For anyone who works with computer graphics, or takes digital photographs, a Drawing Tablet is a necessity rather than a luxury. Attempting to use Adobe Photoshop (or any drawing or photo enhancing software on the market) is frustrating at the least if confined to using a mouse for artful manipulation.
As an artist and photographer, as well as a long time Adobe Photoshop user, I could not imagine not using a digital tablet. So, when asked to review the ADESSO CyberTablet M14, I was curious to see how it compared to other Tablets that I have used over the years.
I was immediately impressed with the Tablet’s low retail price combined with its large writing surface. The M14 version of an extensive line of ADESSO CyberTablets has an active drawing space of 12” x 7.25” (or 9.5” x 7.25” in the writing area) with a ratio of 16:9 widescreen, or 4:3 standard. This was a huge step up from the 4” x 5” Tablet that I had previously owned.
When I first took the CyberTablet M14 out of the box, it was a little intimidating…not only due to the huge amount of working surface, but also because of all the bells and whistles. With its silver surface and blinking blue lights, it had the appearance of a futuristic space pad.
The outer area (the non-drawing space) consists of 2 large, identically functioning, round control buttons—that respond to the commands of the first 3 smaller rectangular buttons conveniently placed, out of the way, on the upper middle section of the tablet. The first smaller button allows the user to scroll within an open document. The second button is a zoom function, while the third button adjusts the computer’s volume control. The last two of the five buttons allows the user to switch from a widescreen working area to a standard 4:3 ratio.
My first impression of the “writing pen” was that it appeared to be a little bulky. Unlike other Tablet pens that I have used, this one was battery operated (one AAA battery was included with the CyberTablet M14, as well as two slylus replacement tips). However, after using the pen for only a few moments, it became as comfortable as any digital stylus I had previously used, due in part to the ergonomic design of the stylus.
My version of the ADESSO CyberTablet M14 came with a software bundle, consisting of a full version of Adobe Photoshop Elements 7, Free Notes and Office Ink, Power Presenter RE II, and Pensoft Pro (all of the software loaded with ease, with the exception of the Pensoft Pro, which was not compatible with my 64 bit Vista OS).
Giving the Tablet a test drive in my favorite program, Adobe Photoshop CS4, I was very impressed with the results. The working area provided more than ample amount of drawing space, while the pen worked to perfection, especially in intricate spaces.
As I often restore photographs, I first worked with the recurring problem of dog-green-eye. Both the Tablet and pen were the perfect combination to correct the problem, restoring my pup’s eyes from spooky to mischievous.
Next, I tried the CyberTablet M14 with a painting function, and again, I was very awed by the ease of use of both the Tablet and pen. Within moments I was able to change the color of my dog’s collar from winter blue to holiday red with a few strokes of the paint brush utilizing the easy to use stylus.
Previously, I had only used a writing tablet within the framework of art (drawing, painting, photograph manipulation). So, it was an adventure in fun to work with the writing aspects of the M14.
This sentence was “written” using the CyberTablet M14. Actually, I was surprised that the software could decipher my atrocious handwriting so well. Ironically, the only word it had problems recognizing was CyberTablet.
The software provides an easy solution to sloppy handwriting, with its handy to use dropdown menu, where any corrections can easily be made. Once your words are as you wish them to be, simply click the insert button, and they magically appear within your document.
There is also an option in the help menu to “train” your CyberTablet to recognize your handwriting, by inputting a series of sentences using the CyberTablet and pen.
The Cons: Unfortunately, with its oversized footprint of 16.5” x 11.75” the CyberTablet M14 takes up a lot of desk space. Also, being unable to install the Pensoft Pro software on a Vista OS, was a little disappointing. However, the pros far outweigh the cons.
The Pros: ADESSO CyberTablet M14 is a moderately priced tablet for the extremely large work space (yes, the size is both a con and a pro). It is user-friendly, functional, and fun. With a nearly “flat-line” learning curve, and bundled software, this is a must have accessory for both the novice and professional artist.
I highly recommend the ADESSO CyberTablet M14 for the holiday gift-giving season!
Price: $199 (or less)
Specs for the Graphics Tablet
Specs for the Wireless Drawing Pen
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December 7, 2009
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