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I'd like to buy a graphics tablet (also known as a drawing tablet, graphics pad, etc. - see here for some more information). I'm interested in using it for input for CAD programs, some of which use freehand sketching for input.

My criteria (from most to least important):

  • A price under $150
  • A low footprint-to-input ratio (for example, a 10-inch diagonal input space on a 15-inch diagonal tablet would be quite wasteful)
  • A diagonal of roughly 6"-9"
  • Wireless connection (e.g. Bluetooth capability).
  • A pen with an eraser
  • A pressure sensitivity of around 1024
  • An overlay for tracing
  • Compatibility with Windows 7

Things I don't need or want:

  • An extra mouse, cordless or not, for the tablet
  • A screen (working with an iPad is not what I'd like)
  • USB connection (although this might be nice, as backup)
  • The same aspect ratio as the computer it will be used with (software can take care of this)
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When I researched digitizers Wacom was the clear solution. I think they have a patent on their unpowered pen that gives them industry dominance.

You should get a Wacom Intuos Pen & Touch Tablet. To stay in your budget you would have to go with the Small, model #CTH480, which runs ~$80 and provides a 6.0"x3.7" active area on an 8.25"x6.9" tablet. Next step up is the Medium, model #CTH680, which runs ~$180 and provides an 8.5"x5.3" active area on a 10.75"x8.75" tablet.

Both sizes come with a pen with eraser and 1024 levels of pressure sensitivity.

Wireless connection for either requires an extra $40 accessory kit (model #ACK40401).

If you're tracing you probably do need to pony up for the Medium size. But I do graphic design with the Small and even though it sounds like a tiny working area the resolution is so high that I don't have any trouble working on an HD monitor.

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