At Photoshop World I picked up the just released Wacom Intuos Pro tablet.  For me, I prefer the medium-sized one as it is comfortable to hold while using, but large enough to work on.  The tablet has seen some improvements over past models (particularly in areas of ergonomics and wireless use).


Do You Need a Tablet?

A lot of users wonder what the heck they’d need a tablet for. Many mistakenly think it’s only about drawing and illustration.  The tablet is more of a control surface however and one that reduces wear and tear on your body.  For me it’s a matter of comfort and control.  The whole tablet behaves as a multi-touch trackpad and it allows me to change my grip from time to time (switching from touch to pen to mouse) to reduce physical stress.


The tablet feels great to the touch.  While similar in design to the previous models, the buttons feel distinctive and easy to locate by touch.  The whole tablet is ambidextrous (just rotate it 180˚ and change click the Options button in the control panel).

What I really like is the wireless accessory kit is included (it previously was an extra you had to order).  This allows the tablet to run off a rechargeable battery and connect to a USB dongle (although I wish Bluetooth connection were possible).  The dongle has a secure compartment on the side of the tablet for travel. With the adapter, you can work up to 30 feet away and easily reposition the tablet as you see fit.



There are four versions of the Intuos Pro.

  • Small ($249 USD) — This  tablet works well for those looking for an ultra-portable design as it measures 12.5 x 8.1 x .45 inches.
  • Medium ($349 USD) — This size is my personal preference at 15.0 x 9.9 x 0.5 inches. This matches my laptop well and easily fits in the bag for on-location work.  Its large enough to use comfortably at a desk.
  • Large ($499 USD) —This size works best for illustrators or those with a large work area.  It measures 19.1 x 12.5 x .60 inches.
  • Intuos Pro Special Edition ($379 USD) — This matches the medium tablet closely.  However it has a cooler look with silver accents.  It also is better at detecting which applications are running and can configure itself to match shortcuts automatically.

The Bottom Line

If you want complete control of your workspace, Wacom delivers. The new tablet feels great to hold and touch, and really boosts my workflow. I like that there are four major controls I can use.

  • ExpressKeys. Eight physical buttons can be mapped for each application.  You can use these to perform almost any task such as keystrokes, navigation, or even launching apps.
  • Touch Ring. This ring can be mapped for four different styles of control.  I often use it for brush sizes, volume control, or scrolling through video files.
  • Radial Menu. With the click of a button on the pen, you can open a custom menu.  This puts your eight most used commands (per application) at your fingertips.
  • Heads Up Display. This will show the current settings on-screen then fades within a few seconds so as not to disrupt the creative process.

The special edition version also offers some auto-detection for specific creative software packages and comes with some additional presets loaded.

After installing, be sure to load the latest driver — http://wacom.com/intuospro/welcome


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Join the conversation! 88 Comments

  1. Hi,
    Can you simultaneously draw with the pen and also rotate or zoom in/out the canvas with your left hand smoothly without any conflict?
    I have the Intuos4 but considering to purchase the Intuos PRO for it’s multi touch capabilities if they are improved over the Intuos 5 touch version( tried Intuos 5 Touch few months ago but did not like the multitouch in combination with the drawing) So wondering is there any improvement with this one?
    Thank you!

    • No, you get one type of input at a time with multitouch. Computer can’t handle pen input and touch input. registers just one a t a time. Ampping the touch ring to zoom makes it easy to zoom then draw, but the limitation is computer side.

      • As I am holding the pen with my right hand and drawing ofcourse it will be touching the surface(part of my palm),would this accidentally trigger any multitouch functions without my intention?
        Basically one of the reasons I would like to upgrade my Intuos 4 Large is if I can with my right hand draw/paint and also use my left hand to pinch/zoom and finger rotate the canvas, the touch ring will be to increase/decrease the brush size, is that possible to do simultaneously? I do understand that if I want to use multitouch functions with my left hand I would have to not touch the surface with the pen with my right hand.
        Sorry for the long elaboration of the matter but this will decide if it is worth upgrading my Intuos4.
        Thank you again!!

        • Hey Darko, I have just upgraded from my intuos 4 into a intuos pro without really knowing how the touch would work. So here are my thoughts about it:
          Yes you can rotate your canvas while painting, but its not really comfortable cause you have to maintain the pen quite far from the tablet, otherwise it just doesn’t work.
          You can zoom, rotate, and even set up a bunch of personal gestures which are pretty cool, but you have to consider always moving the pen away so the system can “switch” to touch and then it will work perfectly.

