January 2, 2011

Wacom Bamboo Pen & Touch Review

I decided to jump into the tablet arena with the purchase of a new Wacom Bamboo Pen & Touch.  I stuggled with the decision between an Intuos 4 Small and the Bamboo.

I decided to go with the Bamboo Pen & Touch for two reasons:

1.  I wanted the Touch features - This makes the tablet like a great big touch pad, and I can replace my mouse with one device...the Intuos comes with a mouse, but then you have the whole put the pen down, use the mouse, pickup the pen...blah, blah blah...With the Bamboo, I can still
 keep the pen in my hand while doing finger touch gestures for scolling, , right clicking, zooming, pointing, selecting, dragging, etc, without putting the pen down....show more of all that later.  The Bamboo Fun was another option and is bigger...but I wanted a smaller footprint and one that I can take with me easily...and since I suck at drawing (see next point), canvas size doesn't matter...

2.  I can't draw...I only wanted the tablet for the photo editing...not to draw.   So the precision improvements that the Intuos has over the Bamboo was not critical to me.  And the extra configuration buttons that the Intuos has over the Bamboo were replaced with my touch gesture setups on the Bamboo.  And I was pleasently surprised when I saw immediate improvement results in using the pen over the mouse in Photoshop Elements when using the Quick Selection Tool!..the Bamboo is much more sensitive and fine detailed in selection than the mouse..so the Bamboo did me good there...).

I had to setup the Bamboo on the right side of my keyboard (since I'm right handed).  However, the one thing the Intuos has over the Bamboo, is that you can plug the USB cable on either side of the tablet...on the Bamboo you cannot...so to facilitate having the buttons and the cord placement that worked for me, I had to turn the Bamboo tablet around in a "left" handed configuration.  This allows me to keep the USB cable out of my way (I think I'll have to purchase a USB extension cable to route the cable fully around).

I LOVE the touch "Gesture" features (take a look at the video to see all the combinations in action).

While holding the pen I can still:

  •  - Right click by tapping with two fingers while holding the pen

  •  - Drag/Select

  •  - Scrolling (love this one the most)

  •  - Zoom (this I love too...using pinch/expand gestures to zoom in while editing...fabulous)

  •  - Forward and Back - takes a little getting used to and you have to do it right...

The preferences setup is great too.  I can configure the setup on the tablet, pen buttons, and touch functions with quite a range of options to suit my needs.  I set the top button of the pen to the "Switch Application" option and makes switching applications so easy without having to go down to the taskbar (I use Windows 7)

It has taken me a while to get used to using the tablet for everyday navigation.  But as  New Year's resolution, I decided to just put the mouse away and only use the tablet.  And it gets easier each day.  Within two days I felt really comfortable and the touch gestures I find nicer than the mouse.



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