I’ve vaguely glanced at graphics tablets before, but never seriously considered buying one, as I didn’t really have a serious use for one, and they were also a wee bit expensive. But a recent group test in Digital Photo caught my eye. They actually recommended a couple of somewhat more expensive Wacom models, but this one got a good rating at the suggested price of £40. I decided to have a look around the shops in Newcastle to see if there were any to be had locally. John Lewis had this one and one of its more expensive siblings, but I thought I’d check the web before paying the full price. A bit of goooogling led me inexorably to Amazon, who were offering it at over £10 less than John Lewis, and a good bit cheaper than the other online suppliers I checked, and with free delivery. Their free delivery takes a few days longer, but as I wasn’t in any particular rush, I went for it.
I got an email yesterday, telling me it had been despatched, so I was expecting it to arrive tomorrow. So naturally, it arrived today.
Build quality is excellent. The tablet is solidly built and not even slightly inclined to slide around the desk, and the battery-free pen fits comfortably in the hand. The installation program leads into a quite nifty tutorial, which takes you through using the tablet in “mouse mode” and then in “pen mode”. Using the pen as a mouse substitute was a little awkward at first, but got easier with practice. Can’t say I’ll give up my mouse, though. Pen mode is more interesting, and is where I’ll need to get some serious practice. In theory, I should be able to work on my photos with a little more precision than I have so far – a pen should be easier to position precisely, and Photoshop is clever enough to understand the pressure information the pen sends – basically, if you’re using a brush tool in Photoshop, you can vary the thickness of the brush by pressing harder with the pen.
I’ll be having a proper play with it later, but so far, I’m impressed. Nice kit for the price, and if I really don’t get on with it, at least I won’t have lost too much. And if I do get on with it, I can move on to a fancier model later.