Review and unboxing of the Genius G-Pen M712X graphics tablet

Review of the Genius G-Pen M712X graphics tablet

Review of the Genius G-Pen M712X graphics tablet

We’ve seen quite a few Genius tablets floating around for a while now and we’ve always wondered how they compared to the giant Wacom-sized elephant in the room. Thankfully Genius has allowed us to answer that question as they were kind enough to send us their G-Pen M712X for review. After spending quite a bit of time using it in all manner of ways we have to wonder why this current batch of Genius tablets isn’t getting more notoriety.

Genius has been building graphics tablets for a few years now. They aim to provide affordable tablets in larger sizes to beginning digital artists and hobbyists. Even their website, www.GeniusTablet.com, focuses on tutorials on how to use graphics tablets better and artwork made by Genius tablet users. Their new G-Pen Power series (M609 and M712) provides a large size tablet (an active area of 12 x 7.25 inches in the M712x’s case) for a very affordable price. Each G-Pen Power series model has an “x” model which means it has “dual mode” that switches between widescreen 16:9 format and fullscreen 4:3.

Genius G-Pen M712X Specs

The M712X has a 12 x 7.25 inch active area in wide and 9.5 x 7.25 inch active area in standard mode. If features 4,000 LPI, has 1,024 levels of pressure sensitivity, a 200 point per second refresh rate and an accuracy of +/- 0.3mm. On the tablet you’ll find two rolling pads for scrolling, zooming, volume control, brush size and selecting with center click. There’s also a series of menu buttons that toggle what the rolling pads control and the dual mode selector (which switches between 16:9 and 4:3 active area). Surrounding the active area is a whopping 34 hot keys that you can link to any manner of program and OS shortcuts.

The Unboxing

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To start, the Genius G-Pen M712X comes in a very large and well-built box. The outside is chalk full of information. The back specifically has spec information in 25 languages and a nice details of the tablet and cordless pen.

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All in all it does a good job describing the abilities of the M712X in both text and visual icons.

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When you open the box you’ll find the tablet taking up nearly the entire space of the box. The tablet is wrapped in a packing sheet and anchored with two styrofoam pieces holding it in place.

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After lifting out the tablet you’ll find the manual, installation and program CDs in a clear plastic ziplock bag and the cordless pen, battery, extra pen nibs and nib remover in a plastic molded case.

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Here’s the entire contents of the box. You have the wrapped M712X tablet, pen holder, cordless pen, nibs, nib remover, battery, nib removal instructions and manual bag with paper manual and CDs.

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Contents of the pen case.

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Four CD’s come with the G-Pen M712X. You have installation CDs for both Windows and Mac OS, Photoshop Elements 6.0 and Ulead PhotoImpact 12 SE.

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The G-Pen M712X is very well built and sturdy. It’s built with glossy black plastic around the drawing surface. The active area surface itself has a clear vellum cover that can be lifted and used to secure papers placed under it for tracing.

The Review

We got off to a bad start with the G-Pen M712X. The included software drivers weren’t up-to-date with our Mac OS X Snow Leopard and Windows 7 test computers. While not a big deal — we simply went to the Genius site and downloaded the most recent drivers — one usually expects to have everything you need to start using your tablet included in the box. The driver itself is rather simple and easy to setup any of its 34 shortcut keys.

There was one more thing that irked us. Once you load the driver on a Mac it continually stays there. It’s possible there may be a way to remove it from your active programs list, but we haven’t found it. Day and night, tablet plugged in or not, the driver is still there, waiting in the shadows of the other applications, waiting to annoy you when you close programs or go to shut down your computer. Sure it doesn’t hurt anything, but aesthetically it’s a source of frustration.

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The pen tablet, however, is another story. It’s quick, responsive and very easy to use. It’s constructed of sturdy, black glossy plastic and lays perfectly flat with no flexing or movement when working. We were quite impressed with the build quality actually. The large size allows you to really focus on an area of work. The wheel and selector is much more useful than we had anticipated and being able to set it for zoom, scroll or brush size saves a lot of time when working on a project. The wheel clicks slightly when you rotate it. Some have remarked that this makes it feel cheap, but we found it a nice supportive measure when using the wheel. The other selectors along the top of the tablet include volume control and widescreen/fullscreen selector.

