Adesso CyberTablet 8600
The sleek Adesso CyberTablet 8600 tablet, all white and clear plastic, will blend well with any Mac workstation. It's affordable and easy to set up, and it comes with a matching pen and mouse, as well as a comprehensive and useful software package. It's a great option for artists, designers, and others in need of more precise pointing control than a normal mouse can provide.
The CyberTablet 8600 has a large active area--6 by 8 inches--but the tablet itself measures 13 by 13 inches, leaving almost four inches of dead space at the bottom. Clearly, this tablet is not for users challenged for desktop space. Just above the activated area are 16 function buttons that you can program to open Web pages or documents. A handy, removable, clear-plastic sheet covers the active area and can hold a photo or a drawing in place for slip-proof tracing.
Installing the CyberTablet 8600 simple: insert the CD and install the driver. A short but thorough installation guide gives instructions for setup and how to use the basic functions of the tablet, the pen, the mouse, and the tablet control panel. After restarting it, you should see a tablet icon in your toolbar. Click the icon to open the tablet control panel, which lets you configure the 16 function buttons, the mouse buttons, and the pen's rocker switch. You can also adjust the pen's sensitivity and the mouse speed. The control panel's interface is much more intuitive than that of the other tablets we've looked at--you should have the tablet up, running, and set to your specific needs in a matter of minutes. The CyberTablet 8600 features a decent software package for beginners, including Ulead PhotoImpact XL SE, which provides hundreds of tools and effects for photo and graphic editing; Free Notes, which lets you handwrite reminder notes on your desktop; Power Presenter RE II, which turns your screen into a whiteboard and lets you take notes; Pen Soft Pro, which converts handwriting into electronic text; and Office Ink, a digital signature creator. The individual software programs include user guides on the software CDs.
The pen and the mouse each require one AAA battery (two are shipped with the package), and a long, 5-foot USB cord connected to your PC powers the tablet. The pen is about the same size as a normal ballpoint, and it has a rocker switch that serves in place of mouse buttons; the switch is easily accessed by your thumb or forefinger. The pen's tip has 512 levels of pressure sensitivity settings; unfortunately, it lacks an eraser, unlike the pen included with the. The mouse has left- and right-click buttons, as well as a scrollwheel. The mouse works only on the tablet's activated area, and it works by touch, so there's no ball or optical mechanisms to worry about.
Both the pen and the mouse have their own operating mode, and the tablet adjusts sensitivity accordingly. When in pen mode, the active area defaults to absolute positioning, which means it maps directly to the screen. In other words, if you rest the tip of the pen on the bottom-right corner of the active area, the cursor will point to the same place on the screen. When the mouse is in use, the tablet reverts to relative positioning, which moves the cursor the same as any mouse.
Adesso offers a one-year warranty and free tech support via its Web site and via e-mail, and it offers a toll-free number from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. PT, Monday through Friday.