Choosing the Right Graphics Tablet



There you are: you have finally decided to purchase a graphics tablet. Whatever your reasons may be for purchasing one, you are now faced with a very major decision: amongst all the numerous graphics tablets out there, which one would best suit your needs and your budget ?

Wacom is without any doubt, a genius when it comes to graphics tablet (also known as pen tablet) technology and is continually improving their products. Due to these frequent upgrades, this article will only touch the following Wacom models: Bamboo, Bamboo Fun (a successor and an improved model over the Graphire series), Intuos3 (the 3rd generation of Intuos) and Cintiq.

The basics

All Wacom graphics tablets are easy to install and use, thanks to Wacom’s Plug & Play technology. Every Wacom tablet is compatible with Macintosh and Windows, supports widescreen format, offers application and tool settings, provides a comfortable design and comes equipped with a detachable USB cable, and a programmable, cordless and battery free ergonomic pen. Therefore, your decision will be based on the main differences between these major models. Those include: pressure sensitivity, resolution and size.

  • Pressure sensitivity of the pen tip and its eraser( when present) is measured in levels: 512 levels for the Bamboo line and 1024 levels, the highest thus far, for the Intuos3 and Cintiq models.
  • Resolution, measured in lines per square inch, is marked at 2,540 for the Bamboo series and 5,080 for the Intuos3 and Cintiq models. Based on these two differences alone, if one needs or desires more precision and sharper results, the Intuos3 or the Cintiq are by far the better choices.
  • Size relates to the active area of the graphics tablet, which is the drawing/writing area and not the actual size of the tablet. If space is really a tight issue, make sure you take into consideration the actual dimensions of the graphics tablet. Since the active area of a tablet matches your computer screen no matter what size it is, don’t let a smaller sized Wacom tablet fool you: the smaller sizes offer just as many features as the larger ones. Size becomes a concern when considering desk space, laptop use, portability, and user preferances. Bamboo, Bamboo Fun Small and Medium, Intuos3 4×6 and 6×8 are all wonderful options for small working environments.