Wacom Bamboo Touch: Quick Review

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by *LTD*, Oct 13, 2009.

  1. *LTD* macrumors G4

    *LTD*

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2009
    Location:
    Canada
    #1
    I don't recommend this as a mouse replacement.

    Drivers are fine and the Touch functions work as they should, though there are no three and four finger gestures.

    It's the feel and ergonomics that are awkward. Really awkward. I bought the medium version, and the trackpad is just too large. Perhaps that might be the issue. Either way, using it isn't really the same as a Macbook Pro trackpad. There's a lot of wasted space on the sides, and your hand has to be held at a "ready position" when not touching the pad. When touching the pad and navigating, your hand is in a prime position for RSI. You can't really "rest" your hand. It's just plain awkward.

    It works as advertised but I found it quite uncomfortable and actually slower and less efficient than using a mouse and certainly not as comfy and fast as using a Macbook Pro trackpad.
     
  2. rkdiddy macrumors 65816

    rkdiddy

    Joined:
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    #2
    Thank you for the review.

    That is a bummer to hear about the device. I was hoping it was going to replicate the MBPu trackpad experience.

    Crossing my fingers Apple releases something similar. :apple:
     
  3. *LTD* thread starter macrumors G4

    *LTD*

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    Feb 5, 2009
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    #3
    Well it's just my own anecdotal experience, really.

    By all means, drop into a Best Buy and pick one up. 30 days to return it for a full refund. Test it.

    I'm still using mine, but I don't really think it'll ever feel right. I'll play with it for another week and maybe update this thread but I'm not expecting miracles.
     
  4. gwerhart0800 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2008
    Location:
    Loveland, CO
    #4
    I got the Pen & Touch version the day it came out. I have been using it religiously since then to give it a fair shake. My comments are:

    1) I have been "slamming" code pretty steady for the past few weeks. I frequently run into issues where I need to cut/paste chunks of code. Nothing is more frustrating that starting the selection then running off the edge of the tablet before I get to the finish. This is not an issue of this specific device, but rather one of mouse versus tablet. With a mouse, you can lift it up and reposition it if you run out of space. With the tablet, lift your finger and it's game over.

    2) The gestures for "back" and "forward" are a challenge to get consistently. I have assigned "back" to the top most button because I fail about 1 in 4 times to get it to work and that is enough to tick me off. My usage has improved the odds because originally it worked about 1 in 4. I am not sure that further training of the operator will make this any better. (I am an "old" dog.)

    3) I have a lot of unintended click/drag actions. One has to be careful when starting a drag to reposition the cursor. If there is even the slightest "bounce", then it turns into a click/drag. I lost an item off my dock accidentally that way. This might be resolvable with the preferences panel for the tablet, but I have not played with those settings yet.

    Please note, I don't use the track pad on my MBP very frequently because it spends most of it's time "docked" on my desk at home or in my office. (By docked, I mean on a tilted riser, attached to an external monitor, keyboard and either a mouse or this tablet.) Also, I have made no attempt to diddle the settings for the tablet via preferences. So, some of my issues could be resolved that way.

    Based on my experience of the last week or two, I plan to keep using the Bamboo as my primary pointing device at home. I was originally planning to get the smaller one for my work office, but I am going to hold off on that for now.

    Your mileage may vary. It is an innovative device and I can only hope that the remaining multifinger gestures are added with a later rev of the driver.
     
  5. *LTD* thread starter macrumors G4

    *LTD*

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    Canada
    #5
    I hate to say it but only a few days in and I'm ready to toss this thing. I'm not prepared to give it another week or any more time. I really wanted to like this but I can't see myself using this long-term.

    I'm sick of it, actually. In some cases it feels worse than using a pen to navigate (at least with a pen, you can rest your hand on the pad.) Poor button implementation (why not put them across the bottom?), poor USB cord location (on the side? Seriously??), and an experience that's left my hand and forearm rather sore from the awkward position in which I have to keep my hand above the pad. I spent half the time trying to find a good position in which to place my hand, but to no avail. Using this thing is just begging for some kind of RSI problem.

    It doesn't always track a fingertip smoothly and it regularly registers finger swipes as both single and double-taps. But the erratic input registry pales in comparison to the discomfort of awkward hand positioning. Your hand is never at rest as it would be on a mouse or even on a Macbook Trackpad (at least far less effort is required to use a MBP trackpad.) There's nowhere to put your hand other than curl it up slightly below the pad. Which still requires you to reposition it when navigating. Your hand must be constantly open, with a finger extended, hovering just above the trackpad and at the ready. bottom of your hand can rest below the pad, but the effort required to raise the rest of your hand and move your finger(s) eventually causes fatigue and even pain. The muscles in your forearm, wrist and hand are always under tension. Not cool. And given the size of the pad, some gestures require broad, wide movement. Ouch!

    A good idea, but poorly implemented. Nowhere near as elegant and easy to use as Apple's trackpad solutions on its Macbooks.

    Back to my bluetooth Mighty Mouse, which when it works is heaven compared to the Bamboo Touch.

    It's a shame Wacom fumbled this idea. I eagerly await Apple's next-gen mouse.

    Score: 4/10.
     
  6. gwerhart0800 macrumors 6502

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    Loveland, CO
    #6
    I have "big" hands and position my hand in one spot at the bottom of the table resting on the desk and just move my fingers over the tablet surface. For larger selection actions, I do have to lift the base of my palm from the desk. I definitely feel like it is using different muscles from those required for "mousing". Only time will tell if this is a good or bad thing. I definitely think that the tablet is better for some things (flicking back/forth between pages for example), but for other things are not so good (like selection). What I can't tell is do the positives out weight the negatives for me. It's clear that there are more negatives for you.
     
