Firstly, if you are looking for an account of how I chose my Wacom Bamboo tablet from the Wacom Bamboo series, or a review of the Wacom Bamboo Fun Pen and Touch/Create, please read my post here. If you are after a guide to registering and downloading the software bundled with your tablet please read my post here.
This post covers the differences between the various Bamboo tablets, the meaning of their product codes, and their equivalents worldwide. This is a post informing you of the differences between the tablets, not a review of them.
The information here has been gathered from many sources including the official WACOM website. Most of what I have written here can be found on the WACOM site in bits and pieces. Mine is a more comprehensive and explicit summary of what is written there, on other websites, and in forums and customer reviews.
So, within the Bamboo range there are several model numbers to look out for, usually:
In general the model numbers indicate the following:
- CTL-470 = SMALL size tablet WITHOUT multi-touch functions
- CTH-470 = SMALL size tablet WITH multi-touch functions
- CTH-670 = MEDIUM size tablet WITH multi-touch functions
The extra letter added to the end of the model number indicates the colour. So:
- K = Black
- S = Silver
- W = White
- P = Pink
So, for example, my tablet, the Bamboo Fun Pen and Touch (or Bamboo Create in America) has the code CTH-670-S. This indicates:
CTH-670 = my tablet is medium size with multi-touch functions
-S = my tablet is silver
As far as I can tell, this code stays the same for the various models in every country.
The differences in name and price of these tablets generally reflect size, features and bundled software.
So, as mentioned, the Bamboo range for Asia-Pacific, Europe and Japan is primarily the Bamboo Pen, Pen and Touch and Fun Pen and Touch (medium). There are two other additions which are the Bamboo Fun Pen and Touch (small) and the Bamboo Manga. The rough equivalents (they are not exactly the same as the bundled programs and available sizes vary everywhere) in these Wacom Bamboo world sectors are:
Bamboo Fun Pen and Touch Medium (ASIA-PACIFIC, JAPAN, EUROPE)
= Bamboo Create (AMERICA)
Bamboo Fun Pen and Touch Small/Bamboo Pen and Touch (ASIA-PACIFIC, JAPAN, EUROPE)
= Bamboo Capture (AMERICA)
Bamboo Pen (ASIA-PACIFIC, JAPAN, EUROPE)
= Bamboo Connect (AMERICA)
Bamboo Manga (ASIA-PACIFIC, EUROPE)
= Bamboo Comic (JAPAN)
All models come with a pen and replacement nibs as well as a usb cable and an installation CD which includes the tablet drivers and a program called Bamboo Dock. In order to use these tablets you must have a usb port as well as Mac OS X 5.8 or later (with Intel processor) or Windows XP, Vista or 7.
Which model you buy depends on the following:
The size of your working area is possibly the most important consideration when buying a tablet. Remember that, although you may sometimes hold your tablet and work, most of the time it will be flat on your desk. Or you might want it to be portable. In any case, the size you choose should reflect your needs.
The Bamboo range only has two sizes – small and medium.
The small size measures (in mm):
(W x D x H) 278 x 176 x 9.8
This is the size of the Pen, Pen and Touch, Fun Pen and Touch Small, and Manga.
The medium size measures (in mm):
(W x D x H) 352 x 209 x 9.8
This is the size of the Fun Pen and Touch Medium.
NOTE: In some countries the tablets are available in both sizes.
The thing to remember about these tablets is that the size of the tablet DOES NOT EQUAL the size of the active area. The active area is a lot smaller.
The active area for the pen/multi-touch on the small version is (in mm):
(W x D) 147 x 92
The active area for the pen/multi-touch on the medium version is (in mm):
(W x D) 217 x 137
2.) Pen Functions
The Pen comes with two buttons on the side which you can set to whatever functions you choose. This is available for all tablets.
Of this range the only two tablets that come with a pen which you can flip and use the other end as an eraser are the Bamboo Create and the Bamboo Manga.
NOTE: I think it is possible with any tablet other than the Bamboo Pen to buy a pen separately which includes the eraser function. But I’m not 100% sure.
3.) Touch functions
You can use all tablets, other than the Bamboo Pen tablet which doesn’t have touch capabilities, as a trackpad.
You can also use the touch function to paint with your fingers.
4.) Customisable Buttons
With all tablets other than the Bamboo Pen, there are four customisable buttons which you can set to whichever functions you like.
5.) Bundled Programs
The amount you pay does, in some ways, reflect the number of programs which are bundled with your tablet. The cheaper tablets have far fewer programs bundled with them. I think the programs included are different according to country but in Europe:
Bamboo Pen and Touch
Bamboo Fun Pen and Touch (Small)
– Adobe Photoshop Elements
Bamboo Fun Pen and Touch (Medium)
– Adobe Photoshop Elements
– Corel Painter Essentials
– Manga Studio Debut 4
– Anime Studio Debut 8
NOTE: The programs bundled with the Bamboo Manga are for Windows ONLY.
So there have been a few changes since I last checked the Wacom website and now there is direct confirmation of compatibility between the bundled Anime Studio software and Mountain Lion (OS X 10.8.x).
I have not seen any other Mac OS mentioned regarding this so I can not comment on whether or not it is now compatible with any previous Mac OS.
I also have not seen any information as to whether any of the other software such as Manga Studio Debut 4 and Open Canvas Lite, which was specifically Windows Only before, will now be available to Mac users.
Still, I feel that there is a distinct possibility that if the Anime Studio software is available for Mountain Lion then the Manga Studio software should also be available for Mountain Lion as well.
As I say, when I picked up the box for the Bamboo Manga a year or so ago, the fact that both these programs were Windows Only was clearly highlighted on the back of the box. However, things may have changed for the better. Let’s hope so.