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Wacom’s Graphire3 art tablet

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"It rocks," says my girlfriend. 

For Christmas I bought her the ultimate present for any geeky artsy college
chick. The present I’m talking about is the Wacom Graphire3 art tablet, a tool
she can use in conjunction with her PC to finally get that hand drawing
experience while maintaining her passion for computer art. 

"It turns me on," she also says. The size of the tablet can
differentiate. It comes in two different sizes: 4X5 and 6X8. She has the 4X5
model, but size isn’t everything. The tablet itself has a rectangular midsection
where all of the action happens. It’s sensitive to both the pen and the included
wireless mouse (a benefit to those laptop users who have rubbed the crap out of
their touchpad) which operate almost identically to any connected peripheral. 

Everyone’s familiar with a PC mouse, so let’s talk about the pen. My
girlfriend’s pen comes with two programmable buttons that operate as mouse
clicks. One is programmed for a double click while the other for a right click
(although users can change these buttons to their liking). Adding pressure to
the tablet will simulate a single mouse click. It also comes preset for drawing.
The pointed end works as any standard pen, with pressure determining the
thickness of the line. The opposing, more rounded end, can work as an eraser
with certain art programs.  

For those that like customization, the tablet can become completely unique to
the user’s preference. Everything from the firmness of the tip to the timing
between the double-clicks can be set in an easy to use menu. Add this to the
fact that the tablet comes with a transparent cover that doubles as a
picture frame (handy for tracing).

As far as usability goes, with minimal practice the pen operates as well as,
if not better than, a mouse. "It’s hard to get a pixel-precise point with
the pen," says my girlfriend. "But I can with the mouse." You may
need to alternate between the mouse and pen, but in the end, everything you need
is included in the package. 

So, yeah, until her birthday I’m a good boyfriend. Too bad she
spends more time with the tablet than me.    

For more on this and other geeky stuff, visit my
site.

About M. R. Benning