Bamboo Fun review

The second-generation Wacom Bamboo is billed as the company’s first interactive tablet that merges multitouch functionality with pen tablet technology. Two fingers, one pen – potentially the best of both worlds then, all wrapped in a stylish slimmer design. The silver Bamboo Fun, available in Small and Medium sizes, is aimed at artists, illustrators, and anyone wanting to break away from the tyranny of mouse and keyboard. The price reflects Wacom’s hopes that the Bamboo range will have widespread appeal, even among those who haven’t used a tablet before.

The redesign places the ExpressKeys, for quick function access, to one side, allowing the tablet to be flipped for right- and left-hand use. This, along with ExpressKeys shortcuts, tablet speed and two-finger multitouch gestures can be modified in System Preferences.

Mastering the ability to scroll, zoom, rotate and the like took a while, although anyone familiar with the iPhone or iPod touch shouldn’t find the learning curve too steep. Wacom offers a useful interactive tutorial to get you started and it’s worth spending time customising settings to get the best out of the touch functions. For anything creative or artistic the Bamboo Fun is an exceptional choice for the price, with pen pressure sensitivity improved from 512 to 1,024 levels for extra precision and control. The multitouch functionality applies to just about everything on your Mac including browsing websites, which may help RSI sufferers ease the repetition of daily tasks.

The pen slots into a Levi’s style red tag on the side of the tablet when not in use. The pen itself looks and feels less cheap than its predecessor but lacks the finesse of the superior and pricier Intuos4. Tablet build is solid, although a detachable USB lead, for storage or replacement, would have been useful. For complete newbies, Wacom includes entry-level but useful software with the tablet.

OUR VERDICT

Wacom deserves full marks for innovation and continuing to set the standard for interactive displays, graphics tablets and pens. After only a brief introduction many will find it more intuitive to use than a mouse and an indispensible input device. The addition of multitouch functionality, alongside the improved pen, is more than mere novelty and is, hopefully, just the start of a major multitouch overhaul for the entire Wacom range.

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