Wacom CTE-430

For years I’ve wanted a graphics tablet, I’m always trying to draw something, and creating logo’s or illustrations in Photoshop is one of my many passions. But I’ve always had to put up with using the mouse as a drawing tool and sometimes that was impossible. That’s why I purchased the Wacom CTE-430 and here’s a short review.

The Wacom CTE-430 or Graphire 3 is an old-ish graphics tablet. I picked this one up at our local second hand electronic store CEX for only £25 which in my eyes is a frickin’ bargain! I’ve always had my reservations on using a smaller tablet because I couldn’t see how having such a small space to draw/illustrate with would work but I was surely mistaken.

The tablet can be set up however you wish, and what makes the small space a whole lot easier to use is the pen mapping options.

A screenshot of the Wacom Graphics Tablet Pen Mode Details

As you can see you can choose where on your screen you want the “Screen Area” to be active and this really helps when drawing because you can select just the canvas you’re working on rather that it set to use the entire screen. (This was the default setting and I found it almost impossible to get a detailed drawing.)

The pen itself is pretty neat too, It has a pen end, and an eraser end and a “rocker” button (for left and right click). I have the rocker button disabled as the pen activated on contact to the tablet so there’s no need to click. The pen is pressure sensitive and you can also calibrate it to be as hard and as soft as you please. The pen is also recognised by the tablet at about a 6/7mm height so you just have to hover the pen over the tablet and move the pointer without having to come in contact with the tablet (and draw all over the page).

The only issue I have with the pen is that if I wanted to use it to navigate around my desktop for example, I’d have to do it by hovering around the tablet to move the cursor, and from what I can see is that there’s no way to disable the click on contact feature, but hey! That’s what the mouse is for!

The mouse that comes with the tablet is a pretty standard wireless (bluetooth) mouse that only works on contact with the tablet, so if you prefer, you could forgo your wired mouse and use this one.

A screenshot of the Wacom Graphics Tablet

Overall my expectations of this tablet were pretty normal and was just expecting it to be a standard plug and play device that you could draw with and use the mouse on, but I’m very surprised with the amount of customisation and usability that comes with the software, and to anyone in the drawing biz or is maybe thinking of doing web comics or something similar, I recommend getting a graphics tablet!

An illustration of a super hero called The Corn
Starting a web comic is clearly not something I could pursue.

For those interested in purchasing your own Graphire 3, unfortunately I think they’ve been discontinued as I haven’t managed to find one online, anywhere. The cheapest Wacom tablet I can find is this one at £45.

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Aaron Richardsonmason Recent comment authors
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This is an ancient post so sorry if you already realized this, but I’m pretty sure the mouse isn’t Bluetooth but rather just something else that interacts with the Wacom’s sensing — note that I don’t remember it working off the pad.

The rocker switch is incredibly useful when mapped to different functions in Photoshop. Instead of going into a menu for the color picker or switching tools or brush specs, you can map it to those buttons and gain a lot of efficiency in your workflow.

Aaron Richardson

Hey! This was one of the first posts I ever wrote reviewing a gadget so I was pretty new to this. I think you’re right with the Bluetooth/Wacom sensor thing. I found the buttons a little in the way so I’ve just unasigned them for now.

Thanks for reading and leaving a comment though!