on October 12, 2011
Notice: The following review is based on using a 2009 white Macbook. The issues that I note with various touch input methods all worked fine with a friend's Macbook Air- except "natural" scrolling, which is still messed up as explained lower in the review. I assume then that if you have a Mac that natively accepts four-finger input via its trackpad that the touch input gestures of the Wacom Bamboo will work fine for you as well. (My computer natively only supports two-finger gestures, though the tablet augments that significantly to three and most of the four-fingered gestures.)
The hardware looks nicer than it does on the box (the box is darker and more muted than the product), but not quite the same coloration as is on Amazon's site or Wacom's site. In the online pictures it looks as if the buttons on the tablet are light grey/silverish, but they're definitively black in real life. The tablet's color online appears quite white, especially on the drawing surface, but it's grey. It looks like it'll blend in perfectly next to a Macbook Pro or Macbook Air. It's rather elegant.
The four buttons are interestingly not flat. Those little flavor indents in the picture are actual indents. Its a nice design touch, and actually kind of begs you to touch it more.
I was concerned about the newer "paperlike" feel that Wacom has updated all of its products to have, but it feels good. I actually liked the smooth plastic textureless gliding of my last tablet, and still might a little bit more, but I can already tell that this tablet's texture is entirely decent and I'll adapt to it rather painlessly.
It feels good on the fingers. Might not be as smooth as Apple's glasslike surfaces, but it's analogous to the trackpads Apple used before switching to glass.
Everything is responsive. The rotate feature can get a little weird with the pinch/zoom feature, not really knowing which one to apply, so I turned the rotate feature off in preferences. Oh- preferences for touch motions can't be configured in an "I want this to do X" sort of way. They have their intrinsic attributes and can only be toggled on and off.
It does a really good job at distinguishing between what I intend to be an input with my fingers or my pen. So if I lay my hand on it to use the pen- no problem, it gets it. You don't have to worry about toggling the finger-touch on and off.
Oh, by the way- there is approximately an inch's worth of margin on the top, right, and bottom of the usable tablet area. It appears to be quite a large surface, but a decent portion of that does nothing. I'm just eyeing it, but it looks like 6" x 4" worth of usable space, which doesn't sound like much to someone that hasn't used one, but I find to be a quite preferable size. I'd actually rather use a smaller tablet than larger. It's just a preference on how much you like to move as you draw- large sweeping strokes of the arm, or smaller subtler strokes of the wrist.
You might be surprised (as I was) to realize the pen doesn't have an eraser (as my previous, lesser Wacom tablet did).
I'm pretty sure you can't replace the pen with a better one as the driver software doesn't have any indication of the pen having an eraser end.
Honestly, not that big of a dilemma to me. You can program one of your six buttons (4 on the tablet, 2 on the pen) to switch to eraser tool if you want it anyway.
Four months in, my tablet stopped accepting input correctly and I contacted Wacom. The interaction with the customer service representative went very smoothly- no stupid questions asked (if you've ever talked to AT&T, you know what I mean). He sent me a pen immediately. (I did have to send him a copy of my receipt, via email- so hold on to those.) Three days later, it arrived and it works flawlessly. Pretty sure I have to send my old pen back on my dime, though. Oh, well. I'm still very pleased it wasn't the tablet itself that stopped working correctly.
When this tablet first came out, the driver software was a big issue for Lion compatibility. It has since (mostly) been fixed. The one extremely glaring flaw that still exists has to do with two finger scrolling. Wacom gives you two options: Natural and Standard. Standard is what is default on all Macs prior to OS X Lion- you move your fingers up, the page goes up. Move them left, it goes left.
Natural is, I presume, supposed to be what OS X Lion has as default scrolling functionality- similar to the iPad. You move your fingers up, the page goes down. Move them right, the page goes left. It's supposed to replicate dragging the page with your finger itself. Unfortunately, Wacom got it wrong in a really weird way - the left and right scrolling is identical to Standard mode. So you move your fingers up to scroll down, and left to scroll... left. Inversion-fail.
The four-finger swipe between spaces also exists in the preference pane, but doesn't work at all for me. Pity.
