Saturday, June 29, 2013

Devices, Gadgets and Gear, Oh My: Bamboo Tablet and Stylus

The most recent gadget I've aquired is the Wacom Bamboo Create tablet and Stylus. I am still looking for some way of taking notes naturally and digitally so that I can store them and search them in Evernote. This is one of the reasons why I use the Note II and why I have a Jot Stylus for the iPad. None of those really do a great job of being a digital notepad. The palm rejection on the iPad is nonexistent and the Note II, as big as it is for a phone, is too small too really take notes on easily. The Create tablet solves both of those problems. The Create has excellent palm rejection even though it is both an active digitizer and a multi-touch surface and is plenty large enough to take notes on.

The tablet has physical buttons that can be programmed for many uses and can operate as a mouse as well. I added the wireless connectivity set to the tablet which consists of a small wireless USB dongle, a wireless card for the tablet, and a rechargeable battery. With this kit you can put the tablet anywhere no longer tied to the micro USB cable that normally connects it.

The Bamboo Stylus is a great though large stylus that is well balanced and textured. It has buttons to right click which is also programmable. Writing with it is a dream, and the textured top of the tablet makes for an almost paper like experience. It has a replaceable tip and an active eraser.



One problem I ran across I didn't expect is drawing on the tablet while looking at the screen. I have not gotten used to the way that works, I am used to writing on paper while looking at the paper and seeing the output right there, looking at the monitor while writing really throws me off. With the active digitizer at least the pointer on screen can be lined up without marking on the note or drawing. While I don't have much experience with it yet and because of that notes and drawings are still very rough, but as I use it more I am sure it will improve to the point where my notes are legible and searchable. Another problem is that it can only be oriented to the left or right in landscape mode. This is fine for drawing I am sure, but when taking notes the tablet just feels odd not being in portrait orientation. The last oddity is how just small the actual drawing surface is compared to the size of the tablet. If you look at one of the photos at full size you will notice small marks denoting the corners of the active part of the tablet, and it is quite small.

Which brings me to the only real problem with the Wacom Bamboo tablet as a product, instead of things that only bother me and the rest of the world get along with just fine, Wacom tablets all require proprietary drivers that are only available for Windows and OS X. This severely limits the ways I can use the Bamboo. For example if this worked with my Chromebook I would have everything I need in one small and light package. Unfortunately, as near as I can tell, Chromebooks, Linux, iOS and Android are all left out in the cold. Hopefully some day Wacom and Google will get together and let the Wacom tablet line function like any other mouse or touch-pad plugged into the USB port.

Since I don't really have the experience I would like with the Wacom Bamboo Create, I really can't recommend or pan it. I will return to this review when I have spent more time on it and update my review to reflect those experiences.

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