Alternatives and systems to take notes there are galore. We all have our hobbies to do this: some simply want to write digital text, others cannot separate from the paper notebook of life for absolute freedom, and some people try a mixture of the two worlds with digital pencils and tablets.
Wacom’s strategy to meet this need is the Bamboo Slate, a notebook equipped with a digital pen that makes everything you write on paper. It’s an electronic device, but it looks like a traditional notepad. Is this way of digitizing freehand notes effective? Let’s take a look.
From Inkling to Bamboo Slate: Wacom and his pen-scanner bet
It is not the first time that Wacom trying to sell this technology: a few years ago and we saw Inkling, a smaller and more focused bloc digitizing sketches. I was able to test it some time ago on a personal level, and for a basic use, it was not bad at all. Being more dedicated to art, he offered a more “professional” pencil with a dedicated case and several tips, but now with the Bamboo Slate has been simplified to a simpler pen with a replacement tip.
And yes, it’s enough: Wacom has lowered the ambition of this device and has gone from focusing artists to doing it to the general public. Now it is not to sketch or create illustrations, but to take notes and diagrams. Bamboo Slate is a working device that not something creative.
The appearance of the device is simple: a simple notebook with a base that works together with the pen to convert any drawing we make on paper in a digital file. That latter is achieved with an application called Inkspace, which communicates using Bluetooth with iOS or Android. And of course, that application has its own cloud to be able to store and synchronize all the drawings we make. And of course, there is a payment mode with more storage and OCR character recognition.
It also should be noted that Inkspace integrates with Dropbox, Evernote and OneNote, so we are not obliged to use the storage service in the cloud of Wacom.
The operation is simple: you draw on paper and when you want to pass what you have done to digital, you press the only button on the device to be transferred to the smartphone or tablet where you have installed Inkspace. From there you can export to various image formats or PDF, where the diagrams and notes you’ve taken are saved vectorized.
You may also like to read another article on DuckysDesktop: Lazertouch, a projector with Android that promises to transform any surface into touch
Do not fall into confusion the paper that comes with the device is special: we can place any pad of paper of any quality over Bamboo Slate and digitization will continue to operate as usual.
The tip of the ballpoint pen is also nothing out of this world: it is that of any other ink pen, although it has to use special tips. As you can see in the image above, Wacom provides a spare and a tool to be able to change that tip without too many problems.
As for the quality of the file is scanned, it is not bad as long as what we do is take notes. The digitization is done with a brush binary (without intermediate colors beyond the pure black and white), so no effect anti-aliasing. In the end, this means that to make drawings and simple schemes the Bamboo Slate serves, but not to make shaded sketches or more complicated illustrations.
In short, I see this Wacom Slate as a perfect tool for those who refuse to abandon paper and pen as a system to take notes but also want everything stored digitally. But for those who have become accustomed to tools like the Surface Pen or the Apple Pencil, the Slate is going to be something unnecessary.
And yes, we can say that there are plenty of applications for tablets that can replace the paper and offer all the flexibility that can be given, but I insist: there will always be those who do not want to use a stylus on a screen. And for these people, Wacom has done a good job simplifying the operation of their Inkling towards the Bamboo Slate.
Wacom Bamboo Slate, models and prices
The Wacom Bamboo Slate is sold in two sizes, one for smaller pages A5 and one for A4 pages that cost 123 and 142 dollars respectively at Amazon. The price difference depending on the size is not very high, so the decision to choose one will already be more personal.