Between all of my projects I write two to three thousand words a week. I also create three or four drawings. This is a lot of time spent with a pen or keyboard in my hand. I try to make the most of my time by breaking my work down into small pieces. I use any small pause or downtime to jot a few things down. I am a proud owner of a leaning tower of spiral notebooks. I spent a lot of time each week transcribing my work to my computer. When I heard that there were smart notebooks I decided it was time to take a risk on increasing my productivity.
There are a lot of smart notebooks on the market. These products allow handwritten pages to be transferred to a computer. Some of these products are pressure sensitive and capture the pen strokes in real-time. Others use tracking points and QR codes to allow smart phones to take a perfect photograph of the page. Many of these notebooks do not translate handwriting into text. If I really wanted to save some time, I would need a product that could cut down my transcribing time. I after two weeks of debate, I decided to spend $150 on a Wacom Bamboo Slate.
The Wacom Bamboo Slate is fairly simple to use. Any paper can be used on the pad. The pad itself has a slot which holds the cardboard backing of legal pads. The tablet has two lights and one button. One light is above the micro-USB port and indicates charging status. The other light is paired with the button.
The button can be held for three seconds to power the device. It can also be held for six seconds to put the device into pairing mode. While the device is turned on the indicator light is green. Once the user begins to write, the indicator light turns blue. This tells the user that there is recorded date that is ready to be transferred. Pressing the button will upload the captured data to our device of choice. The light then turns back to green.
The Bamboo Slate can be paired over Bluetooth or USB cable (I believe the device can also sync over mobile data). All of the data is stored in an app called Inkspace. This app is very basic as far as settings go. I also own a Wacom Intuos and I feel that the software for that product is much more powerful. The uploaded pages are available on the home screen. There are basic editing functions as well as a plethora of export options. Most of us who are using this device for art and writing will most likely export our pages to another app for editing.
Inkspace also offers an “ink to text option. This feature will translate handwriting into text. AS far as accuracy goes, this service works extremely well. I have the handwriting skills of a small child and the app still picks up the majority of my words. When I take my time and write neatly there are no mistakes. However, I have had a hard time getting the service to work. Most of the time I receive a “Please Try Again” error message. The service does seem to work better through a USB cable. This could just be a problem with my phone (I have a Google Pixel 2), but basic nature of the Inkspace app makes the problem difficult to troubleshoot.
I bought the full-sized Bamboo Slate. I am used to carrying a legal pad at all times. While the Slate does not add much thickness, the table is much wider than the legal pad. It feels more like carrying an easel or canvas. This is not a flaw of the product. From a functional standpoint I feel that Wacom excelled at providing a powerful product with limited space. However, I do find myself wishing that I had purchased the smaller version. Since the tablet acts similarly to a clip board or tray, people who draw or write on the couch will enjoy this product.
I did some research before buying this product. There seemed to be a large variance in how users experience the pen’s pressure sensitivity. I saw a few people who said their light pen strokes did not show up on the recording. Others saw a difference between the thickness of the lines, but with little variation. I have had a completely different experience. Every line I draw is the same thickness. There does not seem to be any pressure sensitivity at all. It could be me, but wouldn’t say that I have a heavy writing hand. Also, I have not tried removing and replacing the pen’s ink cartridge. I have had an issue with my Wacom Intuos’ pen tip becoming stuck. Regardless, this product seems to be best suited for writing and line art.
This is the end of my first week of owning the Wacom Bamboo Slate. So far it seems to be a great product. My handwriting is so bad that I do have to spend some time correcting the ink-to-text. However, this takes much less time than typing up full pages of text. I am having problems with some of Inkspace’s features, but nothing that has drastically affected my experience. I really like the fabric covering of the tablet. Having a sturdy writing surface on the go is a great perk.
You can visit Wacom’s website for more information about the product here.
I hope you enjoyed my Wacom Bambo Slate review! What do you think of the Bamboo Slate? Are there any questions about it you would like me to answer? Let me know on social media!