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?
Using the Bamboo Fun over the course of a few weeks has left me with a grin on my face. Wacom has arguably been the most well-known company when it comes to tablet input devices, and their products have been what most people immediately go to.
For anyone who hasn’t used a tablet before, they work by using the screen’s total real-estate, unlike a trackpad on a laptop. Hover over the tablet with the pen will cause the mouse cursor to move, and taps register as mouse clicks. How the active area of the tablet relates in proportion to the screen may take some getting used to, so the disabling the proportional relationship is an option in the settings for those who may not like it.
If you’re drawing a picture, soft brushes will result in light lines while firm presses will give you a darker stroke, thanks to the pressure sensitivity. The eraser accomplishes the same task. The settings can control what the default behavior is, but the sensitivity will override application specific settings, like those in Photoshop.
As a Graphire replacement, I think the Bamboo will be welcomed with open arms. Everything about the design has been updated, and even thought the specs remain relatively unchanged, I think there is a need to separate the lower and higher-end models. If anything, I would have loved to see tilt support, but it’s something I’m sure most people can live without.
Most of my complaints are minor. Some people may think the Bamboo Fun feels cheap, and the included software is out of date. I would have preferred a wireless version as well to replace the aging Graphire look.
When I first installed the drivers, I did have a problem when I rebooted my machine the first few times. As soon as I logged in, an error message appeared.
The problem was resolved after I re-installed the driver software, so I suspect a faulty installation was to blame.
Even with its faults, I still think the Bamboo Fun is an amazing deal. Drawing and editing digital photos is an unmatched experience with a tablet, and it’s inexpensive enough to recommend for almost anyone. If you’re trying to decide between the medium and small version, I would opt for the medium without looking back. Still, $100 with the included software is hard to beat.
Because of its ease of use and incredible value, I’m awarding it a 10, simply because it’s hard to beat, especially if you’re looking a low cost tablet. I’m not putting some of my earlier qualms in the cons section because they’re subjective and the opposite could be argued (especially in the case of build quality). Even if you’re just looking at a new possible input device, you’re doing yourself a favor getting one. Plus, playing Line Rider will never be the same.
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