      • I just order mine, see you Rich in Savanah

      • Is it possible to turn off the tablet besides unplugging it from the computer?

  2. I have a small Bamboo, which is a bit of a mistake on my part (if your monitor is larger than 24″, don’t buy small), but I still like it very much for some uses in image editing. Mainly it’s helpful when you want more control over a delicate edit job, where the pen’s ability to detect pressure is most useful.

    While my experience with the Intuos is brief, I do feel that many users can get away with a lower-end Wacom (it has to be a Wacom). Just make sure you get one sized to match your screen!

  3. In your opinion is it worth upgrading an Intuos 4?

  4. Are the buttons on the Pro improved over those on the Intuos 4? I’m a heavy user of the bottom button on the Intuos 4 but dislike it’s responsiveness. The push is a little clunky; it takes a fair bit of work to press the button on my Intuos 4. Did Wacom improve the buttons’ tactile feel on the Intuos Pro?

  5. Not sure where you get the idea that there are different variances with Intuos 5 Touch, all Intuos 5 Touch have the HUD and all of the same customizable software.
    I believe the only difference with the Pro version is the cosmetics – i.e. Silver and black finish and I believe it comes with the USB wireless kit included rather as an option.

    All Intuos 5 Touch models offer exactly the same performance.

  6. I have read else-where that one of the problems with the Intuos5 was that the pen nibs wear rather quickly. I am interested to know if this issue has been addressed in the ‘pro’ range, or at least is it any different?

  7. I’m trying to decide between the Intuos Pro small vs medium sized tablets. My monitor is the 27″ cinema display. I’ll be using it mostly in Illustrator for information and icon design. Any input on which might be better would be great. Thanks.

  8. I’m looking to buy either the Intuos5 or Intuos Pro but can’t decide which. Are there any significant differences between the two?

  9. Hi
    For a starter on Wacom, is it ok to go with Intous standard range and not the Pro? Not doing any high-end image editing, just drawings on Illustrator. Is half the accuracy vs Pro a big deal in this scenario?
    Thank you.

  10. Hi Richard,

    Thank you for your review! I am getting into Graphic Design (beginner!) and I’m not too sure if it’s too soon to purchase a graphic tablet, especially the Wacom Intuos Pro Medium (I use a 17.3″ laptop). Thanks in advance! :o)

  11. Hi Mr Richard,

    Thank you for posting a great review.
    Please help me with your advise. I was thinking to buy Intuos Pro Medium, but after I had seen your review, I become a bit unsure of what to buy between the Special Edition and the Normal edition. Would you help me by recommending between the two?

  12. I use LR and PS a lot but have never owned a device like this. Is the SE worth the $30 as I’ll be switching between the two frequently? I like to custumize my interfaces. I already have the normal medium being shipped and I’d have to send it back.

  13. Hello Mr. Richard,
    Thank you for the informative review. I see there has been a couple of questions about the difference between the SE and Normal medium and I have yet another if you don’t mind.
    After browsing the Wacom website I noticed that the SE doesn’t appear to come with the free software that the normal models offer (Adobe Photoshop Elements 11, Autodesk Sketchbook Express, Anime Studio Debut 8, Corel Painter 13 trial, and Nik Color Efex Pro 4 Select Edition.)
    I am new to computer illustration and because I don’t own any software besides PS2 and Gimp, I had seen this as nice perk and was a bit disappointed to find that it didn’t come with the SE (esp. with the SE being $30 more.)
    In your opinion, how much weight should I put on the free software? Is this enough of a deal breaker that I should get the Normal Edition or am I not missing out on much and would benefit better from the SE? Or would the auto-detection and presets of the SE not even be worth it, seeing as how I don’t own very much creative software?

    Just weighing the pros and cons between the two and would appreciate your input. Thank you very much in advance.

  14. Hi. I’m using a MacBook Air 13″ Monitor. Can you suggest what is the best wacom tablet that I can use? As well as its size? For drawing, and editing images (using photoshop or illustrator) Thank you very much in advance. :)

  15. It is a perfect review, plus the Q&A section helped me a lot. The only think I need to decide on is whether to get the SE or the regular pro medium. :]

  16. I use an Intuos 3 medium with Lightroom and Photoshop running on iMac 27. When I need to type, I put the cordless keyboard on the tablet and use my cordless mouse to navigate. The heals of my hand rest on the curved front logo area of the tablet. I worry that the multi-touch might respond to the weight of the keyboard or of my hands if I get the new Pro.

