When it comes to drawing your next masterpiece, creativity is essential. If you have creativity, the next step is to get the best tools for the task at hand – that is where AppStorm comes in. As you know, we love reviewing useful apps that are often geared towards the creative beast inside us. But what if this task requires you to have a different form of input?
If your next masterpiece can’t be crafted by using your mouse, you are probably in need of a pen tablet that’ll work wonderfully with your Mac; if so, you are in the right place because after spending some quality time with a review unit sent by Wacom, we are pleased to introduce you to Wacom’s Bamboo Create pen & touch tablet.
Bamboo Create Overview
At 8.5 x 5.4 inches of active area, the Bamboo Create is the largest tablet of the Bamboo lineup. It is also the the most feature-rich tablet as it possesses a wireless option (sold separately), four programable ExpressKeys, multi-touch input, and an extensive array of software that we will cover later on.
The Bamboo Create’s stylus also differs from others in the Bamboo family due to the addition of an eraser. This eraser automatically switches to the eraser tool of whatever program you are using as long as it is supported.
The stylus also comes with two programable buttons and a nice easy-to-grip handle. Overall, the stylus feels nicely in your hand, but the two programmable buttons can be pressed by mistake if one isn’t use to holding a pen-like tool with buttons.
Working with the Bamboo Create
Wacom’s Bamboo flagship tablet is by all means a wonderful tool to work with. Whether you are sketching, painting or drawing, the 1024 levels of pressure and a resolution of 2540 lpi are a great combination. If you are new to pen tablets, it will undoubtably take a bit to get use to, but with time this pen tablet will feel like your best friend.
With that said, the Bamboo Create has its downsides. For instance, multi-touch input is a welcomed feature that those without a multi-touch mouse or trackpad will appreciate endlessly; however, this feature can feel a bit awkward at times.
While all of Mountain Lion’s gestures are supported, the size of the tablet can cause a few input mishaps. Some times the tablet will think you are trying to rotate something when all you are doing is resting your hand on the tablet to begin drawing.
In addition to some touch functionality hiccups, the Bamboo Create comes with a very short USB cable. This is fine because, more often than not, you will be quite close to your computer or monitor, but in all honesty, it makes you feel a bit constrained.
Although there is an option to buy a wireless kit, the wireless feature should be built into the tablet. Putting your tablet in a place that isn’t your desk is a tough task with the provided cable.
Aside from these two small complains, creating and bringing your illustrations to life with this tablet is a dream. The programable ExpressKeys to the side of the tablet let you break away from the keyboard, and if you program them carefully, you won’t need the keyboard at all. It would be nice to see a few more buttons added. Granted, more buttons could make things a bit confusing, but with the ability to program them any way you want, it would be a good option to have.
Look and Feel
The Bamboo Create is a nice looking piece of hardware. While yes, its border can look a little cheap at times, it still does a great job at looking sexy – specially next to your MacBook Pro and other silver-colored peripherals like your Apple keyboard, trackpad or some of Western Digital’s external hard drives.
We haven’t forgotten about the apps! As previously discussed, the Bamboo Create tablet comes bundled with a few awesome applications that many will be obliged for. The apps included in the box are: Corel Painter Essentials, Adobe Photoshop Elements, Autodesk Sketchbook Express, and Nik Color Efex Pro 3.0 WE3. These apps make great use of Wacom’s tablet – not to mention that they give you even more bang for your buck.
But, it doesn’t stop there. Nope. Wacom is cool enough to add a few other things into the mix. There is a training DVD on how to use Photoshop Elements and Corel Painter Essentials as well as Wacom’s own Bamboo Dock which gives you access to even more apps, an interactive tutorial, and a settings pane where you can tweak your tablet and stylus settings (sadly there is no way to customize application-specific settings).
Without a doubt, Wacom’s Bamboo Create pen & touch tablet is packed to the teeth with comprehensive software and awesomely-reliable hardware at a more-than-reasonable price. The tablet alone is worth its price, and in all honesty, there are only a few minor details keeping it from being the perfect consumer tablet.
If you want to create a masterpiece on your Mac, you won’t be able to with that mouse, so do yourself a favor and get Wacom’s awesome Bamboo Create.