VisTablet Original review

The VisTablet Original is billed as the ‘new standard’, which is a big claim to live up to when, for many, Wacom has single-handedly set the standard for graphic tablets. Good mechanics combined with good looks has made Wacom hard to beat, but for those on a budget Wacom’s Intuos and Cintiq range are serious investments.

Falling between the VisTablet Touch Screen Monitor and VisTablet Mini Mouse, the Original VisTablet, is their mid-range offering. With a 12.1in widescreen tracing surface it offers ample space for all but giants to express their artistic side.

Styled in slate grey and white the VisTablet Original feels solid yet unspectacular thanks to its clear Windows origins. The Internet Explorer logo (and on its smaller sibling Windows XP and Vista badges) doesn’t help. This may be an issue if VisTablet ever hopes to compete with Wacom for the creative Mac market. Style shortcomings aside, VisTablet Original performs well. We had some initial issues with the supplied Mac supplied drivers, but they were rectified by an updated download.

Offering 2,000lpi resolution and 1,024 levels of pen pressure sensitivity the VisTablet Original performs pretty well. In fact performance was a pleasant surprise compared to several Wacom rivals previously reviewed. Twelve programmable keys offer some scope for fine-tuning the software and it would be good to think that the manufacturer intends to invest some R&D in developing and fine-tuning Mac support further. A little annoyingly, the tablet’s settings appear each time you start your Mac, regardless of your tablet being connected by USB, and it would be good to see the USB lead detachable for storage and travel.

The supplied pen is the battery driven kind, a little fiddly to fit and bulky to those who have tried Wacom’s streamlined battery free technology. A new dedicated EU-wide support side should hopefully start selling replacement pen nibs, although two replacements are supplied as standard.

(In the UK the VisTablet Original is distributed by Douglas Stewart EDU)

OUR VERDICT

VisTablet Original deserves kudos for taking on Wacom in a market it dominates, particularly among Mac users. If VisTablet can just lose the clear Windows origins, fine-tune the Mac OS X drivers and make over the tablet’s style failings it could be onto a winner.

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