain about the lack of it, so I guess it doesn’t matter. I personally no longer use that feature on the tablets that have it, since rotating the pen in my hand takes more time than just pressing E on the keyboard (the shortcut for the eraser tool in most drawing programs).

The pen comes with 8 spare nibs, you find the nibs inside the pen pouch, along with the nibs removal ring. The pouch can be used to store the pen safely when you’re not using it, or when you are moving around. It’s a neat pouch, but I would only use it when traveling or something.

GAOMON nibs comes in a pack of 20, which is better than other brands like Huion, but less generous than XP-Pen, which gives you up to 100 nibs in one pack. The nibs for GAOMON M1220 are called AP32 nibs (named after the pen) in case you went looking for them.

What’s In The Box? A Mouse Pad & Other Things

GAOMON M1220 comes with the following things inside the box:-

    • GAOMON M1220 Graphics Tablet
    • The AP32 Pen
    • USB-C to USB-A Cable.
    • 8 Spare Nibs
    • Nib removal Clip
    • Quick Start Guide
    • Pen Sleeve
    • Felt Pouch for the nibs
    • Drawing Glove
    • Drawstring Bag
    • A tablet cover.
    • Type-C OTG Adapter to use with Android phones
    • A mouse pad with Photoshop shortcuts

One of the neat things about GAOMON M1220 is the mouse pad that comes with it, which has Photoshop shortcuts printed on it:-

A Final Word On GAOMON M1220

So, time for the final verdict. I quite liked GAOMON M1220, and I can say it’s probably the best regular tablet I reviewed this year, and one of my favorites overall. Mainly because of the drawing surface and how comfortable I feel about drawing with it (thanks to the low IAF). It also has all the main features you would want from a graphics tablet. If you’re on the fence about getting it, then I can easily recommend it to you.

I hope you liked my GAOMON M1220 review, and see you again in another review.

You can check out GAOMON M1220 in the following affiliate links:-

GAOMON store

GAOMON store (UK)

#CommissionsEarned

See more graphics tablets in Amazon:-
#CommissionsEarned
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Amazon.co.uk
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SweetMonia
I am an anime artist, and huge fan of digital art. I love drawing with pencils too. But I rarely do that anymore nowadays. Since some aspects of digital art can be tricky, I try my best to explain the concepts as easily as possible.

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