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Wacom Bamboo Touch Review

1. Introduction

Bamboo Touch made by Wacom (model CTT460) is a cheap way (probably the cheapest at under $50) to add Multi-Touch input functionality to any computer that has an USB port and it also enables hand gestures like scrolling, zoom (pinch and zoom), rotate, forward and back. While modern notebooks started to have multi-touch trackpads, they are still small, limited obviously by the notebook small size and relatively awckward to use. In today’s review we put Bamboo Touch to the test and see how it installs, performs in day to day use.

Among the test we’ll perform is how well it works when using it for tasks suited for gestures / multi-touch input as just moving around the desktop, surfing the Internet, scrolling through the documents, through photos (including zooming / rotating the photos), etc..

2. Wacom Bamboo Touch Unpacking

The box contains a small manual, the software CD and the Wacom Bamboo Touch tablet itself. The included CD only contains the drivers, no free software is included. However, by registering online with Wacom, you’ll be able to get discounts to popular drawing / animation software suites if interested.

In terms of build quality, bamboo Touch certainly doesn’t disapoint. It feels excellent to the touch, very smooth and similar with a good notebok trackpad.

3. Tech Specs

  • model number CTT460
  • Single finger interface for navigation and selection
  • Multiple fingers interface for gestures (2 fingers)
  • Four user-defined ExpressKeys for shortcuts or clicks
  • Simple gestures make it easy to scroll, zoom, rotate and go backward or
    forward
  • Physical dimensions: 8.2 x 5.4 x 0.2 inches

4. Setup

If you just plug your Wacom Bamboo Touch without installing the software / drivers that came with it, Windows 7 will detect it but you’ll only get basic functionality. If you want multi-touch gestures you’ll have to install the drivers from the attached CD or Wacom website. Currently, the latest software version is:

Driver 5.2.4-6(RC) for Windows 7, Vista & XP (32 & 64 bit versions)

Release Date: Feb. 15, 2011

The latest driver supports all Wacom tablets like: Graphire4, Graphire Bluetooth & Graphire3 pen tablets, and USB-connected Cintiq 17SX, DTF-720, DTU-710, DTF-521 & DTF-510 pen displays.

The installation is trivial and as soon as it is installed, you’ll see the Flicks icon available allowing you to customize Windows 7 gestures. You’ll also get a Bamboo Preferences entry in the Start Menu where you’ll be able to customize orientation (Left Handed / Right Handed), the four express keys, Touch Options like Pointer Speed, Double Tap Time, Scrolling Speed and Pointer Acceleration and also the Touch Functions and Gestures.

Note: If you are a right handed person, you need to position the tabled in a horizontal position (landscape mode), with the USB cable on the right (for left handed persons, the opposite way, of course).

4.1 Compatibility

Per manufacturer description, Wacom Bamboo Touch is compatible with both PC and MAC platforms (Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP (Service Pack 2) and Mac OS X (10.4.8 or higher.)). All you need is a standard USB port. There is also an unofficial project that adds Linux compatibility as well, called The Linux Wacom Project.

5. Performance

In a normal use, I found the tracking to be very accurate and fast. However, the surface might be a bit sensitive to the accidental inputs and there is no software support to ignore this. The movement will start from the cursor current position so if you need to drag something over a long distance, don’t forget to start from the tablet’s side.

The multi-touch feature is limited at two fingers. However, it works well and pinch and zoom feature in Internet Explorer (especially in IE9) and Google Chrome works very well. Also, while browsing photos (Windows Photo Viewer supports multi-touch for example) you can browse, zoom (via pinch gesture) and rotate (two finger gesture) very easy.

A neat trick when dragging things is the drag-lock (which will allow you to pick up your finger while dragging and continue to drag later). In order to do this, you’ll need to perform a double tap drag, lift your finger and then put it down again and continue dragging. You’ll be able to keep drag until you perform a tap again.

The tablet also comes with a fairly long cable making it easy to install and use it when your computer is on the floor. The tablet also has 4 user definable buttons that you can program with left click – right click, forward and backward for example.

6. Conclusion

While in my experience the tablet won’t replace your mouse any time soon, it brings important functionality (multi-touch, gestures) to your dekstop that will improve your computer use experience and increase the efficiency in some particular tasks (just don’t tell your boss about this). and proves a worthy addition to your collection of computer periferals, especially considering the current price (about $39).

6.1 Pros

  • Price
  • Multi-touch, Gestures

6.2 Cons

  • None, really. It just won’t replace your mouse, your hand will get tired after a prolonged usage.

7. Wacom Bamboo Touch Gallery

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