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Adesso M14 CyberTabletThe M14 is a decent solution for aspiring digital artists who need a graphics tablet to enhance their creative workflow
The Adesso M14 Cybertablet is a $199 graphics tablet that has a wealth of features for the price point. The tablet features dual writing surface capabilities, enabling you to match a 16:9 wide screen display or a 4:3 aspect ratio display, depending on your current display set up. The tablet supports a 12" x 7.25" or 9.5" x 7.25" writing area and features 4000 lines per inch hardware resolution and 1024 gradations of pen pressure sensitivity. It features two rolling pads at the top of the tablet that enable you to scroll and zoom as well as adjust volume, and sports 34 programmable Macro Keys so you don't have to resort to the pull down menus for simple commands such as open, save, new, etc. The M14 tablet ships with Adobe Photoshop Elements 5 for Macintosh or Windows, Pensoft Pro, Office Ink/Free Notes, and Power Presenter RE II.
Setting up the graphics tablet is fairly straightforward once you have the correct driver. The Macintosh driver CD that came with the unit was useless. There was no recognition of the graphics tablet in Mac OS X Leopard. The solution was to go to the Adesso website and download the updated driver. Once that driver was installed, the tablet came to life and I was able to use all of my graphics applications installed on my Mac, including Photoshop CS4 and Adobe Illustrator CS4 with no issues at all. On a 64-bit Windows Vista workstation (Lenovo S20), I experienced the opposite effect. Once plugged in, the M14 was instantly recognized and I was able to use the tablet in Photoshop Elements 5.0 with no issues. And this is on top of the fact that I didn't use the driver on the CD nor did I download a driver from the Adesso website. It just worked, which is strange given the fact that it is usually the other way around.
The wireless, battery powered drawing stylus offers 1024 levels and features dual mouse buttons. It is thick in the center and tapers at the top and bottom. Also included is a holder to place your pen when not in use. Shipping with the pen are two spare nibs. The stylus is decent, if unremarkable in its design, and it takes a bit getting used to the double buttons, but it functions competently.
The manual is something that Adesso should spend time addressing. While a graphics tablet and stylus is pretty much plug and play, for some, a well written manual helps in setting up the device. The Adesso Tablet Application User's Guide is so poorly written that it is obvious that the writer has a limited grasp of the English language. It seems as if some elements of the manual have been cut and pasted from a Microsoft manual, while other sections of the manual were written from what OCR software put out circa 1995. The Quick Start Guide, on the other hand is well written and completely understandable.
Adesso dabbles in all manner of computer input peripherals. In addition to a variety of graphics tablets, it also sells keyboards, mice, touchpads, even barcode scanners. What it offers are inexpensive input devices. The M14 is a decent budget solution for those aspiring digital artists who need a graphics tablet to enhance their creative workflow. It offers only half the pressure levels of the competition, and is less expensive ($199) as a result. For more information, visit www.adesso.com.
John Virata is senior editor of Digital Media Online. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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