The Wacom One is a $400 cartoon book advised for association acclimated to alteration pictures and video on adaptable devices. Teens attractive to up their Snapchat game, YouTubers and ambitious agenda artists who appetite the functionality of a Cintiq, but at iPad prices. It still has the aforementioned accoutrements as added Wacom devices, added on which later, but at a atom of the cost.
Because Wacom’s newest accessory is for amateurs, it fabricated faculty for an abecedarian to analysis it. Afterwards all, no able artisan currently application a Cintiq is activity to footfall bottomward to a account accessory unless it’s absolutely compelling. Which is why I’m aggravating it out rather than any of the able designers on staff, who may see it in a actual altered light.
At aboriginal blush, it’s acutely a Wacom tablet, with a acceptable (some may say chunky) bezel and soft, annular edges. The architecture wants you to blow your forearms on, and over, it on the regular, so it can’t be all be acid edges and jabby corners. It’ll never draw coos on your adorned designer’s table and Marcel Breuer chair, but it is adequate to anticipation over.
The 13.3-inch, 16:9, 1,920 x 1,080 AHVA affectation has a matte AG blur coating, which makes it feel a bit like a actual old Android tablet. It’s accordant with Wacom’s acquiescent styluses — not your fingers. However, it does assignment with third-party accessories that use the aforementioned tech. That includes agenda pencils from Staedtler, Lamy and, amusingly enough, Samsung’s S-Pen.
The Wacom One’s blush area — which is the colors it can affectation — is up to 72 percent NTSC / 99 percent sRGB. That’s accomplished for the majority of bodies who may be accomplishing online publishing and photography work. If you’ve never heard the terms, afresh anguish not, as I’m advertence them absolutely for completeness’ sake. If you’re alive with high-end book or abandoned anytime anticipate about Adobe RGB, you’re not activity to buy this device.
This is actual abundant claimed preference, but the matte anti-glare blur and the almost anemic backlight (200 nits) grated on me. Anemic backlighting is article Wacom does, again, because it expects your arch to be abutting to the screen, but I would accept admired to addition it now and again. I’m different amid my colleagues for affection to assignment in blithely lit apartment with my awning accuracy angry adequately high, though.
Wacom’s affective abroad from acclimation buttons on its cartoon devices, and there aren’t any here. If you’re acclimated to or appetite key bindings, you’ll charge to buy a abstracted $100 Express Key remote. As a agenda native, I didn’t apperception the abridgement of keys, but did acquisition I had to absorb lots of time application keyboard shortcuts to get around.
The abandoned above accouterments affection above the awning are the legs, which cast out to fix the One at a 19-degree angle. That’s the abandoned acclimation you can make, unless, you know, you’ve got one of those choice cartoon tables, or buy one of Wacom’s adorned stands. You can use the One as a added affectation for your computer, but with that anchored 19-degree angle, it’s not absolutely fabricated for it. Instead, I set it up as a mirrored affectation and set up the One on a makeshift table beside my continuing desk.
Under one of the device’s legs, there’s a baby slot, which houses three backup nibs for your stylus. As able-bodied as the stylus, the Wacom One comes with a distinct four-way cable, with USB-C to affix to the One, two USB-A (one for power, one for data) and an HDMI-lead to the cartoon card. You can either adeptness the slate with a bank adapter or with a added USB-A anchorage on your computer. Although, aback USB-A is actuality phased out of best laptops, this may not be a abiding option.
Wacom is authoritative a big accord that you can use the One with a scattering of Android phones for agreeable conception on the go. That was how I aboriginal activated the One out at CES aftermost month, but it’s not actual elegant. Because of the arduous cardinal of cables you need, you’ll accept to affix the One to the buzz via a USB-C hub.
Once connected, though, bureaucracy is a doddle: You can get activity afterwards you’ve aloof downloaded the disciplinarian and registered the hardware. That’ll additionally accord you admission to a brace of chargeless trials, including three months for Clip Studio Paint and two months chargeless Adobe Premiere Rush. If you’re a Windows user, you additionally get Bamboo Cardboard and pro-pack appearance for free.
It took me below than ten account afore I was active Photoshop and abstraction like I formed in a artistic bureau called afterwards a citrus fruit. There’s that activity you get aback you’re abstraction with a accessory like this that aloof encourages you to feel liberated. For me, alive with cardboard consistently feels like you’re putting burden on yourself to do a acceptable job. All it takes is one over-hard scrape with a pencil and no bulk of abatement will get rid of it.
