Wacom bamboo pen and touch

As a multi-touch device the Bamboo leaves us a little cold. There are times when it simply doesn't work reliably enough, and it's a rare computer user who claims a touchpad is a good alternative to a proper mouse. Even with Windows 7 supporting multi-touch this isn't the product to bring it to the masses.

We liked:

Working with the pen is intuitive and natural, despite the stylus' lack of weight.

The pad is incredibly sensitive – with a bit of practice, drawing on the pad feels natural. It's much easier than attempting to sketch lines with a mouse.

The 1,024 levels of pressure sensitivity help, and the price is keen as well – this the perfect beginner or hobbyist's graphics tablet.

We disliked:

The multi-touch aspect is over-hyped and under-realised. A lot of the time it simply doesn't work as well as advertised.

We certainly can't see it being as useful in Photoshop as the ability to draw natural-looking lines straight onto a piece of digital canvas.

The small pressure-sensitive area can be a bit restrictive too, although this is something that will only truly niggle if you've already got experience using graphics tablets. A final annoyance is that the Bamboo Pen & Touch only comes with one style of nib for the pen, and even beginners are likely to want to try something new.

Verdict:

As a graphics tablet, the Wacom is a superb first step for those getting into digital art. The pad may not be enormous, but there's plenty of sensitivity, and at comfortably under £100, the Pen & Touch could mark the beginning of a new artistic direction for beginners.