Customer Reviews: VT 12-Inch Touch Screen Graphic Pen Tablet (White)
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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.
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on February 1, 2008
This tablet is okay for what it is, but don't expect the quality and flexibility of more reliable brands.

Let me start by saying that I *really* wanted this tablet to be awesome, as a cheap alternative to Wacom, despite the fact that the company is obviously marketing the tablet through 'customer' reviews (see above). I'm trying to build my own Cintiq-style tablet from a tablet and an LCD monitor, so durability of the casing and appearance don't really matter to me. Those weren't the only problems, however.

First, even the fine print is a little misleading: the true active area on this tablet is 9.5" by 5.5". The 10x6.25 figure includes the massive ring of buttons around the drawing area, which is not active for drawing, only for hitting those buttons.

I could live with that, because I don't need a huge tablet. However, after installing the drivers I noticed that performance is sluggish if you're doing anything more than waving your mouse around the desktop. Do not attempt this tablet with any kind of gaming; you will get pwned.

As an art tablet, the VisTablet still has some drawbacks. It is jumpy at times, and the software provided gives you little to no customization: you cannot specify, for example, how much screen area the tablet should control, or which monitor in a dual monitor setup you want to work in: the tablet will automatically span your full system resolution, meaning the higher resolution your system (especially dual monitor systems) the sloppier the tablet performs. These features are standard in Wacom drivers. What gives?

Then pen itself feels hollow, and requires a battery (unlike other brands). While the specifications suggest that the software detects pen tilt, I see no evidence of that either in Photoshop, or in some software I have to pull the pen data from the OS.

I gave it two stars out of pity, but frankly your money is better spent elsewhere.
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on January 15, 2009
My daughter just purchased this product with money she saved from Christmas. Upon installing the driver for it (most recent one from website v3.32), it worked exactly as described with one problem unrelated to actually using the tablet. It would interfere with some of the CD-ROM games installed on the computer. Certain of the games would freeze up upon opening, but would go back to playing normally when the driver was uninstalled. I called Vistablet tech support and was able to talk with a tech support that spoke English as a first language and who was extremely nice and helpful. The problem was solved with them sending me a "gaming driver" that is identical in all respects to the "normal" driver with the exception of having an added option available to "quit" the driver by simply right-clicking the icon on the taskbar. Once I used that feature, the games worked as they always did. Problem solved.

Since this is the first tablet we have owned, and my daughter is just becoming involved in that aspect of graphics, we have no other experiences with tablets to compare this to, however, we have found that it is simple and easy to work with, it is easy to draw with as well as use the "mouse" features, and works well with our graphics program. Certainly, for the money we spent, it has been well worth it, and I would certainly recommend this tablet to others.
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on February 12, 2011
I am a web/graphic designer and I own a Wacom Intuos 3 that I use extensively at home. I have frequent wrist problems and use the tablet has a replacement for my mouse. At home, I use the tablet 95% of the time and my mouse the other 5%. Lugging my Intuos to work and home again became tiring so I purchased the VisTablet for work. I was curious about the VisTablet and was hoping it would be a viable alternative to the more expensive Wacom tablets.

When I first opened the box, I was impressed by the size, which was considerably smaller then the Intuos 3 while still having a comparable working surface. After the initial positive impression, I encountered many things that altered my opinion of the VisTablet. The pen is the first problem. I think it is very poorly designed. As someone with wrist issues, it is very uncomfortable to use for more then 5-10 minutes. It is made of smooth plastic and has a streamlined shape - which looks good but means my hand slips on the plastic when using it all day. It causes me to grip the pen tighter, causing wrist pain. (The Wacom pen has a rubberized coating and a shoulder near the tip that prevents slipping when using the pen.) I looked on the VisTablet website for other pen options but the only alternative I found was the same design in a different color. I resorted to wrapping a self-adhesive bandage around the barrel of the pen so I could actually use it. The battery in the top of the pen also causes it to feel top heavy, but you get used to that.

Another issue with the pen is the spring-action when using it. You need to press the pen firmly to the surface to register a click, which means I am gripping the pen even tighter, which means more wrist pain. Something else that may seem minor is the function of the double-click button. Double-clicking and dragging usually means you can select multiple whole words as you drag. It is a time-saver when repeatedly selecting text. For some reason, the VisTablet does not allow you to do this with the double-click button (double-clicking selects only one word). It only works when you double-press and drag on the tablet. I believe this is a flaw in the software design because my Intuos does this correctly. I use the feature a lot so this is sometimes a major annoyance. The pen tip also wears very easily. I noticed wear on the tip after two weeks of use. My Intuos is over 3 years old and I have not replaced the tip or noticed wear (not that it is not wearing at all, just that it is not noticeable).

Enough about the pen, now onto the tablet. The macros around the edge seem like a good idea until you actually start to use the tablet. I am a bit of a keyboard shortcut junkie, which is very helpful with graphic design. Programs I use every day like Photoshop and Illustrator make extensive use of keyboard shortcuts. Some of these are used WHILE using the mouse (or tablet) like panning using the spacebar and selecting multiple objects with the shift or control keys. These are the kind of things I would assign to macros, which doesn't work because you need the pen to activate the macro while clicking something. The majority of the time, actual keyboard shortcuts are much more efficient than the macro "buttons". (The Intuos tablet has actual buttons that you can assign shortcuts, which work the way I use them.) I was also frustrated when I first attempted to assign shortcuts to the macros, the interface is difficult to use. Since then, I just ignore them. They are more in the way than anything else. Even if you don't assign something to them, the pen still jumps to the macros when it gets close to them. When using the scroll bar or program menus, the pen sometimes jumps to the macro "buttons" and I have to move the pen away from the edges of the tablet so I can try again. I also miss the scrolling touch-strip on the Intuos 3 (replaced by a touch ring on the Intuos 4).

