uDraw: The most creative Wii peripheral?
13th Jan 2011 | 19:30
We recently got a bit of hands-on time with this graphics tablet add-on and painting package, and found that a) it's a really solid bit of kit, and b) we're not very good at drawing.
Our only previous experience of this sort of gizmo is with Wacom Intuos tablets, which is a bit like saying the only cars we've ever driven are Ferraris.
Obviously the uDraw doesn't quite match up to something costing over five times as much (it weighs in at $70 in the US; the UK price is unconfirmed) but it's a surprisingly nice thing to use.
It's powered entirely by the remote, which slots neatly into the left side, leaving all of its buttons - including the B button, thanks to a hole underneath - free to control various functions in the paint program.
The housing is so well made it feels very much like an official Nintendo design.
The chunky pen is connected by a short cord and stored in another slot under the tablet. When in use there's a little well in the corner for it to stand up in. There's a rocker switch on the side of the pen for activating other functions.
The drawing surface detects the pen when the tip is about half a centimetre away, and you can safely rest it on the pad without drawing any inadvertent strokes - it requires quite a lot of pressure to activate.
As for the paint program, it's like a massively stripped down version of Corel Painter. You can choose different types of media, from concrete to canvas, and the many varieties of paint, crayon, charcoal and so on will react accordingly.
The tool bars are all hidden away rather than floating on the screen, so you have to bring up a menu whenever you want to change brushes.
That's slightly irritating, but the ability to alter the brush size on the fly, via the D-pad, makes up for it somewhat.
You also get unlimited undos, which is a brilliant feature to have, and it records every stroke you make in a video that you can play back at high speed and pause to resume drawing at any point. Corel Painter doesn't do that.
Modern art package standards such as layers and cut/paste aren't included, and effects such as blur can only be applied to the entire scene rather than a small area.
Up to 30 pictures can be stored and saved to the SD card - at which point they'll have a huge uDraw watermark applied to the corner. That's a damned shame, and a ridiculously over-the-top piece of branding, if you ask us. But we still want one of those tablets...