What We Think
A nice little input device that is optimised for use with Windows 8. The included stylus makes it perfect for those who do a lot of creative or designing work on their computer, even if it the pad is limited by size.
The alternative touchpad use makes it useful for general browsing if you prefer a track pad to a mouse, or the one on your laptop isn’t good enough. The Windows 8 specific shortcuts built into it are intuitive and highly useful.
The Wacom Bamboo Pad is a nifty little addition to your computer set up, one which you won’t realise you need until you try it, and then no computer will ever feel complete to you without it.
Measuring just over 20cm on the diagonal, this little silver pad gives you multiple new ways to interface with a Windows 8 computer. It doesn’t necessarily replace the full intuitive use of a touchscreen, but for a desktop or laptop that isn’t touch enabled, it does a good job of standing in for touchscreen features.
Using the stylus can take a while to get used to if you haven’t used anything like this before, as you have to hover the stylus tip above the pad to direct the mouse cursor, and tapping down with it is used to click. A long press with the stylus is used for a right click, or, alternatively, tapping down with the stylus whilst pressing the button on the side of it. However, I have quite big hands and I find the button quite fiddly to press, so usually just go for the long tap.
The stylus can be handily stored inside the pad as it has a slot in the side that tucks it away seamlessly, great for people who can’t stand a messy desk. Furthermore, if you don’t like trailing wires, a wireless version is available. If you are using a desktop, this might be better for you anyway, as the included lead (micro USB to USB) is not very long and can be restrictive if it has to reach under a desk.
The Bamboo Pad can also be used as a track pad, similar to those found on a laptop. Unlike when using the stylus, which makes the pad proportional to the display size (each corner of the Pad lines up with each corner of the display), using your fingers moves the curser in the same way as a mouse or a laptop track pad. As with a normal track pad, tapping it will click, but there is also a left and right click button towards the base. But again, as with the button on the stylus these are a bit fiddly.
The benefit of using the Pad with Windows 8 however is the shortcuts. By swiping up/down with two fingers rather than one will scroll the window you have open, swiping down with three fingers will open the Windows menu while doing the reverse returns to, or clears, the desktop.
Left or right three finger swipe will browse forward or backward when browsing online or looking for files in Window Explorer, and dragging two fingers apart/together will zoom in/out the window you are in, like on most touchscreen devices nowadays.
These shortcuts don’t immediately feel intuitive, but once you’ve remembered to use them for a bit, they become natural.
In terms of looks, the Wacom Bamboo Pad looks the part: sleek silver with black trim (the trim is available in different colours). A little LED lights up when it is powered on and changes from blue to orange when the battery gets low on the wireless model, but isn’t bright enough to be distracting or even noticeable most of the time. On the USB version, the LED is mostly useless, and simply changes colour when the stylus is being used.
The Wacom Bamboo Pad is a nice little device. It alters the interface with your computer in a way that truly is an enhancement. It brings touchscreen functionality to a computer that isn’t touchscreen, at a reasonable price.