currently loooking at…


I am currently looking at the Wacom Bamboo Tablet. Yes, I admit that I am an old-school mouse user. I know, I know. I should do myself a favor and enter the world of tablets. Would this little one suffice for a graphic designer like me? What do you think of the small Bamboo?

31 Comments leave a comment below

  1. Enter the world of tablets! I have been using my little one (6″x5″?) on dual monitors for 7 years or so. I have Wacom’s smallest one and would never go back. It’s so much more efficient than a mouse and much easier on the wrists.

  2. I don’t have a bamboo, I do have an Intuos2 though…and to be honest, I don’t use it that much. I keep trying to force myself and yes, for freehand and photoshop it’s nice, but most of the time it just sits.

    kind of depressing really. maybe i’m just not as creative or as much of a designer as I like to think i am.

  3. I demanded Santa bring me the medium Bamboo for Christmas and he did! I have played with it for a couple hours and am wanting to use it more. Old habits die hard and it will take me a bit to get used to it. So there it sits…

  4. I’ve had the same Wacom Intuos tablet since 2001, and I’ll never go back. I can’t draw complex bezier paths (like clipping paths for images) with a mouse anymore. It’s much easier on my wrist than a mouse.

    My suggestion: Get at least a 6″ x 8″ tablet. Smaller tablets are hard to be precise with. Larger tablets are great, but spendy.

    Also (this is the one thing I’m always kicking myself about): your tablet might come with extra nibs for the pen. SAVE THEM. I’ve lost mine so many times, and I need to replace them fairly often, because they develop flat spots.

    Bonus: You’ll be way better than everyone at Yahoo! Pictionary, too.

  5. Oh, you can’t go wrong with a tablet. I use an Intuos3 all day at work, every day. I much, much prefer it to a mouse, and have used a Wacom as much as possible for probably seven years now. They are so addictive.

    I haven’t looked at the Bamboo, but for a graphic designer, I think you’re ultimately going to be happier with the Intuos, if you can afford it. Those things last forever. My last Wacom (a Graphire) lasted for some four years, and my current one shows no signs of wear whatsoever.

    The Bamboo looks cute, but for me, the larger the working area on the tablet, the better. If you’re just using a laptop display, it just might cut it, but I’m using a 30″ Cinema Display most of the time, and that would be far, far too small.

  6. I’ve used an Intuos for years — I had a 12×12 tablet that I sold to a friend after several years of use to get a larger one, which was great — except it finally cracked (the shell, the tablet still works). I use a MacBook Pro now, and I have a smaller Intuos 3 that I can slip into my laptop bag. It works well on-the-go, and also plugged in at the desk with a big monitor. Any tablet is better than no tablet, although I suspect an Intuos would be better than a Bamboo.

  7. I bought an Intuos 3 A6 wide a few months ago – I don’t know what took me so long – it is really wonderful! After the first hour it is very easy to use and now I use it for everything. On occasion when I have had to use a mouse I have found it slow, cumbersome and a strain on my wrist. I like to buy once and buy right so if you can afford it, get the intuos3. You’ll not regret it!

  8. Tablets always cause trouble for me. I’m in the minority of left-handers who have learnt the convention of using a mouse with their right hand. Pen in the left pointer in the right, so having a tablet really makes things worse unless I keep swapping around.

  9. I’m also contemplating a tablet. I say go for it. I baulked at the mouse-on-tablet option – is that its mousemat as well or just a display image?

    I wonder because I’m a right handed mouse user, left handed tablet user. Is this uncommon?

  10. I’m also contemplating a tablet. I say go for it. I baulked at the mouse-on-tablet option – is that its mousemat as well or just a display image?

    I wonder because I’m a right handed mouse user, left handed tablet user. Is this uncommon?

  11. @chella: The mouse moves the cursor like the pen does, in reference to the sensing surface. (Think of having a mouse-shaped pen.) It doesn’t work quite like a traditional mouse.

    Incidentally, I tend to keep a USB “guest mouse” at my workstation, so people who need to use my computer can always do so. Probably more important for a group working environment, but still. Kids would probably have a hard time with the tablet.

  12. I just started using the regular small Bamboo (not the Fun model) at work. I teach computer literacy to 3rd through 5th graders, and the kids love it. A couple of kids have had a tricky time getting used to it, but I’ve also had some kids do amazing work (only with 15 minutes of playing around with it). Most of the kids are just fine. I myself am enjoying it too (handlettering stuff).

  13. I find a tablet far slower than a mouse for most tasks. If I did more work in illustrator or masks in photoshop I could see value but otherwise it’s too slow for me.

    A small tablet like the bamboo would be fine for occasional use but I think a larger surface might feel like you have greater accuracy.

  14. I’ve been using the Wacom MTE450 Bamboo Black Digitizing Tablet for a while now – I wouldn’t go back to anything else. It’s nice and compact for my bag and what’s good about the price is that I didn’t have to pay for a mouse that I wasn’t ever going to use. I picked mine up at Tekserve though they have it on amazon too.