I'm sure they'll get around to fixing these oversights at some point. Ultimately though, the touch functionality that does exist makes this the most convenient line of Wacom tablets to use by far. Weighing this tablet with the current pro tablet - Intuos 4, I would probably choose this one for 9/10 tasks. Concept art and high quality painting or sketching would be the only project I'd prefer an Intuos 4 on at this point in time, due to the pen tilt functionality and extra pressure sensitivity.
The following issues with the driver software were fixed on Jan. 3rd, 2012. Check out Wacom's page to update your driver, and be pleased with the fact that your tablet is now very similar to an Apple Magic Trackpad, except with slightly less responsiveness and pen control:
a) Pinch/zoom had you pinching to make something bigger (while it oddly shows the zoom out magnifying glass) and vis versa.
b) The three-finger forward and back gestures were swapped, so Back is swipe right instead of left.
c) The four-finger gestures to show the desktop and to show Mission Control didn't work.
d) The left/right four-finger gesture didn't switch Spaces/fullscreen applications. Instead it brought up the Command + Tab application switcher panel.
Wacom has only allowed the keys and pen buttons for Bamboo tablets to be configured Globally, so you cannot create specific key commands per application.
Because this functionality is entirely software driven, it's omission is merely to provide an extra distinguishing factor between their consumer and pro lineups. If you want application specific button-mapping, you'll have to pay more for an Intuos 5 (available now at Wacom's page, probably shortly on amazon).
The Intuos 5 also boasts tilt/rotational pen controls, double the pressure sensitivity, a more ergonomic pen with an eraser, and more quick-access-buttons.
The button-mapping, by the way, can make your workflow considerably faster. It's a pity the drivers force you to reprogram your hot keys every time you want to switch applications though, especially since it's an unnecessary handicap.
The included CD stated on its packaging that it came with Corel Painter Essentials. It doesn't. It doesn't state that it does on the outside packaging or on any of the websites I've seen. It did get my hopes up for a second seeing that my disc claimed it did though. :P
And for some reason Autodesk SketchBook wouldn't install on my system. Don't know why.
Altogether- I like it, I'd recommend it, and it's got more bells and whistles than the last tablet I had. It remains to be seen how the tablet itself will hold up over the years. Due to the precedence of quality set by Wacom in the past, I would have assumed nothing other than rugged durability, but with my pen giving out after only 4 months, I'm a little more hesitant.
If you've never owned a tablet before, trust me. Tablets are amazing. They'll change the way you use your computer forever- for the better.
on October 31, 2011
The solution for skipping lines, input delay and so on is in the bottom of this review.
Bought this tablet after spending over 4 years with a Genius G-Pen that, although not the best out there, certainly wasn't the worst. Plus, it was about time to upgrade to a true tablet like Wacom, so I went and got this one.
First off, the build quality on this thing is simply superb. The tablet feels rugged and rough, and everything was solid and working right off the bat... sort of.
The tablet deserves a 5, it really does. But it sadly loses it on account of lack of instruction on setting it up properly so it worked, as well as lack of troubleshooting support on the matter. I followed the instructions: drivers first, connect tablet later. I tried to use it, but the strokes were slow and skipped: I started to draw lines at one point, but then the "dot" would appear someplace else like 3 seconds later.
So overall, I applied the solution typed below and now the tablet works wonders. It works PERFECTLY. :3
In the end, I VERY STRONGLY RECOMMEND this option. Besides, free programs like Photoshop Elements. How can you NOT go wrong?
I hope my solution helps you, as well as this review.
So I took to Google. After doing much googling, I found the solution. It's actually very simple. Steps below are for Windows 7 Home Edition, may slightly vary for other editions. Admin mode/run as administrator recommended:
1) Control Panel
2) Programs and Features
3) Turn Windows Features on or off
4) Look up Tablet PC Components, and remove the checkmark.
5) Choose OK, and restart the machine.
6) Once restarted, try the tablet again with fast strokes, especially on pressure-sensitive programs like SAI or Photoshop/Photoshop Elements.
