on 15 April 2012
After weeks of reviewing and comparing Graphic Tablets I narrowed my search down to the Wacom brand as they were clearly an industry favorite. I was left to choose between the Wacom Bamboo pen Bamboo Pen Graphics Tablet (£48 at time of review), the Wacom Bamboo Pen and Touch Bamboo Pen & Touch Graphics Tablet (£72 at time of review), or the tablet I eventually chose, the Wacom Bamboo Fun (Small size, £70 ator).
I initially thought of buying the basic tablet because as a beginner with graphic tablets, that's all I really needed. However, after comparing the three tablets I soon realized that if I really wanted to get my moneys worth, then I should cough up the extra £20 to get this one. The reasons for this are due to the following...
1) The Fun tablet costs less then the Touch and Pen tablet (at time of review), yet has the same features and more to offer. Because of this the Pen and touch ( though still a very good product) was no longer an option.
2) The Fun tablet comes with free software to download. Adobe Photoshop Elements 9 (which if you purchased off Amazon at the time of this review, actually costs more then the tablet itself!) and something called Artrage Studio Pro which is actually pretty good for drawing with.
3) Not what I purchased it for but you have the option to download a load of free apps to play around with which is an added bonus if your a bit bored.
4) You have the option to go wireless, something you can't do with the Bamboo Pen tablet. This feature is also available for the Pen and Touch tablet but you must buy the wireless kit separately which seems to cost roughly between £30-£35. Bamboo Wireless Accessory Kit
5) Like the Pen and touch tablet, you have the ability to navigate through your computer or Mac by using the tablet with your fingers. You can use it to rotate and zoom whatever artwork your working on as well. You cannot do this on the Bamboo Pen.
All in all, this is a great tablet for beginners. I know the price isn't really in the affordable range but I would say it's worth saving up for. If your not fussed by the added features that this tablet offers in comparison to the cheaper Bamboo pen tablet Bamboo Pen Graphics Tablet or the similarly priced Bamboo Pen and Touch Bamboo Pen & Touch Graphics Tablet, then I'm sure they will provide you with everything your after.
The feel of this tablet is very nice to use, you really feel like you have got your moneys worth. You can also imagine that it will last you a long time, even once you've mastered digital art I don't think your been in any rush for an upgrade?
I hope this review helped if your someone who isn't quite sure what tablet to get. If not, sorry I wasted you time.
on 20 February 2012
My wife bought me this for my birthday to replace a really old (tiny) Wacom graphics tablet and I'm really enjoying it so far. At first it took a bit of getting used to the larger active area (which is a full stretch right across the screen on my 26" iMac). For fine precision work though, the higher resolution of this tablet makes it really brilliant for Painter 12 and Photoshop work (and it's also awesome for Manga Studio EX4).
Never thought I'd bother with the 'touch' part of the tablet but it saves a heck of a lot of swapping around between mouse control and the tablet (and it's great that you can also switch it off to turn off any interference while you are drawing with the pen).
Good sized pen, button can be an annoyance at times so if you never use it, deactivate it in your Bamboo panel.
Now the minus side. Having to download the software was a fiddle, mostly because Wacom's website is pretty awful to navigate and you have to make sure you choose exactly the right product to activate and register, and also the right product when downloading your software bundle otherwise the download serial number won't work. You're only given a limited time to grab the software too (240 minutes) which means you'd better have plenty of time on your hands to go through the software download and install, the update, and all the other messing about you need to do before you can start using your tablet.
As far as the packaging and courier go, Hermes UK have to be one of the WORST LAZIEST couriers I've ever come across in the many years I've used Amazon UK. The tablet was carelessly dumped behind a bush outside my house in plain view of the footpath and road that runs beside the house, with a soaking wet welcome mat dumped on top of the box (thankfully it didn't rain the day it was delivered, and thankfully my father in law lives just around the corner and could quickly go and recover the item before it was stolen). Absolutely disgusting service and it's a pity that Amazon use couriers like Hermes and Home Delivery Network when the rest of their service is so good.
Overall a great product and a fantastic replacement for my old wacom at a bargain price. Just make sure if you order one that you're going to be at home all day on day of delivery!
