Review: Wacom Graphire Wireless Graphics Tablet

Wacom Graphire Wireless Graphics Tablet
Wacom Graphire Wireless Graphics Tablet. Courtesy of Wacom
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The Bottom Line

The Wacom Graphire Wireless offers many attractive features, including an intuitive interface, responsiveness, above-average accuracy, and some customization options. But unless you absolutely must have wireless connectivity, the Wacom Intuos3 6x8 offers a much better deal, even though it costs $80 more. The Intuos3 has 1,024 levels of pressure sensitivity, vs. the Graphire’s 512; eight programmable ExpressKeys, vs. the Graphire’s two; and two programmable Touch Strips, vs. none on the Graphire.

Both tablets offer the same 48 square inches of workspace.

Update: The Wacom Graphire Wireless Bluetooth tablets are no longer manufactured by Wacom. However, Wacom has drivers available through OS X Mavericks that also works with OS X Yosemite. Using the Graphire Wireless tablet with OS X El Capitan has been reported as hit and miss, with some users who have upgraded from an earlier version of OS X with a working Graphire tablet reporting the combination working in El Capitain, and those who attempted to install new drivers for the tablet reporting that process not working.

Our advice is to consider the Graphire Wireless series of tablets as unsupported beyond OS X Mavericks.

Pros

  • Wireless connectivity range of up to 33 feet.
  • Intuitive interface.
  • Customizable pen and ExpressKeys.
  • Supports some handwriting recognition features.

Cons

  • Pricey, particularly compared to Wacom Intuos3 6x8.
  • Only available in one size.
  • Setting up Bluetooth can be tricky.
  • Bundled software is older versions.

Description

  • Mac and Windows compatible
  • 512 levels of pressure sensitivity
  • Programmable battery-free, cordless pen
  • Battery-free, cordless 3-button mouse
  • Two programmable ExpressKeys
  • Bluetooth range of up to 33 feet
  • Transparent overlay
  • Includes Photoshop Elements 3, Corel Painter Essentials 2
  • Includes Nik Color Efex Pro 2 GE

Guide Review - Wacom Graphire Wireless Graphics Tablet

The Wacom Graphire Wireless graphics tablet is so easy to like that criticizing it makes me feel like a bit of a curmudgeon. Let’s set aside comparisons to the Intuos3 for the moment, and focus on the Graphire’s many good points.

Without a doubt, one of the most appealing features of the Wacom Graphire Wireless graphics tablet is its wireless connectivity, something none of the models of that other tablet can claim. This is a major plus if you like to move around a lot when you work, or if you share my fondness for slouching in a favorite comfy chair. Wireless connectivity is also a benefit for individuals who need more flexibility, because of repetitive stress injuries or other physical considerations.

Setting up Bluetooth can be a little tricky if you’re not technically inclined, but it’s not a huge hurdle. The Bluetooth connection has a range of up to 33 feet, although accuracy and sensitivity may drop off the further you move away. The package includes a universal power adapter, for recharging the battery and for using the tablet while the battery is charging.

Two programmable ExpressKeys, available in the top center of the Wacom Graphire Wireless tablet, can be programmed to perform your favorite functions or keystrokes.

A charging indicator light in the top right corner of the tablet will help prevent you from getting carried away and running out of power in the middle of an important task.

The pen, which has a programmable rocker switch, is comfortable and easy to use. It supports up to 512 levels of pressure sensitivity for both drawing and erasing, which sounds like a lot, but I found it difficult to get the results I wanted. This is mainly a matter of having enough time and patience to master the basics, and not a flaw of the pen itself (though that other tablet comes with a pen that offers twice as much pressure sensitivity).

Published: 7/12/2008

Updated: 10/21/2015