If you like to be creative and are looking for a digital solution, there is no way around graphics tablets. But tablets with screens in particular can quickly become expensive: prices in excess of 1,000 euros are no exception.
Wacom One Test
If you are a hobby draftsman and have been put off by high prices, the Wacom One pen display could be interesting for less than 400 euros. In contrast to graphics tablets without a display, image processing, video editing or drawings can be viewed directly on the display and not via the connected screen.
I like to be artistic myself and have mainly used the Wacom One for digital drawings. How the pen display performed in my test and what advantages and disadvantages the device offers in my opinion, you will find out in this review.
At first glance, the packaging looks quite large for a creative display. You could even get the impression that it is packaging for a notebook. However, Wacom uses the space and takes the user by the hand using the brief instructions shown on the packaging.
Wacom One packaging contains the following:
- Wacom One creative display
- Wacom One pen
- 3 replacement tips
- Power cord
- Power supply and adapter
- Some paper inserts
In addition, buyers get the right software right away. A download and registration is required for this. My package included a 6 month subscription to Adobe Fresco and Clip Studio Paint Pro, as well as the free Bamboo Paper application.
In my opinion, the unpacking experience is made a little more exciting by the small messages on the packaging. In addition, the user knows directly how to set up his pen display correctly. When it comes to packaging, Wacom mainly uses cardboard, which I personally think is great. Only the tablet itself and the pen are packed in fabric.
Wacom One Design
The Wacom One is quite large at around 23 by 36 centimeters and has a 13.3-inch anti-glare display. The active area is roughly the size of an A4 sheet of paper. The screen is framed by a black border, which is quite wide and therefore a bit old-fashioned. The plastic back is gray and so stands out from the black of the front. Two fold-out feet were installed on it, with which the display can be set up. Two knobs underneath also ensure a non-slip stand. This is practical and, in my opinion, makes working at the desk much more pleasant.
The power button is installed on the upper right edge. A loop was attached next to it, which serves as a pen holder. On the left is the USB-C port, via which the Wacom One is connected to the power supply unit and a notebook or PC. The connection to a smartphone or tablet is also possible via an additional adapter.
The Wacom One pen was optically matched to the display and is also in black and gray. It lies comfortably in the hand and has a comfortable weight, similar to that of a conventional pen. It also has a button that can be used as a mouse button, for example.
In my opinion, the overall design offers many practical features. I particularly like the large display, as well as the feet and the handy pen with pen holder. I personally find the plastic cladding and the wide frame around the display less aesthetic. However, given the price, you can turn a blind eye to my feelings.
Wacom One Software & Function
As already mentioned, the setup of the Wacom One is visualized on the packaging and is therefore easy to understand. Where other companies provide long installation guides, Wacom only needs a few icons, QR codes and graphics. I think that is a very elegant solution.
It was as simple as described for me. The download of the driver was done within a few minutes. The Wacom One software download was also straightforward, but required registration with Wacom. Based on the stated interests and intended use, I was finally shown suitable applications.
For my test, I chose Bamboo Paper because the application is free and therefore represents the cheapest option in the long term. It also works on Windows devices as well as mobile via iOS or Android. Since I had already installed the Adobe Cloud, I also used Photoshop.
I think the setup process is made as pleasant and easy as possible here. If you still don’t know what to do, you can find help in video form on the Wacom website. The registration is a bit annoying at first glance, but in my opinion it is understandable given the high quality software. In addition, a created profile creates the possibility of synchronizing several devices. For example, the sketches and notes made with Bamboo Paper can be called up on both the smartphone and the notebook.
The Bamboo Paper application is also freely available online and can also be used without registration. So if you choose the Wacom One, you don’t necessarily have to register in the end. For a free application, Bamboo Paper actually offers a multitude of operating options. There are six different pens or brushes available to users here. In addition to the specified colors, you can also make your own color settings.
The drawings or notes made can be saved and edited in a wide variety of digital notebooks. Each booklet can also be provided with different types of paper, bindings and labels. I was quite surprised at the versatility of the program. In my opinion, as a free application, Bamboo Paper is a good alternative to more expensive applications.
It offers numerous possibilities, especially for beginners who are still trying out. I also find it positive that the app works without advertising and works on Windows, iOS and Android devices.
Wacom One Hardware
In order for the Wacom One to work, the power supply unit must be connected to a wall socket. In addition, it needs a connection to a notebook, smartphone or similar operating devices via USB-A and HDMI connections. All in all, I had four cables in my hand before I started using it. This connection act is not only complex, but also makes the tray less portable. This makes sketches and notes less spontaneous.
The Wacom One pen works without any clutter of cables. This is battery-free, so it does not need to be charged. It also has 4096 pressure levels and tilt detection up to 60 degrees. In practice, the pen reacted precisely, shading and hatching felt very intuitive and natural to me. This is absolutely great for this price range. Incidentally, the Wacom One is also compatible with third-party pens. The brands that are supported are listed on the Wacom website.
The nature of the display is also largely responsible for the natural feeling of drawing. This feels neither too smooth nor too rough. This means that the pen glides comfortably over the drawing surface. The matt texture also prevents annoying reflections.
Speaking of the drawing area: The display has a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels in Full HD. This means that the content displayed looks nice and sharp. It looks a bit worse in terms of color reproduction. The sRGB coverage is 88.9%, which means that more precise image or video editing is less possible. The contrasts also weaken a little. The Wacom One is therefore rather unsuitable for professional purposes, but in my opinion the values are completely sufficient for beginners.
All in all, the hardware can be seen in this price range. I can overlook the clutter of cables and the slightly lower color fastness of the display. Why? Because the feeling of the drawing is just right. The Wacom One pen in particular surprised me a lot.
Nevertheless, there is one point of criticism, which is very important for me: The missing buttons. Especially those who work with many different functions should use shortcut keys. These can be individually assigned tools or actions, which enables a faster change (for example between pen, eraser or selection tool).
Wacom builds a button on its pen, but it’s just ONE button. In my opinion, there would have been enough space for a few additional buttons, especially considering the wide display frame.
Wacom One Final Conclusion
In my opinion, the Wacom One is an interesting drawing tool, especially for beginners and hobby artists. The supplied software also offers many opportunities to let off steam creatively. A few compromises have to be made with regard to the somewhat less high-quality case, mobility and color representation, but in my opinion one can turn a blind eye. I was positively surprised by the natural feel for drawing and the precise Wacom One pen.
The missing buttons are a personal preference and not a must-have. Ultimately, everyone has to decide for themselves which features he or she needs. However, especially for this price, it will be difficult to find a character display that offers similar advantages to the Wacom One.
Wacom One Pros:
- Battery-free pen
- Large color display
- Software included
- Pleasant display surface
Wacom One Cons:
- Only works with a power connection
- No programmable buttons
- Color rendering limited