  15. Go intuos. I have had an intuos2 since 2003 and it has not failed me. Great precision, pressure and detail uncontested (for me anyway). I take it with me with my laptop where ever I go. I would go with the 6″X8″, not to big and not too small. The other models tend not to have the “graphic designers” hand.

  16. Using a mouse to do work is like using a brick. Think about it. You’ve been using a pen since kindergarten. 6×8 gets my vote. Not too big, not too small. On the pricey side perhaps. It takes some getting use to; I overcame that by taking Starry Starry night into PhotoShop as my background layer and made layer upon layer from there with various brush sizes and so on…

  17. I just bought myself the Wacom Cintiq 12WX and it is perfect for graphic designers. A little 12″ widescreen that you can draw on, thats just the ideal tool for frequent digital work. I used a Graphire4 6×8 before this though which was great for general photo editing on my 22″ monitor.

    The size of the tablet you want should relate closely to the size of the screen you own. Personally I would go no smaller than the A5 model though.

  18. the pro tablets like the intuos have more touch points underneath, so you get more precise use of your pen. I sometimes do “painting” in photoshop and you can really reproduce some pen and paint type moves. Also i prefer it to a mouse because your fingers aren’t clicking away. I’m paranoid i’ll get finger arthritis someday…

    but yeah, you get what you pay for. This little tablet looks like the mac mini of tablets. It may not be up to a pro designer workflow.

  19. I have several Wacom tablets, including Intuous 3 and Bamboo 6×8. I prefer the feel of the Bamboo over the Ituous. More like pencil on paper. However, the textured surface on the grip of my Bamboo pen is already wearing off after only a few months. Seems like Intuous is built to last longer.

    I would suggest going with at least a 6×8 tablet, be it Bamboo or Intuous. You’ll be glad you did. Some people like even larger; as someone who works on a small desk, I find 6×8 to be the sweet spot of minimal footprint vs feel.

  20. go for the wacom Cintiq its the future

  21. Just got it before the holidays. I thought about it for a while and finally took the plunge. Took about 1/2 hour to adjust and now I’m loving it. You will too. It’s so nice to have such control over illustrating or even just selecting in Photoshop. Enjoy!

  22. Just got it before the holidays. I thought about it for a while and finally took the plunge. Took about 1/2 hour to adjust and now I’m loving it. You will too. It’s so nice to have such control over illustrating or even just selecting in Photoshop. Enjoy!

  23. I’ve been using Wacom tablets for years and I love them!

    I started with the 4×5, which is fine for basic navigation but inadequate for design. I now have a 6×8 at work, and another one at home. If you plan on doing any Illustrator or Photoshop work with your tablet, go for a 6×8 (or larger) tablet, you won’t regret it.

  24. I’m always shocked when I find a graphic designer who DOESN’T use a tablet. I LOVE my Wacoms. I have a second-gen graphire at home and a first-gen intuos at work. Both are really fantastic.

    However, I recently bought a new Bamboo (not the Fun) for my laptop at home and I LOVE IT. It’s amazing. The texture of the overlay feels almost like paper, and the pen itself is lovely in my hands.

    GO FOR IT.

  25. I’m using the small Bamboo Fun for 3 weeks now and I simply love it. I have already put away my old mouse. It’s so much more comfortable for the hand and much preciser. I don’t know if the small one will be good enough for you, but with my 17″ monitor it’s perfect. I also love the paper-like surface from the bamboo, I’ve heard that it feels better than oher tablets. I’d definetly recommend it.

  26. I agree with Gayle. I’m always surprised to run into designers who haven’t used a pen tool. Seems a bit nuts.

  27. I have this and it is wonderful. Click my name/url for my personal review with photos and some examples from my gallery, truly – you won’t regret the purchase.

  28. The great thing about tablets over mice is that the point on the pad is the same point on the screen all the time. With a mouse you move it all around and it’s pointing is relative to where it first picked up a signal. It is a subtle difference but is massive for speeding up your workflow. Yes I wouldn’t be without the pen system for drawing/manipulating/painting with rubber stamp etc… but the fact that my hand learns where to click in programs by muscle memory makes things amazingly fast

  29. I got a Wacom Graphire last year, and I haven’t used it enough to really get used to it (in fact, just posted my first ‘drawing’ experiment on it). I do use it for clipping masks in PS and yes, it’s definitely a lot easier. I just need more practice with it but old habits do die hard. I say get it! The texture on the bamboo looks really cool. I find mine a little too ‘slippery’ at times.

  30. 1) Texture on the Bamboo is the bomb. I actually taped a piece of paper to my old Intuos to simulate the texture.

    2) If you don’t believe all the praise in the comments above, check out what can be done with a tablet :

  31. I love mine but know that if you are serious about “graphic design” that there are bigger and better models but the portability of this one is wonderful. TABLETS ROCK MY SOCKS!!!!