Zath spent an evening at the Imagination Gallery in London last week, courtesy of THQ. The occasion? The launch of their new Wii peripheral; the uDraw Tablet.
As you might expect, the uDraw is a drawing tablet for the, aimed squarely at children. At 9″x7″x1.5″ (approx 23x18x4cm) it’s big to draw on comfortably in your lap while still being portable. It’s also wireless, hooked up to the Wii by plugging in a standard Wii Remote.
The docking space for the remote fits snugly, with enough space around to keep those connecting cables nicely tucked away. The tablet itself is powered by the Wii Remote’s batteries so there’s no need to worry on that account.
Since the technology uses conduction you do need a special stylus to draw. Thankfully, this is wired to the tablet and has two handy storage slots to keep it safe; a hole on the top to stand it like a quill pen, and a full inset on the back for long-term storage.
The stylus itself is quite chunky and very easy for children to grip. There’s a digital nub switch built into the tip to indicate selection and another on side where you grip, equivalent to the C and Z buttons on a normal controller. I found the side switch a little too easy to activate by accident but most of the available software seems to be built with this in mind and none of them will penalise you for holding the pen incorrectly.
The uDraw’s build quality is very good. The tablet’s rear is made from solid Fisher-Price-like plastic that will take a lot of abuse. Yes, when the PR teams weren’t looking we gave it a thorough boshing on the tiled floor – not a scratch. You can tug pretty hard on the wire holding the stylus in place as well. This device has been well-designed for children and with a price tag of £45.99, we expect it to last a good long time.
What do you think the prospect of more tablet devices appearing for all kinds of different uses? Do we need them in gaming? Are manufacturers taking too much inspiration from the Apple iPad‘s success? Or do you think more control options we have is better all round to provide more variety in games just like we’ve had with the likes of the Wii and Xbox Kinect motion controllers?