Product Type: Wacom mice & trackballs
Newest Review: ... also not the biggest either, which I have found an issue when using this in photoshop, and on large monitors. You can adjust how... more
Not the sort of tablet you'd want to swallow!
Wacom Bamboo Pen Graphics Tablet
Member Name: CheshireJ
Wacom Bamboo Pen Graphics Tablet
Advantages: Easy to use, great for drawing or graphics work
Disadvantages: cost of replacement pen if lost or damaged
I've been using graphics tablets for as long as I can remember. Due to having an illness that affects my joints and muscles, I find using a mouse quite painful after a short time. It was fantastic the first time I used a graphics tablet and pen. It's just like holding a normal pen, drawing or writing on a board which you hold in your other hand, place on your lap on put on a table next to the computer.
I'll give a bit of background as I feel it's relevant to the brand. I've gone through about 3 tablets now, all have been Wacom. My last one was the Bamboo Fun tablet, and lasted just under 2 years before going awry. The connecting wire became loose and kept losing the connection unless you held it in a certain way, which was very annoying and inconvenient. When I contacted Wacom (based in Germany) they advised me to send it back To Germany as it was just within the 2 year warranty period. However I couldn't find the receipt so couldn't send it back. A bit of research online lead me to think I could maybe return it to PC World, where I bought it, and lay a claim under the Sales of Goods Act, using a credit card statement as proof of purchase. Sadly I couldn't find that either. By this time my Bamboo Fun had given up completely. Struggling to manage using the touchpad on my laptop, which I find completely useless, I gave in and ordered a nice new Bamboo tablet from amazon. After my last tablet failed I researched other makes, but none had great reviews, so I decided to try Wacom again. I paid £39.40 for it on amazon.co.uk, with the RRP at £79.99 I thought it was a good deal. Note that there are 2 listings for the same product on amazon with one for sale at £63.99, so make sure you get the cheapest!
It came within a couple of days and I was a happy bunny once again!
The tablet came in a box inside a card sleeve-type box. Once you lift the lid on that box you'll find another piece of card to lift up which welcomes you to your Bamboo in 10 different languages. Inside all of the boxes is another card insert in which you'll find your tablet, pen (inside a bag with a plastic cap on), and a smaller box containing the CD and two booklets (quick-start guide, and one about Bamboo Apps). A case for excessive packaging usage if ever I saw one!
Installation is quite simple. You put the CD into your computer/laptop, click to install, and go through the instructions. You can choose whether you want to use the tablet left- or right-handed. Then plug your tablet into the USB port and you're good to go!
If you want to change any settings afterwards, just go to your control panel and click on "pen and touch." There, you can choose what actions to assign to the pen buttons and pen actions. Default are a single tap of the pen on the tablet is equivalent to a single click. Double tap is double click. Press the pen down on the tablet and hold it is the same as a right click by default. I switched this one off as it was annoying. You can set the speed for these actions too. The pen button is automatically set to be a left click when you press the bottom down, and right click for pressing the top button part down. On previous models I've been able to change this to have the bottom button for right click, but that isn't an option on this model which is a shame. If you're using an art/drawing/paint programme you can use the top of the pen as an eraser. Another function here is "flicks." The pen can be set to perform various functions by flicking it in a certain direction. For example, flicking to the right takes you forward to the next page, up to the left diagonally closes the document you're using, bottom right copies to clipboard. Handy if you can remember each function and don't do them by accident, but highly annoying if you keep doing it without realising. Hence, why I have that turned off now!
The tablet really comes into its own when using a paint or draw programme. I use Photoshop and Fireworks a lot and you can't beat it when editing photos or drawing things. It far surpasses a mouse in this respect. The tip of the pen is pressure-sensitive so for example when drawing a line it will be be harder and thicker the harder you press.
Some people find it hard to adapt to using the pen rather than a mouse. My husband and mum have both tried and said they don't like it and couldn't get used to it, so it's not for everyone, although I'm sure they would have got used to it in time.
The pen is lightweight, has no wires and needs no batteries to work. Not quite sure where it gets its power source from though. The plastic tip will eventually start to wear and Wacom very kindly provide 3 spares which are easy to insert. Just remove the old one with a pair of pliers and insert the new one by pushing in. There's a nice fabric slot on the side of the tablet to store the pen in, making it harder to lose.
One thing to note is that the pens can be easily damaged/lost and are expensive to replace. I've lost one and dropped and broken one from previous models. At the time of writing, the spare pen for this model is £33 on amazon.co.uk.
The tablet itself is black, with a matt edge, shiny surround and matt working area. The active working area is 147 x 92 mm, which is plenty big enough for day to day stuff. If you were a professional graphics designer you'd probably find a need for a more expensive, bigger model, but this is just fine for the average user. The overall size of the tablet is 248 x 176 x 8.5mm. A small white light lies to the left of the working area, and is lit when connected to your computer. It's lightweight, and has a fixed wire rather than removable one like my last model, so hoping it won't suffer the same fate. Just in case though, I've made sure I put the receipt somewhere safe!
ArtRage painting software is included on the enclosed CD, and the blurb states that additional bonus software is available to download, although I haven't had chance to explore either yet.
Overall I'm really pleased with my new tablet and would recommend it to anyone looking for an alternative to a mouse or touchpad.
Summary: Recommended as an alternative to a mouse
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