Drawing tablets have been around for quite some time. However, they have been rather large and very expensive. This has made it difficult for casual artists to justify getting one, until now. Genius has recently entered the tablet market and one of their latest is the G-Pen F509 which is small, light, and inexpensive.
- 5.25″ x 8.75″ working area operates with latest screen size
- Exquisite slim pad design
- 1024-level pressure sensitivity for all shapes and thickness control
- Make Handwriting notes/drawings efficiently in e-mail, MSN, Blog
- Vista plug and play: handwriting recognition compatible, pen flicks, digital inking in office and snipping functions for convenient operation
The key feature of the F509, and the reason most people will want it, is its size and weight. Large tablets are great if you have a lot of desk space and you never need to take it anywhere, and small tablets are great for when you are on the go. With dimensions of 10.5″ x 8.5″ and a weight of 1.1 lb the G-Pen F509 is easy to tuck under your arm and take it with you wherever you go.
The layout and design of the F509 is very simple. The physical size and weight of the F509, which I mentioned above, is 10.5″ x 8.5″, the drawing area is 8.75″ x 5.25″. At its thinnest the G-Pen F509 is only 3/16″ thick, and at its thickest it is 6/16″ think. This is plenty big for drawing while on the go and yet small and light enough that it is easy to transport. While using the tablet with my laptop I ran across an additional benefit of the small size and weight, it is very easy to place the tablet on top of the laptop keyboard. If Genius would enhance this by adding adjustable feet to the bottom of the tablet, it would be a great new feature.
The top of the G-Pen F509 has a thin clear plastic cover that can lift up so you can place something under it. The F509 comes with 3 templates, one for each of the operating systems that it works with, Windows XP, Vista, and Mac OS X. Each of the templates have different icons on them, which match the OS, and when placed in the tablet the icons match up with button areas on the tablet. A picture or something else thin could also be placed under the cover so that it could be traced.
Above the drawing area, on the thicker part of the tablet, is a power light that turns on when the tablet is plugged in. Luckily it can be powered by only one USB port, which makes it easy to use with small laptops.
The pen that comes with the G-Pen F509 is fairly standard. It has a two button clicker which is located at the bottom of the pen. It also come with two replacement tips in case something happens to the original. The pen is battery powered and takes a single AA battery.
My biggest frustration is that there is no place on the tablet to store the pen. It comes with a pen holder, but that is separate and is really only useful when at a desk. I would really like to see a small clip on the top or side of the G-Pen F509 so that when traveling there is a secure and handy place to put the pen.
While I was testing the tablet I did not notice any anomalies or other problems that affected its functionality. The only thing I had to get used to was that the tablet had synced its self to my desktop resolution. This means that the all the corners of the tablet matched the corners of my screen. I am sure this is normal for drawing tablets, but since I am new to drawing tablets it was new for me.
Because I am a technology guy and not an artist I wanted to get an artists opinion about the tablet. So I passed it along to a coworker of mine, who is an artist, to see what he thought. Here is what he had to say.
“Things got off to a rocky start when I tried to install the driver from the Mac CD. It would get about half way through the install and fail. No indication that it was failing, it just kept reverting back to the initial message of “Click Install button to perform a basic install”. As a Mac user, I get really annoyed when a company dosen’t bother to test their install CDs. Fortunately, I was able to log onto the Genius website and download the driver from there, which actually worked.”
“Once I got the driver installed, things got much better. I have been working with a Wacom Graphire drawing tablet for the last 3 years, so it took a few minutes to adjust to the ultra sensitivity of the Genius tablet. After a few minutes of practicing, I found that I really liked the fact that I could press hard on the pen and get larger soft strokes, or if I lightened the pressure it would generate tight thin pencil lines. I also liked the fact that the cursor was set so that I didn’t have to lift the pen to move the cursor to a certain location. Wherever I clicked on the tablet was relative to my screen. That was a definite plus.”
“I also liked the feel of the pen. The surface contact was very smooth, which is essential to an artist- it feels awkward if there is any sort of drag or resistance while drawing. One thing that seemed a little strange was that eventually you have to replace the batteries in the stylus pen. I don’t recall having batteries in the pen of my Wacom tablet.”
“After spending a couple hours working up a quick sketch of Frankenstein with this tablet, I ended up being quite impressed. While it was a different feel than what I am used to with my Wacom tablet, I found that I was able to do everything that I normally do with the Wacom. I wouldn’t hesitate at all to recommend this tablet to artists.”
You can checkout more of his work at his personal website.
Warranty and Support
The warranty on the G-Pen F509 is a rather small 1 year. This isn’t nearly enough considering how much use the drawing area is likely to receive. I would prefer a 2-3 year warranty. However, that would probably cause an increase in the price, and currently the price is low enough that if the tablet breaks after a year or two it would be easy enough to buy another one.
Support comes in the form of phone and email. I could not find a forum or other online way of getting help. It would be smart for Genius to setup a forum where users could help each other and the answers to questions could easily be found.
For the most part I am really happy with the G-Pen F509. It was easy to setup and use, easy to carry about, and I reall like that I could place it on the keyboard of my laptop. With a retail price of $89.99 the G-Pen F509 is a decent price for what you get. With a little looking I found it for as low as $79.99 on Newegg or Amazon. If you want a tablet that is small and easy to carry around and use with a laptop you should really consider the G-Pen F509.
|JusTech'n editors' rating|