Wacom’s new tablet brings multitouch gestures for the first time. Is it time to throw away your mouse?
Multitouch mousepads are brilliant on laptops. They first appeared on Apple's MacBooks, crossed over into Asus' Eee range, and now no notebook should be seen without one.
They're a key part of Windows 7's appeal too. Microsoft is well acquainted with the odd two-fingered gesture from its users, but native support for them in an operating system is brand new.
Rather timely, then, that Wacom has updated its excellent range of desktop Bamboo tablets to include, alongside the traditional pen support favoured by graphic artists, multitouch finger controls.
Pinch to zoom
Unlike the best mousepads on laptops, the Bamboo Fun Pen & Touch can only see two fingers at a time, rather than three. It does make the most of them, though, and recognises all the standard two-finger scroll, right click, pinch and zoom commands which you'll find on its smaller brethren.
You aren't limited to fingers though, as there's a pressure-sensitive pen of the kind favoured by artists and photographers for its accuracy over using the mouse for Photoshop.
The Bamboo Fun also pulls off the rather clever trick of being big enough that a single swipe can take you most of the way across the desktop, and yet small enough not to take up too much room on your physical desk.
Keep the mouse
The touch controls really come into their own when manipulating graphics and browsing web pages – or any other activity you spend a lot of time scrolling through text.
If you were hoping that this is the end of the mouse, though, you'll be disappointed. Perhaps it's purely what you're used to, but in a week of use the Pen & Touch never felt as quite as accurate or as quick for navigating the desktop as a mouse.
You wouldn't even consider using it in games – but as with the HP dv3 laptop, it might be a question of waiting to see what apps are developed for it.
There’s currently a small collection of downloadable such ‘Minis’ on Wacom’s site, including one called ‘DrawTweet’ that lets you share doodles through the microblogging site. The company has promised us there are more to follow.
For now, though, the Bamboo Fun is an awesome extra if you're planning to buy a tablet anyway, but an expensive luxury if you're not.
Wacom Bamboo Fun Pen & Touch review
Lives up to its ‘Fun’ moniker, but the multitouch isn't quite the epoch-shifting revelation we'd hoped for – yet