The Intuos 5 is the fifth incarnation of Wacom’s professional pen tablet range.
Aimed at photographers, retouchers, designers and artists that want precise control over cursor movement, the finish of this latest model, the Wacom Intuos 5 Touch, is different to its predecessor with an all-matte black finish compared to the Intuos 4’s half-matt, half-gloss guise. Comparing the Intuos 5 with the Intuos 4 shows the latest model as fractionally taller, but the slightly steeper profiled wrist rest improves comfort and, much like its forerunner, has eight Express Keys and a multi-function speed ring that allows you to zoom in, cycle through Layers and control brush size without having to take your hand away from the tablet. The Express Keys are more widely spread out and although there’s no illuminated panel to show the icon of the tool you’ve assigned to each button, the second Express key can be used to load a visual guide from where you can also access the Express Key and Touch Preferences to personalise the tablet’s various controls.
The Intuos 5 marks the first ‘pro’ spec Wacom tablet to feature touch control. It’s responsive to finger strokes, is great for web pages and can be switched off. However it’s the pen that offers the most precise control when editing. Sensitive to 2,048 pressure levels with 60º of tilt recognition for angled strokes (like the Intuos 4), the pen is identical to the one supplied with the previous model, so those who are upgrading can use their previous pens and keep the new one as an additional spare.
The pen comes with 10 replacement nibs for different feels on the tablet surface and the design of the tablet means you can flip it round and have the Express Keys on the right if you’re left-handed. The edge of the active working area is now illuminated – something not seen on previous models – and for an extra £35 you can buy a wireless kit that allows you to use the tablet on your lap or at a distance from your screen.
Other than small design tweaks, touch functionality and the wireless option, this tablet is very like the Intuos 4 and is a joy to use. If the touch facility isn’t a necessity, we’d opt for the Pen-only version and save £60, or get the smaller model with an active area of 157 x 98mm (as opposed to 224 x 140mm) for £195 with the option of Touch and Wireless support.
The Intuos 5 Touch is Wacom’s most advanced pen tablet to date. It performs well and we quickly got used to the touch functionality. As tablets go, it’s the best money can buy.
- Street price: £330 (As of July 2012)
- Active area: 224 x 140mm
- Visit: www.wacom.com
This review was first published in the July 2012 issue of Digital Photo - download back issues here.