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Wacom Bamboo Pen & Touch handier than a mouse for some

By Jessica Maldonado

When the Wacom Bamboo Pen & Touch (http://www.wacom/com/americas) arrived for review, I tore into the beautifully designed packaging, eager to give it a test drive on my laptop. I quickly found that this sleek little tablet shines in its intended use—as a consumer-priced tablet for travel or small workstation use.

On the included discs are guided installation software, Adobe Photoshop Elements 6 (7 for Windows), Nik Color Efex Pro 3 WE3, and a handy tutorial introducing the newbie tablet user to setup, options, and basic multi-touch functions. There are dozens of options in the control panel to customize the functions of the pen and four ExpressKeys for quick access. I found the pen sensitive enough for basic design work or photo editing.

For anyone acquainted with multi-touch gestures from another device (smart phone, iPod touch, laptop), the touch is intuitive and fairly fluid. I prefer to use a pen, but it was handy to have the touch features for zooming and panning, or to navigate while Web browsing. I enjoyed the Bamboo while on my laptop but I found that a tablet as small as this isn’t made for a large, dual-monitor setup like I use at the office (mapping two screens to the 4.9×3.4-inch touch area [5.8×3.6-inch pen area] required tiny, uncomfortable movements).

For detailed work, the Bamboo won’t replace the (higher-end) Intuos tablet but it easily trumps the precision of a mouse or traditional trackpad. And at just US$99, it’s a great buy. All in all, I’d recommend the Bamboo Pen & Touch as an affordable and easy-to-use tablet for home or travel use.

Rating: 7 out of 10

(This review is brought to you courtesy of “Layers Magazine”: http://layersmagazine.com/).

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