Edit: One thing to keep in mind with this tablet - the surface is quite rough, and the nibs are extremely soft so if you take a look at the thing after a few days of use, don't be surprised to find the nib wearing down. Stick a sheet of paper over the pad during use and you'll save the surface of the pad, and the nibs and make both last a bit longer..!
on 15 January 2012
I upgraded to this from the small pen and touch which I had for a couple of years and loved. This new tablet did not disappoint. It's footprint and drawing area are a lot larger than the pen and touch so it took a little getting used to, but after a few days I am loving it. I am an illustrator so I mainly use it with Illustrator and photoshop and it works perfectly. You can even just use it as your mouse when your mouse hand gets tired. I use a two screen setup and find it best to change the setting to limit the area of the pen to just my main screen, that way you use the whole tablet when drawing. At the end of the day, this is a great product in that it just works, no faff, it just does what it's supposed to. I highly recommend this to anyone using CS software seriously. I also recommend getting the Bamboo Wireless Accessory Kit, because of the size of this tablet, it's good to be able to stow it on a shelf etc when not in use, not having a usb cable attached makes this easy.
on 2 July 2012
There are loads of reviews on this tablet that cover a whole range of uses, so to help those who are trying to get through the confusing mass of stuff I will lay down my own experiences in context. I would recommend experimenting with sizes if you can beg/borrow - bigger suits art, small suits photography
1. I previously tried out a MEDIUM tablet borrowed from work, with wireless - this was probably a better choice for artists but for me it had a little too much arm movement for photography, therefore I wanted to go for the small as I don't need quite the same flexibility as a pen-artists. Also the desktop space needed is considerable - again I wanted something I could use in the office, home or hotel. The SMALL is physically about A4 size, just a hint smaller, but is a lovely size to fit in a case, laptop bag, beside a keyboard, etc.
2. I wanted a tablet to use with Photoshop Lightroom 4 because I am a photographer with very little done on CS5. The Arm-movement was a lot less than with the medium. The active area is A5, so there is a big border to rest your hand on, but the whole area can be easily covered. This size, for me, is MUCH better for Lightroom's local adjustment brush. Accuracy is superb, I was able to trace fine lines with ease - I can't quite make out whether pressure relates to flow, though. It is certainly a lot easier to do fine-detail work with the pen than with a mouse. The mouse is fine on larger adjustments and the scroll-wheel modification of brush size is initially missed on the tablet, though a free hand can always use keyboard shortcuts (brackets). I would much rather use the SMALL tablet in Lightroom than a medium, and probably the same in CS5, but remember I'm not doing detailed composites or layer work. Although small, it is still a professional bit of kit inside and for my work offers everything that the Intuos can offer at 20% of the price (if I needed an expensive Intuos I'd happily upgrade in the future, but I would have felt sick if I'd paid for an Intuos & not used it because it was too big)
3. I could see no difference between the small fun and the small Pen & touch, other than the Fun being silver and the P&T being charcoal. The Fun has additional software... a previous version of PSE & various other bits, but I won't be needing these.
4. Feel - the matte surface is a great improvement on older versions and assists curves and pressure; it is quite a nice feel when writing, though maybe with time it will become smoother
5. As I said, the size is perfect for travelling - I got a case - LArobe Tablet CREATIVA - which is fabulous for protection and has storage for the pen & 3 nibs (strangely not the USB-lead). In this it is almost exactly A4 and 1.5-2cm thick, but very secure. Recommended if the tablet does not have a permanent place on your desk.
6. Cable v wireless. Let's behonest, wireless is nice, but is it necessary? I have a very large monitor & tend to sit back a bit. The USB lead is standard length, but mine connects to a hub & stays connected to the hub (micro-USB so same as HTC phone etc, so there is always a fly-lead available). I tried wireless & it was nice, but I can live without it for most of the time for my work. However....
7. ....... Touch - This is great, essentially a multi-touch pad of a decent size for use on my Win-7-64bit system. Wireless allows me to sit away from the monitor, scroll through slideshows with clients, and generally do stuff that can be harder with a wireless mouse & failing eye-sight! The customer can be passed the tablet & can scroll through by themselves as if they were using an iPad or a laptop (iPad is easier for this as they get to touch the photos). I did make the mistake of resizing my entire desktop, which reordered all my carefully prepared icons! The touch, to me, goes hand in hand with wireless.
