uDraw GameTablet review: uDraw GameTablet

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CNET Editors' Rating

3.5 stars Very good
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Inspires creativity in children, rather than just jumping on the heads of their enemies. Solidly built. Wide variety of painting and drawing tools. Can export drawings to SD card and out to a PC.

The Bad As yet games options are limited. Background music in uDraw Studio will quickly drive you insane Stylus is sometimes imprecise. Tricky to control Wii Menu choices when Wiimote is plugged into the tablet.

The Bottom Line It's doubtful that the uDraw will provide an entirely new platform for Wii games, but it's a nice accompaniment to the Wii that focuses more on creativity than games.

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Nintendo's Wii has been such a huge hit over the past couple of years that we figured we'd seen every possible peripheral. You can get weight sets. You can get microphones. You can even get Wii-compatible cricket balls. THQ's uDraw does take the Wii in an area we wouldn't particularly have predicted. It's a graphics tablet with an in-built stylus, designed for primarily drawing-centric games.

The uDraw tablet has a distinctly Fisher-Price kind of feel to it compared to the full graphics tablets we've reviewed in the past. The stylus is light and yet chunky, and the 4x6-inch drawing area sits within a white plastic frame that we suspect would get rather grubby and faded over time. It does suit the white style of the Wii, however. To the left of the drawing area sits a holding area for a single Wiimote, which sits within the tablet providing both power and the gyroscopic controls used for certain games. It's a necessary feature, but we quickly found it a little annoying. You've got to stuff the Wiimote in there fairly solidly, but doing so blocks the front transmitter on the Wiimote itself. Other peripherals have got around this problem by placing a small hole in front of the Wiimote, but the uDraw Tablet doesn't have this feature. The practical upshot of that design decision is that if you have a Wiimote plugged into the tablet, you'll have to gently pop it out in order to actually start anything from the main Wii menu. The uDraw titles we tested all allowed basic menu selection from either the D-pad or tapping on the draw area with the stylus, as suited the context of whatever we were doing at the time.

uDraw only comes with a single bundled software title, uDraw Studio. It's not a game per se, but instead an interactive drawing program. You start out by choosing language based on flag (tip for the easily confused; we need the British flag for English) and then select either a basic blank sheet of paper — although plenty of styles, from plain white paper to chalkboards are available — or colouring books with predefined lines.

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Where to Buy

uDraw GameTablet

Part Number: CNETuDraw GameTablet

Typical Price: $119.95

See manufacturer website for availability.