I had tracking issues with the tablet within the first month. I sent it back and they sent me a replacement tablet. They said it was probably a software conflict since they couldn't duplicate the problem. So far, the problem seems to have disappeared.

My conclusion is this tablet was not really designed for constant use by professionals. It was designed for occasional use by hobbyists. The pen is uncomfortable to use, the macros are not as usable as they appear and the software and drivers could use some work. If you are considering purchasing a tablet, my advice is to think about how you will use the tablet. If it is only for occasional use and you need to save money, this may be a good option for you. However, if you have the money, you will be using it very frequently or for long periods of time, or if you have wrist problems, get a Wacom tablet (Intuos or higher). I have never regretted purchasing my Intuos 3 tablet.

P.S. I do not work for Wacom, I am just an honest customer giving an honest opinion.
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on February 21, 2009
Anyone looking to get a tablet for their computer yet don't necessarily consider themselves an 'artist' or don't want to spend $400+ on a Wacom tablet should seriously consider this one. Windows XP and Vista compatibility is just the start. It has pressure sensitivity and many shortcut areas--most are configurable. It also has a large 9" × 12" area and has a usable area that has the same width:height ratio as a widescreen monitor. The cover can lift off so you can print your own background with images in the shortcut areas, if you so wish, replacing one of the two that come with it. I'd say this tablet is a clear winner, even if it doesn't have Wacom's patented batteryless stylus with the fancy eraser on the other tip.

The only complaint I have with this tablet is that, for PC gamers, there's a bit of a caveat. The driver that comes with it, as well as the one available on their web site have some sort of compatibility issues with DirectX or something, as it prevented me from firing up Second Life and Fallout 3 (those were the only ones I tested) until I uninstalled the driver.

Thankfully, however, I was able to contact their customer service and receive a driver through email that was custom-fixed not to cause that conflict anymore, thanks to a very courteous and personable customer service rep. that was very quick to respond.

Thus, I have to give this item four stars because of the headaches the drivers caused me. If you don't game, or if you don't mind contacting their tech support for a gamer-fixed driver, then nothing should stop you from getting this wonderfully-priced tablet!
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on November 16, 2009
I've had the Vistablet for over a year and a half. It is the first and only tablet I've used so I can't compare it to another brand. I can say that it has been consistently dependable. I am most impressed with the service I've received from Vistablet. All calls are returned, and the technical support is awesome. I feel I can call these folks anytime and they will be receptive and patient with me. When I purchased Vistablet, I dreaded the installation process (on any product) and hate to read instructions, the folks at Vistablet talked me through the process - after hours.

I am an artist and need a solid tool, the Vistablet hasn't disappointed me yet.
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on March 15, 2012
I've had it for 1 day (actually a few hours) and I've got it all packed up and ready to ship back. Here's why:

Pros: Well it's the largest tablet I've ever had. Fairly cheap for its size class. Plus it had nifty programable button areas. It's pretty thin. So that's good. Um... nice shade of grey?

Cons: Can't speak for the PC crowd but it has some poor software engineering for us Mac people. You get a driver and an app that lets you program the extra "buttons". That's about it. Can't localize it to a specific screen (if you have multiple screens) so it just waddles from screen to screen like a mouse. The motion is very jerky and unresponsive at times. Forget about drawing in Photoshop or Illustrator. If you do try to draw and you DO have two screens, the action is again very rough and unresponsive. The lines aren't straight - very jagged. I had a small Wacom board before I decided to "upgrade" and man was that smooth.

It's just disappointing really. I was really looking forward to finishing a project with it... but now I need to get another one and probably spend more money. Or get a smaller one.

In short, get it if you want to mess around a bit or use it instead of a mouse (and you have a PC maybe). But if you're a pro or take drawing/illustrating seriously, this one's not for you.
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on November 30, 2008
The tablet works well, has a good size, and is certainly a bargain. The one thing I'd like to see improved is some more tips and guidance about making the transition from mouse to pen and tablet. Documentation, at least insofar as using it with various programs such as Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, or Firewords, is pretty much non-existent, and for a person who has been using a mouse for years, flying blind while trying to learn the best way to do things with the pen is not as productive as it might be. If the manufacturer would invest some time in documents that would help buyers become more productive faster, their product would seem even more valuable and indispensable.
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on June 17, 2008
I purchased this product and cannot even get it to install properly. Customer service was very nice but the person who can help with tech support is a 3rd party and never called me back. I spent 7 frustrating hours trying to get this to work. It will be sent back tomorrow. Don't waste the money.

**Please note: Both 5 star reviewers work for vistablet. I spoke to K. Rodriguez on the phone several times. Don't be fooled. Read up on this product before purchasing.
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on September 12, 2008
I was confused at first because it's my first time using a tablet. But I called the company and got a free demo and now make great use of my tablet! The staff was very good at explaining how to use the product on my Mac laptop.
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