Easy to use and great value - a fine alternative to a mouse
Wacom’s latest graphics tablet is a budget model aimed at consumers rather than professionals. It’s a USB tablet, but you can buy a wireless kit for £34 (part code ACK-40401).
The Pen & Touch has all the features you’d expect from a Wacom tablet. The stylus is pressure-sensitive so you can simulate pen and brush strokes in supported software such as Adobe Photoshop Elements, and you tap to left-click or use your index finger on the rocker button near the nib for a right-click. Even though it’s a consumer tablet, one of our professional designers was perfectly happy using it for a week – the only real criticism was that the tablet’s touch-sensitive area is only about half the size of the tablet itself, so you can sometimes mis-tap the stylus on the dead space around the tablet’s edge.
The Pen & Touch has four buttons, which you can customise to do whatever you want, including adding keystrokes – including Ctrl, Alt, Alt Gr and Shift modifiers. Other useful abilities include being able to lock the pen to one screen with the press of a button – useful for multi-monitor setups.
You can also use the tablet as a touch pad, complete with multi-touch gestures such as pinch-to-zoom and minimise all applications. In Photoshop Elements you can also rotate the current image. The multi-touch gestures work better on a Mac, as such gestures are better integrated in OS X, but they’re still useful on Windows.
The Pen & Touch is perfect for consumers wanting something more accurate than a mouse for creative work, and the touch pad functions are a welcome change to a mouse. Serious designers may find the surface area too small, however.