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Review: Wacom One

When creating art or editing images on the computer, the mouse or touchpad isn’t necessarily the best tool for the job. Creating in other mediums is a more natural feel with tools that contour to the hand and have a direct result where the creation is occurring. To bring this to the digital realm, there is the Wacom One.

The Wacom One is a tablet that connects directly to the computer and allows the user to draw directly on the One’s screen with the pen that is enclosed with it.

Setting up the Wacom One is fairly simple. The Wacom One comes with a cable that has four plugs attached to it. The first plug is a USB-A and adapter to plug into the wall to give the One power, the second plug goes directly into the One, and the other two are USB-A and HDMI plugs that are plugged into the computer’s ports. Once everything is connected, it’s as simple as downloading and installing the drivers from Wacom.com. While this review is based on connecting and using on a MacBook Pro, it should be just as easy to set up on Windows and compatible Android devices.

The connected Wacom One is a pressure sensitive 13.3″ screen that reacts to the Wacom pen when the pen is brought close to the screen. My MacBook recognizes the One as a second screen that is connected to the laptop and can either mirror the laptop’s screen or be utilized as a second screen. The pen is recognized as a mouse-like device and bringing the pen close to the screen will move the pointer around, while pushing against the screen is recognized as a click of the mouse button and pressing the button on the pen is a right click. Using the Wacom to control the computer is a bit of a learning curve, but comes more naturally with practice.

Using the Wacom One with Photoshop is where the tablet really shines. Drawing on the screen with the pen is like drawing on a piece of paper with immediate results appearing as if it was actually drawing onto physical medium. Any lag between drawing with the pen and the One is imperceptible, creating a very natural drawing process.

The Wacom One is pressure sensitive, allowing for variation of depth and thickness of lines while drawing or painting. I was a bit hesitant to push the pen into the screen initially, but found the screen to be very resilient against the pen and I could easily work the pressure as if it were an actual pencil on paper. The One can also sense the tilt of the pencil for shading and softer edges. It is also notable that it does not sense a hand against the screen, so leaning against it while drawing will not affect its efficacy.

When not using the Wacom One for art, I found it also makes an effective secondary monitor. Displaying documents, keeping browsers open, or watching a video, the 1920 x 1080 13″ screen is very clear and has a high enough resolution for any viewing needs.

The Wacom One is a great tool for any digital artist. I highly recommend it for anyone who does anything artistic on their computer and wants to up their game. While the mouse or touchpad works, nothing compares to a more natural tool, and the Wacom One brings instinctive artistic ability to the digital medium.

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