Just about a year ago I reviewed the G-Pen-M609X from Genius, and I used it with my netbook. Yes, back then I was using a netbook, but then again, that was “BiP” … Before iPad. My conclusion was quite positive. I wrote
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.
Well, Genius was kind enough to send me one of their just-released next generation touch pad tablets, the MousePen M508 for review. The timing was perfect. On Sunday I had to hand sign close to 200 certificates. Everyone who came by asked me why I didn’t have a stamp or an electronic signature. When I got home later in the day I used the M508 to create one. It worked perfectly and impressed me quite a bit.
Let’s take a look…
Genius introduces a new generation touch pad tablet – MousePen M508. This 5”x 8” working area tablet provides a unique touch pad and offers a simpler, more natural way to control your working area using the zoom in/zoom out and brush control features. The 4000 LPI high resolution and 1024 level pressure sensitivity pen meet your most professional graphic demands. MousePen M508 also has four express keys to help your working efficincy: just press a button and you get instant access to the eraser and undo function, open a new layer, or choose the brush type. This tablet is great for both Windows and Mac users to write, draw, sketch and sign emails through the bundled software. Use the special pen clip design for easy storage so you can carry the tablet anywhere. MousePen M508 is the best choice for artists and designers. Just ask your salesperson how you can pick this device up.
5” x 8” switchable working area for wide/4:3 screen user’s needs.
Creative touch-pad for scrolling, zooming in/out and brush control functions.
4000 LPI high accuracy and sensitivity for a highly reactive cursor.
1024-level pressure sensitivity for all shapes and thickness control.
Cordless mouse and pen give you the unlimited freedom.
MousePen M508 Package contents:
MousePen M508 Tablet
– Tablet driver (includes electronic user’s manual)
– Tablet Software- (Adobe Photoshop CS4 Extended Corel Painter X, PenNotice, Annotate for word, Pen Commander, Pen Mail, Pen Signer)
– Two pen tips and refill tweezer
– Three AAA batteries for the cordless pen and mouse
– Multi-language quick guide
My first impression was that this was a huge step up from the previous Genius Tablet I’d used. Although it is still surprisingly light, it looks and feels more substantial. The M508 offers a generous tablet area upon which you can write and draw. And, although it is hard to see in a photograph, it has a slight taper toward the front that makes it comfortable to rest my hand on the edges when using the tablet.
Because it is not a touch-enabled surface, you don’t have to worry about where you place your hands.
Thanks to the buttons on the top, however, the tablet IS touch enabled… just not in the way iPad users are familiar.
The center wheel and the two rectangular areas on its side can be set to zoom, brush or scroll using the Tablet Settings. (More on that in a bit.)
The four buttons (two on each side) can likewise be set to perform a number of different functions.
In this case The can do left, right or double-click, switch app, switch app window, print, and much more. The range of settings offered make this a tablet that can be personalized to your work-flow and style.
The bulk of the software shipped with the tablet is intended for Windows users and makes the tablet a bargain if you plan to use it that way. It does work on a Mac, but you do not get the benefit of much of the software. You do, however, get the Tablet Settings menu which allows for customization.
First off, you can select what the buttons on the pen do when you click them. This lets you use the pen as if it were a mouse … hence the name MousePen.
This panel is where you configure the buttons we previously described.
In this panel you can control the size of the work area and much more.
And finally this panel lets you have one, two, three or all four sides of the screen contain “Hot Cells”. These let you perform a host of various operations with just a touch of the pen tip. A number of Hot Cells come predefined and marked on the tablet. you can change them but will need to remember what you’ve done. If you add the other sides you will need to go by memory as well. Configuring and then remembering the various Hot Cells is time consuming, but it is great to have the option available.
Along the top of the MousePen M508 there is an indentation that holds the pen. If you ever used a TabletPC you are likely familiar with the “Pen Garage” many of them had. This is a similar concept and is a great way not to lose your pen. It certainly beats the fake inkwell that last years Genius Tablet review had!
This is a picture of that space when the pen is not inside.
Speaking of the pen… I’m impressed. The pen that comes with the MousePen M508 is substantial and feels much like the various pens I used with my TabletPCs. It has a nice weight to it, and it is just long enough for me to hold comfortably.
The Genius logo is subtly placed in the metal ring at the back, and has been the case with every TabletPC pen I’ve used, the clip is just counting down the moments until it accidentally gets snapped off. 🙂
Thanks to the pen holder, however, this should not be a concern.
The pen tip and buttons are spaced just far apart enough and the buttons click with a nice degree of resistance.
Also worth mentioning is the fact that the M508 comes with a wireless mouse thereby offering even more flexibility.
In all, the M508 is a nice graphics tablet. It feels substantial, is easy to use and will offer anyone who wants to interact with their computer this way a good bit of flexibility. It is ideal for an artist who is looking to create on their computer, and for that reason I’ll be passing the review unit along to a friend who does just that. We’ll see what Calib is able to create with it after he becomes more familiar with this equipment.
More details on the brand new MousePen M508 can be found here on the Genius Web site.
MSRP: This version is $149; a wireless version will run $199
What I Like: Large writing/drawing area; a great degree of customization to make working with it easier and faster; nice, substantial pen; comes with a mouse too
What Needs Improvement: Software adds a great deal of value for PC users, but less so for Mac users; After using the tablet for a time it is clear to me that if you can afford it, the extra money for the wireless version is worthwhile