Top positive review
258 people found this helpful
Pretty solid, but not perfect.
on December 12, 2008
I own both this tablet and the wacom bamboo, so this is more a comparison than a proper review.
First, I would like to rebut some things said here, which may have been based on an older version of the driver/hardware, or maybe were just wrong. The most recent version of the driver (3.32) supports both relative as well as absolution positioning. It works on multiple displays, (I have two 1600x1200, displays one in landscape mode) and the driver software lets you select just a portion of your display for absolute positioning, and/or a portion of the tablet as the active region.
That said, the configuration options can be a little buggy, but once set the tablet works as configured.
The tablet's X,Y tracking is smooth, fast and precise, I don't notice a difference between it and the bamboo. I did the same thing another reviewer did, and used a straightedge to check and see if the digitizer was straight. I got nice parallel lines. Maybe, he was using something more precise than me, but I am fairly happy with the X,Y behavior. It works fantastically for handwriting recognition, basic drawing, and as a mouse replacement. Others, have said the response time was slower, but I didn't notice any difference, even with a lot of repetitive sketching type stroke action. That said, if you really go at it, both pads tend to lag slightly even on a fairly fast machine. The lag is noticeable after a lot of very rapid hashing when I lift the pen it continues for ~1/10 of a second. This is possibly the application and not the pad.
That said, the Z axis pressure sensitivity isn't to my liking. The pen tip has a very noticeable spring action and deflects a few millimeters into the pen body as pressure is applied. Using the pen control panel it seems pretty linear and reliable. In some of the software I was using, it seemed to misbehave. Sometimes it would draw heavy lines when I wasn't using much pressure after drawing a heavy line, other times I was unable to draw multiple heavy lines one right after the other. I suspect that this is a software problem that may get worked out in the future, but at the moment can be a real downer if your trying to use it to vary line width, or brush application. Also, as someone else stated, the pressure sensitivity works better if the pen is held vertically instead of at a more natural angle. I removed 1 star for the z axis behavior.
To me, the pen actually feels better than the bamboo pen. The battery weight gives it a nice feeling, even if it makes it slightly top heavy. The buttons on the side took me a little while to accept. They seem a little too high on the pen body. Trying to right click on small items on the screen with the pen button (both of them can be configured) was difficult. I either have the hold the pen in a personally unatural way, or move my fingers without moving the pen to click the button. Frankly, the pen feels cheap, but the bamboo pen (especially the eraser) has an even cheaper feel and the buttons aren't any better.
The one place the vistablet is significantly better than the bamboo is the pen holder. Does anyone even care about that? Its like the mouse the bamboo comes with, its OK but who cares. Similarly, I don't use the assignable "buttons" on the pad, because I have a keyboard (which also has assignable buttons I don't use).
Finally, the software it comes with is lousy. The bamboo ships with photoshop elements, corel painter essentials, and Nik Color Efex Pro plug-ins for photoshop. This probably works out to the difference in price by itself, if you were actually going to purchase those titles or just end up using them (or for that matter using them for competitive upgrades). I knock a 1/2 star off for this, but that might not even be fair, as a lot of people either already have software or end up buying an unrelated product.
In the end, 3 1/2 stars. This depends on how much you intend to use the pressure sensitivity, or if it behaves properly with your software package. If the pressure sensitivity gets fixed, with a driver update, or works fine in different software packages, I could give this a 5 star rating. If it behaves poorly across the board, or is fundamentally an instability in the hardware, I would have to rate this pad a 3.