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In more ways than one, the Bamboo Connect is the pen tablet for people who don’t need pen tablets. Graphic designers and other digital artists won’t be satisfied with its small active area, plasticky pen, or featureless simplicity. So who would get something out of it? Pretty much everyone who’s curious about a tablet but isn’t willing to drop a lot of money on that curiosity. Even the box advertises how awesome it is for things like “handwritten notes, sketches, and doodles.” In other words, no matter who you are, you don’t need it. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth buying.
The Bamboo Connect is the successor to the now discontinued Bamboo Pen. It keeps the former’s active area (5.8x3.6 inches) and similar physical dimensions. The main differences, in fact, are a $10 price hike, a sassy accent color, and a smaller profile. The black and green tablet is sleek, but understated enough not to draw attention to itself. The pen is similarly no-frills. It has two programmable buttons and is very lightweight.
But all the aesthetics (or lack thereof) don’t detract from the fact that the Connect handles writing and drawing, its primary function, terrifically well. The pen feels good on the tablet, and after a little getting used to, it can handle most everyday projects outside of doodling around. But if you’re looking to replace your mouse, you should understand it has some obvious limitations for everyday use. Scrolling, for instance, can become too much exercise for your wrist, and if you’re using dual monitors, the center of the tablet is nowhere near the center of your screen.
The bottom line. Eighty dollars isn’t pocket change, but it’s hard not to recommend this starter tablet for anyone who wants to make the switch. It fulfills all of its promises—it just doesn’t make many.
Bamboo Connect Pen
Mac OS 10.4.8 or later
Inexpensive. Makes for a surprisingly good mouse replacement. Green accents are sexy but not obnoxious.
Small active area may frustrate some users. Included software is buggy. Scrolling works better for drawing than everyday use.