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Wacom Graphire2

Graphics pen, pad and cordless mouse combo

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Review Home PC users increasingly have access to graphics software previously only available to professional designers. Now the high-end accessories used by computer artists and CAD (computer-aided design) users are also becoming affordable options for consumers.

The Graphire2, comprising cordless mouse, pen and pad, is one such tool and is designed for precision graphics work. The cordless pen allows you to draw and paint on the screen exactly as you would on paper, giving you the freedom to create original designs on your PC.

Graphire2But our first impressions of this model weren't good - the Graphire2 was a pain to set up. Not only did we need our Windows system software on hand during installation, we had to alter USB settings - something the manual doesn't even mention.

On a better note, the software includes a handy control panel allowing you to customise your settings. You can change the sensitivity of the pen and mouse according to preference and programme the pen's double-sided switch so it selects the keyboard shortcut of your choice. The pen also has an eraser, which rubs out mistakes without resorting to the tools menu on your screen.

Unfortunately, the pen button was extremely unresponsive. You had to press very hard to select anything onscreen, making it uncomfortable to use. When the button did respond, it wouldn't click off again. On the other hand, the pad was excellent; making compositions in Photoshop and Paint Shop Pro was just like drawing on paper. Meanwhile, the cordless mouse was noticeably more accurate when used on the 1000dpi (dots per inch) pad than a standard mouse.

At £62, the Graphire2 brings high-end graphics tools well within reach of consumers. However, while the cordless mouse and pad worked fine, the pen's lack of responsiveness made it more awkward to use than the average mouse, rather defeating the purpose of this product. ®

Info

Price: £62
Contact: 020 8200 8282
Website: www.wacom.com

Specs

216x218x9.3mm pad
1000dpi pad resolution
145x12.5mm cordless pen
Pen weight: 11g
Pen pressure levels: 512
Pressure to activate tip switch: 60g
Pen tip travel: 0.1mm
Detachable pen stand
Windows 98/2000/Me/XP/Mac

Scoring

Build quality: 3
Features: 5
Performance: 6

All details correct at time of publication.

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