Earlier this month I received Wacom’s entry-level tablet, the Intuos Pen Tablet. While that’s a great tablet for beginners and light photo editors, the Wacom Intuos Pro really takes it to the next level.
I received a review unit shortly after the Intuos Pen Tablet, and have been testing it out for the past couple of weeks.
Appearance and specs
The Wacom Intuos Pro comes in two sizes — a Medium (13.2 x 8.5 inches) and a Large (16.8 x 11.2 inches). Both are 0.3 inches thick and are completely black. They come with built-in Bluetooth connectivity, eight customizable ExpressKeys and the Wacom Pro Pen 2.
The Wacom Pro Pen 2 comes with a pen holder, which also stores six standard (black) and four felt (grey) replacement nibs.
The tablet surface is smooth and only has four markings on either corner of it, signifying the edge of the workable tablet surface. A small light underneath the Wacom logo signifies if the tablet is being charged or is in need of charging.
The previous generation is also still available in a Small size (12.6 x 8.2 inches), handy for photographers looking for a travel tablet. Additionally, Wacom offers a Paper Edition of the tablet that’s more geared towards illustrators.
There are a few extra features included with the Pro tablet that you don’t get from the entry-level Intuos Pen Tablet. First and foremost, the Pro version has a higher resolution available, making it easier to select small items and perform adjustments.
But open up the preference panel and you’ll see a plethora of new options — for instance, a Precision mode that highlights a portion of your screen and slows down the movement of your pen so you can make even finer edits. While I personally can see the usage of this for something like reducing a flash glare on eyeglasses, it can be applied in an unlimited number of ways for landscapes, portraits, commercial advertising and more.
The Pro also comes with a Touch Ring, allowing you to quickly perform actions like change layers, rotate, zoom and change your brush size on the fly. This I found particularly handy as it meant I no longer had to go over to my Photoshop toolbar or keyboard to change settings.
Adjusting from the entry-level Intuos Pen Tablet to the Intuos Pro was a breeze. While the Medium Pro is quite a bit larger than the Medium Pen Tablet, it felt more comfortable to use and allowed for more precise adjustments while editing. Like I did with its entry-level counterpart, I was sure to use the Force Proportions option so my wrist wasn’t reaching to the edge of my desk to make adjustments.
I found the Pro Pen 2 to be a vast improvement over the pen included with the entry-level model. While the buttons on the side had virtually the same placement and feel, the rest of the pen felt a bit heavier and more professional. The bottom half of the pen featured a silicone grip surface, while the top half was smooth. I appreciated this, especially when working for long periods of time, as my hand would not slip at all. The Pen also had better precision and accuracy while angled, making adjustments much easier to perform.
I found there to be no lag in any of the tasks I performed, meaning I could use it just as quickly as a standard mouse — but with way more precision.
Comparing new to old
Being the owner of the previous generation Small Intuos Pro tablet, I can attest to the upgrades that Wacom has made here. First off, it’s clear that design was at the forefront of this model. The bezel around the tablet isn’t nearly as large, giving more space with which to work.
Secondly, having two extra ExpressKeys may not seem like a big deal, but it certainly is helpful when you’re working on an intensive project in Photoshop.
Finally, despite being labeled a “Small” tablet, it’s virtually the same size as the new Medium tablet. It gives you more space to work with, without the extra bulk.
The fine details
What sets apart the Wacom Intuos Pro from the Intuos Pen Tablet or any other tablet out there is Wacom’s attention to detail. Items like the pen stand, two backing strips on the tablet to prevent it from sliding and even a customizable color ring on the pen really tell me that Wacom kept its users in mind while manufacturing the device. Being able to customize virtually any portion of the tablet — and use it in any orientation — was very impressive.
The Wacom Intuos Pro is a tablet designed for professionals, and it shows. Wacom has thought of virtually everything I can think of here, and I’ll definitely be using it as my main tablet going forward.