For the graphics user who doesn’t have a tablet, the $200 Graphire3 6×8, the latest update to Wacom’s consumer line of tablets, is too good a deal to pass up. Bundled with Adobe Photoshop Elements 1.0 (for Mac OS 9) and Corel Painter Classic (for Mac OS X), it is a sturdy graphics workstation right out of the box.
The Graphire3 lacks the higher resolution, sensitivity levels, tilt and bearing controls, and larger selection of input tools and tablet sizes that Wacom’s more-expensive Intuos series offers. But it provides good performance and flexibility, and most users will find that it is well suited to any task, personal or professional. And for the fashion conscious, it comes in three different colors.
Though it’s very similar to the Graphire2, the Graphire3 has an updated design with a slimmer profile. In one of its cleverest improvements in years, Wacom has built a slot into the front edge of the tablet for storing the pen. Like all Wacom tablets, this USB tablet uses a cordless pen that doesn’t require a battery.
The Graphire3 ships with a pen that offers not only 512 levels of pressure sensitivity in the tip, but also a built-in progr
Also included is a two-button, scroll-wheel mouse that works only on the tablet. Though the mouse is comfortable to use, its tracking isn’t as smooth as the Apple Pro Mouse’s, so you probably won’t want to use it as a full-time replacement.
Macworld’s Buying Advice
The Graphire3 6×8 is excellent — a great performer with an outstanding design.