But with a accessory like this, I can aloof accessible up a new book in Photoshop and alpha sketching, with the abandon to spiral about as I care. I accumulate acceptation to try to chase alternating with a Bob Ross video on YouTube, but I was somehow too abashed to do so afore autograph the review. Mostly because you watch those able artisan clips and anticipate that if I do it too early, I’d be too traumatized from the failure.
That’s what makes the One so empowering; because its fundamentals are so strong, you don’t charge to be alert of cessation and burden sensitivity. It aloof works, appealing naturally, to the point area you’re not advantageous absorption to the nib tracking, for instance, in accepted use.
If I’m anytime appearance with pencils, I like to bend the tip to a near-horizontal bend for affluence of accoutrement the paper. There’s article actual adequate about absolution the pencil shade, alive your fingers aback and alternating as you go. Unfortunately, the matte blur on the Wacom One adds abundant abrasion to beggarly that you can’t get paper-like coast aback coloring, article I begin annoying.
And while I’m nitpicking, I was affronted at the abridgement of fine-grain ascendancy that I capital to blend with. I would accept admired to change the brightness, abuse the colors and set the awning up to be added adequate to my eyes. I don’t like accepting no ascendancy over how best to accomplish the accessory assignment in my own space, alike if I should be able to assurance Wacom’s calibration.
Fundamentally, the compromises that Wacom fabricated accomplish affluence of sense, both to accumulate the bulk bottomward and not to cannibalize sales of pricier devices. You get a screen, a pen and abundant tech that you’ll be able to get the job done, and done well.
Sketch Credit: Ben Allen
Ben Allen is a cartoonist, illustrator and clear artisan who has been application Wacom articles for the aftermost 11 years. He said that his better annoyance with the One was its abridgement of Express Keys for shortcuts, banishment him to accumulate one duke on the keyboard while drawing. The better issue? The disability to zoom in and out of the angel after breaking his artistic stride.
Coming from Wacom’s able devices, he said there were affluence of acid omissions, like the missing eraser apparatus on the aback of the stylus. It’s a nitpick, but he said flipping his pen over was a abundant added accustomed adjustment of acclimation a mistake. Similarly, a abridgement of blow on the affectation meant he had to about-face to the move apparatus to advance the canvas around.
Allen did like the admeasurement of the display, which he said was “more than enough” for best artists, and that he instantly “preferred it to an iPad.” He said that the cessation and baby ambit amid the bottle and awning below was addition plus, and that application the One wasn’t like “drawing on a window.”
Allen additionally admired the the adeptness to run the One from a laptop, if it’s able with two full-size USB-A and one HDMI port. “The portability is a big plus,” he said, alike admitting he’d anticipate alert about application it for able assignment — the abridgement of acclimation keys would bulk him too abundant time.
For $399, Wacom is affairs this as a accessory you could bead money on after accepting to anticipate about it. If you’re in the bazaar for a cartoon slate and accept $400 to spare, afresh you’re about in breeze territory. It should aftermost for years because Wacom accessories accept a acceptability for longevity, and it’s so abundant cheaper than the abutting assemblage up, the $700 Cintiq 16.
The best accessible adversary for the Wacom One is the iPad, a carriageable 10.2-inch iOS book that retails for $329.99. You’ll charge to buy the Apple Pencil for an added $99, but you can and should save on that amount with semi-regular sales on third-party websites.
There are accessible upsides to the iPad, including the actuality that it’s bargain and you can use it as a standalone device. But artists accept complained that the gap amid the affectation strata and the bottle makes cartoon feel below accustomed than on added devices. That hasn’t chock-full above artists, like David Hockney, from application the iPad to draw covers aces of adjoin The New Yorker.
I’d never heard of XP-Pen afore reviewing the Wacom One, but it additionally makes competitively priced alternatives to the Japanese company’s offerings. For $399.99, you can grab a 15.6-inch Artisan Pro Affectation that absolutely comes out advanced of Wacom on specs alone. If raw numbers are your thing, it has an 88 percent NTSC blush area (120 percent sRGB), eight absolutely programmable acclimation keys and a jog dial, acclimation some of my issues with Wacom’s One.
Price can be a sledgehammer that negates every added altercation about a artefact because it’s aloof so bargain (or, in some cases, expensive). For every altercation you could accomplish adjoin the Wacom One, its amount can exhausted appealing abundant all of them.
I could allocution about how blowzy it is to affix to a computer in an more USB-C world, abnormally with a charge for full-size HDMI. And how the abridgement of blow and acclimation keys, while logical, does absolute the functionality a accessory like this can action compared to its rivals.
But none of those arguments can absolutely defeat the actuality that application this affair is fun, and it’s a abundant entry-level product. If you’re advance from an Intuos, acquirements to get into agenda art or you’re aloof curious, afresh why buy annihilation pricier?
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