Wacom turned 30 in 2013, and to celebrate it gave its pen tablets a shiny new look and name. The Intuos Pro range, once known as Intuos 5, is designed for those of us looking to take painting and editing more seriously. The new models now come with the wireless adapter kit straight out of the box, and enabled us to edit freely without getting tangled up in loose cables. The wireless adapter uses a small battery pack to power the tablet, which requires charging up through the day before it’s ready to use. The battery tucks neatly inside the tablet and adds no extra weight at all. This then communicates with a small USB stick that fits discretely into an available slot in the user’s PC. Although the Intuos Pro range remains much the same in terms of its technical highlights, there have been some important changes made to its design. The Intuos 5 featured up to eight indented rubber buttons, known as ExpressKeys. Although being touch sensitive, they were tricky to use when concentrating on what you were working on.
On the Intuos Pro, Wacom has tweaked these eight ExpressKeys into risen buttons with a slight texture. Although this is a small difference overall, it actually makes it easier to detect individual buttons. The Touch Ring, a key feature on the Intuos Pro range, enabled us to have quick access to primary functions, such as stepping through History States in Photoshop, or changing brush size. All helped to reduce the amount time going back and forth to the keyboard.
There are four models in the Intuos Pro line; small, medium, large and special edition, which features silver and black panelling. I tested the Intuos Pro Medium model, which features an 8.8 x 5.5-inch active area. This was just right for working on a 20-inch display, and would suit anything larger as well. The Intuos Pro complements the desk space to just the right degree. I love its sleek black exterior that’s very unassuming, and the rubber panels make it ideal for resting your arms during those long editing sessions. Multi-touch functions of the active area meant we could use combinations of finger taps and swipes to perform various tasks. For example, swiping up or down with four fingers exposed all of our open programs, or tapping two fingers performed a right-click and three accessed the Radial Menu.
Using the tablet inside Photoshop meant that we could enjoy full control over our brush settings, with the high pressure sensitivity capturing every amount of force applied to its surface. Unlike a mouse, the ability to gradually increase the size of each brush stroke with more and more pressure is something digital painters will relish. If painting isn’t your thing, the pressure sensitivity makes retouching tasks much easier, and controlling tools for tricky cutouts is a dream.
The Intuos Pro provides the perfect platform for honing your painting and editing skills. It furnishes the user with total control over their tools.