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Hands-on review: Wacom One Creative Pen Display

By Owen McCarthy
Thu 7 Oct 2021

Those of you familiar with my work will by now know just how discerning and artistically wise my editors are. My work consistently ends up rolling around their virtual editing floor, where they rightly assume it belongs. The Wacom One Creative Pen Display is about to change all that. 

The Wacom One Creative Pen Display has become an extension of my MacBook Pro for the past few weeks. I’ve experimented with placement and have not been afraid to move my work screen across as it suits. Sometimes I have even eschewed the Creative Pen for mouse or trackpad. That is where the Wacom One has proved so versatile.

For quite some time, I’ve had a project on the backburner. I had an end-of-roll slide of my parents taken when I was just a toddler. Wacom’s review has provided the impetus to stop procrastinating. Sadly though, it was the end of the roll, so the finished product was covered in those pesky white circles. 

 

This has given me the perfect opportunity to reacquaint myself with Adobe’s cloning tool, while getting used to the Creative Pen and the Wacom One display. The display and the pen gave me a large enough canvas and a degree of control to make a decent job. Thus far, I’ve been pleased with how much easier things are with a pen rather than a mouse. 

The 13-inch display has been a revelation. I have it perched on its retractable legs and have pushed my desk clutter to one side to accommodate it. Ergonomically, it’s a pleasure to use with the legs at just the right angle.

Connecting to my laptop was via the three in one cable. You need both an HDMI and USB port on your laptop, and I had to use my Mac Display adapter to achieve a connection. Once the Wacom Desktop Centre Software is downloaded, you’re away. After registering the device, you can choose the apps you want to use. As I mentioned, I’ve opted for Photoshop, but some wonderful painting and illustration tools are also available, with a generous three-month trial available for Magma Studio’s Pro plan. 

There are other options for the video editors. The Wacom One is compatible with Mac OS and Windows, and now Chrome OS. Be aware that your platform will dictate which software you can use. There is even an App called Clip Studio Paint Pro for you Manga illustrators. I stuck with Photoshop as I am a long-time user. 

As I worked on my photography project, I was also able to carry on typing simply by shifting back to my laptop screen. I effectively had an extra 13-inch monitor, allowing me to finally experience a MacBook with a touch-screen. It is quite an experience using a stylus in Mac OS, but let’s not go there right now. The Wacom Pen is surprisingly light, likely due to being battery-free. You can easily maintain a fine level of control — the only issue I had was when I accidentally nudged my mouse.

Moving from MacBook to Creative Pen Display is fast becoming second nature, and the Wacom’s 13-inch monitor means I have a huge canvas to work with. I know I am going to miss the extra dimension it has added to my workspace. That’s enough sentiment for now.
 
Wacom’s Creative Pen boasts a responsive nib, and I am barely scratching the surface of its capabilities. It is light and fits nicely between my fingers. The single button can be used as a mouse clicker, but the pen itself appears responsive, a boon to those of you working with texture and shading. The button works as a right-click option, but my tendency to twirl my pens in my fingers meant I was forever having to stop and realign. However, I’m sure I’d have been annoyed if the button had had a pronounced offset, so it wasn’t a deal-breaker.

The Wacom One Creative Pen Display offers a brilliant workspace for all you avid illustrators, photo editors and multitaskers. I would love to have tried using it with video editing too. At times I was tempted to switch off my mouse, as switching between stylus and mouse sometimes caused me to end up on the wrong screen. Using the stylus to sketch quick illustrations and notes has added an extra dimension to my work. It’s just one of the myriad of uses the Wacom Creative Display extends your creative capabilities in a range of applications. Those of us who like to doodle as we think will love the usability of the Pen and the display.

It would be a mistake to misread my musings and decide that the Wacom One Creative Pen Display is a mere monitor. The versatility it adds to your digital workspace will have creative types literally slobbering as the flow of creative juices transmogrifies into a tsunami of ideas. 

At around $630 to $674 at various resellers, it will be a go-to for many creative types, from the amateur to the professional. I used it exclusively on Mac OS, but it works on both Windows and Android systems.

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