PNboo PN2150 review: budget tablet monitor
Here’s a full PNboo PN2150 review and art program tests.
Pnboo graphics monitors are made by China’s Shenzhen Pnboo technology company. Their products are sold in over 100 countries.
This 21.5″ tablet monitor is a new offering, in the vein of Huion and Ugee tablet monitors known as Wacom Cintiq alternatives. These attach to a computer and provide a second monitor with a touchscreen and pressure sensitivity. PNBoo also sells a 15.6″ version they call the PNBoo 1560.
Here’s a video showing the pressure sensitivity in Photoshop. A pen test showing the tablet from the outside is below.
Type of tablet
Needs to be attached to computer
Type of digitizer
EMR (Electromagnetic Resonance)
21.5″ diagonal screen
2048 levels of pressure sensitivity
batteryless pen (charges with cord)
Comes with: 2 pens, 2 pen power cables, screen protector, drawing glove, extra pen nibs. Cables: HDMI, VGA, USB, power cord, English user manual, CD drive. Drivers also available for download on the PNBoo site.
Drivers available for Mac and Windows.
The Pnboo graphics monitor arrived safely nested in styrofoam blocks inside two inner boxes, one of which has a plastic handle, and one outer Amazon box. As with some other budget tablet monitors, the box containing the tablet was plain cardboard without any printing.
The PNboo comes with lots of accessories such as a glove, two pens, and screen protector. It also has numerous cables: USB, HDMI, VGA, and two pen charging cables.
It does not come with a Mac adapter, so you’ll need to have a mini display port or USB-C to VGA or HDMI adapter for your Mac.
The HD screen is nice, clean and shiny, with no dead pixels. The black border is reflective. It’s about an inch wide on the top and bottom and a little thinner on the sides. The plastic screen isn’t too glossy. It doesn’t have a texture the way Cintiqs do.
The screen has a black border with no bezel, so you can run your pen right off of it, making it easier to draw right out to the edge.
The body has a pleasing design with a curved back. The back has a textured plastic that’s grippable. The plastic is not that thick, but the thing seems sturdy. I would not want to drop it. The back has a rounded design
There are air vents in the back, as well as speaker holes, which a lot of these types of tablets seem to have.
The metal stand is solid and adjusts easily. You pull up a lever and pull on the stand to lower it.
The ports for the cables are under a panel in the stand, which to me isn’t optimal. It’s harder to access them that way, and it makes it easier for them to get jiggled loose. The ports seem fine, not loose.
With the stand extended. the footprint of the stand and tablet from front to back is about a foot. The stand goes all the way back to about a 25-30 degree angle.
The stand has a rubber cover on each side of the bottom bars to keep it from slipping around or scratching your table.
PNboo stylus pen
The pen requires charging from a USB port. The cord is long enough that you can charge it and draw at the same time. The pen is lightweight, since it has no battery. It’s pretty thick but comfortable to draw with. It’s the standard pen used with Huion, Ugee, and most other Chinese tablets. The pen has a blue LED indicator light that stays on while it’s charging. I charged it overnight, as there’s not a clear way to show if it’s fully charged.
Drawing on the PNBOO 2150
Here’s a quick pen test. This is using a thin pen.
First off, there was that familiar squeak when I used the pen. I’ve begun the process of rubbing my hands on the screen to impart some oils from my hands to quiet it down.
Though it comes with a screen protector; I don’t use one unless a screen is too slippery, and I don’t find this one to be. I like the way the plastic pen tip feels on the bare screen. So for now, I’m living with the squeak. It’s that new tablet-monitor sound.
Installing the driver was quick and easy. Even though I’d forgotten to remove a Wacom driver, the PNBOO 2150 driver installed and worked anyway. (I do recommend not forgetting to remove other tablet drivers you’ve added!)
As with most affordable graphics monitors, the driver functions are very limited compared to Wacom drivers. You can test and adjust the pressure curve from heavy to light. You can program the pen button to click toggle to eraser.