Surrounding the active area of the pad, which comes within 2-3 inches of the edge, are the 34 shortcut keys. While we don’t use shortcut keys that often it’s easy to see this as immensely useful for those that are. You can easily set up the keys with the driver in a series of simple dropdown menus. It supports both hot key setup (by allowing you to check option/shift/command and select the keyboard key with it) or links (which you can use to link to programs and applications).

The surface of the active area is protected with a translucent sheet of plastic that can be lifted up at the bottom to expose the traditional graphic tablet surface. At first it seems rather odd to include, but after using it for a while we’ve grown quite fond of it. First, it keeps dust, grease and hand oils off the tablet’s surface and is easy to wipe off or clean. Second, it’s quite useful for tracing images into a graphic program. We used it quite a few times to trace a sketch from sketchpads and then work on it in Illustrator or Photoshop. There was no lack of sensitivity or inaccuracy of recording with a sheet of paper sandwiched between the active surface and the plastic sheet. Being able to trace the item without looking at the screen is quite useful as well. Trying to do the same thing with other graphics tablets failed and we finally had to tape the sheet down to keep it stable. Not a great situation. The plastic sheet also makes for a smooth writing surface. It’s firm and smooth as opposed to the slightly more rubber texture we’re accustomed to.

Many of the complaints stated about the Genius tablets revolve around the pen. The pen is certainly thicker than Wacom’s as it holds an AAA battery in it. The case is light plastic and cigar shaped and doesn’t have any eraser end, only a contact end with exposed nib. It also has a clear plastic rocker switch that isn’t all that ergonomic. Maybe it’s due to our large hands, but we didn’t have much of a problem with the pen. It certainly is of a lesser quality than pens that come with Wacom’s line of tablets and the weight and balance is a little off, but its size is typical of most larger pens and didn’t cause our hand to cramp after hours of use (which the Wacom pens sometimes do). The lack of eraser function is sorely missed however and if Genius put a little thought into redesigning their pens the hardware for the G-Pen series would be pretty great.

Conclusion

When all is said and done the Genius G-Pen M712X has two criticisms — its pen and software. For us, the pen wasn’t that much of an issue. Baring its cheaper feel it didn’t have any flaws per se, but we could see where people wouldn’t like it. The software should be an easy fix in the future. Genius needs to invest a bit in their driver interface and fix some of the program issues (especially those mentioned above).

These criticisms wane when compared to the actual performance of the tablet. Truth be told, we’ve become rather dependent on the M712X. It really is a great tablet. After using it for months now — mostly due to the nature of reviews we’ve read on Genius’s other tablets — we have never encountered a random glitch, dead area in the pad or any sort of hardware hickup. We’ve tried to reproduce many of the problems listed and haven’t succeeded after clocking over 80 hours with the tablet.

Whether or not this represents a turn in quality for Genius is something we can’t answer. All we do know is the G-Pen M712X far exceeded my expectations. We’d recommend it for the graphic artist who wants an affordable large scale tablet and can’t afford a Wacom Intuos4 Medium or Large graphics tablet.

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35 Responses to “Review and unboxing of the Genius G-Pen M712X graphics tablet”

  1. On 2 Wacom Graphires I’ve had problems with the wire. Where the wire is attached to the tablet it eventually breaks inside the plastic cover on the wire. I put my tablet on my lap a lot and that amount of moving of the tablet is, apparently, more than it can take. How good does the wire seem at the point of attachment on the G-Tablet?
    Thank you for your reviews.

    • The G-Pen wire has a thicker gauge and sturdier connector than the Graphires. Where as the plugs on those went into a recessed element on the top of the device which was prone to getting doubled over on itself when the tablet was placed on the table, the G-Pen comes out from the top of the device which is about 3/4 of an inch thick. There’s no recess which means there’s not much chance of doubling the cord over and pinching it under the device.

      Here’s a picture of the cord connection:

      http://images.trustedreviews.com/images/article/inline/9882-corner.jpg

      Hope that helps.

  2. what is de differences between g-pen m712 and m712x?, only aesthetic?

  3. What’s the warranty on this tablet, and where can i get one. (I’m in Western australia)

  4. i buy the g-pen m712x and can´t control brush size in Photoshop cs4 x64 (under win7 x64), the wheel only zooms, whatever the chosen function key panel.
    anyone know how to set the controls to work as planned in PS???

