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This review is from: WACOM Intuos 4 Professional Pen Tablet - Small/Black
Pros: I frequently use a Wacom tablet in electronic schematic layout, conceptual art design, and even some gaming, so this was a great step up from the previous Intuos3. Being out and about frequently, some of my work is done on a laptop, so picking up an Intuos4 Small made sense as it'd fit nicely into a laptop bag.
Here's a rundown of this model's pluses:
- Specific to the Small model, conservative dimensions allow it to fit within a 17" laptop case with plenty of extra room.
- Very precise, as Wacom is always known for!
- A giant step up in pressure sensitivity. The Intuos4's 1g starting pressure is a boon for sensing the slightest strokes, compared to the 10g of the Intuos3.
- Great, heavy pen holder that matches well with the tablet's sleek design. The many extra nibs and remover tool (finally!) are an excellent addition.
- The driver is quite intuitive. Adding programs, backing up profiles, and configuring the tablet's functions are all very easy--with one exception noted be
Cons: There are, unfortunately, some problems. I definitely hope Wacom will address these in the future, upcoming wireless model notwithstanding:
- Nib and surface wear. I agree with many users that the rougher surface eats tips and sheets in no time. This is particularly true for heavy hands and heavy usage.
- The mini-A USB socket's durability concerns me a little, as I always disconnect the tablet when packing up. Being gentle helps, though.
- I rarely use the ExpressKeys, but when I do, they feel harder to press, but less tactile, than the Intuos3's.
- The touch ring's button scrolls its four functions in one direction--top to bottom. There should be a modifier key that allows it to scroll the other way to save time.
- No way to reassign an .exe in the driver without creating a new profile.
- Can't bind Precision Mode or other tablet-only functions to the keyboard.
- Mouse is not that useful...again.
- No OLED displays, but I don't need them. Keyboard shortcuts and intuition ar
Other Thoughts: All in all, I give this little brother of Wacom's new line of powerful input devices 4 out of 5 Eggs. It's a giant leap forward for their hardware--especially the heightened sensitivity and design--but the company stepped backwards for a few critical basics. Regardless, one can't ascend much higher than this new line at a decent price, so my choice to upgrade an oft-used tool was still worthwhile.
Besides, not everyone can afford their upcoming Intuos4-based Cintiqs, right? I sure can't! ;)
This review is from: Wacom Intuos3 PTZ930 9" x 12" Active Area USB Tablet
Pros: Being a user of The Gimp and Inkscape, I can safely say that for the one month I’ve owned the Intuos3 9x12, it is the best addition to my arsenal of hardware for the open-source-software artist. No paid software upgrades is always a good thing! Even tilt sensitivity and the accessory keys/touch strips are supported quite well. Now, since I’m mostly devoted to very-detailed illustration (mechanical design, specifically) and a dual-monitor setup, this size was the way to go. Why not the 6x11, though? Sometimes, if I need to connect this tablet to a bigger single-screen PC, a lot more properly-proportioned drawing area is available to me compared to the 6x11. Finally, this is a Wacom: fairly obvious, but their products are not just for professionals. Anyone who wants amazing accuracy, serious precision, loads of features, and durability in a digitizing device will get it all from this company. Plus, the wireless pen and mice are battery-free, so way less maintenance is required!
Cons: Not exactly a con, but if you are deciding between the Intuos3 6x8, 6x11, and 9x12, do ask yourself about what you plan to work on. Bigger tablets offer more overall precision for one monitor size, but conversely will also require more arm movement for any stroke (and more desk space). Daily transportation of the tablet may also warrant a smaller unit, as the 9x12 is rather bulky, and laptop cases aren’t always big enough. Other things: the absolute pen position system does take time to get used to, but regular use will make it all an intuitive experience. Minor complaints: unlike the Bamboo series, the Intuos3 doesn’t ship with a detachable USB cable to reduce the risk of damage from snags. Both regular and academic versions don’t come with a transparent tracing overlay, just the opaque gray sheet you see; you’ll have to find the Intuos3 Special Edition (rare, expensive, differently-colored case, but otherwise the same feature set) or buy the clear overlay from Wacom separately.
Other Thoughts: [Cons continued] Included regular replacement nibs are great, but I’m surprised there is only one stroke (spring-loaded) and felt (pencil-like) type. There is no storage space on any Intuos3 tablets for the pen, mice, or the penholder, compared to the Graphire and Bamboo tablets. Finally, the Intuos3 mouse is not really great since using it takes up valuable tablet space. I recommend using a separate mouse instead (on a separate mousepad, since using it on the tablet will scratch the surface!).
Other thoughts: if possible, get a case if you plan to move this large unit and its accessories; a big laptop bag will suffice if you can find one (see the specs for the actual size of the 9x12’s footprint). Otherwise, look for the Intuos3 9x12 tablet bag; it’s expensive for an accessory, but protecting your drawing tools is always a good thing.
Overall rating: 4.5 stars out of 5.
This review is from: TRON 2.0 PC Game
Pros: I’m a little disappointed about this game—because not enough people play it! Although I have never watched the original Tron movie (only saw screenshots), this game certainly takes the meaning of "inside the computer" to a whole new level—especially because I enjoy building machines and gaming on them. Even with the release of next-gen titles such as Crysis and Unreal Tournament III as of this review, Tron 2.0 uses relatively simple 3D graphics to create astoundingly immersive levels (for once, hard-edged surfaces and polyhedrons are beautiful; get to the “City Hub” level and trust me!). Tron 2.0’s story is deep and long for a shooter, with several twists along the way—for example, an antagonist you’re fighting for part of the game really isn’t the “final boss.” Of course, following canon Tron environments, the beautiful “glow” effect is always there as long as you enable it in the Options menu. Difficulty levels and enemy diversity are good.
Cons: [Positive comments continued] “Insane” poses a fair challenge for most FPS players. The quicksave and quickload options are useful for getting back into action quickly, instead of having to wait for an auto-respawn. Items are quite diverse; given this game plays like an FPS with RPG elements (with armor, weapon, and other “subroutine” upgrades), it’s nice to realize that I can’t just “run-and-gun” every situation. I find myself using the signature Disc, usually with a “Cluster” upgrade, along with the “LOL” sniper rifle quite often. Believe me, the first time you headshot with the LOL, it’ll be lots of fun.
Negative comments: some levels can get annoying at times, especially when I quicksave at the wrong moment with low health and energy; quicksaving also tends to cheapen Tron 2.0’s gameplay by letting me approach simultaneous conflicts one at a time. Gameplay, though tight, is very linear and objective-based (get key, open door, trigger event, kill enemy, etc.).
Other Thoughts: [Negative comments continued] A few story elements are rather immature (“fCon”?). “Talking” in the game constitutes approaching a character and hitting the action key. The mouse aiming may be a little too sensitive; I had to turn my sensitivity down all the way so I wouldn’t spin five times with 1” of movement. Light Cycle portions in the game are decent, but detract from the FPS feel of the game. Multiplayer is…very dead, unfortunately; you won’t find many servers because this game is so underrated.
Other: remember when “hardware transform and lighting” was a new thing? You do NOT need a powerful graphics card to run Tron 2.0; in fact, my older machine (Pentium 4 @ 2.6 GHz, 1 GB RAM, GeForce FX 5200 PCI 128 MB) managed to run this at 1024 x 768 x 32bpp at ~20-25 FPS. On my newer rig (Core 2 Duo E6600, 2 GB RAM, GeForce 7900GT), the frame rate soars into the hundreds at 1280 x 1024 x 32bpp! Funny, though…Crysis is beautiful, but I’d say Tron 2.0 is even better in its own respect.