Having never used one previously, and having recently rediscovered my childhood love of drawing - I'd been thinking for some time about trying a graphics tablet. Uncertain if I would be able to foster a workable relationship with one, I didn't wish to spend a fortune on an expensive Wacom Bamboo or similar, so I embarked on some research, ending up deciding upon a low cost Chinese model. The result... I have zero regrets - it's absolutely superb. Here's why.
In summary, it must be said straight away that the UGEE M-708 Graphics Tablet is one of the best value-for-money products I have ever purchased. It really is! UGEE M708 Graphics TabletThe wonderful UGEE M-708 graphics tablet - also holds watches! I did my research, and obviously looked at the current popular tablet manufacturers, including the wonderful devices sold by Wacom. There is no doubt that these products are best-in-class, but they are also very expensive - and I wanted a tablet with a large working surface area. The Wacom tablets that had large working surfaces were upwards of £150 and, not being sure if I would successfully get along with one, I didn't really want to pay that sort of money for what essentially would be a 'try out'!
Continuing my search on the Amazon www site, I came across an entirely unfamiliar Chinese brand, called UGEE. Immediate thoughts - admittedly without looking further - were the usual stereotypical thoughts we all have when it comes to cheap Chinese copycat type products - that their tablets would be tacky and of low quality.Ugee Graphics TabletOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA I was to be proved so very wrong. As well as having what looked to be a substantial range of products, what immediately struck me as impressive was their price. They were cheap. Very cheap. I decided to investigate further. Discovering I could purchase a pressure sensitive 10" x 6" working surface area Graphics Tablet for a little over £40 (which I thought for this small amount of money was well wort a punt) I duly ordered one and quite frankly, I've honestly not looked back. This is one seriously impressive piece of kit, of surprisingly very high quality, that I would subsequently find works exactly as intended!
A day or so later, my new M-708 arrived by DHL. The M-708 is incredibly sensitive, with a very impressive working area of 10" x 6" containing 2048 pressure sensitive levels. It also has 8 customisable hot key buttons on the tablet, with a further two customisable buttons located on the AAA battery powered stylus. There is also a solid stylus holder complete with a padded rubberised sole to avoid it moving, which also comes apart where you can find an additional 8 spare nibs for the stylus. There are both Mac OSx and PC/Win versions available. Here are the detailed specifications for the M-708 as indicated on the UGEE Europe www site.
Delightful, is the word I would use. I really do enjoy drawing but an artist I am not! I have lots to learn, but using the M-708 with Adobe Photoshop is sublime. I have already produced several sketches, with the level of detail one can attain being wonderful. UGEE Preferences and Settings ApplicationShowing the Pen settings tab to control sensitivity. It is smooth, VERY responsive, and its settings are customisable via the TabletSetting software provided on DVD. Various adjustments and controls are available in several tabs in the TabletSetting app, and you can of course, easily adjust the sensitivity of the stylus to your own preference. I prefer the sensitivity to be at the lighter end of the scale, which for me allows greater control of the 2048 pressure levels of the stylus on the tablet. Adobe Photoshop takes full advantage of this and using the tablet with Photoshop is very easy though it does take a little getting used to given the absolute rather than relative placement of the pointer/mouse on the screen. One other thing one needs to adapt to is drawing without looking at the pen. When we sketch with a pencil on paper, we look at what we are drawing with the pencil and the eye/hand motion is controlled by visual feedback. However, when using a tablet, one doesn't look at the 'paper' per sé, one looks at the screen and as such there is initially a slight disconnect in the hand/eye coordination whilst you get used to the new way of looking at the screen while you draw - and not at the pen!
I found the default set up of the 8 hot key buttons entirely acceptable, but each of these hot keys can be set to do whatever you wish. I did turn of each of the buttons on the stylus itself as I am rather clumsy, with short and fat fingers, and though the buttons are not overly sensitive nor do they get in the way, for me I found it easier to simply turn off this functionality.
All in all I would have to say that the UGEE M-708 is pretty much excellent value of money. There is no way you would be able to get such a large tablet workspace on a Wacom for example, for anywhere near the same price. I am obviously yet to see how long the device lasts, but I see no reason for it not to last many years and I have no intention of changing it for any other brand, there is simply no need.
I would have to suggest to anyone who may be considering buying a Graphics Tablet to seriously try a UGEE model first. There is no need to pay excessive amounts of £100+ for a name brand such as Wacom, when this delivers what one needs.
if you've got this far - as ever, thanks for reading, and if you have any questions about this tablet, or want further information please drop a note in the comments or catch me on Twitter, here.