    • Hey Daniel. On the top of the tablet you’ll see five silver bar buttons. Most likely you’ll see the 2nd from the left lit up. If you click on the 2nd from the right (with the brush icon) it should switch it so the wheel controls the brush size. The Genius G-Pen uses these hardware buttons to select between scroll, zoom, volume and brush. The last button switches between the 4:3 active area and 16:9.

      Hope that helps.

  5. Thanks for great review on new Genius, been looking for quite a time)

    Compared to Wacom Bamboo Fun Pen&Touch A6, which one worth a buy in your opinion?
    thanks

    • I’d say the Wacom Bamboo Fun still has the edge over the Genius — mostly due to the software and sleekness of the device. The included Wacom pen is nicer to. So if price wasn’t an issue I’d suggest the Fun. However, you can probably find the G-Pen M712 for around half the price of the Fun. And the M712 is a very capable tablet — especially for around $100.

  6. Hi, I have a g-pen m712 and in the begin it worked perfect. I stopped to using it like for 6 months. Yesterday I plugged it but my tablet isn’t working well and i want to know how to fix it. The problem is when i put the pen in the surface (not touching it), the mouse becomes crazy, it moves erratically but when i put the pen in the surface (touching it) it is read by the pc very well. Im wondering if the pen might be the problem. I have already replace the battery, reinstalled the drivers, but nothing seems to work.
    Thanks in advance

    • Hmm, it sounds like the pen may be close enough to the surface for the signal to be picked up by the graphics tablet. If so, that means your computer is suddenly receiving two input signals that correspond to two different sets of coordinates to your screen. That would certainly cause the erratic response. However, if you have the pen sitting in the holder by the tablet it shouldn’t be picking up any signal. If I recall correctly you had to have the pen fairly close to the surface for it to respond (within an inch). If you are laying the pen on the surface of the tablet then it will pick up the signal and cause those issues.

      Hope that helps. If not, let us know.

      • Hi… I got the same problem that Guillermo. I have a G-Pen M712 for about a year and a half and works perfectly, till last month, when it goes crazy when I get closer with the pen. This issue goes from bad to worst, and I don’t know if it’s a software problem or a hardware problem. I’m using it in Mac OS X and upgrade to Snow Leopard last year and everything was fine…. but the last couple of weeks it’s been hell. Finally last friday the tablet don’t even work at all, I couldn’t control the pointer and it seems to receive signal even when I’m far (with the pen) from the tablet… I re-install the updated drivers for Mac OS X but didn’t work.

  7. Can a put a piece of paper over the tablet and trace what’s on the paper? Does the pen have to either be in physical contact with the tablet and/or have an “unobstructed view” of the surface of the tablet?

    • Rick, you can trace over the paper with the G-Pen. If it’s thick Brillo pad paper it may not be as sensitive, but I’ve used tracing paper in the past with no problems.

  8. witch one would you recommend me better Genius PenSketch 9×12 or G-Pen M712X im im great dilema im just bout to buy a tablet, and i dont know witch one should i choose :( can someone help me???

    • We haven’t ever reviewed the PenSketch models so we can’t say for sure if it’s better or worse than the G-Pen line. Going by specs the G-Pen looks to the be better tablet though.

      • I had owned the Pensketch for around 5 years now, and it was amazing. =) it’s only now that it’d died on me and im looking for a new one. it was either this or XP-Pen 12 x 9 Inches Tablet BC/P/XP-1209B… in which leaning towards the 9×12 again, as the XP looks exactly like my pensketch..just hope it lasts as long again! thanks for this review though! it helped alot until i found the XP-Pen. What are your thoughts on the XP-Pen regardless of having not tried the tablet? :)

  9. I have just received my M712X. I have a couple of doubts I hope you can help me with.
    The first one is that I can’t seem to control the brush size in Photoshop. I make the brush bigger, I even see a bigger pointer but when I use the tablet to draw, the brush trace is still much smaller than if I use the mouse for it.
    Other thing I can’t seem to be controlling is the hotkey brush button of the top. I click on the brush key, turn the wheel and nothing happens. The rest of the hotkeys work fine, tho.
    And the last one, the blue power led is supposed to be flashing all the time? Or does it mean something?

