The Perfect Tools for your Digital Life - Wacom Bamboo Graphics Tablet
What is the Wacom Bamboo Graphics Tablet?
Anybody who knows anything about the world of design is familiar with a graphics tablet, if that’s not you then perhaps this review isn’t for you.
Or perhaps it is, you see a graphics tablet is something that designers have used for a long time to give their digital artwork that handcrafted look, it really has become an essential piece of kit for pro’s worldwide. Some of these tablets cost an absolute fortune, and there are even some with built-in screens which cost as much as the computer itself!
Enter Consumer Level Graphics Tablets, or more precisely the Wacom Bamboo Graphics Tablet.
You don’t need to be a genius to realize this product is aimed at people who either want to get into design in a big way or people who need quality gear but don’t have a huge budget to blow on it.
Now that we know we are looking at the lower price end of the spectrum what can we expect?
The Wacom Bamboo Graphics Tablet is touted on Wacom’s website as being “The Perfect Tools for your Digital Life” is this the case? What can it do? What can’t it do?
Let’s begin by looking at the physical things, firstly the tablet measure in at 17.6 cm x 27.8cm which is approximately equal to an A4 sheet of paper, the depth of the unit is a staggering 1.1cm, so we are looking here for a decent sized tablet that you can actually work on, which is also razor thin.
Weighing in at a mere 880g it’s fairly light as well, which makes it perfect for taking out and about, or maybe to and from the office each day in your laptop case.
The Wacom Bamboo Graphics Tablet itself is finished in a Gloss black, and the area you use to draw has a paper-like feel to it which makes it feel very natural. Something which you may not have considered at this point is how much of your screen can you cover with this tablet, the answer being all of it. Whilst many tablets are made at different sizes and shapes, show especially at the cheaper end of the market fail to address the aspect ratio of the screen they are intended to be used on.
For example, if your graphics tablet is not the same proportions as your screen you will have either an area of the tablet which is not in use because the screen finishes before that area or worse still an area of the screen you cannot reach because the tablet won’t let you go that far.
However rest assured this has been taken into account and the Wacom Bamboo Graphics Tablet has a 16:10 aspect ratio which represents a widescreen layout, it would be very surprising in this day and age if a designer did not have a monitor which was widescreen.
Whilst we are talking about the orientation of being user-friendly we would like to highlight that fact that the Wacom Bamboo Graphics Tablet has been created to be completely reversible and used by left or right-handed users. This is a small detail but we feel a very important one none-the-less.
Now we can move on to some of the more impressive elements of the Wacom Bamboo Graphics Tablet…
We can see straight away that it has got some really interesting features, one of the most prominent of these being the way in which the pen interacts with the tablet.
The tip of the pen is pressure sensitive which allows you to use it like you would a normal pen, creating hard and thick lines which can fade it thin and wispy lines as you alter how hard you press the pen into the tablet. This adds such a valuable dynamic to your work by letting you replicate any you could on a painting or drawing in a digital format.
To take thing a step further Wacom has really tried to freak you out by allowing you to flip the pens over and use the other end to erase what you have just done like you would with a pencil.
We really like this because instead of having to switch tools on the screen all the time you have instant access to both instantaneously.
We have tried other tablets in the past and the pen is usually a piece of junk which is essentially a casing for a battery and a transmitter, this, however, we are pleased to say is not the case with the Wacom Bamboo pen, it’s made really well and the quality is first rate, better still it doesn’t need a battery of any kind. It is completely battery and cable free!
It is a nice pen to work with as well as it has been ergonomically designed to provide comfort and stability when in use.
The pen is not the only tool you can use to do whatever you need to, however. The Wacom Bamboo Graphics tablet supports multi-touch gestures much like an iPad or iPhone, which allows you to scroll, zoom, rotate and much more with simple gestures with your fingers, this can be done not only for certain programs but also surfing the web and almost any other function you could think of when using your computer.
This is Incredibly useful once you get to understand how it works, it is very much like shortcuts on the keyboard, once you learn it you realize how much quicker and easier it is that what you were doing before. As an artist or designer will tell you the last thing that you want when you have got your creative juices flowing is to have to stop to look for something. It absolutely kills your flow!
As if that wasn’t enough on the Wacom Bamboo graphics tablet they have included 4 addition “ExpressKeys” which are basically a button that you can assign to an action on the computer, a popular use for this feature is to assign a key to opening a program or creating a new document perhaps.
As icing on the cake Wacom has made the entire tablet wireless, this is a feature which is not usually available on lower priced tablets but the Wacom Bamboo has it and your going to love being able to move around freely and no longer be restricted by a USB cable!
A final trick up its sleeve…
just when we thought that this budget tablet had given everything it could offer and then some we realize it has one more and it’s a big one!
The Wacom Bamboo is capable of something called “Digital Inking” which as the name suggest is related to converting your digital movements into something usable, in this case, it converts your handwriting into actual text on the screen as if you had used the keyboard to type it.
This is very cool and works pretty well, however after a while, like us you mind find yourself asking if this just a novelty?
Turns out there is a more serious reason for including “Digital Inking” and Hand Gestures on the Wacom Bamboo and that is a little something called RSI. Repetitive Strain Injury is a serious issue which affects millions of computer users worldwide, if you are unfamiliar with the meaning essentially it is when you repeat the same movements over and over again, for example, typing on a keyboard, clicking a mouse etc. and after a while you can inflame your joints and cause some considerable pain.
What the digital inking and gestures allow you is a much more varied range of movement to avoid repeating the same movements again and again, thus preventing RSI.
We really like the Wacom Bamboo graphics tablets, it not too small, nor too big, it’s lightweight, stylish fantastically mobile and packed with some really top quality features usually only enjoyed by those who are willing to pay big bucks for tablets higher up the range.
We really can’t see anybody being disappointed with this unit as a tablet purely because it works so well.
We highly recommend this, it doesn’t cost a lot it’s got the backing of an industry leaders name and offer you so much, you really can’t go wrong.
Wacom Bamboo - A Designers Paradise | Wacom Bamboo Graphics Tablet
The Wacom Bamboo is amongst some really elite company at the top of the graphics tablet world, admittedly most of the other top tablets are also made by Wacom but the bamboo sets itself apart by allowing designers of any age or budget the opportunity to experiment with a top class professional toy, which can produce some jaw-dropping results. There are a few features which could be slightly better but if they were some of Wacom’s other products wouldn’t be needed anymore.