8. Buttons - programmable... but the settings reside in the computer NOT the pad, so you will need to set up each computer
So am I happy with it - you bet! Do I wish I had a medium-size.... no, if I were an artist I'd probably save all my pennies and more to buy the cintique, but this would be a waste/luxury for photography. Overall it is the perfect tablet for Lightroom and I love it to bits
on 30 April 2012
I've been meaning to get myself a graphics tablet for ages now and finally decided to buy this one. I was a little put off by the idea at first as I used to own a Trust tablet years ago with a PC and could never get on with it. This time around though I use a Mac and have read some very pleasing reviews of this product.
On my first use I found it very simple to set up, just plug in the USB cable and insert the installation disc. It took about 5 mins and I was all set to go (it will take a little longer if you download the free bundled software btw). As this tablet has a touch interface as well as pen use, this made the transition from my mouse to tablet that much easier. I actually now prefer to use this tablet to navigate around my Mac over the Magic Mouse I used previously and there was me thinking of buying an Apple Trackpad.
Now although at first glance some people may think it's a little expensive currently at ~ 72 pounds, after using it for a while I have come to realise it's an absolute bargain and as a previous reviewer has already mentioned the tablet is great value for money considering the free bundled software "Photoshop Elements 9 & Art Rage 3 Pro" really does cost more than the tablet. The free software is a download only by the way (using the supplied registration key) just incase people were thinking it came on separate media.
The multi-touch interface is a dream to use and as for quality and design of the tablet, I really can't fault it. It feels very firm and sleek as does the pen in hand. It's very slim and light but not so light where it compromises on quality, bear in mind Wacom manufactures professional tablets in excess of £1000 and so their quality and experience in this field really shows (hmm all of a sudden the price of this tablet feels like peanuts LOL). There's also plenty of user configurable options and settings when using the tablet which allows for a complete customised experience but for me I only changed the touch scrolling option (I have it set to "natural" like how you scroll with an iPhone) and left the rest of the settings as they were.
Oh and the added bonus is if you have a Mac and were thinking of getting an Apple Trackpad then I'd say this is essential in my opinion as it only costs a little more than Apple's Trackpad and does SO MUCH MORE!
There's probably a lot that I haven't touched upon (pun intended) in this review but I felt I may have gone on enough already, mind you it's hard not to waffle on about such a great product ;)
on 11 August 2012
This Bamboo tablet is the first graphics tablet I have owned, and I have not been disappointed with it. I was able to set it up very easily, and connecting the wireless kit (which I have reviewed separately) took no time at all.
The tablet itself is brilliant - the multi-touch works very well, and it makes navigating through pages, programs and photos so much faster! The four buttons on the side can be programmed any way you like - I use the bottom two for 'click' and 'double-click', the top button for switching between 'touch on' and 'touch off' modes and the second one for opening the 'bamboo dock' program.
The pen, if anything, is even better - unlike the touch system, which works like a laptop touch pad, the pen maps the active area of the tablet directly to your screen, so wherever you position your pen on the tablet, the pointer moves to. Drawing is a joy - there is so much more control than using a mouse, and the 1,024 pressure levels allow you to actually vary the width of the brush by applying different pressure.
The pen also has two buttons on the side of it, which can again be programmed to do anything - mine are simply click and double click. The pen works when hovering above the tablet - you can move the cursor without drawing that way, and the buttons work when it is held above as well.
I'm afraid I haven't had the tablet for long enough to determine whether the claims that it wears down the nibs very quickly are true or not. If I find them to be true, I will update this review in the near future. If not, I will simply leave it the way it is. The tablet does come with spare nibs, however, so even if it is the case, it is nothing to worry about.
All in all, this tablet is a fantastic device and a brilliant edition to any computer - essential for the aspiring digital cartoonist or graphics artist, perfect for photo-editors or those who feel their mouse or trackpad just isn't stylish enough for on-screen navigation, and a must-have for any tech pioneers who are always looking for new and different devices to add to their collections.
on 7 April 2012
The Bamboo Fun Medium tablet is nicely presented, its plastic case matches the Apple brushed aluminium finish and the software driver is straightforward to download (updating itself in the process). A Bamboo icon is launched in System Preferences which enables the user to set-up the pen and touch sensitivities etc. The pen works fairly well and it doesn't take much to get the hang of it. However, until you're used to the pen's action you'll likely be dragging and dropping docs and files by accident so be careful and take things easy.
