I have used a Wacom Intuos tablet as part of my photo editing workflow for nearly a decade. Wacom’s tablets have been improved in many ways over the years and the latest Intuos Pro tablets are excellent.
I received the new Intuos Pro tablet for review, and compared to my older Wacom tablet, it’s much more precise and well-designed. The newer iterations of the Wacom Pro Pen are much better as well.
- Available in Small, Medium and Large sizes (I used the Small size for this review, although I have also used the Medium size)
- 8,192 levels of pen pressure and tilt recognition
- 6 customizable ExpressKeys (8 on Medium and Large tablets), Home Button and Touch Ring (4 customizable functions)
- Can be used right or left-handed
- Compatible with macOS and Windows
- Can be used via wired USB connection or via Bluetooth
- Includes Wacom Pro Pen 2, pen stand, additional pen tips and 2m USB cable
Setting up the Wacom Intuos Pro (small) tablet
The Wacom Intuos Pro creative tablet comes in well-organized packaging and has a very simple set up process. Once you have unpacked the tablet, pen and pen stand, you simply connect the tablet to your computer via USB and then go to a designated website outlined in the “Getting Started” pamphlet.
Once you are on the Getting Started website, you must select your product, view a short video and download the required drivers for macOS or Windows. This webpage also shows how to connect your tablet via Bluetooth to your computer.
After installing the driver, you can adjust the tablet and pen’s settings via the Wacom Desktop Center application and System Preferences (on macOS). You can change the assignment of the ExpressKeys, switch between left and right-handed orientation, adjust sensitivity and more. The installation and setup process took only a few minutes, including registering the product and updating its software via the app.
Build quality and design
The Wacom Intuos Pro is a well-designed and well-built accessory. The tablet itself has a classy black finish and streamlined design. Along the side are six express keys, separated into two groups of three by the touch ring. The middle button in each of the two groups has a raised line, helping you know which button is which without looking down at the tablet. The touch ring has a center button that is used for selection and for the Bluetooth pairing.
The tablet surface itself has a good feel, including a surprising amount of resistance as you move the pen across the surface. On the medium and large size tablets, you can buy different surface stickers to place on the tablet, but this is not available for the small size I am reviewing.
The pen itself is excellent. It is Wacom’s Pro Pen 2 and it has a balanced feel. I’d prefer it if it had a bit more weight, but it is not overly light either. The pen tip is replaceable. In fact, it’s quite nifty. The included weighted pen stand has a screw-in bottom and when you unscrew the piece, you will find a variety of different pen tips. To remove the included pen tip, there’s a small hole on the bottom of the pen stand which you can use to easily remove the pen tip. It’s a really great design.
The pen also includes a pair of customizable buttons, which have a pretty nice travel distance, although I do wish they had a more audible click to provide more feedback.
In addition to the tablet, pen and pen stand, the package also includes a USB-C to USB Type-A cable, with the USB-C end plugging into the tablet for charging. It may not seem like a matter of importance, but the included cord is good quality and includes a built-in strap to wrap around the cable when storing it.
- The Wacom Intuos Pro S is 10.6 x 6.7 x 0.3 in. (269 x 170 x 8mm) and weighs 0.99 lb. (450g). The Intuos Pro S has an active area of 6.3 x 3.9 in. (160 x 100mm).
- The Wacom Intuos Pro M is 13.2 x 8.5 x 0.3 in. (338 x 219 x 8mm) and weighs 1.54 lb. (700g). The Intuos Pro M has an active area of 8.7 x 5.8 in. (224 x 148mm).
- The Wacom Intuos Pro L is 16.8 x 11.2 x 0.3 in. (430 x 287 x 8mm) and weighs 2.86 lb. (1,300g). The Intuos Pro L has an active area of 12.1 x 8.4 in. (311 x 216mm).
Usage and performance
I have long used Wacom tablets when editing my images in Photoshop. The tablet really helps when making careful selections, editing masks and performing various healing brush tasks. Some photographers are excellent when using a trackpad or mouse, but I personally need a pen to be efficient and precise when editing images.
You can use the Wacom Intuos Pro tablet either via a wired connection to your computer or wireless using Bluetooth. In both cases, the tablet is very responsive, and the experience feels natural. There is very little delay between your physical movement on the tablet and the corresponding action on the computer. Further, the Pro Pen 2 works well and has very good recognition of pressure and tilt.
An area of my workflow where a pen and tablet are essential are when manually applying localized adjustments and adjusting layer masks. The Pro Pen 2 is very precise, and its included eraser tip on the top of the pen works great too. By combining the pair of buttons on the pen itself, and the ExpressKeys and Touch Ring on the tablet, you can set up the Intuos Pro to allow very quick zooming in, panning and more when editing images. It takes a little bit of getting used to, and you may need to adjust various functions using the Wacom Desktop Center app, but once the tablet and settings are dialed in, you can breeze through your image edits.
I can’t imagine not using a tablet when editing images. Using one has become so ingrained in my personal workflow that it’s very difficult to work without the tablet. Some tasks, such as making precise selections in Lightroom or Photoshop, are far easier using the Wacom Intuos Pro and Pro Pen 2 than they are using a mouse or trackpad.
The Wacom Intuos Pro tablet is an excellent addition to any photographer’s image editing workflow. You can get the latest pricing on all three models from B&H.