Note: I am not affiliated with any of the products in this post. Just trying to widen the information pool on hardware
First of all, hey everyone! This is my first post on the forums, but I have stumbled across them 3 or 4 times over the past few years and always thought "man I need to do this one day" but didn't really want to throw down the cash for a Wacom pad due to cost (and me not being a real by-hand artist, despite being a graphics design for almost a decade and doing tons of 3d modeling). I have an old INTUOS 9x12 that's probably a decade old, but didn't like it too much due to having to look at a screen while drawing on a pad in my lap.
Recently I ran across an interesting set of product announcements from Monoprice (who makes EXCELLENT audio/video/network cables) about new graphics tablets. The specs seem to rival the Intuos3 series pretty well, and best of all IT COSTS LESS THAN $90
! Plus you can get a 10"x6.5" for $48
,8"x6" for $40
, 5.5"x4" for $30
, or teeny tiny 4"x 3" for $23
! Pens are $10 (one is included with each pad) and replacement nibs are $.76 for 10!Specifications
Active Area (WxD): 12.0"x9.0"
Dimension(WxDxH): 15 1/8" x 14 1/8" x 1 1/4" (358.6mm×382.6mm×31.3mm)
Resolution: 4000 LPI
Report Rate: 200 RPS
Pen Pressure: 1024 Levels
Reading Height: 10mm
Function keys: 20
Power Consumption: 0.35W
USB Cable Length: 53"
Product Link: http://www.monoprice.com/products/product.asp?c_id=108&cp_id=10841&cs_id=1084101&p_id=6815&seq=1&format=4#feedback
So I ordered one and immediately started playing with it after it arrived. So far it feels every bit as accurate as my friend's Intuos4, which isn't any surprise given how dense the LPI's of these tablets are compared to the screen resolutions! The sensitivity is great and transitions very smoothly. The reading height on this sensor is rated at 10mm, but I was still getting good results up to 13mm (albeit obviously the higher you go the less "hovering" height you have above the pad where the cursor is still detected).
Here is a quick doodle testing the sensitivity with a smallish brush:
So, in my usual fashion, once I knew that it was working perfectly I tore it to shreds
First off, here is a photo of the tablet (with a $50 bill and Intuos pen for size comparison).
Note the line of "hotkeys" at the top, more on that later:
Here is the back.
It comes with these little ears that may be used to prop it up on a desk if desired:
Four quick phillips head screws and the back is off, note the nice thick metal shielding:
Below that are the plastic spacers to prevent short circuits:
and then the back of the sensor:
The bottom of the sensor is held on by these little plastic snapping rivets:
However a little bit of prying and it comes right off (front of the sensor)!
The backside of the front half of the case:
Closeups of the circuits:So, is it a good tablet to use for a build?
I'm not sure....yet. It definitely looks promising. So much so that I will be doing my first build using it within the month! Just have to order the screen and controller (waiting on an email back from njytouch).How does it stack up versus the Wacom tablets?
Well let's get the massive advantage talked about first. PRICE! This tablet costs $87 new whereas an Intuos3 9"x12" tablet would cost at least a few hundred bucks used most days. Pressure levels are the same. Reporting rate is the same. Active area is the same. LPI is slightly under, but that is likely to be irrelevant in real world usage. The cord is a little shorter.
The 2 main issues I see are these: Mac support and hotkeys. First of all, the product is PC only right now. I have no idea if Mac support will crop up in the future or not. As to the hotkeys, they are currently part of the actual active area, and as such take away from the real usable area of the tablet. What this means is that your active area will no longer be true 4:3 aspect ratio and it won't line up right with your screen. However, you CAN TURN THEM OFF
! This means you lose the hotkey feature, but get your 4:3 aspect ratio and screen lining up back! So if you are using this in a build it would be a good idea to integrate your own hotkeys via a hacked external device such as the ShuttlePro V2
, G13 Advanced
, or a cheap USB keyboard. This will add to your build time, but may give you a little more flexibility to make the tablet a truly unique creation.
So hopefully this opens up some options to those of you who don't want to fork out the cash for a Wacom but still want to see some good performance. Is it perfect? Not quite, but it definitely looks build worthy. I'll post a link in here to my build log once it gets started to give more info on how well it works in a build.