The pen defaults to absolute positioning where the tablet area maps to the screen. You can set it to relative positioning (like mouse action) but Wacom's advice is to stick with the former for a few days at least. If you're doing photo work or drawing then you should leave it on absolute positioning.
There's no need to press hard with the pen and the pen is tracked when held a few millimeters above the tablet's surface. Excessive wear of tablet and nib has been reported and covering the tablet with paper might reduce tablet wear but I'm not sure it will make much difference to nib wear. If you're gentle with the pen then I don't see this to be a huge problem.
The medium Bamboo tablet comes with PSE10, Corel Painter Essentials and ArtRage Studio Pro. Wacom provides a key and I didn't have any trouble with the downloads, loading them onto two MacBook Pros. I already had PSE6 so it was nice to get an up-to-date version (although I'm not sure that the difference is really that great) but, coming at them cold, I've not been able to make much headway with Corel Painter or ArtRage. Still, they are free so if you are into drawing and painting you might find them useful. Just bear in mind that there are no manuals.
BUT, But, but: You can't match the touch scrolling action with that of the Mac's track pad and magic mouse. You can set the tablet up for natural scrolling (where the screen window content moves according to finger action) but it only works in the vertical direction not the horizontal direction (which moves in the opposite sense). Neither can you scroll between pages in Safari. I have my track pad and mouse set up for natural scrolling so the difference in operation is extremely annoying and it means that I cannot use the tablet as my default input device. Neither is the touch action as smooth as on Mac devices (and there is no "window bounce"). I don't get the impression that Wacom considers this to be a problem so don't expect a software update to address the situation.
So, I'll use the tablet for photo work but the scroll functions need to be properly implemented and overall touch action improved before I'd consider it as a universal input device.
(By the way, you should get the Medium tablet. I think you'd find the Small one too small.)
on 1 April 2012
This is my first graphics tablet and I'm really enjoying using it - took a couple of ours playing around to adjust, but now it's great. Amazon's description very clearly states that this comes with PS Elements 10, but it's actually version 9. I don't think there's too much difference between them, so I'm not too bothered, but everyone should be aware of what they're actually getting.....
on 7 March 2012
Really versatile and easy to use. The touch controls and gestures are so good I don't even use my mouse much any more. It's a pity some software doesn't seem to be compatible with it as a mouse replacement. No problem with any art or media related software, it works perfectly with everything I have.
The different levels of sensitivity and the pen in general is great, the only problem is that the button closest to the nib is almost flat and I press it all the time by accident. You can turn it off so it's not a big problem but it may as well not be there. The buttons and shortcuts are really versatile and can be used to do pretty much anything.
My only complaint is with the wire. It is very short and cannot even reach my PC properly, I need to have it in left handed mode so my buttons are on the wrong side. You would have thought you could just get a longer replacement easily, but no. The mini-USB end of the cable is longer and thinner than a standard one, and needs to be to fit into the tablet. A standard one just won't reach the socket. It's probably a built in fault to force you to buy the wireless kit, but I'd advise just getting a standard USB extension cord. I haven't tried that yet as I just had the idea whilst typing this but it should work.
on 3 June 2012
I'm new to graphics tablets, and generally wanted one to create artwork digitally on a computer for my greeting card designer job. With the included software, Adobe Photoshop elements 9 and Art rage, I was very much able to do exactly as I wanted without the fuss.
It also works out a lot cheaper for me too, as a student.
I'm so glad I brought it. The tablet itself is a pleasure to use and very easy. Took only a few minutes for me to get used to it. It also comes with a game, a notebook, a mona Lisa thing where you can distort the painting, and some other apps.
It was also very easy to instal too, (Internet required). Runs very well on my MacBook pro 2011 and do all the other programs.
Also when registering the product, the serial number is on the back of the tablet.
It's a great product and works with other programs too, such as paint, etc.
I have also brought the wireless adapter too, and helps a lot. Although make sure you fully charge it first.
On top of this! The service of Amazon was good too. It came two days before the actual delivery date. And was pakaged nicely too.