A few weeks ago, we took a look at Wacom’s large, wireless graphics tablet called the Intuos4, which I absolutely loved during testing. The hardware just screamed class, with its OLED displays and radial menus, so how does its little brother, the Wacom Bamboo Pen and Touch, stack up against it? It costs less than the large, £300 Intuos4, but can you tell when using it? Let’s check it out!
In the Box
When I opened the box of the Wacom Bamboo, my first impressions were similar to the ones I had when first looking at the Intuos4. The tablet itself comes along with all the media necessary for getting it installed and set up with your machine, including a stylus.
I was disappointed to find that the unit we were given did not come with a little desk stand for the stylus, which was a really awesome touch with the Intuos4 that I thought added to the complete package of the tablet. Whether this is just a case with our review unit I don’t know, but I’d hope that the desk stand shipped with models fresh off the production line.
Installation and Setup
Like the Intuos4 installation, the setting up process of the Wacom Bamboo isn’t a difficult one at all. Simply insert the provided disc in to your computer, and you’re off. A few clicks down the line, and you’re ready to go. The setup assistant is unambiguous, easy to follow, and well developed.
Unlike the Wacom Intuos4, the Bamboo isn’t a wireless device, and has a USB cable constantly connected to it, keeping it powered and connected to your computer. Aesthetically, this obviously isn’t as pleasing as having a wireless device on your desk, but one must keep in mind that these things start at under £50 from online retailers, so there is bound to be a difference in features.
One strange addition to the hardware on the Bamboo is a label of sorts on the side of the device, which has absolutely no purpose except to somewhat annoy you with its vibrant red colour. I don’t know who at Wacom chose to put this on the tablet, but they should think twice before doing it again…
(UPDATE: it turns out that the label is actually in place of a separate desk stand/holder for the stylus/pen, which definitely explain the design reasoning behind the label placement)
There are some simple function buttons on the site of the tablet, which can be assigned to do various things whilst you’re working with the device, similar to the buttons on the side of the Intuos but a little less flashy and more ‘clicky’. Despite the vastly smaller input area on the Bamboo, I got used to it in no time, and found it to be as effective as any other graphics tablet at inputting data.
Despite the fact that I can’t draw properly to save my life, my experiences with the Wacom Bamboo weren’t at all frustrating, and I would recommend the device to anyone looking to grab themselves a graphics tablet for a relatively cheap price for use with the likes of Photoshop or similar graphics editing tool as it’s still a step up from the likes of the iPad tablet stylus that’s available.
Don’t expect miracles from the Wacom Bamboo Pen & Touch though, there’s a reason for it’s lower price tag, and if you can afford to go that little bit higher, you should really check out Wacom’s entire range of tablets, there’s quite a few of them to choose from!