Home > Features > Product Review: Wacom Tablet Graphite 640

Like Kensington, Wacom is one of those brand names that most Mac users just happen to know. The reason is simple: they have been around the Macintosh world for years and years producing top-notch accessories and gear for Apple's computers. It should come as no surprise then that when I found myself in an Apple store looking for a tablet, the store had several models from Wacom on hand to choose from.

As mentioned on the updated home page, we needed a tablet to do our review of Autodesk's SketchBook Pro 2. But during that review we realized that the tablet was now making Apple's Inkwell technology available to us, and so we tested out that technology with the tablet as well.

Introducing the Graphire4 640

This review applies specifically to the Wacom Graphire4 640 model tablet. The 640 is actually the model number and refers to our choice of 6x8 unit. Wacom makes several lines of digital tablets to choose from, as well as TabletPC's that run Microsoft Windows XP Tablet Edition. The Graphire4 line includes three units: a 4x5 unit (referring to the area of the tablet where the pen operates), a 6x8 unit (our test unit) and a 6x8 Bluetooth unit -- a wireless unit.

The active area of our 6x8 unit was actually 5.94-in. x 8.22-in. and was a reasonable size for the drawing work we did in testing the unit (see our review of Autodesk SketchBook Pro 2). This unit retails for $199.95 USD, while the 4x5 unit starts at just $99.00 USD. All units come with a digitizing pen with programmable buttons, a pen holder that you can place anywhere on your work surface, the tablet itself, and a wireless mouse that works with the tablet surface. (see photo above). Additionally, Graphire4 tablets come with bundled software. This included a copy of Adobe Photoshop Elements 3, Corel Painter Essentials, EverNote Plus 1, JustWrite Office 4.1 and nik Color Efex Pro 2. All of this software works on Mac OS X (some on Mac OS 9) except EverNote and JustWrite products.

The Hardware

Wacom's tablets are beautifully designed and fit right in with Apple's award-winning industrial designed computers. With Graphire4 you have three color choices to work with: silver, white and metallic blue.

The Graphire4 pen with eraser has 512 levels of pressure sensitivity for natural brush control. It uses patented cordless, battery-free technology so it feels like a pen and operates naturally in your hand. The eraser at the end of the pen uses a rounded section of plastic that operates with pressure sensitivity as well, while you erase. The mouse is also battery-free and cordless with a padded bottom so it slides well on the plastic tablet surface. It includes a scroll-wheel for navigation (up/down) and it doesn't have a ball to gum up.

Of all the hardware pieces the pen is the nicest to use. It had a nice feel and grip texture.One thing I liked about the pen was the eraser sensitivity while drawing.

Easy Set Up

Wacom's software installed without a hitch and the USB-based tablet worked on both the jacks on the Apple keyboard and on the computer. Not every USB device does that, as many of you already know.

01 - Wacom Pen Tablet Preferences

Once the Wacom software was installed a Pen Tablet preference panel is added to the System Preferences. Additionally, you can now configure Apple's Inkwell handwriting recognition software via it's preference panel. The Graphire4 tablet itself had just three items to configure, including what to do with the two built-in ExpressKeys and the obvious functions of the wheel control between them (see image 01 above).

The pen preferences (see image 02) allow you to set fine-tune settings on things like eraser feel (soft to firm) and double-click distance, among others. You can also choose to use click sounds -- which in all honestly get tiring after awhile or go quiet.

06 - Establishing Custom Color Palette

Next Page: Apple Inkwell Integration


next page > | 1 | 2 |


Home > Features > Product Review: Wacom Tablet Graphite 640




NBC on iTunes





  | Corrections | About Architosh | Awards & Press Reaction |
| Site Map |

Privacy Notice | Contact Us | How to Advertise | Corporate Sponsorship |
Copyright © 1999 - 2008. BritasMedia Publications. All Rights Reserved.
Architosh™ and the ToshLetter™ are trademarks of BritasMedia™

Quantified - Quantcast