Hands on review and unboxing of new Wacom Bamboo Pen & Touch tablet
Wacom just announced their new 2nd generation of Bamboo Touch tablets today and they’re currently up for sale. Last week we brought you a video review of the Touch but we haven’t seen anything about the Pen & Touch combo. This seems the most interesting of the group especially when you consider it’s only $99 (note: Amazon currently has it for $90.76) and can offer all of the advantages of the $69 Bamboo Touch and the ability to use it as a pen tablet as well.
Update: Win a brand new Wacom Bamboo Pen & Touch from Best Tablet Review. Go here for information on how to enter.
Best Tablet Review got our hands on the Wacom Bamboo Pen & Touch graphics tablet this afternoon and we’ve got your first look.
The Bamboo Pen & Touch comes in a sleek and slim package. It has a slip-over sleeve and features a large picture of the tablet and logo on the front of it…
a list of package contents and system requirements on the side and a features list on the back.
The inside box is all black and opens to reveal a redundant cover top that covers the box’s contents.
It says “Welcome to your Bamboo. Experience. Discover. Share. And let us know how it goes…” in English and eleven other languages. It also includes the bamboo.wacom.com website.
Finally, the heart of the box. The Bamboo Pen & Touch is resting on top (wrapped in a foam sheet and black paper cover) with the pen resting in a formed compartment above.
After lifting the tablet the CD and manual case is under it along with a tiny ziplock bag with additional pen refills and a metal ring for the pen.
Everything is wrapped extremely well. The pen has plastic protectors on either end and is in a plastic sheet tube.
The CD/Manual box contains the Quick Start Guide, the installation/tutorial CD, a software bundle CD that has Adobe Photoshop Elements 7.0 WIN/6.0 MAC and Nik Color Efex Pro 3.0 WE3. There are also single sheets for the Wacom Privileges Program, a free premium store offer on Cafe Press ($60 value) and a free 8×8 photo book from Shutterfly.
Here are all the contents of the package.
The Wacom Bamboo Pen & Touch tablet with pen.
The Wacom Bamboo pen.
Installation and Device Description
After booting up my laptop and inserting the installation CD it came to this menu.
You can install or watch the tutorial that goes over the motion controls.
Installation took only a few minutes and worked flawlessly with both touch and pen.
The Express keys on the device are defaulted to a Touch on/off toggle, back, right-click and click function. In the middle of the buttons is a horizontal LCD that lets you know if the device is active. You can set these keys to keyboard shortcuts, application launch or a variety of other abilities.
On the right side of the tablet is a threaded Wacom-branded loop for your pen to slide into. It’s a little cumbersome and hard to slide in and out. One would thing that Wacom could have included a simpler, less-flimsy holder for the pen instead of what basically amounts to a Levis tag.
The pen is a typical Wacom pen which is nice. It has the eraser end and the writing end. The middle has a flattened out piece to help the pen “lock in” to its cloth loop. It also has the two sided rocker where your index finger rests that can activate functions like the Brushes menu in Photoshop.
Using the Bamboo Pen & Touch Fun
Working with the device is fine. My previous tablet is an old Wacom Graphire (it’s a workhorse though) so it took me a minute to get used to the entire surface of the tablet being representative of the screen rather than the Graphire’s continue-from-cursor interaction. Still, I much prefer the Bamboo’s way.
The pad itself is very sensitive to your gestures. It registers your intention even with the lightest of touches. The surface area is nice and wide to. It’s basically a widescreen format which corresponds to my laptop nicely. With my old Graphire I was constantly going past the border area and having to recenter. This tablet doesn’t have that problem.
I can’t notice any major difference between the Graphire’s pen sensitivity and accuracy versus the Bamboo’s pen. I opened Photoshop and Illustrator and used both tablets — I much prefer the Bamboo. It’s not that the Bamboo’s pen ability is noticeably better, but more the orientation of the device is just so much easier to use. Instead of a 4:3 ratio device you’re working with a 16:9. You still have trouble when drawing vertically when zoomed in, but that’s inherent in any graphics tablet. My old Graphire will be moving on to new pastures. I’ll be keeping and using the Bamboo Pen & Touch Fun from now on.
The Wacom Bamboo Pen & Touch is perfect for the person who wants a tablet or who uses one frequently. A lot of people will love the multi-touch gestures but my primary focus was seeing if this tablet would work as a graphics tablet as well. It certainly can. You’ll get pretty much what you expect from this tablet. It’s not for the hardcore tablet users (I would still recommend the Intuos line for them), but those that use it to draw and edit will find a nice, affordable and dynamic device.