There’s been a flux of Wacom rivals recently – all aimed at the enthusiast rather than professional scribblers, and all carrying enticing price tags. The MousePen from the rather humbly named Genius is a prime example of one of these tablets – for under £50, you get a mouse, pen and an A5 8x6-inch active work area.
Unlike many budget tablets – the pressure sensitivity is here, with the MousePen having a Wacom-equalling 1,024-levels. For anyone unsure of what this means – basically it’s how sensitive the tablet is to pen pressure. The harder you press, the darker, thicker the paint. The lighter you press, the lighter, thinner the stroke. And there’s loads of levels in-between. On paper it’s undeniably impressive.
But, like many Wacom competitors, the MousePen suffers from poor build quality. It’s nothing like the quality of the Graphire range, even. The package feels rather cheap and plasticky. The pen is powered by an AAA battery, and feels a little unbalanced, and the mouse is best left in the box. It’s just not what you want from something that you’ll be using often.
The tablet, unlike the Graphire (which must be the product that Genius is targeting) has no transparency for digitally reproducing hand drawn sketches – a small detail, but one that is handy on the Wacom. The MousePen also uses buttons on the tablet – accessed by the pen – for shortcuts. Since the introduction of ExpressKeys on the Graphire range, this feels like an old-fashioned way of speeding up workflow. Nevertheless we’re glad there is something here in terms of shortcut keys. The supplied PenCommander software enables you to create shortcuts and customise commands further.
We wish we could say that we’ve found a budget tablet that rivals a Wacom. Until that day comes, we’ll stick by our guns and tell you to save up for a Graphire or Intuos – you won’t find anything better for digital painting.
- A5 (8x6-inch) active work area
- 1,024 levels of pressure sensitivity
- Pen and mouse supplied
- Customisable shortcut buttons on the tablet
- Supplied software for customising shortcuts
- Cordless operation