365 of 395 people found the following review helpful
Possibly the best tablet yet, but not flawless
, October 12, 2011
This review is from: Wacom Bamboo Capture Pen and Touch Tablet (CTH470) (Personal Computers)
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.
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