Genius MousePen i608 review

Compared to its better-known competitors from Wacom, Genius’ £67.99 MousePen i608 graphics tablet offers more real estate for less money. Its 8 x 6in working area is roughly the same as that offered by Wacom’s £169 Bamboo Fun, and is much larger than the 5.8 x 3.6in surface of the £75 Bamboo Pen and Touch. Overall, though, this tablet doesn’t measure up to Wacom’s latest offerings.

First, the good news. The MousePen’s pen offers 1,024 levels of pressure sensitivity – the same as most of Wacom’s models – and works well in graphics applications such as Photoshop Elements. The tablet’s drawing area is surrounded by 29 small shortcut keys that you use to perform actions such as cutting, pasting and launching applications. You don’t get multi-touch input like that offered by the Bamboos; instead, like earlier Bamboo models, the MousePen comes with a wireless three-button mouse that uses the tablet as a mousepad – handy when it comes to scrolling through pages, or browsing the internet. It connects to your Mac via USB.

Now, the bad news. We found this tablet disappointing in several respects. Unlike Wacom’s pen, its pen requires an AAA battery; Genius warns against storing the pen in a position with its tip depressed because it will transmit RF signals when activated and this will drain the battery. One significant omission from the pen is that there’s no eraser on the end for rubbing out mistakes in your digital art, something Wacom users will be accustomed to. The pen’s buttons are rubbery nubs that are harder to find and press than those on Wacom’s pen. And the three-button scroll wheel mouse is both undersized and feels cheap.

Driver software is available for the Mac, which lets you customise the tablet’s programmable keys. The MousePen also includes utilities for activities such as inserting handwritten notes in email and word-processing documents, but they’re for Windows users only. And, unlike the Bamboo tablets, it doesn’t come with full editions of graphics programs, such as Corel Painter or Photoshop Elements, and the demo versions it ships with are Windows only.

OUR VERDICT

The Genius MousePen i608 graphics tablet’s basic drawing functionality is good enough that it’s worth considering if you’re on a tight budget, want a spacious work surface, and don’t much care about a mouse or bundled software. However, we think most people will be happier spending their money on the smaller Wacom Bamboo Pen and Touch, or splurging on the costlier-but-cooler Bamboo Fun.

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