New Wacom rival or bargain basement gimmick?
£18.99 Developer Astropad, astropad.com
Works with iPad Version 1.1
Is Wacom looking over its shoulder asking who the new kid right on its heels is? Or is the race over before it has begun? Astropad offers the ability to use your iPad as a graphics tablet, so we wanted to know if it’s as good as it sounds.
Before starting, you must ensure you have up-to-date operating systems on both devices. The next important thing to do is ensure your stylus is calibrated with the software. You do this via a rather nifty box that prompts you to touch your stylus against the iPad. As you do so, you are told the sync is successful.
There is a fair bit of tweaking required by specifying which area of your Mac screen your iPad would use, and we also had to move around a few toolbars to ensure they fitted into the workspace.
After playing with Astropad for a while, we were struck by one recurring issue: a worrying lack of accuracy. On a number of occasions we tried to locate the brush selection palette and were met with a red cross telling us Astropad couldn’t do what we were asking of it. Another issue was the latency on the iPad – often newly-selected areas appeared pixelated and difficult to see clearly – a rather important factor when you consider what the software’s purpose is.
That said, it does have many endearing features, most importantly the portability factor. It’s very easy to forget you are using your iPad as a graphics tablet and, being gadget lovers, we were really taken with that. James Robinson