Wacom Bamboo review: Wacom Bamboo

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The Good Very portable. Mac/Windows compatibility. Good pricing.

The Bad Tricky to do larger pen strokes. Gets grimy quite easily. Navigation not always as precise as needed.

The Bottom Line A great introduction to using a graphics tablet.

8.2 Overall

The first thing you'll spot when you flip open the Wacom Bamboo's box isn't the tablet within -- it's a flap of paper introducing you to the Bamboo, and asking you to "Use it to get more out of your computer" in many languages. Wacom's solidly stepping out of the designer workspace -- its traditional user market for writing/drawing tablets -- and into the consumer space with the Bamboo, and it's doing so with more than a small amount of chutzpah; the official site for the Bamboo claims that it's "reinventing the pen for the 21st century".

The Bamboo tablet is quite small by tablet standards -- 200 x 186 x 10.7 mm -- and weighs only 370 grams, making it easy enough to carry around. Wacom sell an optional Bamboo carrying case if you're a really mobile scribbler, but we can't imagine the size of the tablet being a particular inhibitor to its portability anyway; it'd fit into just about any bag.

Aside from the Bamboo tablet, you'll also find a driver CD (for Windows and Mac users), as well as a Windows-only application CD, a small stand for the stylus and a standard USB cable for connection and power.

While the Bamboo tablet is quite small, it's relatively packed with features. The drawing area is clearly marked and not that large, but the top of the tablet houses four customisable program keys, surrounding a very iPod-like virtual scroll wheel, or as Wacom put it, a "Touch Ring". The exact operation of the touch ring varies depending on the application in use at the time, but most applications use it either for zooming in and out, or scrolling in the style of a wheel mouse.

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