I’ve been going through graphic tablets since college and each year there seems to be new benchmarks in precision, or a new software that is being offered, but I’ve always found it hard to find one that one that could really become a new standard to suggest for new buyers.
The real problem is the demographic, I’ve found graphic designers by nature to be meticulous, calculating creatures that have very strong opinions on both design and function (this is also present in their tech choices). These are individuals that don’t usually need a suggestion, they have their favorite brands and are well-informed enough to find their own choices based on stats alone. The real people that need help are the ones that are fairly new to graphic tablets, or want one that won’t be impossible to learn, or will be that intimidating. The other group are the ones that have been burned by brands in the past and looking for options that fix the problems they have faced before.
Genius has been around for a very long time and I’ve written about their headsets and accessories in the gaming world many times on this site alone. Genius garners most of their success by offering really well-made peripherals at lower prices and the same can be said about the Genius M912A.
I was excited to try out the M912A model because of its size, it has a 9” x 12” working area, which is huge when compared to other brands at the moment. This is what sets this particular tablet apart from the competition and should be one of your major factors for considering it. For a while now tablet popularity has shifted towards becoming wireless and smaller, which is great if you need to work on-the-go but I work at a desk (as do many in the industry that I know). The PenSketch isn’t wireless, it’s USB powered and that’s not uncommon but it is a plus for me. I personally hate relying on batteries or charging for something as demanding as a graphic tablet but i wanted to mention it if you feel uncomfortable being tethered to anything. The mouse and the stylus of course are wireless though and the battery-free pen offers two programable buttons that can even replicate left/right mouse commands. The oversized work area isn’t a misstep, it’s an exact choice made by the manufacturer. The M912A is custom designed for people that want a large working area for their desk, something that will stay there, off to the side while they are not working, and offering as much room as possible for designs and projects when they are working. I do love smaller, wireless options for when I have to travel or if I’m working away from the office with a particular group, but for the home or office, I like having a tablet that’s larger and doesn’t sacrifice anything to be “more portable”.
If you are looking for specs I won’t leave them out, the Genius PenSketch M912A does have some impressive numbers to tout and I’ll layout the basics. The ‘Digital Pen-Pressure Sensitive Levels’ offered on the M912A are 2048 levels. This was a noticeable upgrade that I began experimenting with almost immediately. After using an older tablet for such a long period of time, the new sensitivity levels that are offered today are quite staggering. This new standard in sensitivity comes with a learning curve, 2048 levels is almost double the standard sensitivity of other tablets on the market, and if you aren’t careful you could really push too hard, too often with this stylus. It’s much more sensitive and because of that, it needs to be treated a bit more delicately then you may be accustomed to. It took an adjustment on my part but offers far more control than tablets I have worked on in the past. The Digital Pen Accuracy (DPA) on the Genius PenSketch M912A claims [ ±0.25 mm ] and after about a week I don’t have any issues to report with either the pen or the accuracy. Then there is the Report Rates (RPS) with the M912A offering 300 PPS, which again is more than double that of other tablets that offer a ‘more mobile’ and ‘cheaper’ option. Resolution was also a major factor for me sticking with the M912A, as it offers 5120 Lines Per Inch (LPI) which is definitely on the top-tier of graphic-tablets in this price-range.
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Software is always a factor when choosing peripherals and I work with Macs almost exclusively for graphic design, but I do know many people that float between PCs and Macs so you should be happy to know that the M912A works with Windows 7, Vista and XP (I haven’t tested it yet with Windows 8), and on the Mac it works with OS 10.4 or above. There are eight express keys (four on the left and four on the right) and you have quick launch buttons that include an Eraser, Undo, New layer, Flip 3D switch, and a adjustment zone for brush size modulation and the Zoom +/- commands. Included in the purchase is Adobe Photoshop Elements software and Corel Painter Essentials 4. Obviously if you have Photoshop Illustrator, CS or InDesign these are better choices but if you are on the beginning end of using graphic tablets these are programs that can be mastered much more quickly.
To wrap all of this up, the M912A was designed for a very specific group, one that wanted something large and more fixed to work on rather than the smaller, mobile tablets that seem to be cropping up everywhere. This is a workhorse, an accurate and highly functional graphic tablet that can meet almost any design demand while offering one of the largest working areas on the market.