IF you love editing photographs or find the thrill of creating your own computerised paintings too irresistible — then the Wacom Bamboo pen and touch is for you.
The Wacom Bamboo tablet is available in three different sizes and budgets. Starting with the ordinary Bamboo Pen at Touch at £74.99 ranging through to the medium-sized Fun Pen and Touch at £169.99.
The version I tested — the small-sized Fun Pen and Touch, sits in the middle at £89.99.
Whichever version you buy, you get a multi- touch tablet and a wireless pen. The Fun Pen and Touch bundles come with extra software such as Photoshop Elements, ArtRage and Corel Painter Essentials.
As I already use the CS version of Adobe Photoshop, I was keen to hopscotch the bundled software packages and experiment with how quick and easy it would be to connect the tablet to my existing software.
The process was extremely easy and I was up and running within five minutes.
The main touch pad tablet connected to my laptop via a USB cable while the pen interacts with the laptop via a wireless USB receiver which is neatly stored within a crevice on the tablet for transport.
With these two elements installed it was time to pop the CD in the computer and download the drivers and system tools.
The entire process was trouble free and the Wacom Bamboo system instantly worked alongside my version of Photoshop.
This was the first time I had used a pen and tablet and therefore my first few experiments were very much trial and error.
I was instantly surprised as the super sensitivity of the pen which was drawing on my screen before the pen was anywhere near the tablet.
A few mouse clicks later in the settings adjustments menu and I had calmed the pen down to a manageable (novice) level.
After trying my skills at handwriting and adding graffiti to the Mona Lisa, I was happy that I could now control the pen and the tablet with accuracy.
As a new user of pens and tablets I was keen to see what else I could achieve with the Wacom Bamboo other than manipulate photographs and create new drawings.
After around 20 minutes of tinkering and changing settings, I found that I could use the pen for just about everything — my mouse had been made redundant.
Anything your mouse can do — the Wacom Bamboo can do.
I also quickly learned that the pen is more than just a stylus as it contains a button which can be customised for your chosen demands — I had mine set as the right-click mouse function.
The tablet also features four customised buttons which can be set to functions of your choice.
The tablet can be used as a stand-alone feature without the need for the pen.
Your finger becomes the mouse pointer and the customised buttons can be set to replicate left and right mice clicks.
For those of you keen on the Apple system of ‘pinch to zoom’ as used on the iPad and iPod, the Wacom Bamboo is able to replicate this process. This is the first time I have been able to pinch and zoom on a Windows-based operating system and therefore the Wacom Bamboo instantly won my seal of approval
Using the tablet for a couple of days, I found that I was using it more than my mouse but without the need for the pen. I reserved the pen for detailed image work.
If you have never used a pen and tablet before, then the Wacom Bamboo is a great place to start. And if you spend most of your time editing photographs or creating computer artwork, you will wonder how you managed without this gadget.