I’ve always wanted to try a graphics tablet and was appreciative when Genius was willing to send me a G-Pen M609X to review and then continue using. When I opened the box I was immediately impressed. The tablet looks good, is well designed and, while light, feels quite sturdy.
I’ve been using it for a while now and have to say it is rather impressive. Costing just under $110 at Walmart, it is priced far more competitively than many of the Wacom tablets (the small Bamboo pen tablet is currently $230 at Amazon while offering excellent and versatile functionality.
Let’s take a look…
From the Company:
G-Pen-M609X from Genius is a brand-new multimedia tablet with a cordless touch pen for professionals. The G-Pen 609x has glossy black plastic surrounding a 5 1/2″ by 9″ drawing area. At the top of the tablet are two rotating controls for zoom/scroll. A row of buttons between the controls add one-touch functionality. 26 pen-activated hotkeys surround the drawing area. The M609X can switch between 16:9 and 4:3 aspect ratio at the press of a button.
The 4000 LPI high resolution provides the best graphic performance for design. The unique dual mode function can switch the active area instantly from wide to standard and back. The 9” x 5.5” (wide) / 7.25” x 5.5” (standard) working area and one cordless pen is great for Windows and MAC users to write, draw, sketch and sign emails. Using the pen tablet gives you better convenience and control compared to your mouse. The cursor moves precisely where you position the pen.
The rolling pad is convenient for easily operating the 4D scrolling, zoom in/out, volume up/down and brush-width functions. Just click the pen on any of the 26 shortcut keys for instant access to Office, Internet and Vista functions. Just barely touch the pen to start a function, it features two buttons and 1024 level pressure sensitivity for thickness during drawing or writing.
In The Box:
G-Pen M609X tablet
PhotoImapct 12SE (Windows only)
Power Presenter RE/Free Notes & Office Ink
PC Driver (Macro Key Manager) /E-manual
Two extra pen tips
AAA battery for pen
Multi-language quick guide
IBM PC/ Pentium 233 compatible or higher
Macintosh with OS X 10.4 or later
Available USB port
CD/DVD-ROM drive for software installation
9” x 5.5” and 7.25” x 5.5” switchable working area for wide/4:3 screens
Creative rolling pad for scrolling in four directions, zooming in/out, volume up/down and brush width
4000 LPI high accuracy and sensitivity for a highly reactive cursor
1024-level pressure sensitivity for all shapes and thickness control
Make handwriting notes/drawings efficiently in email, MSN, documents, or any application program
Vista plug and play; handwriting recognition compatible
Pen flicks, digital inking in Office and snapping functions for convenient operation
Along the top of the tablet are five preset buttons. These are locked to specific functions and can therefore not be changed.
At the top there are scroll wheels on the left and right hand side.
Along the top of the writing area are a series of hotkeys that include some useful defaults such as New Document, Open, Save, Cut, Copy, Paste and Undo. Down each side are seven more hotkeys that can be assigned to launch other applications. Yes, it takes some time to set up and then you must remember which button goes with which app, but once you start using it the functionality becomes second nature rather quickly.
Over all the tablet is light, looks nice and feels well-built. One rather nice feature is the fact that the drawing/writing area is a bit textured. The mat-like feel of it makes drawing more accurate and makes writing on it feel more like writing on actual paper.
The pen is a rather short, torpedo-shaped deal. It is a bit on the thick side but nothing compared to the Livescribe PulsePen. It is light and feels a bit cheap when you first hold it. In use, however, it is more than comfortable. Two buttons bring added functionality.
A pseudo-inkwell stand for the pen is a nice touch and a great way to always have the pen at the ready.
I loaded the enclosed software onto my netbook and plugged in the G-Pen M609X. The PC immediately recognized the tablet and made it available for use.
I pulled up one of the sample pictures that come preloaded in Windows 7 in the Draw program. Using the pen the way I would a mouse or a touch pen I was able to resize the image. It was responsive and accurate. And while the trackpad on the netbook is fine, using the pen as the mouse was a pleasure.
Next came trying to draw. Elana went to the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan. I, sadly, when to the School of “Can’t Draw In A Straight Line”. Okay, so maybe I’m not the best person to review a tablet that is largely intended for drawing. Even still, I was able to test out using various pens, changing colors, using template shapes and more. The pen made making changes a breeze. The more comfortable I became with how it tracks the easier and better it got.
I tried various “modifications” on the picture. I gave the koala blue eyes, pink eyes, a beard and more. I even turned him into… Professor Koala.
Another cool feature is the ability to slip images beneath the flexible plastic sheet that creates the drawing field.
It is semi-transparent, so drawings or photos can be slipped underneath it for tracing. From there you simply trace the lines and the image is recreated on the screen.
It is pretty darn cool… especially for a non-artist like me.
Another neat feature is the fact that the G-Pen makes use of Windows 7’s native handwriting recognition. This is something hat was only available with Windows XP Tablet Edition but was brought “in house” with Vista and continues to be present in 7. You don’t know it is there until you plug the tablet in. As soon as you do however, a new feature appears at the edge of the screen.
Start writing on the tablet and your scribble appears on the screen… and then is converted to text.
It works quite well!
Overall I have been impressed with the G-Pen M609. Used as a pen-enabled mouse/trackpad it allows me to sit back in my chair and browse on my iMac or my netbook. Used with any pain program it reminds me just how untalented I am but would be a welcome computing addition for anyone who is artistic. The tablet is sturdy yet light enough to be comfortable either holding it or leaving it on your lap for an extended period of time. The high degree of configurability, while daunting at first, means that the tablet will become more convenient the more one uses and becomes familiar with it.
What I Like:
Well priced, highly configurable, pen-stand keeps it readily accessible (read: not lost in my clutter), works with both windows and Mac OSX
What Needs Improvement:
Pen is a little short for my tastes, some buttons and hotkeys locked to functions I don’t want or need.