I picked one up today from the Apple store, figured I’d give it a spin. It had been looking at me everytime I walked into the Apple store, so I figured what the hell. I asked the Apple sales peeple (yes I spelled people “peeple”, because there just so cute with there non-knowledge, but there Apple peeple so you love them anyways) if anyone had ever actually used one ‘hands on‘. I was met by a few peeple who took interest and told me that they had both tried it a “while back” but these new pen/pads should be the “real deal”.

I set it up, which of course was simple as prom night, and then I took the much to long tutorial that treats you like a retarded monkey (complete with the “good job, you’ve successfully clicked on an icon“) . I immediately opened up Photoshop CS4 and created a new canvas with 2,000 dpi, and a 3k x 3k workspace. I picked up the pen and started to doodle. It was precise, I give it that. Much better than the old Wacom pens I tried about 7 years ago, a world of a difference. However I had more problems with it than I expected.

While it did work fine with my screen space/size (27” flickering iMac) , I should have bought the large Bamboo, not the Medium…so head’s up to any future purchasers. Selecting certain icons on the far left and far right were kind of a pain in the ass.

The pen tool is responsive, however the tip is made of plastic (at least I think it’s plastic) and ever so slightly and minuscule-ly sticks. Not anything drastic, but just ever so slightly enough to mess up intricate details when drawing or sketching. It should be made of metal, that would for sure make it completely fluid with no sticking, and the trackpad, which is also a plastic material, should be glass like the iPhone. This imperfection was enough to totally bomb my Picasso drawing of Tiger Woods caught in the moment of heat.

A major annoyance and one I can’t figure out why it was added, was that you don’t have to touch the pen to the pad in order to move the cursor, it works from a half inch away. This is ok when you want to move the cursor around the desktop but it also moves the pointer an inch before hitting the pad and then moving an inch back to start drawing once you actually place the tip on the pad.

I doodled for a good hour in Photoshop CS4 before I became extremely bored and irritated that I couldn’t fluidly move about without tapping a palette button by accident, and couldn’t draw straight lines or sketch well. At times my hand would accidentally touch the (touch responsive) touch pad, moving the pointer or popping a menu up, which drove me completely nuts. I’m sure there is a feature in the settings to turn this off (pen only mode I figure) but whatever.

So next I attempted to mess around with the multi-touch pad feature. Zoom in & out, rotate pictures, browse back and forth through web pages with the flick of one or two fingers, scroll up and down web pages. Then I realized something. My Magic Mouse does all of this (minus the rotating the pictures, which on my Macbook pro it can). It also was not very responsive to my touch (but the ladies tell me that I definitely “have the touch”). Rotating the pictures in preview kinda worked 70% of the time. Same with the two finger zoom in & out, it kinda worked. Nothing as close to the iPhones touch responsiveness.

For a $108 bucks, it’s a great price for what it can do, and if your just using it to sign signatures, or doodle for high school, sure it works just fine. It is a quality constructed device, and it looks damn sexy, but for a professional artist, or a hardcore enthusiast, I’d suggest trying a higher end model, not in the Wacom Bamboo product line (this is a more standard consumer line), but in the professional series instead. The large Bamboo uses the same touch and pen device, just the touch pad area is increased, so expect the same results.

For everyone else, buy a Magic Mouse, and if you already have one, your good to go. I’m taking this back tomorrow.

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