I bought the Bamboo Capture as a mouse replacement for all around use and for professional graphics (Photoshop, InDesign, etc.). The idea of a combined graphics tablet / trackpad seems so obvious that I can't believe there aren't dozens of products to choose from.
Unfortunately, there's currently only the Bamboo line.
I think the hardware is pretty good. It's fairly solid and no-nonsense. My quibbles are minor ones: the USB cable is annoyingly stiff, and short enough that you must plug it into a keyboard or monitor port. The textured buttons on the pad are a goofy excess. For no good reason, the pen lacks Wacom's usual eraser.
The software is the biggest disappointment. This is ultimately good news, because it could be fixed with a driver update. Are you listening Wacom? Please?
Some issues involve missing features: you cannot create program-specific preferences. You have very limited customization options for the tablet and pen buttons. Poor implementation of dragging from the trackpad (there's no easy way to do it without using one of the buttons)
The bigger issues are bugs in the software. These include:
-Occasional pauses in responsiveness
-A bit of "momentum" to the cursor when in touch mode, that leads the cursor to overshoot when your finger stops
-Various kinds of erratic behavior (scrolling working in opposite ways in one program vs. another ... things that are not the case with a mouse or Apple trackpad.
-Choppier scrolling / zooming than what you get with Apple's track pad or iOs devices
-Some really insane scrolling and zooming behavior with the stylus in InDesign (wildly oversensitive response, the whole document will start scrolling and can't be stopped)
I'm learning to work around many of these issues, and am about 90% comfortable with the Bamboo Capture as a mouse replacement. I just wish Wacom would get on it and update the software. This device COULD be ingenious. Some fixes, namely ones that just bring the touchpad behavior up to the standards of Apple's track pad, and a few bug eradications, would make this a nearly perfect input device for photographers.
Update: I've spoken with Wacom's tech support. They confirmed that I have the most up to date driver, and don't have any further advice or information on the next driver update.
Update #2: Wacom has released updated software. It doesn't fix the missing features, but it helps with the smoothness and the worst of the bugs.
Update #3: I just had a chance to use the Wacom Intuos 5 Touch tablet. THIS is the professional version that I was hoping Wacom would give us. It just works better. After playing with it briefly, I'll suggest it isn't perfect. The software offers limited customization compared with what BetterTouchTool offers on the Apple tablet. This could be improved with a software update, or by BTT releasing a version that recognizes the tablet. But it's still pretty good. Much smoother and easier to use than the Bamboo. And it comes with Wacom's pro-level pen, which is just nicer. It also costs a lot more , so it's not in the same category. The Bamboo is still reasonable for a casual user or someone on a budget.
on February 8, 2012
Yes to Graphics, Maybe to Sketchup, No to Autocad.
I decided that I needed to purchase a graphics tablet during the last week of December while I was working on my portfolio. The deadline for submission was the Jan 3 and I was creating diagrams and graphics for my submission. The realization occurred after I spent 5 hours trying to diagram a site plan with a mouse when the same graphic could have been accomplished under an hour using a graphics tablet. Thus, I began my search for a graphics tablet. The first brand I went to was Wacom. I recently saw some of these fancy LCD and I noticed that they just released a new line of tablets so I decided to take the plunge.
I initially decided to purchase the larger version (Wacom Bamboo Create) with the bigger equals better mentality; however, I was quick to realize that it was way too big. For a size comparison, it was approximately the same size as my 13 inch Macbook Pro, maybe even wider. I sent it back to Amazon and got the smaller version.
I've been using the tablet for a few days and the Wacom Capture is great. I am running a late-2009 13 inch Macbook Pro with 8 gigs of ram. The OS I am using is Windows 7 via Bootcamp. The size of the tablet is approximately the size of a sheet of 8.5x11 inch paper with a drawing area of something like a small Moleskin book. The finish and feel is kind of luxurious and it really took me by surprise. When I unboxed it, I was in awe of how nice it felt from a piece of hardware. Very impressive.
