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You are hereWacom Intuos 4 Medium

Wacom Intuos 4 Medium

By mrhappy - Posted on 05 February 2011

The Wacom Intuos tablet, the pen and the new penholder.

As far as graphics tablets go, there really only is one contender. Wacom has a long history of great tablets in all categories; from small doodling up to desktop filling CAD tablets. Recently they created a new generation of the Intuos tablets.
Previously I used the Graphire tablet, and that definitely fit its purpose, but I always wanted to have a slightly bigger tablet. When the Intuos 4 line came out, I knew it was time to update.

The new Intuos 4 tablets come in four sizes; small, medium, large and extra large. The two larger tablets are mainly for use in CAD, especially with the pucker mouse. If your tablet is too big, you will need longer strokes to draw on the screen, so for photo retouching and illustration the small and medium are best. I went with the medium tablet whose active area is slightly smaller than an A4 sheet.
Next to the drawing area you get a touch ring (think 1st generation iPod) and a number of button to quickly access functions. All except the smallest tablet have handy LCD screens next to the buttons to remind you of the function. Very neat. Also you can use the tablet in both left and right handed orientation; the tablet is completely symmetrical.

Build and surface
The tablet is very thin; important when you use it on a desk, so that it feels very comfortable to draw on it. The drawing surface has a rough feeling to it (more so than the Graphire tablet) and drawing on it with the pen gives the feeling of drawing on paper. Through the Wacom website you can buy replacement surfaces, either the default black ones, or transparent ones for tracing.
The pen feels good, it has a nice rubber jacket and broadens a bit towards the tip. It is tilt sensitive, so when your drawing software supports it, you can emulate many natural drawing implements.

Side buttons and touch ring
The side buttons on the tablet are a nice addition. By default they are setup for functions like shift, command, option and move (spacebar in Photoshop) and additional functions like an on screen radial menu and toggling precision mode. It is nice working with the meta keys next to your drawing surface, but it is not always easy to press two adjacent buttons, e.g. move+option for zoom. Zooming can be done with the touch ring as well, but you need to switch the function of the ring by pressing the central button. If you have it set for brush size (very useful), you would need to switch to zoom mode, zoom and switch back.

Wacom doesn't bundle software other than the driver with the tablet, but allows you to download one application from their website depending on your location. I had the choice between Photoshop elements, Autodesk sketchbook pro or Corel painter sketchpad. I tried Corel sketchpad (Sketchbook pro can be downloaded through the new Apple App store for a very reasonable price). Sketchpad is nice and supports the pen tilt, but on my machine it tends to be slow: killing for a sketching application. Autodesk Sketchbook is much faster and feels more natural because of it.

The tablet should cost somewhere between €310 and €380 in Europe. In Russia prices vary wildly; if you want to buy it in Moscow, you will find prices between RUR 14900(€370) and RUR 21000(€525). The cheapest was at Elekton (Электон http://www.top-20.ru/), the most expensive at the Media Markt.

This is a great tablet. It is a joy to work with and it feels like a solid piece of equipment.

Designer's heaven. Spectacular tablet, lovely surface, great buttons.

Technically sound, the product feels very solid, given its thinness. The buttons may be a bit small; it's not always easy to hit a combination of buttons. Also there were some complaints on the fora about the nibs wearing down quickly.

Expensive, but worth the money. Our Art is twice as productive now (since he stopped complaining about his previous tablet). Watch where you buy it; the prices can differ greatly (see text).

Great fun; makes you want to be creative. Any tablet is a good addition to a computer, even if you think you don't know how to draw. But the smaller Bamboo tablets would be better then.
The tablet next to a Mac Book Pro 15".The pen holder opens up to store pen nibsThe surface of the tablet is matte giving a good feel when drawing.