  7. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem

    GoCubsGo

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2005
    #7
    I'd like to use this with my Mini (HTPC) but now this bothers me. I guess I could buy and return if I hate it.
     
  8. *LTD* thread starter macrumors G4

    *LTD*

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    #8
    That's what you should do. Test it. I believe Bust Buy has a 30-day refund policy, opened box. Just make sure you keep the box, the receipt and everything that came with it.

    Have a go at it and let us know what you think.
     
  9. pastrychef macrumors 601

    pastrychef

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    Sep 15, 2006
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    New York City, NY
    #9
    Does it work with asian text input like on the new MacBook Pros?

    Thanks in advance.
     
  10. gumbyx84 macrumors 6502

    gumbyx84

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2008
    #10
    I think the reason you only can use two-finger features is because the tablet is being recognized as a mouse. I think Wacom needs to get their own full-featured driver out (like Logitech) or find a way to get Apple's touchpad drivers to work with their tablets.

    I find it funny that they haven't yet because the advertisement video I saw at a local Staples shows the tablets being used on MBPs.
     
  11. dyn macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2009
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    .nl
    #11
    How about enabling the drag lock option in the driver? This will fix your problem as you can lift your finger and reposition just like the mouse. The same option is available on Apple laptops with multitouch and does the same thing in this case.

    You need to swipe quickly. If you're used to the way it's done on the MacBook (Pro/Air) than yes it's a bit awkward since it uses a quick 2 finger swipe instead of the 3 finger swipe. It doesn't take long to get used to this different way of doing it when you know how to do it.

    You might want to disable 2 things: the "add touch to right" and "add touch to left". When you have 1 finger on the tablet adding another to either the left or right will be seen as a left or rightclick.

    That became quite clear :p You can change quite a few options in the settings, even disable the touch completely if you really don't like it (which, of course, will turn the Pen & Touch into a regular tablet). You can also change the speed in the tablet settings (tracking and scrolling).

    The only really big problem I have with the Pen & Touch is the fact the multitouch is not the native OS X version which causes the problem that not all of the applications can use the Wacom multitouch. One of those applications is iPhoto 09 (there is no pinch to zoom).

    Other gripes: it's not as smooth and quick as the multitouch on my mbp4,1 and I really do wish they added 3 and 4 finger multitouch or just use the built-in OS X multitouch options. The way you store the pen is not the most useful way if you just want to put the pen aside for a sec; it's great for long term storage though. I contacted Wacom and they say you can use the pen stand from the old Bamboo which is a much better way of storing the pen (temporarily and long term). Fyi: I use the Intuos4 pen stand which I slightly modified so the pen fits better. I bought that one because I liked the higher stand and the fact you can store the nibs inside it so you can't misplace them.

    Other than that I do not experience the problems the topicstarter is talking about. It's all about how to use it properly (you need to use your arm, not your wrist or fingers) and how you configure the touch settings (you really need to do that).

    Dunno if the multitouch will do the same as on the mbp's but since it's Wacoms own multitouch I'm guessing it won't. You can use Ink or Bamboo Scribe if you get the Pen & Touch. With those you can write and have it converted into text which might be a solution.
     
  12. gwerhart0800 macrumors 6502

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    #12
    I have made the mods that you suggested and will see how the next week goes. Thanks for the suggestions.
     
  13. *LTD* thread starter macrumors G4

    *LTD*

    Joined:
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    #13
    So any updates? I'd be interested to see if anyone on the fence has gotten comfortable with it.

    I'll be trying out a Magic Mouse next and will post my initial impressions sometime this week.
     
  14. gwerhart0800 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2008
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    Loveland, CO
    #14
    I have spent a good bit of time with the changes previously suggested and it is better. For large text selections, I am deferring to the keyboard now. I am not that thrilled with the behavior when the "drag lock" is enabled. I will leave the "add left/add right" settings turned off.

    When I saw a demo of the Magic Mouse via engadget, I can see where the shape of the mouse might be an issue for people with very large hands. They also showed that keeping the mouse still when doing the two finger swipe was difficult.
     
  15. wase4711 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2009
    #15
    Well, I have had mine for 3 days now, and, I am not sure if I will be keeping it either..I must say, my hand feels 99% better than it did while using the Logitech MX; since your hand lays flatter than it does on a bulbous mouse, it helps some of the pain I was having in the fleshy part of my thumb..it may be replaced by forearm pain from using this thing, but time will tell..
    As far as selecting and highlighting text, the easiest way is place the cursor at the start of where the text is you want to highlight, then click the bottom button, then use your middle finger to sweep across the text you want to highlight..it takes a little practice, but its easy once you learn it.

    I'm am hoping to replace my mouse with this; the new Apple mouse seems like its too narrow for larger hands, and, the "swiping" feature, for going back and forth on web pages, doesnt work, since when you swipe it, you send the mouse across the desk..its hard to hold it and swipe with out the mouse moving all over the place..

    once Logitech starts using this technology in their products, I am sure they will make a mouse with more heft than the Magic mouse..
     
  16. mith81 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2009
    #16
    Good hardware, really bad drivers.

    Im quite disappointed by it too... I just got one and it took me 15 minutes to start to hate it.

    The multitouch driver doesn't work like the normal trackpad, instead it sends commands to the menu. You can see that easily in applications like Preview and Safari when you see the menu View flashing while you zoom or rotate things.

    In inDesign is completely unusable too as even the 360º scroll is slow and usually scrolls too fast. Never was able to Zoom in and instead every time i try the zoom in gesture it does zoom out.

    The other thing, is if you are using an app that supports multitouch, but the wacom drivers doesn't recognize it, multitouch will not work.

    Hardware wise it seems to be a very good product, but these drivers (at least for Mac OS X) are a piece of trash.
     

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