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(Pocket-lint) - For the would-be designer who needs to transfer drawings to the PC screen the commonsense solution is a pen. After all we've all been using pens or pencils since childhood. However, using a digital pen and tablet instead of a mouse isn't as easy as it seems. Wacom hopes its latest pen tablet is the easiest of them all. We put it to the test.

The sleek design of the tablet and the thin stylus make an appealing addition to your desktop and the tablet's ability to house pictures under the top layer creates either a tracing pad or a means of simple customisation of your favourite photo. The pad is divided into two boxes; the inner box represents the edges of your screen while the outer box acts a resting area.

All the functions you'd expect for general admin are available. Double-tapping the pad represents a double left-click on screen and click-and-drag works the same way. Depending on what application you are using will depend on how the pen will react and Wacom has bundled four applications for both PC and Mac in the box to get you started. The choice is varied; Adobe Photoshop Elements 2.0, Pinnacle Studio 8 SE, penPalette LE von nik, Multimedia ACDSee 5.0/1.65, but all have a multimedia flare to them. Adobe Elements built in features include the brush thickness becoming larger the more you push down with the stylus and the ability to change inks with a click of a button on the fly.

The stylus is thin, sports a pressure sensitive digital pen at one end, an eraser at the other and a two-way button on the side. Using the accompanying drivers you can re-assign these buttons if you so wish and overall it is comfortable to hold and use.


The Studio 3 pen and tablet set does offer the would-be graphics bod a decent way to input their drawings into the computer however it will take a lot of practice to get things right. We've battled hard to get to grips with it for over a week and as yet still find ourselves going back to the mouse every time. Perhaps it's a question of time, but then again, older and easier-to-use Wacom pens have been on the market for a decade. If you can tame this beast then you've got a good product offering plenty of functionality. It appears we just weren't wearing our ringmaster's outfit.

Writing by Stuart Miles. Originally published on 8 April 2004.