oh so sensitive Wacom’s latest tablet is more a glorified trackpad, complete with gesture support Price £60 Company Wacom Web www.wacom.com Contact 020 7744 0831
This flash new tablet is more of a glorified trackpad, complete with gesture support.
What do you get when you cross a graphics tablet with a trackpad? Probably something like the Bamboo Pad. It attempts to combine the best of both worlds by providing a small tablet area with a pressure-sensitive stylus and support for multi-touch gestures, as used in Mac OS and now also Windows 7 and 8.
It’s available in four different colours, and is entirely wireless, running off standard AAA batteries. The dinky pad connects to your computer via a microscopic wireless connector, which you plug into a USB port. This uses a proprietary system so there’s no faffing around with Bluetooth pairing – just turn on the Pad and it’s ready to go.
If using the Pad on the Mac, you need to download and install a driver – a minor inconvenience that does, however, ensure that all the Pad’s features work with apps that support it. On a Windows PC, the Pad is installed as a standard USB input device. As a result, you can only use its pressure sensitivity in the few native Windows Ink applications available, such as Microsoft Office and Wacom’s basic Bamboo Page app. Photoshop and Painter won’t recognise the Pad’s pressure sensitivity at all in Windows. It’s something of a glaring omission for users of the Microsoft OS and one that Wacom doesn’t make at all clear in its promotional material.
Having said that, Wacom is pitching the Pad as a general-purpose touchpad with basic stylus support for doodling and writing, rather than a fully fledged tablet. Viewed as such, it works perfectly well. You can sketch quite happily, if not overly comfortably, on its small surface, once you get used to the way the square area maps to the rectangle of your screen. Regardless of the software being used, the Pad is also good at differentiating between
We found gesture recognition on the Pad to be hit-and-miss, often zooming in or out when we wanted to scroll
pen input and the palm of your hand resting on its surface.
We found gesture recognition on the Pad to be hit-and-miss, though, often zooming in or out when we wanted to scroll. It’s nowhere near as reliable as a Magic Trackpad, but it’s considerably cheaper and offers stylus support.
In short, if you don’t expect miracles from the Pad then you won’t be disappointed. Indeed, it would probably make an ideal secondary tablet, especially for use with a laptop given its portability.
The Bamboo comes in four vibrant colours, all of which provide fine distraction for when the Pad doesn’t work how you want it to.
The Bamboo Pad is like a hybrid between a drawing tablet and a trackpad with gesture support.