Wacom rarely release new products, however last month saw the launch of the Bamboo and Bamboo Fun tablets. We are taking a look at the latter, which is designed not for professional artists, but casual users who want to get more out of their PC. Have Wacom impressed us once again?
The coupled software suit is probably the best for a product of this nature. Drivers are included for Windows XP and Vista, as well as OS X. Photoshop Elements (version 5) for Windows and (version 4) for OS X is also included, along with Corel Painter Essentials 3.0 and Nik Color Efex Pro 2.0 GE. The bundle isn’t as attractive if you’re using a Mac, but there are fewer options to work with.
The options Wacom provides control all of the buttons and features of the Bamboo. The first page allows control over pen-specific features, such as the eraser, tip, button mapping and how much of the area is used for both the tablet and the monitor. The last feature is useful if you have multiple displays and only want the pen to work with one, of if you have a 4:3 monitor and want to adjust it so the tablet works in the same aspect ratio.
The second page works with the mouse. The primary, secondary and middle click buttons can be altered.
The pop-up menu page allows for the creation of menus to show up when the pen is used. For example, a shortcut could be created to launch a specific application, like Photoshop or Corel Painter, or another could be created to perform a certain keystroke.
The last page is used to set the button mapping for the “ExpressKeys” and touch ring.
This review is not meant to review the bundled applications, but I can comment on them. Like its older brother, Photoshop Elements offers many of the same features, with exceptions. Some tools are missing and the program is catered more to people that only want to edit their digital photos, not designers.
The other two programs, Corel Painter and Nik Color Efex Pro are simply there for recreational use, and probably to supplement the features Elements lacks. Obviously, the bundle isn’t going to rival Photoshop proper, but I can see everyday users making use out of what’s offered,
One disappointing thing to note is that every included application, with the exception of the Mac version of Elements is out of date. I would have loved to see Wacom work out a deal with Adobe to offer the latest Windows version of Elements (in the medium package, if nothing at all) which would have made it a steal, but that may be asking too much at the price point. The programs don’t come with their own CDs, but they are standard serial numbers, which implies they can be used to upgrade to the newest versions at a discount, provided the company you’re dealing with has nothing against OEM-type licenses.