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Wacom Inkling: Smart pen with precision problems

For those who draw and are good with the pen, the drawing pad has long been both a fun and useful complement to the computer mouse. There are good plates for everything from happy amateurs to professional illustrators.

Inkling consists of two parts. First, a special ballpoint pen with battery and built-in transmitter. The pen is a little big and the ball feels clumsy, but it has a good grip and you soon get used to the size. It talks to the other part of the system, a small receiver with built-in memory, which registers the pen’s movements and pressure against the surface. The pen has a regular ball point at the front, and you draw for real on regular paper.

Used without a computer
The receiver is clamped like a paper clip at the top of the paper. Then you press the start button and start drawing. You can “turn the page” or create new layers with the push of a button on the receiver. The documents are stored as files on a Flash memory in the receiver and when you are done, you plug it into a computer via USB.

Wacom Inkling
Wireless. Inkling’s receiver is not connected to the computer while you work, so it’s great to take in your pocket and use anywhere. However, the loaded documents won’t really look this good, because the pen has some problems with precision.

You get a charger for the pen and the receiver, which also serves as a practical case and holds a bunch of extra pen tips.

The memory also contains installation files for a Windows or Mac program that manages the files and can make easier editing. For example, change the color of layers, rotate images and break out layers. You can then convert them to Photoshop, Illustrator or Autodesk Skretchbook format. But only if you have any of the programs installed.

Not quite picture-perfect
Fortunately, it is also possible to save to more common formats (but for some reason under a completely different menu option that took us a while to find) such as jpeg, png or pdf. Not everyone has Photoshop or Illustrator on their computer. In our opinion, Wacom Inkling is not really for the type of user who runs such things. It’s a little too expensive for those who just want a simple but reliable thing to doodle with, and not good enough for professional imagers who demand meticulous precision.

The sensitivity of the pen does not have exact coordinates, but corresponds to approximately 600 dpi, and the pressure sensitivity of the pen tip is also clearly approved for storing nice drawings. But the pen positioning leads to a real problem; it is not at the extreme tip of the pen that the position is registered, but a few centimeters up the pen. This means that the pen thinks you are drawing in different places, depending on how you angle the pen. If you don’t hold it rock solid in the same position all the time, the result will be wobbly lines and misplaced details.

On the other hand, it handles text, less accurate sketches and ordinary scribbles brilliantly. For those of you who want to feel a bit old-fashioned at the work meeting and not bring a computer, this is therefore a really interesting little gadget. But the technology has a long way to go before it replaces a real drawing board.

Wacom Inkling
Manufacturer: Wacom, www.wacom.eu
Interface: USB,
Wireless communication: Ir to the receiver,
Pressure sensitivity: 1,024 levels.
Max paper size: About A4/Legal
System requirements: Computer with usb, Windows XP (sp2), Vista, 7 or Mac OS X 10.11.4 or later.
Size, pen: 15.4 x 1.5 x 1.4 cm.
Weight, pencil: 21 grams.
Size, recipient: 7 x 3.2 x 1.6 cm.
Weight, receiver: 38 g.
Battery life: The pen about 15 hours, the receiver about 8 hours.
Guarantee: 2 years.
Approx price:
SEK 1,500.

Plus: Small and handy to take with you. Easy to use.
Minus: High price. Half precision.
Grade: (6 out of 10)

Manufacturer: Wacom, www.wacom.eu
Interface: USB,
Wireless communication: Ir to the recipient.
Pressure sensitivity: 1,024 levels.
Max paper size: About A4/Legal
System requirements: Computer with usb, Windows XP (sp2), Vista, 7 or Mac OS X 10.11.4 or later.
Size, pen: 15.4 x 1.5 x 1.4 cm.
Weight, pencil: 21 grams.
Size, recipient: 7 x 3.2 x 1.6 cm.
Weight, receiver: 38 g.
Battery life: The pen about 15 hours, the receiver about 8 hours.
Guarantee: 2 years.
Approx price: SEK 1,500.

Plus: Small and handy to take with you. Easy to use.
Cons: High price. Half precision.
Grade: (6 out of 10)

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