Painting on a new ‘Kanvus’.
There’s nothing much better than an artist with his graphic design tablet in this digital media age. Tablets come in various shapes and sizes, and it’s basically about how you use and feel about it. I’ve personally prefer using a Wacom tablet, simply because it suits me and I feel it’s really well-crafted, both in software and hardware. But I have seen some amazing artwork done on other tablets as well and I’m really hoping to see some tablets out there that could match or even beat the Wacom at its game. There are only a handful of tablets that maintain an equal balance of touch, feel and effect, so today I’m going to test out how the Kanvus Virtuoso T5000 performs in respect to all the various tablets I’ve tried.
The tablet design straight off strikes me as a Wacom Intuos 4 tablet with some minor differences here or there from my initial observations, but sports a nice and simple design. The tablet has an ambidextrous function as well; you could use the tablet left-handed or right and is overall quite slim.
The tablet itself is built of a mix of plastic and aluminum, and feels a bit rickety and hollow in certain parts. It beats the design of the Genius tablets any day but doesn’t come close to the Wacom. Although my Wacom Intuos 3 is quite old, it still feels tight and sturdy and more durable than the Kanvus.
The tablet features 8 rectangular configurable buttons, 4 function buttons and one round touch button. I do not use buttons on my own tablet as I find my fingers always sliding up to the keyboard for anything. But the extra buttons are great for people who want quick commands and macros right there on their tablet. The buttons are quite responsive when pressed, but the round touch sensitive panel acts erratically at times. At first I couldn’t figure it out at all and thought it was a speaker of some sort. The Finally, the Kanvus comes with a driver CD, Corel Painter4 Software, a couple of pen nibs and an instructional manual.
T5000 (left) vs Wacom Intuos 3 (right)
Since I already own the Wacom Intuos 3 design tablet, I decided to see how the T5000’s specifications stood up against it.
The device does feel good to work on; its slim, easy to use and good to look at. The pen nib to tablet surface has a sort of textured feel to it and the overall response time is pretty good, though it did lag a few times during my tests.
One thing that did annoy me a little about the T5000 was that I needed to use a battery in the tablet pen. I flinch when I need to use a tablet pen that requires batteries in order to run, (sadly that’s because I’m really used to the Wacom pens) and the Kanvus follows this battery using trend. It’s not that I hate tablets with battery powered pens, but it’s just that I wish there was a company that came up with non-battery powered technology for pens, other than Wacom. Wacom’s technology makes it so that you don’t use any batteries with the pen but rather magnets via Electro-Magnetic-Resonance. But since this technology is patented by Wacom, it might be a while before another company can come up with something similar.
The Virtuous T5000 is a nice tablet – it’s slim, isn’t hard to work with and is pretty decent among the competitors its up against. And while it’s great for the beginner on a budget, it does have a few flaws. The buttons on the pen itself are hard to press or sometimes can get pressed accidently if you apply a bit too much pressure when drawing. The other problem is that the pressure sensitivity doesn’t respond in some design software. It worked in Corel Painter and the Kanvus tablet preferences window, but not in Photoshop.. I tried finding solutions online but couldn’t fix it, which is a bit of a downfall as I often use Photoshop in my design work.
When it comes to art tools, the more you us them, the more you’ll love them, and tablets are no exception. There are only a few tablets that come close to being really fun to work with and I would 100% recommend people buy the T5000 if the pressure sensitivity issue and some other design apps are resolved. As an entry-level tablet it’s easy to setup and get going, but for the serious artist or illustrator, you’ll probably have to stick to the professional-grade tablets.
This review was written by Brandon Fernandes, who is an illustrator and 3D artist. You can find out more about his work here.