The first thing I did after unboxing it was go to the Wacom website and download the latest software and drivers for the Create. I didn't even bother opening up the included CDs since I never use the free software with any of the things I buy. I installed both of the available downloads from the site and then proceeded to restart the computer. Everything went smoothly and then I plugged in the tablet. It registered and off I went. I adjusted some of the settings in the Windows' Control Panel and including settings that another reviewer mentioned regarding the response. I restarted again so everything is registered and working fine.
The first 15 to 20 minutes of using it, I was completely thrown off. I was just shifting the pen over the tablet and it kept selecting things. If the pen is touching the tablet, it selects things. If it is hovering over the active area on the tablet, it moves the pointer. Tapping on the pen would signify a click and holding it down for a while will active the `right-click' menu. The initial setup of the tablet is aligned to the screen of the computer. Click the top corner of the active tablet area will cause the point on the screen to jump to the respective location on the screen. This was immensely annoying because I was not accustomed to it. I recommend switching the tablet to "Mouse" mode instead of "Pen" for the initial use to get acquainted to the new tablet. The option can be found at the "Bamboo Preferences" via "Pop Up Menu."
After getting a taste of the tablet, I opened up Photoshop and started making lines and marks on a blank piece of paper. It's pretty responsive and it worked really well. I then proceeded to test it on Illustrator. It was fantastic. I was able to create diagrams and draw things very accurately. Both CS4 Photoshop and Illustrator worked flawlessly with no noticeable lag. I then opened up a blank Word document and started drawing on it. There was a good chunk of lag probably because it was not meant to handle drawing data efficiently. For graphics, this tablet is effective and works efficiently.
Being a student and intern architect, I spend a ton of my time using AutoCAD, Sketchup and Revit when I am not creating or editing graphics. I started off by testing out AutoCAD with it, and then Revit. I find the tablet struggling with it. I didn't seem to find any additional lag while I was using the tablet in both of these performance intensive software; however, I did end up spending way too more time doing the simplest things on the tablet. The biggest issue/nightmare in CAD drafting or building a model is not having the 3rd mouse button with a scroll wheel. Zooming in and out of areas and objects takes forever. It's like drafting with a touchpad for those who have tried it - It's not fun at all. In the end, I spent more time zooming in and out of the drawings/model than I did creating content. I haven't figured out a good way to navigate in these two programs, but with practice I can see how this is tolerated if the tablet was to be used. For Sketchup, I think this tablet works significantly better than compared to AutoCAD and Revit. The reason for this is due how Sketchup operates. I've set one of my keys on the Wacom pen as the "Middle" button, allowing me to pan across the screen relatively easily. Despite this, however, the tablet still suffers the limitations of zooming in and out. All these programs work, but not that well compared to a 3-Button mouse with a scroll wheel. Also, use "Mouse" model for these software will make your life significantly easier.
If you're working in the building design profession and produce a lot of graphics work, you should get this tablet. It will save a ton of time. If you only do technical drawings and don't do graphics often, stick with the 3 button scrolling mouse be completed faster.
- As the other reviewers mentioned, the cord for the tablet is short. It's about 5 feet long I think. If this is a problem, you can always buy a longer cable or reuse an old one. It uses a micro USB cable and a longer cable is pretty cheap.
- I am right handed and 95% of my typing is done with my left hand. I feel very awkward and out of place when I the tablet is next to the right side of my mac. It creates a gap between my laptop keyboard, the cables from the tablet, and tablet that is fairly wide. Since I need access to my keyboard 90% of the time, I decided to make this gap between the tablet and my keyboard as small as possible. I decided that the most ergonomic and efficient position is to flip the orientation of the tablet. In other words, change the settings to "Left Handed". This way, the gap between keyboard and tablet is very minimal.
- There is no eraser on the opposite end of the pen and there is no need for it. I find it easier to just set a button as "Eraser" and clicking on the button when the need arises. It's much faster than flipping the pen around to erase.