  17. What is the big difference between the medium and large? I have a 24 inch Dell monitor and will be using with Photoshop mostly, is the large necessary or will the medium work okay?

  18. Hi. My wife is clothing designer and has for the last 2 months has been using an intuos 4 at work. She would like to get a tablet for home. Now, we don’t know which model to buy. Intuos 4, 5 or pro? Could you please help us out as we are both newbies and really don’t know the difference or benefits from each of the models. Thanks

  19. Good evening Richard. Is it possible to use the intuos pro on mor than one computer or is it a single host device? I have a Mac at home and a PC for work. Will I need two devices?

  20. Will I need another set of software or will the drivers allow for multiple uploads

    • Your questions makes no sense. Tablet comes with drivers. Runs on any computer thats on supported list (see manufacturer site). Do you need Photoshop, Corel, or other apps licenses. Yes… per machine.

  21. Hi Richard, I read several similar negative reviews on Amazon related to the USB cord and USB port on the tablet itself, the whole thing being apparently very flimsy and of such a low quality that it would break (either the cable and/or the connector) within just a few weeks/months of normal usage. One mentioned the fact that the USB plug was slightly too large and had to be aggressively forced into place, which for sure would cause damages after several repetitions. What’s your experience & opinion about this particular aspect of the tablet? Otherwise, I’m fully convinced about the functionalities of the tablet, but I simply don’t want to waste money on a product that would break within a few months. Thanks in advance for your feedback!

  22. I am clueless on which one to pick. I am not sure which one I need. The Intuos Pen & Touch or Intuos Pro. I use adobe cc [ mostly lightroom but also photoshop and a little illustrator mostly for typography ]. Then what size is good ? My display is 24″ 1920 x 1200 16:10. I will pefer small if it’s not going to affect me in anyway since money is tight but If I really have to go medium I will find a way.

  23. HI Richard,
    I am a graphic designer/illustrator for past over 10 years. I work with big iMac everyday…
    I’ve been itching to get the Wacom tablet for a while but I can’t make up my mind.
    I am so used to use magic mouse and keyboard like pianist…
    Would you suggest Intuos Pro still or should I start out with Intuos?

  24. Kudos Richard for continuing to respond to the questions on this thread. So many times I see an article or a review but then never hear from the author again in the comments. Well done. A nice review and good followup.

  25. Hi Richard,
    Need your advice about which size Pro to get for our daughter. She has a 13 inch MAC book pro and will be using the tablet for school to create her portfolio and ultimately use it in college for possibly graphic design or animation. I can’t figure out what would be the best investment, a medium or large tablet. I would appreciate your feedback.

  26. There was someone asking “As I am holding the pen with my right hand and drawing ofcourse it will be touching the surface(part of my palm),would this accidentally trigger any multitouch functions without my intention?” … that’s interesting to know. I would like to know that, because I want to buy the intuos pro and never had a graphictablet before, so I don’t know how they’re reacting when I touch the tablet with my hand while drawing.

  27. Hi Richard,
    I’d like to know if you think a small Intuos Pro would be okay for amateur illustration purposes on a 24 inch monitor. I have relatively small hands and I don’t tend to use large strokes, but I’m still worried that it might feel cramped or too sensitive. I’d rather not upgrade to a medium if it’s not necessary as I don’t like how much desk space it takes up. Thanks.

    • Medium would be easier… if your hands are small… a small may work okay though. You can often test these at Best Buy stores… or buy and return via a vendor like Amazon.

      • Thanks for the quick reply. I think I’ll still go with the small; if it proves unbearable I guess I may be able to return it. I’m just a little annoyed that the active area is so small in proportion to what they make yo think the actual screen it, but I suppose it’s a tricky business fitting all those features into such a compact device.

  28. Hi, I am outside of america and was wondering if the software advertised on the website is still available in other countries? As wacom’s customer support is rather lacking you can’t contact them unless you are based in the americas.

  29. Hello Richard,
    I’m a graphic designer. Before I had a begginer tablet (not a Wacom), and I want to buy a new Wacom. I use to do things like logos and some posters, with photoshop and some illustrator. Now I want to begin doing another things such as illustrations (basic ones). I don’t know if it’s better to me to get a Intuos pen & touch M, or an Intuos pro S (pro M is to expensive for me). What will be better? the functions and precision of the pro version, or the active size of the P&T medium? I use to work with a 15′ 1080 HD laptop conected to a 21′ screen (but sometimes i use the screen laptop alone). Thanks!

