Wacom Bamboo full review

For those in the know, Wacom has produced a succession of ever more attractive pen tablets designed to free the creative mind from endless keyboard and mouse repetition.

With a range that caters for everyone from enthusiast to pro, available in sizes from petite to XXL, Wacom has a tough job introducing new models. However the Wacom Bamboo successfully expands the range further by targeting new users and new tasks that are routinely more practical than creative. Want to navigate through documents, annotate spreadsheets and diagrams, browse the web and digitally sign emails? Then the Bamboo might be for you.

The idea takes a while to get used to, even for seasoned Wacom users, activating the often-overlooked handwriting recognition features in applications like Word and Apple’s own Ink. With Ink particularly you need to customise your settings to ensure your handiwork doesn’t resemble Egyptian hieroglyphics and switch handwriting recognition off in System Preferences when using applications such as Photoshop. Patience is a virtue and with practice Bamboo makes perfect sense, providing respite from the strains, pains and RSI concerns associated with keyboard and mouse. A lightweight cushioned ergonomic pen adds a level of hands-on subtlety to even the most robotic of tasks.

With an active area the size of a postcard, space for an iPod click wheel-like Touch Ring and four ExpressKeys, the Bamboo packs a lot in. The Touch Ring allows for instant zooming and scrolling while the ExpressKeys can be customised so that most commonly used commands, such as cut or paste, can be accessed at the touch of one button. Again this requires a level of fine-tuning.

Wacom hasn’t sacrificed style for functionality here, with the Bamboo combing sleek matt and gloss black styling with a blue backlight that illuminates the ExpressKeys. One small gripe is the lack of a clip or well to store the pen when on the move, as the diminutive Bamboo would make an ideal laptop companion. Unlike the similarly priced Graphire4 the Bamboo is A6 wide, which will suit anyone with a widescreen monitor.

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