Wacom Graphire 3 Tablet Review


An oldie but a goodie. That’s what this tablet is. It allows you to interact with your PC with the ease and familiarity of a pen. Whether you want to add your signature to a document, edit photos, or create a masterpiece from scratch, this tablet can do it. The nice thing about it is due to the fact it is no longer being produced, it can be picked up affordably on your favorite auction site. Let’s take a closer look.

Closer Look:

The tablet itself is approximately 8” x 8” with an active surface of 4” x 5”. It comes with a wireless pen and mouse, both of which are powered by the tablet itself. The tablet in turn is powered by its USB connection to the PC.

Let’s look at the Features and Specifications.

Features:

  • Cordless, battery-free mouse with the scrolling finger wheel
  • Pressure-sensitive pen for sharp, natural control
  • The tablet includes two integrated pen compartments
  • PC and Macintosh compatible
  • USB connection

Specifications:

  • Pressure levels: 512
  • Mouse: 3-Button
  • Pen: Standard Pen
  • Tilt support: No
  • Eraser: Yes
  • Battery-free: Yes
  • Menu strip: No
  • Airbrush option: No
  • Warranty: 1 Year
  • Active Length: 5″
  • Active Width: 3.65″
  • Tablet Length: 8.2″
  • Tablet Height: .69″
  • Tablet Width: 8.3″
  • Weight: 2 pounds

Let’s move onto testing.

Testing:

I decided that I would test the tablet by doing a sketch with it, and editing a photo. I will again use my Logitech 3 button mouse as a benchmark. I will perform both tests in Adobe Photoshop.

For the first test, I decided to do a simple sketch using a photo for reference. Using the tablet, I was able to sketch a rough face in about 2 minutes. Using the mouse I quickly abandoned the attempt. As you can see in the image, trying to rough sketch the proportions of the head was painful using the mouse. Hands down, the tablet is superior as an artistic tool.

Sketching:

Tablet

9/10

Mouse

4/10

The second test involved cutting a portion of an image out and pasting it over another photo. I was not striving for superb quality but instead was focused on how easy it was to do with both the tablet and the mouse. Here I found out that the tablet only fared slightly better than the mouse in the aspect of time. While the tablet was more accurate and comfortable to use, the mouse was not significantly handicapped due to the tools available in Photoshop and the nature of photo editing. Both times it took from 4 to 5 minutes to do the work, with basically equal results.

Editing:

Tablet

8/10

Mouse

7/10

So we can see that the tablet is a good tool for sketching, and performs just as well as a mouse at photo editing. Let’s move on to the conclusion.

Conclusion:

Using the tablet proved to be a pleasant experience. I found that it excelled when used as a design tool. It allowed you to create flowing lines and to easily edit them with the eraser feature. The mouse could just not compete. The drawing surface is smaller on this model, forcing you to limit the sweep of your strokes. Basically, you have to draw on a small piece of paper. For a photo editing application, there was actually very little advantage to the tablet. Aside from being able to trace selections with accuracy, there was no real benefit. The photo editing programs of today are designed to be used with a regular mouse and don’t fully exploit the full range of abilities of a tablet.

This tablet is an older model but still performs very well. Some newer tablets have a higher sensitivity and also feature programmable buttons on the side of the tablet, enabling you to use them for shortcuts. But for someone starting out, this is a great tablet.

Pros:

  • Simple and Affordable
  • Comfortable to Use
  • More accurate than the mouse

Cons:

  • Small Drawing Surface

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