I ordered an Inkling of these within a minute of getting the product release email from Wacom Australia. its Wacom's latest toy for the digitally minded artist/designer/man-child/lady-child.
I'm not going to make a habit of posting reviews/impressions here but I have had a few people expressing interest "if it works". I've had the Inkling for 5 days and spent a little time playing with it. here it goes.
Wacom already make widely acclaimed graphics tablets (I've had my Intuos 3 since 2007 and just picked up a large Intuos 4) which plug into your home computer of choice allowing you to paint and draw digitally. The downsides to these are that you need a computer, which needs a power supply and can be heavy to carry around all day.
That's where the Inkling comes in. Charged via USB and holding about 10 hrs sketch time (I haven't tested) the promise of lightweight and mobile digital sketching is offered, with the backing of a highly regarded brand in this particular field of electronic wizardry.
Your AU$219.00 (inc postage) will get a little black carry case/charging base (170 x 60 x 25mm ish) complete with pen, replacement cartridges, the receiver and a short USB cable. the software and manuals are all pre installed on the device and show up in explorer/finder when plugged in.
I ran some highly un-scientific tests with the Inkling. above are some doodles with the virgin inkling results next to them.Testing how it handled light sketchy, heavy expressive and controlled mark making. Half the a face is missing, this is down to me not making sure the pen was on to start with. Something to keep an eye out for but otherwise the results are fairly accurate for sketches.
To try to test the accuracy over the whole page I quickly drew over some squared paper and this shows my biggest problem with the Inkling, the accuracy isn't quite as good as could be hope for. To be fair this is new tech, and has been sold as a sketching tool not for precision drawing, if the variation was about 20-30% less it really wouldnt be worth mentioning. This is much more pronounced when drawing on A4.
Worth mentioning are the limitations, you cannot draw closer than 20mm to the receiver. Also if any object gets between the receiver and the pen nib the stroke will not be recorded. The nib area is from the tip of the ball point up to the rubbery grip area, which seems like a large area but the ergonomics of the pen help make holding the pen properly feel natural.
One last issue some people may have is that you are only able to use ball point cartridges, that is what your given and strongly advised to use. This maybe prohibitive to some, personally it doesn't bother me too much. Would I of preferred a drawing pen style nib? probably. But would that not enable the use of pressure sensitivity? I'm not sure.
So in closing, do I think its worth the $200? Yes.
I'm not sure where the Inkling will sit in my array of tools for image making, that will come with more use. The accuracy was a little disappointing but nothing to get hung up on. The choice of pen nib might keep some away from buying. Other than these tiny gripes the Inkling is light, easy to use and some pretty special technology. Its not a "must have" like the Intuos tablets, but comes very close.
I am very excited at the possibilities it opens up and that is all you can ask for from a tool. It cant create awesome work for you, that is all down to your brain.
The inkling is available via the Wacom Store and no I'm not seeing a cent from this.
all photos/illustrations ©jasonpoley 2011