Wacom Bamboo Smartpad Folio A5 Review

Wacom’s Bamboo Smartpad is the best smart pen for artists because you can put any type of paper on the smartpad and the pad will digitize your notes or drawings.

Our Verdict

This pad is great for artists because it digitized every pen stroke in our test drawings.

For

  • You don’t need a special pad of paper to use this digital pen.

Against

  • This pen can’t make audio recordings.
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The Wacom Bamboo Folio Smartpad comes in a secure and sleek gray canvas case.

The Wacom Bamboo Folio Smartpad comes in a secure and sleek gray canvas case.
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The inside of the Wacom Bamboo Folio case holds a pad of paper and the Wacom Bamboo pen.

The inside of the Wacom Bamboo Folio case holds a pad of paper and the Wacom Bamboo pen.
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A green light on the tablet indicates the device is paired and ready for you to write.

A green light on the tablet indicates the device is paired and ready for you to write.
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After you’ve touched the pen to paper, the indicator light on the tablet turns blue, letting you know that there are changes that need to be synced.

After you’ve touched the pen to paper, the indicator light on the tablet turns blue, letting you know that there are changes that need to be synced.
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The Bamboo pen is one of the most comfortable smart pens we tested, and it is covered in soft-grip rubber.

The Bamboo pen is one of the most comfortable smart pens we tested, and it is covered in soft-grip rubber.
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The area inside the stitching on the right panel of the Bamboo Smartpad is where the pad will detect the pen.

The area inside the stitching on the right panel of the Bamboo Smartpad is where the pad will detect the pen.
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The pad comes with a slot where you can store the Bamboo pen when not in use.

The pad comes with a slot where you can store the Bamboo pen when not in use.
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The Bamboo Folio Smartpad charges through a micro-USB port located at the bottom of the pad.

The Bamboo Folio Smartpad charges through a micro-USB port located at the bottom of the pad.
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The back of the pad is covered in durable gray canvas.

The back of the pad is covered in durable gray canvas.
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The Bamboo pen fits easily and comfortably in the hand.

The Bamboo pen fits easily and comfortably in the hand.
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The kit we tested came with an extra ink refill.

The kit we tested came with an extra ink refill.
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This is the nib removal tool that you’ll need to use to pull the old ink nib out of the Bamboo pen before you insert the refill.

This is the nib removal tool that you’ll need to use to pull the old ink nib out of the Bamboo pen before you insert the refill.
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We tested the Wacom Bamboo Folio model, and it includes slots for business cards and papers on the left side of the folio.

We tested the Wacom Bamboo Folio model, and it includes slots for business cards and papers on the left side of the folio.
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Within the Wacom Inkspace app you can perform minor editing on your notes, like drawing, erasing, and cutting and pasting selections.

Within the Wacom Inkspace app you can perform minor editing on your notes, like drawing, erasing, and cutting and pasting selections.
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The Inkspace app has a timeline feature where you can scroll back in time through your writing or drawing and choose to create a new document at any point.

The Inkspace app has a timeline feature where you can scroll back in time through your writing or drawing and choose to create a new document at any point.
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The Wacom Inkspace app organizes your notes by date, and you can upload your notes to the cloud if you want an extra backup.

The Wacom Inkspace app organizes your notes by date, and you can upload your notes to the cloud if you want an extra backup.

Wacom’s Bamboo Smartpad is the best smart pen for artists because you can put any type of paper on the smartpad and the pad will digitize your notes or drawings. The pen is the lightest that we tested, weighing 0.6 ounces, or about as much as three normal Bic pens. For saving and sharing doodles and drawings digitally, this pad and smart pen is our favorite of all the digital pens we tested, for these reasons the Wacom has won the Top Ten Reviews Silver Award.

In our writing accuracy tests, this pen scored the highest marks possible with zero errors, earning an A+. This pen also scored very highly in our drawing test, as we only found one small error in one of the drawings. We believe this small error isn’t enough to detract from the freedom of digitizing pen strokes on any paper surface, so this pad and digital pen is still our choice for best pen for artists.

The manufacturer states that you can write using the pad for eight hours before you need to charge it. Unlike the other pens, you don’t have to charge the actual pen with this device. Instead you charge the pad through a micro-USB connection. There is a light that comes on when the pad is charging and it turns off when the battery is charged.

It took us a little over one minute to turn on the pad and have it pair to our test smartphone, which was the second longest of all the pens we tested. Using the pad is straightforward. When you turn on the pad, the notification light is green. Once you touch the pen to your paper, though, the light turns blue, letting you know that your drawing has not yet been synced to your connected device. When you’re ready to sync, you press the button and the light turns green again.

The pen is the lightest we tested, in part because so much of the technology resides in the smartpad. The pen features soft-grip rubber and a strong metal clasp at the end. It was one of the most comfortable to hold, and all you have to do to start writing is twist the pen to expose the nib. Wacom includes a pen refill and nib removal tool to give you the most use from this pen and tablet.

There isn’t any charging port or opening on this pen, which is nice because you don’t have to worry about charging the pen – only the pad needs to be charged. However, the pad won’t recognize any other pen input, so you need to write with the included pen.

You can download apps to use this tablet with your iOS or Android device. Pairing is simple and straightforward, and the Wacom Inkspace app has an easy-to-follow tutorial that guides you through all the steps.

During our testing, we found that if you don’t power on the Bamboo Smartpad for several days, you might need to reconnect the device by toggling the Bluetooth settings. This is far from a deal-breaker, but other devices were able remain paired, even after several days of not connecting and being powered off.

This pen has a one-year warranty which will cover any manufacturer defects or problems. You can find a FAQs page on this company’s website as well as tutorials and videos to help you use the device.

The Wacom Bamboo Folio Smartpad is an excellent tool for artists and doodlers to easily save and share their work digitally. The pen is one of the lightest and most comfortable we tested, and the pad is easy to sync and use, thanks to a tutorial in the Wacom app and more tutorials online.

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