Wacom’s Bamboo Capture Review
Wacom is and has been the pioneer tablet manufacture and has yet to really be rivaled. Most notably famous for their industry standard Intuos lineup, Wacom’s Bamboo line takes a more affordable approach to things. With previous generation Bamboo specs the newest edition of the Bamboo line have received a much appreciated facelift, larger tablet option, vastly improved touch, and a pen that takes two steps forward and one step back.
Design & Construction
The new Wacom Tablet has gone with an entirely new look. The Bamboo Capture and Create’s more modernized design comes in a silver base with black accents and dark grey buttons, while the Connect is separated from the bunch with its black base and lime green accents. Both the Create and Capture have four large programmable buttons with probably the most unique button design I have seen in a very long time. The best way I can describe it is like a strip of grey wrinkled construction paper, but in hard plastic. If you’ve used the older Bamboo then you won’t have a hard time getting used to this one, it still retains the same four buttons and a strap for your pen. A big upgrade we found very convenient was the addition of a removable Micro USB to USB plug that either powers the tablet, or recharges the battery if you purchase the optional $40 wireless accessory. Before it was connected for good, but the ability to disconnect and have the option of using a shorter or longer cable is definitely handy. With both pens in, the new Capture is about an inch longer than the old Pen and Touch and both are identical in width. If you flip over the Capture you’ll see a standard bottom with four rubber feet in each corner, along with a slide out compartment that will house the wireless upgrade components. This includes the actual chip you put in, a place for the rechargeable battery, and a compartment to hold the USB adapter while not in use. Comparing the Capture to the Pen and Touch, the Capture has a more resistive feel to the pad. The pen tends to slide less, whereas the Pen and Touch surface feels waxed smooth. I wouldn’t say one is more advantageous over the other but I do prefer the feel of the Capture just because I feel more in control with the pen.
(Comparison table below taken from www.Wacom.com )
|Model Number||Connect $79.99||Capture $99.99||Create $199.99|
|Wireless Option Available||No||Yes||Yes|
|Adobe PS Elements||No||Yes||Yes|
|Corel Painter Essentials||No||No||Yes|
|Nik Color Efex Pro Filters||No||Yes||Yes|
|Autodesk SketchBook Express||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Great for:||Visual communication: drawing,sketching, annotation, signatures, document markup||Photo editing, painting, drawing, sketching||Photo editing, drawing, painting, sketching, craft projects and more active area work space|
Drawing and Multi touch
After a very easy setup that walks you through installing drivers and selecting a few preferences, its draw time. First I wanted to see how multitouch was this time around, and I was greatly pleased. Probably my only complaint with the Pen and Touch was the multitouch was just “OK” and very limited, but the Capture on the other hand is surprisingly accurate and supports a total of four fingers at a time which allows for numerous amounts of commands. These commands include switching through applications, moving around documents, and a whole slew of others. Most of the commands are universal across applications as long as they are supported or available. Moving on to the pen, if we take a step back and look at the Pen and Touch once more specifically the pen, there was nothing really to complain about. It lacked an ergonomic grip but you knew that going into it, it had the pressure sensitive pen, an eraser, and two programmable buttons – what more could you ask for at $99? Wacom made a mistake here and they have dropped the eraser on the Capture’s pen. The eraser has now become a premium feature for the $200 Create, which is a bummer because the originally priced $99 Pen and Touch was equipped with one. Wacom does catch their footing with a matte finish, and an increased overall feel to the grip and buttons on the pen. All 3 models of Bamboo’s refreshed line have 1024 levels of pressure which is the same as the later models and the Intous 3. There was no extra setup required during use in external programs just plug and play once the initial driver setup has completed, although you may have to go in and enable pressure sensitive controls depending on the program. (Ex. Adobe Photoshop CS5 sometimes requires you to enter the Brush tool and on the tools control bar at the top, select the little icon next to Flow which will link you pressure sensitivity to brush size. You can also do this for opacity, scattering, color dynamics, and more.)
Wacom included a whole shoebox full of software application built into one app called the “Bamboo Dock”. Controls rely on intended use of the pen so to navigate you’ll be drawing a line versus clicking a button. Some of the applications include a full Animator, game that required you to draw shapes to make a ball free a bird, Bamboo Paper which is also available on the iPad, and even a standalone Evernote app. If there is one thing I can say is that these apps are actually pretty good. All applications felt like quality apps with nice graphics, excellent pen interaction, and usually very fun. Moving to the more technical software, the drivers for the Bamboo support both Mac and Windows, and will add a “Bamboo Preferences” to your Control Panel which allows for complete control over the orientation of the tablet, the four programmable buttons, pen and touch options, and lastly a quick tutorial video of all the touch functions. We had no issues getting our Capture setup and like we mentioned before after the initial 5 minute process of setting it up, it is just plug and play whenever you want.
If you’re in the market for a drawing tablet then the Wacom Capture is the mid-size sedan of tablets. It’s got enough space to be comfortable; it functions perfectly, and does all of that while looking great. However though you’re not going to get the luxury of an Intous 4 with double the pressure levels, an ergonomic pen, and a finger sensitive touch ring, but you’re also saving at least another $130. If you already own a Pen and Touch or previous generation Wacom, then it’s a toss-up on whether I can recommend the tablet or not. If you use the touch commands a lot then yes, absolutely get one – you’re going to save yourself a lot of unnecessary finger strokes. If your tablets sole purpose is to draw and it is in good shape, then your best bet is to probably save up for an Intous or the Bamboo Create that has 2x the active drawing surface of the Capture or the Pen and Touch.