After over a month of unnecessary messing around, I've finally got my tablet. It's only a Wacom Bamboo Pen (or Bamboo Connect in the USA) but it's the new 2011 version which has 1024 levels of pressure sensitivity, which is double that of the old version. Admittedly, it's not the greatest tablet money can buy, but I really didn't see any sense in buying an Intuos 4 for extra features and sensitivity, when I've only used a tablet once before now, and I wasn't sure if it's something I can use properly. There's a bit of a learning curve with them, and I imagine it may take a week or two of regular use before I get used to it properly. Perseverance seems to be the key with these things, and I'm damned if I'm not going to use it as it's a Xmas present from My Beloved.
A little about the product, for anyone interested in purchasing a graphics tablet. The tablet measures 11"x7" but has a usable area of about 6"x4". This does seem slightly small but it's plenty to start with, unless you want to make large sweeping motions while drawing or painting with it, for example, in which case something more expensive will be your only choice. It has a blue light when it's plugged in, though it's not like one of those obnoxious blue lights you get on some computer cases or monitors. The brightness is quite muted and doesn't distract me -or blind me- if I see it out the corner of my eye while gaming.
1024 levels of pressure is very good for an entry level tablet, and because it's a Wacom, it shouldn't have issues with drivers or compatibility when it comes to software, unlike other brands of tablets which can be a bit hit and miss from what I've read, especially with more recent versions of software and operating systems. On the subject of software, the tablet comes with a download code for a copy of Artrage 2.6 (Autodesk Sketchbook Express and Evernote in the USA), which can be dl'ed for free after registering the tablet. As Artrage is having a Winter sale at the moment, I upgraded to Artrage Studio for £10. Nice! So now I have PS CS3, Corel Painter 11, and Artrage Studio to play with. *excited squeal*
The tablet comes with three replacement nibs. It has been said that the nibs wear down faster on the 2011 version than their older counterparts, but this is all about how hard you press on with the pen. For this reason, amongst others, I'll be looking into buying an A5 sheet of thin acetate to hopefully slow down nib wear.
Also worth mentioning is that many have claimed using a tablet instead of a mouse has helped with repetitive stress injuries from using a mouse all day. Navigating the desktop and internetz is just as easy once you adapt to using the pen, though it's not something I'll be using it for.
I figure I'll give this at least a year of use before looking at upgrading to something bigger and better. That should be plenty of time for things to become second nature when using it, and it also allows time to experiment with programs and their respective learning curves.
I'll probably post an update in a week or two, once I've got used to things and set up PS, etc, to use pressure sensitivity on the brushes. In the meanwhile, I hope this has been somewhat useful for anyone thinking about a graphics tablet for their artwork or anything else.