Umax ProVista TB801 drawing tablet
The beige, generic-looking Umax ProVista TB801 drawing tablet will match up with older computer cases, but don't let its bland looks deceive you--it performs as well as other entry-level tablets we've seen and costs slightly less. For $99, you get a tablet, a pen, and a mouse that offer a degree of precision and control unattainable with a standard mouse. However, if you're put off by its shabby looks, or you prefer a mouse with a scrollwheel, we recommend the, which costs just slightly more and offers additional functionality.
With a light beige-and-gray coloring, the set has a somewhat outdated appearance. The pen, in particular, is a stark white and gray and appears mismatched with the rest of the set. Though the active area is a large 6 by 8 inches, the tablet itself measures 11 by 12 inches, with more than 3 inches of empty space at the bottom. A slim, indented section at the top of the tablet cradles the pen when it's not in use. Between the pen holder and the active area is a row of 12 programmable function buttons that you can customize to open Web pages, documents, and folders and to perform commands such as cut and paste. Unlike other tablets we've seen, such as theand the , the ProVista TB801 doesn't offer a document holder; it's not a necessity, though. A small flashing green light in the corner of the tablet lets you know the power is properly connected.
Setting up the ProVista TB801 is simple: insert the CD and install the driver to your PC or Mac. A short but thorough installation guide gives instructions on using the basic functions of the tablet, the pen, the mouse, and the control panel, the last of which lets you configure the 12 function buttons, the mouse buttons, and the pen's rocker switch. You can also adjust the pen's sensitivity and the mouse's speed. The control panel's very intuitive interface can be launched by selecting the small tablet icon that installs on your toolbar.
The ProVista TB801 comes with a useful software package for beginners, including Ulead PhotoImpact XL SE, which provides hundreds of tools and effects for photo and graphics editing; Free Notes, which lets you handwrite reminder notes on your desktop; Power Presenter RE, 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. Included on two CDs, this software package is on a par with what other vendors offer.