A nice feature, though, is how the tablet automatically switches from Touch to Pen mode when it detects the stylus nearby. This prevents accidental mouse actions when, for example, resting your hand on the tablet while using the stylus.
Tablet wireless adapter
The one design fault that sang out at me right from the start is the way the active area of the tablet surface is surrounded by a 3cm thick inactive border. What’s that for? Worse, the active area is indicated by almost-invisible corner tick marks. Every few minutes I find I’m wondering why my on-screen cursor has halted, only to find that the stylus or my finger has strayed into no-man’s land. If it’s not possible for Wacom to avoid building in this massive inactive border, surely a groove or some other tactile edge could have been added to let me feel where it begins.
A much better example of design is the extra-cost wireless upgrade option. Unfortunately, it doesn’t use Bluetooth so it won’t free up a USB port on your computer, but it’s simple to fit and works instantly. A battery-receiver slides into a slot in the tablet, while a tiny transmitter plugs into a free USB port; the USB cable supplied with the tablet is then used only for recharging the battery when required. The battery lasts a good week or so between recharges, although I found the Windows driver kept reporting that the battery was nearly depleted when it wasn’t.
The USB dongle end of the £35 wireless upgrade kit
May I say that using a wireless graphics tablet, especially one supporting touch gestures, is wonderful at times. Instead of chaining you to your computer, it allows you push back from your desk, stretch out your legs and carry on using the tablet in your lap. Buying the Wireless Kit as well as the tablet brings the total cost to almost £125 but it’s worth it.
A final word on the Bamboo Dock software: it’s a pain in the butt to instal – it took me five attempts on two computers before success – but is quite enthralling once it’s up and running. While it makes access to the tablet settings a bit clumsy, its main feature is its set of app-like mini-programs, each designed to work well with a stylus.
Further apps can be downloaded quickly and they are all free
The apps are mostly silly – with the exception of Bamboo Paper and Evernote – or at least have silly names, but I thoroughly enjoyed playing with them. You can download more apps within Bamboo Dock and they are all free.
The Pen & Touch Fun is a very good graphics tablet with an excellent stylus, customisable functions and some enjoyable software. As a touchpad, it is well-meaning and certainly well-featured but prefers deliberate, heavy strokes to (ooh matron) the tickling and flicking that I am used to. Add the Wireless Kit for convenience and comfort: well worth the extra cost. ®
More Input Device Reviews
Wacom Bamboo Fun S Pen and Touch
I had one of the smaller pro Wacom tablets, with mouse, for years. It was excellent, until the mouse finally gave out. I replaced it with a Bamboo. The tablet is fine, but the mouse has some felt-like material that wore away in about a year. Very poor quality. I now use it as a mousepad for a conventional wired mouse --- but it is there for the rare occasions when I do need to do some graphic work.
Mine is the early Bamboo model. Obviously, from this review, things have changed, and I haven't seen the new model. If I was buying again, though, I'd try to spend the extra on one from the professional range. It wouldn't be fair to write off the Bamboo as a toy, but it would be fair to say that the higher-range tablets are made as tools for professionals.
The good news is ... they work with Linux. Or at least, in my experience, with Ubuntu.
Were you living under a rock 3 years ago when the Bamboo Pen&Touch originally came out?
Because this is basically the same thing.
Further to my last post
I understand that the pro models have more levels of sensitivity. Again, mine is an older model of Bamboo, but you might want to check this out re your requirements.
Wacom seem to think we can do without a mouse. Personally, I find that really hard. I find the pen about as good for ordinary mouse work as ... a mouse is for drawing. I guess it is just a matter of getting used to it.