Wacom has launched Graphire2, the second generation of its popular consumer mouse and pen set.

The set consists of a "battery-free" cordless mouse, a pressure-sensitive pen and a graphics tablet that's about the size of a mouse mat. The tablet connects to the Mac via USB, and the updated version features a sleeker, more robust, steel-blue design.

Graphire2 features absolute positioning, which works by sending a radio signal to locate tools on the tablet surface, and then sends location, pressure and other information to the computer. The technology and tablet offer a 1,000dpi resolution.

The active area of the tablet represents the full display of any screen size. The tablet recognizes the position of the pen and mirrors its location onscreen.

Transparent features The tablet features a transparent overlay design that offers an easy way to trace images. It also has a detachable pen stand.

The three-button, programmable mouse is built for both right and left-handed users. The mouse is ball-free and maintenance-free, according to Wacom.

The pen has 512 levels of pressure, with a sensitive tip and an eraser. It also features a double side-switch, which can be programmed for specific functions in different applications.

Driven A new software driver, version 4.6, offers more control and improved performance, Wacom claims. It also offers both acceleration and speed settings for mouse control. The driver allows both mouse and pen settings to be customized.

Wacom also believes the product can help people suffering from Repetitive Strain Injury, as using the pen provides access to all the features of a mouse, while imposing less strain.

For budding desktop-artists, Corel's Painter Classic ships with the product. Available at the end of the month, the Graphire2 costs £64 and comes with a two-year warranty.

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