I've reviewed so many graphics tablets over the years and they are all starting to become difficult to differentiate. So it's really refreshing to see something different once in a while. The tablet we're going to look at today is the WoodPad.
The WoodPad is a drawing tablet that's made of bamboo instead of the usual black hard plastic. It looks great and there's a nice feeling about it that comes from using wood. I love the texture of wood and really appreciate the natural look and feel of this device.
The WoodPad that I'm reviewing was sent to me by ViewSonic, which is also the company that made it. I received it a few months ago and the drivers weren't working well so I had to delay my review. When this was first sent to me, the tablet was just called WoodPad but now it seems to go by the name WoodPad Palette 7.
This is a rather small drawing tablet. The active area measures 6.4 x 4 inches. The tablets I have are mostly medium-sized tablets (10 x 6 inches) so I felt really constrained by the smaller dimensions. This is especially so because I use a large 27-inch monitor. Each small movement on the tablet translate to a large movement on screen. Those who use smaller monitors should have better drawing experience.
The four corners of the active area are marked by tiny markers. The active area does not go all the way to the edge so the bezels provide some space for your pen to overshoot.
The tablet surface is not made of one single piece of bamboo. It's actually several bamboo pieces glued together, like plywood, and polished. The surface is as smooth as those plastic tip tablets. I'm not sure how well it resist scratches but I'm not one who's particularly annoyed by scratches.
The tablet is quite thin. Beneath the bamboo are the electronics and beneath that is a large piece of foam with 4 rubber feet.
This is the micro-USB cable that's included.
The pen feels well built, sturdy and has a nice weight to it. This is a battery-less pen and supports up to 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity and has 45 degrees tilt sensitivity.
The grip is made of hard rubber and doesn't attract dust.
Three replacement nibs and a nib remover are included.
You can choose between using felt-tip or hard tip nibs. The hard plastic ones are quite smooth and slippery on the tablet. The felt-tip nibs provide more friction and control.
There aren't many options in the driver settings. The only shortcuts are limited to the pen's two side buttons.
I've tested the tablet on both Windows and Mac. Here are the findings.
Photoshop CS (Mac) has this strange tapering effect. It may not be obvious in the screenshot above but at the end of those hatching lines just below the "Phot" letters, there are very thin lines from the tapered stroke. You can click on the picture above for a larger view.
Medibang Paint Pro (Mac) also has that extra thin line tapering issue as well but otherwise work fine.
Adobe Illustrator (Mac) has pressure sensitivity.
Mischief (Mac) works fine.
Clip Studio Paint (Mac) works exceptionally well and does not have the weird thin line tapering effect.
Krita (Mac) has issues with broken lines.
Photoshop (Win) works fine and does not have any problems with extra thin tapering lines.
Krita (Win) works fine and does not have the broken line issue that the Mac version has.
Clip Studio Paint (Win) works perfectly.
The other Windows app I've tested are ArtRage, Sketchable, Mischief and Adobe Illustrator, and they all work fine.
The overall drawing performance is quite satisfactory except for the thin tapering lines with the Mac versions of Photoshop and Medibang Paint Pro. If you're using those two apps on Mac, that problem could be the deal breaker. I did not experience any issues with Windows drawing software so those are probably driver issues.
The pen is quite sensitive and the lines produced in all the apps I've used are quite smooth. That's a major plus. My only major complaint is the active area is too small. It would be great if they had a larger option available for sale.
Here's a list of pros and cons:
+ Design looks good
+ Drawing functionality is overall satisfactory except with certain Mac apps
+ Well built battery-less pen with good sensitivity
- Active area is a bit small
- Some issues with Mac versions of Photoshop and Medibang Paint Pro
- No shortcut buttons on the tablet
- No left-handed mode
The WoodPad is currently available for purchase through these links:
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