Wacom Graphire2 Battery-free Mouse & Pen-Set
Price: £74.99 at time of writing
Requires: PC:Win98SE/ME/2000/XP/Mac:8.51- 9.1 + USB Site: www.wacom-europe.com for information
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Uses: Enables you to draw, write, design easily with a pen and tablet
How the Graphire works [Click Here]
In depth tech specs here [Click Here]
Graphic tablets have been around for several years but have always been far to expensive for the home user, normally only used in architecture and big design studios.
Wacom is a well known name in this field and has been the main supplier of tablets and related hardware applications for nearly 20 years.
The Graphire2 is aimed more towards the entry level designer or occasional user but still comes with many nice features which enhance the ease and comfort in using the device we will aim to cover the main points in this review.
Firstly the mouse:
It is ergonomically designed which means it is comfortable and easy to use by both left or right handed people, it is also well balanced and is a comfortable weight that makes it very easy to use.
It is a cordless mouse so you can move around the pad easier without having to worry about starting and stopping because of cord in the way. Also a advantage over some other cordless mice is it does not require batteries. Also it is ball-less this means that you will no longer have any trouble with having to clean the insides of your mouse, on standard ball mice you would need to clean the wheels and rollers in the mouse now and again to ensure it would work correctly.
With this you wont incur any problems like that, in the way it works it is similar to the optical mice available without the obvious beam as you can only use this mouse alongside the Graphire Tablet.
To buy a similar version ball-less mouse with the respective buttons you will most likely be looking up to £20 which makes this pack more value for money.
Secondly the pen:
If you have never used a product like this at first you will think its hard to control and feels weird, but after 5-10 minutes of using and getting used to the pen itself it does become very quick and easy to navigate around your desktop and open and view documents and folders.
It is very straight forward to use, the tablet has a clear indication of a rectangle which represents the full display of your monitor and can display any screen size, the tablet automatically mirrors its location on the screen. You do not need to drag the pen across the tablet , you can simply lift the pen off the tablet and then bring it back down at the desired location. This allows you to quickly open applications and to navigate freely without having to stop - start or lift then replace as you sometimes have to do when using a mouse.
Also with the pen is a pressure sensitive feature this is via the tip of the pen, the pen has 512 levels of pressure which means that the harder you press down on the tip the thicker the line produced on screen. This allows users who do drawing and painting a greater level of control and creativity via the pen, on the other end of the pen is a eraser which is also pressure sensitive. Because of this sensitivity you can erase or blend colours, if using Office applications like Word & Excel you can you the eraser to remove text.
Also on the main body of the pen there is a double slide switch which allows users to program both the upper and lower buttons for functions in deferent applications this also aids in the efficiency and enhancement given to users. From this you can double click a program by simply tapping the pen other the icon this will then launch the action as normal, you can also set up actions for the buttons on the pen itself and get used to the settings and pressures via the software included.
Thirdly the tablet itself:
This is the main and most essential part of the 'system' as it must be used for the mouse and pen to function. The unit itself looks very good it has rounded edges and is coloured in Steel Blue it really does look stylish and is very thin and is well balanced and offers no slippage.
As mentioned above and visible via the pictures you can clearly see the rectangle which represents your monitor space, the pen holder at the top of the above picture is also detachable if needed it simply clips into place.
The supported resolution of this tablet is 1000 dpi which allows perfect accuracy for navigating around your machines desktop quickly and easily.
On the surface of the tablet is a transparent film which you can lift up, this allows you to place pictures or items under and to trace or draw round them.
RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury) Benefit:
RSI is a common occurrence when using pc input devices, you can of course try to minimize impact by using wrist rests / supports and other cushion products. It often stems from users having to grip the mouse fairly hard, and by many repetitive actions from the wrist and fingers. Using the pen in this product of course reduces any impacts dramatically you can also place the pen tip exactly where you want the pointer rather than having to make flick or jerking movements.
The driver software is very good, it allows you effortlessly to set up your preferences regarding sensitivity and programmable buttons via the clear and well laid out scheme. A very well put together package with extensive driver software.
There is no doubt that this appeals more to the designer or similar user, but it is simple enough for anyone to use you can simply pick up the pen and go. For a entry level price this is very good it is from a well known manufacturer, the build quality is as you would expect fault less. You not only get just a tablet and pen you also get a mouse.. which is both cordless and ball-less.
If you went out and looked at the price for a cordless optical mouse you would most likely be looking in the region of £30ish ensuring you are going for a known make. So for an extra £40 or so you open up yourself to allowing you to add your own signature to documents and emails, you can use it to help edit any digital pictures with this product. If you are do video editing this will allow you to navigate easier and save time by using the programmable switch.
Using this in flash makes it easier to draw scenes and to add frames quicker remember the big designers are using similar equipment probably provided by this maker to create maps, design and engineering, digital imaging and media. This allows you to create and add that extra creativity to your system or office machine and for well under £100.... you can't fault all those benefits and possibilities.
Rating: Add that extra something & become more creative with your PC.