Along with Wacom‘s rebranding of the Intuos line of digitizing tablets for enthusiasts or hobbyists (replacing their Bamboo line), they created the more up-market Intuos Pro line, intended for professional use. Judging from the mid-size tablet I’m reviewing, the Pros are all sturdy and sleek with a black matte finish, and can be set up for right or left-handed use. The active area of the tablet can be used either as a writing surface with the included stylus, or as a touchpad.
The Intuos Pro boasts 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity, twice the that of the “normal” Intuos. After a few minutes experimenting with settings, I could immediately feel a tactile difference between this tablet’s responsiveness and its predecessors. My typical heavy-handedness towards my tablets began to fade in favor of a lighter touch, and the tablet rewarded me with subtleties in stroke and line-weight. Not only that, but the tablet’s surface itself has an appealing “tooth”, closer resembling good-old paper than previous incarnations (and isn’t that the ultimate goal of this technology?)
Inducing a huge sigh of relief from this digital artist, Wacom has pushed its driver enough to allow you to customize the Pro tablet’s keys and touch functions for different shortcuts between applications – even widely-varying ones, like Photoshop and After Effects. Also, if you have digitizing software with tilt recognition, the Intuos Pro has something else that brings it closer to analogue materials; 60 degrees for you to tilt your brushes and take advantage of your hand and arm’s architecture when creating different strokes.
Probably the biggest improvement over the Intuos 5 is the Pro’s wireless capability. Charge up the optional battery (which holds up to an 8-hour charge), plug in the USB adapter to your computer of choice, and the tablet’s cables can disappear until it’s time to juice up again, drastically reducing desk clutter and granting you a range of about 8 feet of creative freedom.
In short, the Wacom Intuos Pro is more than simply the worthy successor of the prestigious Intuos name; it’s a leap in multiple dimensions towards creating a freer environment for creative thought and problem solving. This tablet, retailing at about $350, dissolves a lot of the tethers and difficulties that digitizing technology was hampered by, and brings us closer to the digital sketchpad we hunger for.