I gave the Ease of Use a rating of 4, only because I am still learning. It actually would rate a 5 all the way around.
A previous co-worker of mine convinced me to get a Wacom artist's tablet or sometimes referred to as a pen tablet.
I had heard of these but when I checked the prices, I was more than convinced it was not a necessary item and just a "thrilling computer toy". Boy, have I been wrong!
This tablet retails for around $330.00 and one day I got an E-mail from www.AcademicSuperstore.com . Amazingly enough, they were advertising refurbished tablets for well under $150.00.I would have loved to have gotten the largest available, but I figured the 4x6 was nice enough for when I get a laptop one day and then I can carry it in the same case. I was worried that if I went too large, I'd end up needing two cases and I just didn't want that.
These tablets do so much, and it's hard to know where to begin.
Here is some info:
* Photoshop Elements is a free download that came with my tablet.
* It comes with a writing "pen" that has several tips that each have a different width. So you can draw or write in a fine, medium or wide tip. My friend had suggested to get at least the 1024 levels of tip and this one has: 1, 024 levels of tip and eraser pressure sensitivity for control. That means, I can use any of the included tips and depending on my hand pressure, I can actually change the amount of width in the lines or drawings I create. I opted to use the medium tip for now but if I put slight pressure, I can make it appear to be a fine tip or fatter - it's all in the pressure. The pen has it's own little "well" so you can store it upright and protect the plastic tips. Think of the pen as either a pen or a paintbrush and depending on your pressure or programmed key on the pad, you control the thickness - very cool. The pen has a two-feature button as well and when you press it, it opens up your software on the computer or you can program it to do two different things.
* "Eraser tip" is on the top of the pen/stylus. Again, you program by selecting the erase feature from a drop down menu.
* The tablet does not require batteries or power cords as it powers off an 8 foot USB cable. YES - the cable is long so you can plug it into your laptop or computer and draw on your lap.
* In the upper left of the tablet, you will see 5 rectangular buttons - those are the ExpressKeys and TouchStrips. You can program these to do mouse or keyboard functions.
* The mouse is Ball-free and optics-free and there is no cord either. It too has 5 programmable buttons and a mouse wheel. Honestly, I use my Trackman Ball mouse or the buttons on the tablet.
* Wacom tablet works with hundreds of photo editing software programs, so you aren't limited to just Photoshop. It works with Corel Painter too.
When you use the tablet, it takes a while to get use to looking up at the computer monitor when you create things. I sometimes have a hard time and still want to look at the pad, but there's no screen there. It's all viewable on the computer monitor.
I don't use mine as much as I should and now that I am writing my review, I am keeping it out so that I can start drawing more intricate designs for my online shops. There is one image I included that shows the tablet and a computer monitor screen. You can't really see what's going on, but you can open an image and then start using your pen to manipulate things on that image. This is even great for Scrapbookers! I have read about Comic Book Artists using these - so it's not really a limited profession item, even though Graphic Artists love them.
I know many people have used these for years and what I have written are the very basics of what this tablet or any Wacom tablet can do. It would be great to hear what others have done or what they've used theirs for.
Larger pads are available for more serious artists or people needing more surface area to correspond to larger monitors. And lots of people use the tablet without a mouse, which is great if you have limited mobility or carpal tunnel.
You can also purchase felt tips for your pen - the options are endless for you.
One other thing in closing. The website I purchased this from - Academic Superstore -- it's mainly for teachers and schools, but this tablet along with lots of other items can be purchased by the general public. So check them out.
Here is a tutorial that goes way into what this wonder can do. As there is no way I could possibly enter all of the features and functions in this space for a review.