Product Watch: Unleash The Artist Within With Graphire

Graphire Input System

Wacom's Graphire is a graphics tablet & cordless pen combined with a coreless Mouse. The Graphire input system is aimed at the home/small office and entry level drawing and painting professionals or anyone wanting to add handwritten notes or signatures to documents. The 4 x 5 tablet is not really big enough for heavy duty graphics work.

The Graphire Mouse has a resolution of 1015 lines per inch (Wacom says this is 3 times more than a standard Mouse), giving precise movements. In addition to being cordless, the Mouse has no rolling ball on its bottom. That means you won't constantly be cleaning the rollers inside your Mouse as you would with a traditional one. The Mouse has two buttons and a scrolling wheel. The scrolling wheel can act as a third button. Both button and the scrolling wheel are programmable to carry out a myriad of functions (the scrolling wheel is programmable in both button and scroll mode) and you can specify functions to only be applicable to specific applications.

The Graphire Pen as well as being cordless is battery-less (as is the Mouse). The pressure sensitive tip is capable of 512 levels of pressure making transitions between light and hard pressure smooth. The Pen has an built-in erasure function at the end which works like a regular eraser - just turn the Pen upside down and rub out what you don't want. Wacom says this function will work in Painting applications and even some word processors.

Included on body of the Pen is a "DuoSwitch", a programmable double-sided switch. The top and bottom sides of the switch can each be programmed to function as a double mouse click, a right, middle or left click, a keystroke, macro, or pop-up menu, a modifier key, an eraser or a mode toggle from relative to absolute positioning. Again all these settings can be application specific. For example one switch could change brush size in MetaCreations Painter and perform the "undo" function in Microsoft Word.

How the heck do the cordless, battery-less Pen and Mouse work? When used in the 4 x 5 active area of the tablet, the surface serves as a mouse pad for the mouse and a drawing surface for the pen. The pen and mouse use electromagnetic resonance to communicate with the tablet. Electromagnetic resonance is a very low power radio signal that locates tools on the tablet surface and sends information about location, pressure and other input data to the computer. Isn't technology amazing.

The Graphire comes bundled with MetaCreations Painter Classic and Wacom PenTools. PenTools is a set of eight Photoshop pressure-sensitive plug-ins that can be used for cleaning up images or selectively applying noise. It also includes Super Putty to pull and stretch images and 3D Chisel to add bevel effects. PenTools works in any program that accepts Photoshop plug-ins.

Graphire comes in 6 iMac friendly colors but will work on any Mac with a USB port.

A recent MacUser UK review gave the Graphire 4 1/2 mice out of a possible 5 and said this about the product:

"The Graphire mouse and pen set is the ideal hardware extension for users at every level. Having a mouse that never gets sticky would in itself be worth the price: the addition of extra buttons, the scroll wheel and a superb pen makes the package that much more compelling. The only downside is the fact that it's available only with a USB connector, so users of older systems are left out."

Graphire Suggested Retail Price:$99.95 ............ Check for lowest price

Wacom Technology Corporation
1311 SE Cardinal Court
Vancouver, WA 98683
Tel: 800-922-9348
Fax: 360-896-9724

Product Details

  • Tablet is connected to the computer via a cable to the USB
  • Patented cordless and batteryless Pen and Mouse
  • Pen features pressure-sensitive tip, 2 side-switches and pressure-sensitive eraser
  • Mouse features 3 buttons and rubberized scrolling wheel
  • Ambidextrous Mouse design
  • No-ball Mouse design always tracks smoothly and never clogs up
  • All buttons and switches can be set to user¯s preference
  • Mouse scrolling wheel speed is customizable
  • Tablet features clear plastic overlay for tracing
  • Tablet pen stand is detachable

Bundled Software:

  • MetaCreations Painter Classic
  • Wacom PenTools
  • Wacom Driver and Control Panel


  • Tablet Active area: 4" x 5"
  • Tablet dimensions: 8.2 in. W x 8.4 in. L x 0.4 in. H
  • Pen and Eraser Pressure Levels: 512 Accuracy: 0.02 in
  • Pen and MouseResolution: 1015 lines per inch

System Requirements

iMac with Mac OS 8.5 or later or PowerMac with Mac OS 8.0 or later with USB port, CD-ROM drive,and color monitor.

External Links


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