- Some people use this as a touchpad. I'm on a laptop so I will never use the tablet as a touchpad. I keep the option of using it as a touchpad off at all times. This allows me to lay my hand on the tablet while I'm drawing.
on May 24, 2012
The first thing you need to realize with a product like this is that the new range of Bamboo tablets seemed designed specifically to wear down the pen "nibs." The "paper" texture on the capture/connect tablets will rub the nibs into pointy tips which means you will not only end up scratching your tablet, but it also messes up the pressure sensitivity if you're used to drawing with the pen on a slant (which I assume almost everyone is)
The low ratings made me somewhat hesitant to order the product, but after wearing down one pen "nib" after a few hours of use I realized I had to bite the bullet. Luckily, the product turned out OK.
It's true the adhesive only is around the edges. I didn't have a problem with this, but I can see how others might find it annoying. The cover I received covered only the active area on my tablet, and not the whole thing. I also did not receive button covers, but I don't see the point of those anyway. I think the problems others have mentioned might actually be due to receiving the wrong size cover, since mine looks different from the pictures uploaded by other users.
The only area of concern is that applying the cover must be done carefully, as repositioning again and again will dull the adhesive and make it slide around. I suggest the use of a ruler to make sure you apply the cover correctly.
After the cover was on, using my Bamboo became so much more enjoyable - I was no longer scratching the surface or wearing down nibs. The process of applying the cover might have been a little nuisance,but a cover really is necessary to deal with the nib-eating Bamboo surface unless you like constantly buying new nibs.
on February 25, 2012
I bought this tablet for my Graphics Design class in college. We have some Wacom Intuos 4 in the graphics lab, I really enjoyed using it for Illustrator and InDesign assignments, so I wanted one for my own use.
This is definitely not an Intuos, but it is really good. Since I only have used Intuos for about three weeks before buying the Capture, there aren't any feature that I miss (except the smaller size, but more on that later). Some reviewers mentioned lack of eraser as a big deal, maybe because I never used it on Intuos, I don't miss it at all. Erasers are only a shortcut key away anyways. Maybe for a full time designer that spend 10+ hours with their tablets, an eraser a big deal, but for casual users it's totally fine.
Tablet size is enough for casual/non-professional use. Be aware that not all of the gray surface in the pictures is usable, about 75% of the total area. It is clearly marked by lines on the edges of the working rectangle.
Speaking about the size of tablet, the screen size should also be taken into consideration. I use the Capture on my 16" laptop, and I feel that's a good combination. We have 27" iMacs in the graphics lab, so using Intuos 4 would make more sense on those huge screens. I'm sure even with smaller screens, bigger tablets = more precision = better results, but once again, for beginners, Capture's area is big enough.
This tablet allows me to make some decent drawings on Illustrator. Using a tablet doesn't enhance your drawing skills, but it is definitely much better than drawing with a mouse. There's a learning curve to it, but it's not impossibly difficult.
I read a lot of Wacom users complain about the nib wear on the latest generation of Wacom tablets. I haven't used it long enough to comment on nib wear, but it doesn't seem to be used at all after two weeks of use. Perhaps I just don't use it as much as those hard-core design enthusiasts.
I like having the 'paper-like feel' drawing surface, but personally I don't like that feel when I'm using it for InDesign layout purposes. I'd rather have more 'glide' on the surface. So I bought a clear plastic folder, cut a tablet-sized piece and taped it over my Capture. It glides around easier (and perhaps saves the nib from wearing out too quickly). The folder only cost me 50 cents. Also, if I need to have that paper-like feel for precision drawing, I'll just remove the plastic cover and re-tape it afterwards. If you want to do so, use a low-tack tape to prevent tape residue build up on the tablet surface.
For me, the biggest advantage of using a tablet is less fatigue on your wrists. When you're clicking and dragging a lot, such as when you're doing page layout in InDesign, using a tablet will be much easier on your wrists, and also much more precise.
The multi-touch feature is a nice addition to the tablet; sometimes I use it for browsing. I still need to practice the multi-touch gestures, such as flick and scroll up/down, but so far I found the scroll and zoom feature really helpful when I browse. I didn't buy the tablet to use it as a full time track pad, but for me it is an useful extra feature.
