Wacom tablet

Posted: November 16, 2005 in General

I have a huge 9×12 (I know there are bigger) Wacom Graphire3 Intous2 at home. I don’t use it that often, and to be honest it’s larger than I really need (or larger than what seems to be manageable). It’s one of those tools that I don’t use much, but makes life much easier from time to time. With that in mind I purchased a new Wacom tablet at work. I opted for the 6×8 tablet. Wacom just upgraded their product line from the Graphire3 to Graphire4, and I have to admit that I like what I see.

A couple of nice upgrades. Fist, the overall design is more minimalist than earlier designs. They don’t really mirror any of Apple’s designs, but their product does look very natural next to my G5.

Rather than a flexible plastic overlay that you can slip photos or whatever under (like all the previous tablets from them), the Graphire4 has a solid plastic casing that surrounds the pad (and releases with four sliding switches on the bottom). This same casing includes an indentation that you can snap the stylus into. This casing gives the whole unit a very solid feel, and helps to overcome one of my fears about tablets which is scratching or marring the surface.

At the top of the new pad is a scroll wheel and two physical buttons (other Wacom tablets have virtual buttons), which provide the ability for someone using the stylus to scroll, as well as give them some additional capabilities (the stylus has had two buttons for a while, but they always seem to get in the way, and I tend to turn them off).

It happened that my old Logitech two button mouse decided (probably in anger) that it wasn’t going to respond to left clicks anymore, so I decided to try using the Wacom tablet as a mouse and mouse pad. So far I would say that the results are mixed. It’s nice to be freed from the cord (I’ve tried wireless solutions before that I thought had too much lag), however the mouse won’t respond when you move outside the active area of the pad (obviously) which tends to bump up my frustration level just a bit.

I may try using the stylus as a controller for a while and see how that goes. In the mean time, kudos to Wacom for really thinking about this design and coming up with something better than before. Now if only the Wacom software would allow me to set up profiles on a per-application basis.

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