You can calibrate the screen and draw lines in different colors to test the pressure. But that’s all. You can’t program your favorite shortcuts into Photoshop and other programs.
Drawing on the PNBOO 2150
The screen came calibrated, but it could have been better. I recalibrated and it was more accurate afterward. On Mac, there was a 5-point calibration. The accuracy now is fine. Because of the glass, there’s a little parallax, but now there’s no offset.
I first tried Photoshop. The pressure curve is smooth and controllable. Some of the low-cost tablets have almost too springy a line but this one is very natural-feeling.
You have to apply a bit of pressure to draw. It’s not quite as sensitive as Wacom, where the inital activation force is really low, and even lightly dragging the pen without all the pen’s weight can leave a mark. On the PNboo, dragging the pen across it using the pen’s weight resulted in a very light line.
I have the settings on the lowest, requiring the least amount of pressure. I don’t like to press down much; it’s an individual preference. The Pnboo feels comfortable to draw on for me.
Art programs tested
So far I have only tested on a Mac. I plan to add Windows testing soon.
Besides Photoshop, the pen pressure and drawing works great in Gimp, Sketchbook Pro, Clip Studio Paint/Manga Studio, Inkscape, and Illustrator. Some of the cheap tablet monitors I’ve tried have had drivers that haven’t played well with Photoshop and Gimp right away, but this one seems perfectly attuned to the pressure settings in those programs. (I am working with clean installs of the programs, and hadn’t tweaked anything.)
This not being a Wacom driver, there’s no pressure sensitivity in Illustrator (Illustrator limits the pressure sensitivity to a couple of types of brushes). If you want to get pressure in vector, you can use Clip Studio Paint’s vector layers, but you can’t export the file type into other vector programs.
I experienced no lag or latency with any programs. The driver really works well.
You can draw with the pen plugged in, but let it charge for a while first.
The display color is a bit warm out of the box. I fiddled with the menu on the display, which lets you adjust color temperature, brightness, contrast, and red/green/blue. This took a while, but I got it to a nice neutral white.
Driver easy to install (in my experience)
Smooth, consistent drawing across programs
Comes with extra pen and other accessories
Features are basic: no programmable buttons
Cables on bottom of panel
Doesn’t come with adapter for Mac
Needed to fiddle with calibration and color settings
So far this PNboo 2150 review seems to be one of only a few out there, but I’m sure that will change.
PNBoo 2150 vs. Wacom Cintiq
The PNboo 2150 has the same screen size as the Wacom Cintiq 21. It has the same HD (1920×1080) resolution and the same amount of pressure sensitivity as traditional Cintiqs (2048 levels. Newer Wacoms such as the Cintiq Pro and Wacom Studio Pro have more). 2048 is more than enough in real-world use.
The tablet has no programmable shortcut keys. It does not get tilt/angle sensitivity.
With the current stand, you can’t swivel it like you can with a Cintiq stand.
But, this costs a heck of a lot less.
PNboo PN2150 review: The Verdict
Though it required some adjusting of the settings, I found it took less adjusting in the art software I tried. I’m using fresh installs of these particular programs, so it’s not because I saved settings from before. Everyone’s system is going to have different things on it that could affect things but in this case it went well.
So far the driver stands out for working well across programs, while the rest of the package is basic. It can do most of what a Cintiq can do. This tablet is a great starter tablet monitor, or one to keep.
The conclusion of this PNBoo PN2150 review is that it’s a solid addition to the budget graphics monitor lineup. It doesn’t have bells and whistles, but if you want to draw on the screen it works well. Recommended for students and artists on a budget or just those who don’t need the advanced features of a Cintiq.
See the PNboo PN2150 on Amazon
Pnboo site: pnbootech.com
See more budget tablet monitors
Read intro post about top drawing tablets
End of PNBOO PN2150 review