Overall, I'd highly recommend this tablet if you're a beginner / early enthusiast of digital graphics design. Or if you're looking for a giant trackpad. If you are a serious enthusiast, perhaps you'd like to consider Bamboo Create (a bigger version of Capture) or Intuos.
on November 3, 2011
I bought a Wacom tablet six years ago. It came with a mouse accessory that I started using more than the pen. With the multitouch integration I have stopped using a mouse entirely. It would be nice if the whole surface had the touch capabilities, but this doesn't degrade the overall experience. My biggest complaint is that the pen doesn't come with an eraser end. You have to go with the larger model to get that feature. As a web and graphic designer, this is disappointing, but again it doesn't degrade the overall experience unless you're used to having it. Get this model if you would like fine-control of your movements, want something that will replace your mouse, and if paying $100 more just for a bigger tablet is too much.
Side note: I bought the wireless adapter, and it works great. No noticeable lag and the device is quickly recognized by my Windows 7 PC (yes I'm a designer using a Windows machine). I wish I could get through the week on a single charge. A full charge for me works for about 3.5 days at work. I feel that I have to turn it off if I know I'll be away for a while (it does have auto-off).
on October 6, 2011
I can't believe I haven't used a tablet before. I spend a lot of time in Photoshop and am pretty handy with a mouse, but this tablet makes things so much easier. Looking at the screen while using the tablet was not a problem for me as I've been doing it with a mouse in Photoshop for years.
This tablet installed without a hitch. I didn't install Elements as I have it's big brother on my machine and I have not used the Nik filters yet as I have a lot of Photoshop Plugins that I'm used to.
The pen is pressure sensitive and I found myself adapting to it in hardly anytime at all. It really is comfortable and easy to use. If you spend anytime at all in Photoshop and don't have a tablet, like I didn't, you'll be doing yourself a favor by getting one and this one is easy to use and won't break the bank.
on March 3, 2012
I received this tablet a few days ago. Wacom down plays it like its meant for only picture editing, but I found it to be just as useful for digital art. My complaint is that it sometimes decides not to track the mouse. I simply unplug it and plug it back. I'm sure most would find that annoying, but for the most part this tablet has been to useful to really care about that. If you're in a toss up between the capture and the create, it's all about the space you are working in. They both have the same levels of pressure, so unless you NEED that space for your art don't worry about it. Good overall, the software works and I learned to use it in minutes and I feel like a master within a few days. Good job wacom, good job amazon.
on January 4, 2012
I've never used a pen tablet before so I had nothing to compare this one to. However, I am starting to do a lot more work in Photoshop and using the mouse was just getting ridiculous. In that sense, this tablet was a life saver. Or maybe I should say it was a hand and wrist saver. My hands and fingers don't cramp up like they used to with the mouse. Using the tablet gives me much greater control over my fine detail work and feels much more natural in the hand. The pen is pressure sensitive, so more pressure makes a darker line in Photoshop, which is a nice feature.
A few things you should be aware of:
1) No eraser on the pen. Maybe the higher end versions have that.
2) The included software is a little deceptive. The product description says "Included in the box is a full version of Photoshop Elements and Nik Color Filters to help you get started quickly." But when you install NIK Color Efex Pro off the bundle DVD it tells you it's just a 15-day trial version. (Not surprising, the NIK software starts at $99.95 on their website; no way they are going to give it away for free). But it may be a surprise to others who don't know. The Autodesk Sketchbook Express software is also a 15-day trial version. I didn't install the Photoshop Elements software since I already have Photoshop CS5 so I don't know if that's a trial version, or not, but I think Wacom should be more explicit about what you're actually getting in the product description. If you think you might want to try these out, I recommend ignoring the bundle software and downloading the latest trial versions for free directly from the developers' websites.
3) The Evernote software doesn't currently support ink notes on the Mac yet, so if you are an Evernote user on a Mac and think you're now going to be able to create ink notes using the pen tablet, you won't. But check to make sure there hasn't been some Evernote upgrade since this review was posted; they add new features all the time. (This is more an Evernote issue than a Wacom issue, but it was a surprise to me when I found out, and it's one less thing I can use my tablet for...)
Aside from those things, I am very pleased with my Wacom tablet. It's a good, solid entry-level pen tablet for a photographer who is learning Photoshop.