Wacom Bamboo Pad CTH-300K Review

Wacom Bamboo Pad Review - Featured

I am always keen to try something different from the conventional wireless or Bluetooth mice I use, so I was really pleased to have the opportunity to review the Wacom Bamboo Pad CTH-300K wireless touchpad.

A touchpad is essentially a trackpad similar to that you’d find on a laptop, only larger and of much better quality and the larger space gives much more room for gesture support.

Hardware

Wacom Bamboo Pad Review - Contents

The box contains the touchpad, 2 x AAA batteries, USB wireless receiver, stylus and instructions. The BambooPad is compatible with Windows 7, Windows 8, and Max OSX 10.7 or later.

The BambooPad is metallic grey and measures 16.7 x 14.1 x 0.5 cm and weighs just 358g – overall it is very sleek and looks completely at home on a desktop.

Wacom Bamboo Pad Review - Side View

 

It is very thin and raises up at the top end to accommodate the batteries and stylus. At the top end on one side is the on/off switch, and the other side contains the stylus silo – the stylus simply slides and clicks in place.

To connect it just plug the wireless receiver into a USB port on your computer, wait a few seconds and suddenly the touchpad is controlling your mouse. On my Windows 8 laptop the installation was seamless and it was literally working in seconds without any prompts for drivers or setup.

Wacom Bamboo Pad Review - USB Receiver

The receiver is minimal, I’ve seen smaller USB dongles, but this one is pretty unobtrusive, only protruding from the laptop by 6-7 mm.

The obvious advantage of a touchpad over a mouse is that you can use it in an environment where you cant use a mouse, where the surface isn’t conducive to the laser light working or where you are cramped for space and there simply isn’t room to adequately move the mouse around.

Usage

Using a touchpad with finger input takes a bit of getting used to, within a very short space of time it was better than the touchpad on my laptop, and although I might never get quite as fast with it as I am with a mouse, after a few days it proved to be a viable alternative.

Gesture wise the BambooPad supports the common Windows gestures, single finger tap for left click, two finger tap for a right click, two finger vertical sliding to scroll and of course pinch-to-zoom.

Wacom Bamboo Pad Review - With Asus T100

Stylus

I’m no artist, I’m using the BambooPad simply as a mouse replacement, but I had to give the stylus a go. In a graphic editor the stylus really comes into its own, with an active layer sensing the nib and moving the cursor around as you hover within about an inch of the surface of the pad.

Touching the nib to the tablet acts as a ‘click’ and you can draw accurately, if you have the skill! There is no pressure sensitivity in software like Photoshop however, at least in Windows. Apparently the drivers exist for this on the Mac but not in Windows (from Wacom forums) so anyone looking for Photoshop Windows support should maybe seek an alternative touchpad.

Where it is excellent however is for handwritten note-taking and the stylus works brilliantly with Microsoft OneNote allowing you to take advantage of adding handwritten notes and annotations – something many people find more efficient than a keyboard.

Summary

Overall, this is a great touchpad, the design and build are excellent, its great for Windows navigation, and surprisingly quick and easy to get proficient with. The only negative element is the requirement for the USB adapter, I’d prefer a Bluetooth connection so it could be used with smaller Windows tablets like the Dell Venue 8 Pro or the Toshiba Encore WT8 (see my article on Using An 8inch Windows Tablet As A Fulltime Device).

The price for the BambooPad is extremely good at only £55 from Amazon and while you can buy a mouse for less, the combination of features and flexibility the BambooPad brings make it an excellent alternative. You can do some basic drawing and artwork with it, but the Microsoft OneNote functionality is a huge bonus.

This post was written by Rob Gordon, an IT geek, gadget lover and blogger. Rob has been using the internets since 1994 when the only streaming video was that coffee pot in Cambridge (rip).... Follow Rob on Twitter - @robgordon - about.me/robgordonuk

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