The guys at Wacom surprised me by sending over a Bamboo pen tablet the other week which was rather nice of them. Since I moved from my Toshiba Tablet to my Sony Vaio without a touchscreen I'd really been missing the ability to make notes and draw on my laptop particularly in OneNote, which is where I do most of my note taking.
First impressions of the Bamboo are very good - the packaging is very slick and the tablet itself looks very good next to my laptop with its blue LEDs. The experience I got installing it was also very good. It's a USB device and once plugging it in the drivers were automatically fetched from Windows Update (well done Wacom for working with Microsoft on this) and it was installed no problem. I tend not to install drivers using the manufacturer's CD because I'm always interested to see how much "plug and play" capability a device has.
The one thing that was required was a restart of Vista because although the driver installed the Vista's tablet applications like the Tablet Input Panel didn't initialise automatically. This is something I'm going to feedback to the Vista product team because I would rather not have to restart to get these tablet related utilities when I plugin a new tablet device.
It took a bit of time getting round the concept of writing on a pen tablet as opposed to direct on the screen of the computer and it was tricky to use the tablet to navigate around Windows but once I got over this (about 10 mins practice) it was a good device to use.
All this tablet stuff reminded me of the Vista screencast I did on using the new Tablet PC functionality in Vista. The Tablet Input Panel has been improved but so has the actual handwriting recognition as the video shows!