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Review: Genius MousePen Graphics Tablet

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Genius MousePen Graphics Tablet

Genius MousePen Graphics Tablet

The Bottom Line

If you've been thinking about buying a graphics tablet but don't want to invest too much money on it or software just in case you don't bond with it, the Genius MousePen 8x6 would be a good choice. The graphics tablet is small enough to fit on most desks yet the drawing area is large enough (8x6in/20x15cm) to be easy to use without continually repositioning the pen. If after the free month's use of Corel Painter you want to keep using the program, you can buy a verification key online.
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Pros

  • 1024-level, pressure-sensitive pen
  • Compatible with Adobe Photoshop and Corel Painter
  • Only takes up 11x12 inches (27x30cm) of desk space
  • Includes a month's free trial of Corel Painter

Cons

  • No 'eraser' on top of pen
  • Takes a bit of practice to use the pen to its full potential
  • Compatible only with Pentium PCs, not Macs

Description

  • A graphics tablet, with a cordless pen and a cordless mouse, that plugs into a USB port.
  • Requires a Pentium PC running Windows, with at least 4MB hard drive and 64MB of Ram.
  • Pen has 1024 levels of pressure sensitivity for controlling the thickness of a line.
  • Pen uses a AAA battery. It has two buttons, one for scrolling and the other for right-click menus.
  • Pen does not have an eraser on the top, as do those from more expensive graphics tablets.
  • Drawing area is 8x6 inches (20x15 cm). Draw with programs you've got or trial version of Painter.
  • The month's trial of Corel Painter lets you test this highly rated painting software free.
  • Pen Mail lets you send handwritten emails.
  • Use Pen Suite software to write annotations on documents, sign your name and put it into a document.
  • Hot Cells for fast access to various functions, including save, copy, paste, and undo.

Guide Review - Review: Genius MousePen Graphics Tablet

Using a pen rather than a mouse for drawing on a computer is far more natural for most people, and makes creating fine detail much easier. Depending on what software you're using, the pen can be anything from a pencil to a felt-tip pen to a watercolour brush and, being pressure sensitive, you simply push down slightly harder to thicken a line, as you would with a real pen.

The cordless pen and mouse mean there are no wires to get tangled up. The 8x6inch (20x15cm) drawing area is large enough for it to feel like you're drawing naturally (unless you're someone who likes working very large), yet the drawing tablet isn't so big you'll need a new desk for it. You can use the pen for everything you'd use a mouse for -- opening menus, scrolling, etc. -- so you may find you never use the mouse.

Besides the obvious use for creating digital drawings and paintings, the graphics tablet also gives you the option to add handwritten annotations to documents and even send handwritten emails (though most people will find it quicker to type an email).

Coming as it does with a free trial version of Corel Painter, the Genius MousePen 8x6 is a good and relatively inexpensive way to test your hand at computer painting. It may not be the Big Brand on the Block (that's Wacom), but then it also doesn't come at a Big Price.

Update November 2007: Nearly two years later I'm still very happy using this graphics tablet, though if I ever buy a new one I'll make sure it has an 'eraser' on the top of the pen for easy use.

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