Admittedly, some users might find the Bamboo Pen & Touch’s small size restrictive, yet I did not once notice this constraint while working on a digital drawing. In fact, I can happily report that I found no issues during use. I will add that the Intuos’ tilt sensitivity has been omitted here, but that’s more than reasonable considering this Bamboo’s target audience and low price of around £75.
Of course, using the pen is only half the story. Thanks to its multi-touch capabilities, the responsive tablet allows you to do everything that a mouse can and more. You can left-click by tapping a finger, or right-click by tapping both. You can drag and drop by adding a second finger to a left or right swipe, scroll or go Forward/Back by swiping both fingers simultaneously, zoom by pinching and finally rotate by turning two fingers in a circle.
In practice most of this worked very well, though sometimes the tablet confused zooming with scrolling. In fact, it all works pretty much exactly as Wacom claims, and the animated demonstrations beside each function in the Pen Tablet Properties means it’s easy to see how each is done. However, the fact remains that in most situations a good old mouse is still easier than using a multi-touch pad and it won’t truly come into its own until we get operating systems designed from the ground up to take full advantage of it (like the iPhone OS). As touchpads go, though, Wacom certainly rules supreme. Touch is an especially elegant solution when compared to the mouse that came with older Wacom tablets, and is also very handy when using this Bamboo on the move or on your knees.
Despite not sporting Wacom’s ‘Fun’ moniker, there’s plenty to be had with the Bamboo Pen & Touch thanks to Wacom’s Bamboo Dock application. This requires a small download and install, after which you can make your selection from a nice range of quirky applets and games collectively known as Minis, most of which work with either the pen or touch, or a combination of both (and a few work with an ordinary mouse too). The example pictured above is called Cutter, and as you might have guessed you need to ‘cut’ sharpened bamboo stakes before they reach the top of the screen by swiping your pen or finger across the tablet.
Finally, in terms of value you really do get a lot for your £75 here. Admittedly, the Bamboo Pen model can be had for what looks like a bargain-tastic £45, but don’t be fooled; you lose out on the touch capabilities, those vital ExpressKeys, the pen’s eraser function and half of the pen’s pressure sensitivity (you get a mere 512 levels).
Overall, then, Wacom’s Bamboo Pen & Touch graphics tablet is a good choice, but if you don’t need the touch capabilities and are serious about digital art and photography, it’s worth keeping in mind that the smallest Intuos 4 graphics tablet can now be had for around £160.
Its touch capabilities fail to astound despite working as advertised, but in the Bamboo Pen & Touch you’re also getting a darn good pen tablet for the price. As such, for digital artists on a strict budget or regular users just looking for a fun new way of interacting with their PC, it’s a very good option.
Score in detail