  30. Hey Richard!
    I had a tablet not wacom, and i heard a lot of good things about Wacom tablets , but i don’t want one too expensive, and the Intuos Pro Small is affordable to me, but there’s more wacom less expensive like a Bamboo Pen & Touch or Wacom Intuos Pen & Touch, but i feel like Intuos Pro Small has more quality, not like a beginner tablet, and is also wireless, more portable. What tablet do you recommend? Also my last tablet was A4 size, and my PC resolution is 1366-768. i don’t know if it makes a huge difference with a smaller tablet.


  31. Hi,
    Ive an 19″ monitor but soon i’ll take a 24″ one. Which intuos pro size do you suggest me? I’d use it with photoshop, i’m an amateur photographer

  32. Hi,

    for post production of photos (I’m an amateur) with photoshop cc and a monitor 24″ which size is better of intuos pro small o medium?


  33. Hi Richard,
    Would you please advice me whether should I get Wacome Intus Pro or Just Intus Pen & Touch as I’m new to photography as enthusiast (photographing my family & friends).

  34. it’s so useful ,thank you

  35. I purchased one of these when I purchased a new laptop. It didn’t connect wirelessly from the get-go. So I returned it. The AppleStore swapped it out right there. Got home and now unit #2 won’t connect. Now back to the apple store again. At the AppleStore they did diagnosis on the new laptop and it was fine, so they swapped out a 3rd model. 2 days later, intermit signal loss again. I called Wacom, and they tell me to wiggle the wireless dongle. That was there advice on a 250$ pice of equipment. Wiggle it. When that scientific advice failed to work they took a week to send me a replacement wireless kit. Now the replacement kit still has the same problem. I have bin with Wacom a user since ’94. this is the worst thing they have ever made. As well as horrible customer service. I recommend avoiding at all costs.

  36. Great information here. Thank you! I have 27″ iMac and work heavily in raw, PS and less often, but regularly in Illustrator. Mostly retouching and digital photo illustration with lots of details. This will be my first tablet (after a 25 year career. Sin!) Would love your take on what you think is best. Thanks!!✌️

  37. I have an Intuos 5 large, which I simply love. As it is rather on the large size, it basically stays put on my desk. however, I do a lot of travelling and want to get a tablet that is more portable. I am keen to try out the Intuos Pro, but am really stumped and struggling to decide between the small and medium sizes. I use a 15″ MBP. What size do you recommend?

  38. My girlfriend is studying to become a designer and we’ve decided on buying a Wacom Pro, but are not sure whether Small or Medium is right for her.

    Her laptop screen is small (1360 pixels width) and a Camaratico review [1] shows that that screen width may be too small to be comfortable for a Medium.

    My only worry is that my girlfriend is really good at drawing, so I expect her to spend considerable time in Illustrator.

    So is the Small one comfortable enough for drawing? And if she needs a Medium for drawing, is her small screen (well, normal size laptop screen) a problem?

    [1] http://cameratico.com/guides/how-to-choose-wacom-pen-tablet/

    • You probably already got it, but go medium. The large will feel clunky with a laptop, and since laptop users tend to be mobile, you’ll find the medium has plenty of drawing surface and is much better to transport along with your laptop. You wouldn’t want to buy a tablet that won’t fit in your laptop case.

  39. Your responsiveness is SO admirable! I am longtime Mac/Apple user but new to photo editing, which I’d like to do, at least part-time, professionally – for now on newer MacBook Pro, knowing I’ll need to go to a bigger free-standing monitor – have a chance now, tho, to acquire a brand-new-in-box Intuos3 4 x 6 ridiculously cheap – But obsolete and thus no bargain?

  40. I bought a Wacom Intuos Pro small. I can tell You that it is a very bad product. Too many, too many problems. Pen or touch functions are always disabled because of unkwon reasons. Incredible bad experience.
    I open a webpage, and wacom tablet is disabled……I go into Wacom Options, and wacom tablet is disabled.


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About Richard Harrington

Richard Harrington is the founder of RHED Pixel, a visual communications company based in Washington, D.C. He is the Publisher of Photofocus and Creative Cloud User as well as an author on Lynda.com. Rich has authored several books including From Still to Motion, Understanding Photoshop, Professional Web Video, and Creating DSLR Video.


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