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Back in January I reviewed the Genius G-Pen M712 pen tablet, a useful low cost peripheral for graphic artists and digital photographers. Today I'm taking a look at another Genius pen tablet, the G-Pen M609X, a medium-sized 9.5-inch model. The pen tablet market is virtually a monopoly, almost completely dominated by Wacom with its Bamboo, Intuos and Cintiq products. There's no question that Wacom's tablets are exceptionally good, but they are also very expensive, with prices for the new Intuos 4 range starting at £200, and one about the same size as the M609X costing around £400. For those of us on tighter budgets the Genius range provides a viable alternative at a fraction of the price.
The M609X is part of a new range of Genius tablets that have seen a number of improvements over the previous models such as the M712. The overall appearance is much the same, with a glossy black surround, two large rotary zoom/scroll controls at the top with a row of buttons in between, and 26 pen-activated hotkeys around the drawing area. The M609X is a smaller model than the M712, with a widescreen-format drawing area measuring 13.6 x 22.8cm, slightly wider but not as deep as the A5 paper size, although it can switch between 16:9 and 4:3 aspect ratio at the press of a button. It's a nice looking gadget, and the build quality and finish is much better than the budget price would suggest.
Like the M712 the drawing surface has a paper-like matt texture, and is very pleasant to draw on with the hard-tipped pen. One of the changes for the new model is that the surface of the drawing area is actually a flexible plastic sheet which lifts up at the front. It is semi-transparent, so drawings or photos can be slipped underneath it for tracing.
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