The Genius EasyPen i405 is a small ( 4” by 5.5 “ working area) graphics tablet. A graphics tablet lets you create art and designs by using a pen in place of a mouse.
Genius EasyPen i405
This product comes with the tablet, the pen that operates it, batteries for the pen, a couple of replacement pen tips, and the software that lets it function. It works with both Macs and PCs. A Mac must be running OS X 10.3.5 or greater, have an available USB port and a CD/DVD-ROM drive for the software installation. There are buttons on the pen that will function as left and right mouse buttons. There is an e-manual on the installation CD that contains complete installation and set up instructions.
It takes a bit of practice to get comfortable using the pen in place of a mouse, but as I recall, it took practice to learn to use a mouse “way back when.”
I found three extremely different uses for this product.
Lean back in your chair and relax. The surface includes a sheet that you can slide in place. It has 28 programmable function keys. The keys along the top are already programmed so you can open, save, print, cut, copy, etc without any additional work on your part.
I discovered quickly that I could use the tablet to relax in my chair and play certain kinds of games. It is great for games that are not action oriented. When I want a short break from intense work I can pick up the tablet, pull up a game and lean back and play a couple of hands of whatever, using the pen to work the game. This is certainly not a reason for most people to purchase the product, but a nice extra that owners shouldn’t overlook.
I was able to do some fine editing on digital photos. I opened iPhoto, selected a photo of someone with numerous tiny moles on her face. I selected Edit > Retouch, enlarged the picture for my convenience, and using the pen, removed each and every mole with the touch of the pin tip. It really was quite extraordinary.
If you have ever tried to do this kind of work using your mouse you know how easy it is to leave discolored spots in place of the problems you are trying to remove. That is because if you are using something like the retouch options in iPhoto, even if you get the tool to the smallest size possible, you still have to drag over the area you want to correct.
With the tablet and pin, I made sure I had the retouch option set appropriately and just pressed the pin tip over the spot and the spot was gone. I edited that photo in under a minute. When I tried the same exercise using my mouse, it took 20 minutes to achieve anything nearly as good.
This unit, like most units of it’s kind is really designed to allow the user to draw and create on the computer screen either for artistic purposes or for demonstrations during presentations. To use this aspect of the unit you have to have appropriate third party graphics software installed. Any version of Adobe Photoshop or GraphicConverter will work. I’m sure there are several others with which graphic artists are familiar.
I have a problem with the fact that there is no mention anywhere in the e-manual, the set-up information or even included in the packaging that the user must use graphics software to take full advantage of the graphics features. An experienced computer graphics artist may well say that such a requirement is understood, but at $79.00 I consider this an entry level tablet and everyone using a tablet for graphics purposes the first time does not automatically know that. I had to call tech support for assistance before I could figure out what to do and although the tech support was excellent, a couple of sentences in the manual would have saved me a whole lot of hassle.
Once I understood the rules, drawing and using colors was a snap, limited only by the abilities of the artist and/or the graphics program.
The bottom line is that this is a sturdy product with multiple uses. Anyone wanting to do very detailed photo editing should love it. So should people wanting to use graphics tablets without laying out a bushel of money. The small size means that anyone can easily slip it into a computer case and use it to demonstrate concepts, ideas, or even football plays. I think Genius is to be commended for offering a relatively inexpensive tablet that does much of what the more expensive tablets will do. This version gives those for whom price is a big issue a chance to be part of the tablet using community.