Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Bamboo Fun

OK, time to take a break from TF2 (Team Fortress 2) for a bit, and review an item! (Actually, it’s been sitting on my desk since Tuesday, the 18th.)

Yay! My first tablet has arrived! I got it at for a cool $92. I specifically got the Wacom Bamboo Fun (the Small, Silver version). This tablet JUST came out on Saturday (Sept. 15th!) and there were no reviews for it, so I’ll possibly be one of the first. The tablet’s active area is 6 inches wide and 4 inches high.

When you go to first open the box, look at the bottom of it! That’s where you open it! I almost ripped my whole box in two because I started at the top…figures they’d do it backwards.

Please leave your mouse on a picture to see a tooltip description of it.
Click a picture to see a bigger version of it.

The Box The Box - InsideBamboo 'Fun' indeed

Let’s start to look at the actual product:

The tablet/pen Mouse & Software case The pen/extra tipsUSB Cord & Pen Stand

And finally, the software. The black CD has the software/drivers on it, specifically Pen Tablet Driver v5.03. Everything works fine with Vista Ultimate 64bit.

Extras Software

Finally, here’s everything laid out in the real world, not some flashy marketing website:

Finally out In placeGlowly blue

FYI: That blue ring above pulsates slowly while the tablet isn’t in use, and I don’t think there’s a way with the software to turn it off. There’s no updated software or drivers for this product yet on Wacom’s website (it’s not even listed under Downloads!) as the product is just so damn new!

The software itself is very useful. It’ll bring you through a painless driver install, along with a nice tutorial, which teaches you how to use the pen and mouse. What’s nice about it is that you can tell the tablet’s active area what to span: a specific portion of one monitor, a whole monitor, or even multiple monitors! You can even set a specific portion of the tablet active to keep it in check with the same proportions as your monitor, as most flat panel monitors today aren’t a native 4:3 ratio, and this tablet is.

I opened up ArtRage and started drawing…very cool! You’ll probably need to adjust the pressure sensitivity to match what fits you best, but it’s a great experience to see your ideas come on screen at the flick of a pen. I tried the mouse for a bit and then shoved it in a drawer. I’m not really interested in it as I already have another mouse, but hey…fun extra! The bad thing about this is that the mouse only works on the active area of the tablet itself.

One of the main differences between the Bamboo and the Bamboo Fun is that the Bamboo Fun comes with software, a mouse and the pen itself has an eraser on the other end, while the Bamboo Fun lacks all these things. The $20 difference in price point also nets you the option to choose a couple different colors. I say for $20 more, get all the options! Adobe Photoshop Elements 5.0 for Windows (4.0 for Mac) is worth over $100 alone…I should know, as I already own it! It’s a very useful piece of software, and fits all but the most professional needs. (That’s what the real Photoshop is for!) I have no idea about the other software — Corel Painter Essentials 3.0 and Nik Color Efex Pro 2 GE — but from what I’ve seen from Wacom, I’m sure it’s not as crappy as some of the other software I’ve seen thrown in with printers or cameras.

I hope I helped any potential buyers! (

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