    Thank you so much for your reply and for posting this review!

    Regards from Argentina!

    Lola

  10. Hmm, sitting here with brand new F509 tablet and looking for VERY basic instructions how to use it having never used a tablet before. The “manual” which came in the box wasn’t very enlightening and I guess it assumes you have experience. I know this thread has not been active for a while but, who knows, maybe someone will read it.

  11. I received the M712X about 7 months ago. I have always had problems with the pen. When I bring it close to the tablet (not touching) the mouse goes mad. When I try to draw the mouse goes mad darting around erratically. The longest it has worked without going erratic is about 5 mins or less. I try drawing a small circle and the pen draws a huge square! I’ve tryed replacing the battery, no change. What should I do?

    • It may be your mouse that is causing the jumpiness. Try unplugging it and then try the tablet. If it still jumps around then it’s the tablet. If it doesn’t, it’s because your computer is picking up two different inputs at the same time.

  12. Hi. I have this tablet but i can´t run it after install it on win xp x64, works fine on xp 32bits, but i need it to work on xp x64, already try to repair, uninstall with the installer and also download the last driver updated from geniusnet. and always appear “new hardware found” windows messages, the tablet leds are lighted, but the buttons locked and dont recognize the pen.

    I´ll try to reinstal windows xp, and see what happen, but i would like if someone could help me, it seems nobody else have this problem.

  13. hi, Im planning to buy this gpen, but after reading the comments I guess I have to re-think about it. does the problem still occur? recently I’ve been using genius 608 for almost 1,5 year, then oneday the pen’s battery seems melted idk. I can’t use the pen anymore and till now I can’t find a way how to fix it. Im afraid if the same thing happen again on gpen m712. can someone help me?

    • Melting batteries means a battery quality problem, it has nothing to de with the pen.
      That’s why battery blisters recommends not to keep batteries inside devices for extended periods of time without use.

  14. Hi Guys, great review many thanks. One issue I haven’t seen mentioned was that of stylus replacement. I have an old Wacom and the nib is wearing dangerously short. I’ll need a new tablet in a month or so. Any advice or light you could shed on this would be most appreciated. Thanks again.

  15. hi bought G-Pen 712X everything worked ok untill i upgraded to win 7 & Snow leopard. Big problem with photoshop CS3 on mac the brush tool will only draw straight lines & i can’t find out how to uninstall the driver, so photoshop is no longer working anyone have a solution – I did install the downloaded drivers are genius aware of this problem…

  16. hi sorry the above version of photoshop is CS2 not CS3

  17. Hi sorry again everything now seems to be working fine, Fickle computers how they frustrate in this new age of technology just a reboot after hours of messing – must say i’m very happy with the tablet in all aspects especially the price…

  18. I’ve been looking at tablets. I’ve been longing for one for a long time. I’d just like to ask (since I’m just starting out with tablets) if it is alright if I tart out with an Intuos 4? Because I don’t want to buy a starter tablet and then buy another one when I’ve gotten used to it. Furthermore, in my country(Malaysia)the Intuos 4 cost only RM70(about 23USD) more than the m712x. xc I could really use some suggestions.

  19. Hi Thank you for the review, i’ve already ordered mine – getting it tomorrow, prior to reading this article.

    From reading all the comments i am becoming a bit skeptical, especially the photoshop brush, driver and led problems.

    Did you guys try this with Lion OS? If that fails i’ll just use win 7.

    I am sure most problems in the comments are fixable…

  20. HI! could you please tell me what version are the drivers that you downloaded from the genius page? thing is that every time I try to download the newest ones the page stop working, my cd has the 1.74 version

  21. Ok I am not the graffic artist, my daughter is. She has asked for a tablet. This is one I am look at of 3 possibles. Only I can’t find a whole lot of reviews for this one & I can not find any of the actual tablet’s dimensions.
    Anyhow, I need to keep the amount under $200 if possible, large active area, and great art abilities. So which would you recommend out of: Bamboo Create, G-Pen M712X, and VisTablet Muse. Also we don’t have any other software like PhotoShop or Corel so that has to be a consideration.
    Thanks for any help you can give to this mother. This is going to be one heck of a Birthday/Christmas present if we can just decide. ;o) (oh & we have all PCs)