After reviewing the Magic Trackpad this week, I realized that a Bamboo was still in a drawer in my cube, and I pulled it out to revisit. How did it compare with Apple's sleek square? And, more importantly, are there any areas where it's even better?
First off, the Bamboo is larger than the Magic Trackpad. The extra-wide
The Bamboo does have multitouch, but its gesture vocabulary is different from the Magic Trackpad's. Wacom's dedicated control panel and drivers have some similarities--pinch-to-zoom, rotate, and two-finger inertial scrolling--but three- and four-finger swipes for features like Expose and application-switching are missing.
The Pen and Touch model (some Bamboos only have pen or touch control, and not both) has both capacitive touch and pressure-sensitive pen support. Even better, four discrete buttons on the Bamboo and two more on the included pen can be customized to launch apps, or perform a myriad of operations. In pen mode, certain scribbled-gestures can also perform macro commands.
Unfortunately, the Bamboo isn't recognized by Apple's recently available Magic Trackpad software update, which means it's locked out of the same multitouch gestural vocabulary. It's still capable of being a good trackpad, but its lack of elevation can get a little ergonomically trying compared with the Magic Trackpad. The Bamboo is both Windows- and Mac-compatible, both with multitouch.
We found the Magic Trackpad to have some limitations despite being beautifully constructed and ergonomically superior to the Bamboo as a touch device. The Bamboo has an incredibly diverse customizable preferences area, and more ways to interact. In fact, it answers some of the. Which one's perfect for you? Those in the market for a Magic Trackpad owe it to themselves to take a peek at the Bamboo, too, especially if they're digital artists.
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