Whiteboarding on non Touchscreen monitor using Wacom Pen-Tablet CTL-672

Drawn on Microsoft’s Whiteboard app using Wacom Pen Tablet CTL-672.

Being in software development we all know how useful whiteboarding sessions are, and in this work from home scenario I miss it even more. Nothing can truly replace the actual physical whiteboard but we have to find workarounds therefore in that endeavor I recently purchased a Wacom Pen tablet to use with my non touch screen laptop and this article is intended to be a product review for this Pen tablet from a software engineer perspective.

My Requirements:

  • Needed a basic Pen tablet to write, annotate and draw diagrams on my non Touch-screen monitor during my office meeting screen share sessions.
  • My usage would be limited to just few hours a week.
  • Don’t need any high end designing features required by digital artists.
  • It shouldn’t take up a lot of space on my desk and fits nicely beside my Keyboard and Mouse.
  • It should be quick and simple to connect, something that I can keep connected with my PC at all times using USB port.
  • No wire inserting, no connecting with Bluetooth, no charging and no worries about battery. Just pull out the tablet and start drawing.

My current solution: Wacom Pen tablet CTL-672

Read many good reviews regarding this USB based Pen tablet specially from teachers looking for whiteboard alternatives during their online classes.

Pros:

My first sketch using Wacom CTL-672 in MS Whiteboard app in just few minutes.
  • I can do handwriting, sketch and draw conveniently in my non touch-screen monitor using this USB Pen Tablet.
  • Definitely far better experience than mouse when it comes to drawing, annotating, highlighting as evident from the Pen-Tablet Vs Mouse comparison below. Needless to say, writing with mouse was time consuming and painful.
Comparing content written using Wacom Pen tablet and Logitech MX Master 3 mouse.
  • Pen is really good. It has nice grip and size. It doesn’t require any battery or maintenance. I keep it together with my other pens in the pen stand on my desk. Just keep it upright to protect the nib as only 3 spare nibs comes with the package.
  • It can do everything a regular mouse does as the pen has configurable left/right mouse click buttons available. It’s not a mouse replacement and scrolling will require a lot of movement across the tablet surface.
  • Size is perfect for my desk and when in use, I keep it in front of my Keyboard. There is also a smaller model CTL-472 available but I wouldn’t suggest it because it will be difficult to capture more content on the screen.
  • Tablet doesn’t get heated at all and stays cool to the touch even after staying connected with my laptop for days.
  • No latency issues observed in any software and the Pen is very responsive. I primarily use Microsoft Whiteboard and Paint app.
  • Tablet works only when pen nib is within a cm distance. Therefore there are no issues with accidental touch even when my tablet is powered on or if there are clicks made through the pen.
  • This tablet doesn’t have any buttons on it which keeps it plain and simple.
  • Since we are not directly writing on the screen therefore our hands doesn’t touch the actual screen thereby not smudging it or hiding any content.

Cons:

  • There is a slight learning curve involved. Since the dimensions of your screen and tablets differ therefore it takes some time getting used to varying aspect ratios. I suggest a lot of handwriting in the start.
  • Even though I have opted for the bigger tablet, writing space still feels small and I end up zooming in/out quite often. It feels like I am not able to use the screen properly. It’s definitely a poor experience when compared from a Real Whiteboard.
  • I had some screen to tablet mapping issues in the start but when I installed the windows drivers then it became flawless. This is not necessarily a con as installing drivers are essential part of the initial onetime setup.

What would be ideal?

No doubt! the writing experience was far better than a mouse but I felt that, direct writing on the touch screen using a pen would be a much better experience. Microsoft Surface laptops come to mind.

However, many suggest that indirect writing through tablets is a more superior experience but it definitely demands some getting used to.

I will share my experience after few more weeks of practice.

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