Sometimes an excellent operating system can be made even better
Wacom Graphire Bluetooth CTE-630BT
- Excellent wireless performance, Great design
- Slight lag, Pricey
An excellent option for those specifically looking for a wireless tablet. The extra cost over a Graphire 4, however, probably won’t justify it for those not interested in using the Bluetooth technology to its full potential.
Price$ 449.00 (AUD)
Specification-wise, Wacom's Graphire Bluetooth CTE-630BT is akin to their wired Graphire 4 range. With similar sensitivity and resolution levels, we found that the performance of the Bluetooth version was comparable with that of the CTE-640, the flagship of the Graphire 4 series. Nevertheless, the CTE-630BT delivered an entirely different experience, based largely on its wireless status.
Physically, the tablet is quite well designed. It's thin, light weight, with a very simplistic and convenient button arrangement. A large, 200mm x 150mm active area sits in the centre, surrounded by an adequately wide bezel. We did find that there wasn't enough room for our hands when trying to fill in details on the far edges of the active area, but on the whole, the balance between size and comfort seems to have been well optimised. A clip on the top edge of the tablet provides a resting place for the stylus; a little inconvenient when the tablet is sitting on a desk, but fine when carrying the tablet around.
The freedom of movement was something we really enjoyed when using this tablet. Without the restriction of cables, we were able to move around while using the tablet or even just simply sit back with it resting easily in our lap. The applications of the wireless technology go further than this however. Imagine a teacher being able to walk around a classroom, writing onto a projected 'blackboard'. The same technology could easily be used in business presentations, allowing for diagrams and images to be created in real time, easily and on-the-fly. The breadth of possibilities opened up by unshackling the tablet from its cabling really adds to this tablet's versatility, in a way that beefed up specifications and pressure levels just can't.
This is not to say that the tablet itself is in any way deficient in its performance, only that it distinguishes itself through other means. The specifications are not at a professional level, but they nevertheless are of an incredibly high caliber. With 512 levels of pressure sensitivity and 2032 lines per inch of resolution, we found that we were able to achieve impressive results, creating detailed and precise drawings. Response times were reasonable, although there was a slight lag, only a few hundred milliseconds at most. One of the best facets of the tablet however was the strength of its signal. In an office jam packed with almost every wireless and Bluetooth device available, we were still able to achieve a strong, clear signal through multiple doors, and it took a very thick, concrete wall before the tablet dropped out completely.
Users who aren't positive that they'd really take advantage of the wireless nature of this tablet probably won't get the best value from it. It is quite expensive, and almost matches the professional Intuos 3 series for pricing. Professionals and casual home users probably won't get the most from this tablet, but those with a keen eye on its wireless applications will find it to be a powerful tool.
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