Bam­boo Spark

Draw ing dig­its From pa­per to cloud, Bam­boo’s lat­est in­put de­vice prom­ises to digi­tise your pa­per notes and sketches with sim­plic­ity and style

ImagineFX: Sci-fi & Fantasy Art magazine - - Reviews -

From pa­per to cloud, Bam­boo’s lat­est in­put de­vice prom­ises to digi­tise your pa­per notes and sketches with sim­plic­ity and style.

the Bam­boo Spark is billed as a ‘smart fo­lio’ for hand­writ­ten note-tak­ing and sketch­ing with pen and pa­per. ‘Smart’ refers to the de­vice’s built-in elec­tro­mag­netic res­o­nance sen­sor, which en­ables it to digi­tise doo­dles and sync them to the cloud for on­line stor­age/shar­ing via the Bam­boo iOS/An­droid app.

The Spark comes in three vari­a­tions. The Cover, which dou­bles as an iPad Air case; the Sleeve, which holds any tablet with a screen up to 9.7 di­ag­o­nal inches wide; and the Pocket, which has an in­line smart­phone stow­away and is re­viewed here. All three ver­sions have an in­ter­nal mem­ory ca­pa­ble of stor­ing 100 digi­tised pages, which are queued un­til you next sync with the app. Each version also comes with a 30-page A5 pa­per notepad, which can be re­placed with a sta­tionery shop equiv­a­lent, and a pres­sure-sen­si­tive Wa­com ball­point pen, which can’t.

The case it­self feels well built. An on/ off switch sits at the bot­tom of the spine and a sep­a­rate push but­ton sits at the cen­tre for pair­ing/sync­ing your de­vice to the Bam­boo app (a quick and sim­ple process), as well as for cap­tur­ing pages of notes. An LED above the but­ton lights up green when the Spark is on and turns blue the mo­ment pen touches pa­per, to in­di­cate that cap­ture has be­gun.

The pen comes with two car­tridge re­fills and is weighted like a typ­i­cal ball­point. It’s smooth to touch, has a com­fort­able grip and lays ink neatly. But while its pres­sure sen­si­tiv­ity works fine for note-tak­ing and sim­ple sketch­ing, more de­tailed work fails to con­vert to dig­i­tal so well and the re­sult doesn’t hold a can­dle to a ded­i­cated sty­lus/tablet combo. Dig­i­tal ‘smudg­ing’ can also oc­cur if you ac­ci­den­tally move or crease the notepa­per when draw­ing, since it’s the pen strokes that are cap­tured rather than the fi­nal sketch. The up­shot, though, is that the app’s Split Im­age fea­ture en­ables you re­play a timeline of your strokes and save two im­ages ei­ther side of any point in your draw­ing process.

Artists who like to pen sim­ple sketches on pa­per should enjoy us­ing the Spark. But if your early drafts tend to get messy, you may want to stick with tried-and-tested tra­di­tion.

You can re­play a timeline of your strokes and save two im­ages ei­ther side of any point in your draw­ing process

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