How to choose the best Wacom pen tablet for your needs

Pen tablets, also known as digitizing tablets or graphic tablets, are input devices that can be used to substitute or complement a mouse. They’re very popular in the graphic arts field and are considered by some as an indispensable aid for any creative arts professional.
Published by Fábio Pili on March 16th, 2011. Last updated on June 21st, 2014.
Wacom Intuos Pro Touch

The Wacom Intuos Pro Touch Medium pen tablet is our top pick for all creative professional fields - such as design, video and photography - for use on LCD displays up to 30 inches. This is essentially the same tablet as the discontinued Intuos5 Medium, with the addition of built-in wireless connectivity and some minor improvements on the ExpressKeys buttons design. Check out our Wacom Intuos5 touch article for a more in-depth review.

Why use a pen tablet instead of a mouse

Working with a tablet is faster and more efficient than with a mouse. Your hand can travel from point to point on the screen in a single movement instead of repeated slides, as with a conventional mouse. It also allows more natural input for activities such as drawing and photo retouching. Having pressure sensitivity is very handy and most graphic programs can benefit from this input. Touching the tip of the pen on the tablet surface is the equivalent of a click, and the pressure (plus tilt, in more feature-rich models) can be used to vary stroke width, opacity, effect intensity, and other attributes. There are two buttons on the pen and either can be programmed for right click or other commands.

Holding a pen is also much more ergonomic than using a mouse, and most users with repetitive strain injury (RSI) or tendonitis suffer less pain when using a tablet. In my personal case, it completely cured a chronic pain I had in my right wrist. Working with a mouse requires repetitive muscle movements while the rest of the hand keeps still, creating uneven muscle fatigue. A pen, on the other hand, allows you to work in a more relaxed position and eliminates the forearm twisting that strains muscles and tendons. At the end of the day, it feels much more natural and relaxed.

Areas in which tablets don't work so well

There are a few areas in which tablets are not the ideal input devices.

Most games don't work very well with pen input, as their interfaces were originally designed for mouse control. Think about controlling a first person shooter with a pen. It definitely makes little sense.

In the architectural and engineering fields, there's a split: some users love it, some hate it, mostly because the mouse scroll wheel is very handy for zooming in and out on programs like Autodesk AutoCAD and Wacom tablets have that feature on the tablet surface, requiring putting the pen aside to use it. Pressure sensitivity is also ignored in those programs, neglecting one of the tablet's main features. On the other hand, the more ergonomic position and programmable buttons could more than make up for it.

Will touch devices kill pen tablets?

I doubt it. Without a major exercise in user interface design, my feeling is that we won't be able to achieve the necessary drawing precision with bare fingers to replace tablets. The two technologies are complementary and all new Wacom tablets already incorporate touch gestures. This gives us the best of both worlds: bare finger touch and gestures for quick window transitions, icon and menu selections, with a pen for more precise actions where pinpoint accuracy and especially pressure sensitivity are indispensable.

Which tablet should I get?

Go Wacom, ignore the others

If you choose to buy a graphic tablet, invest in a Wacom model. There are some cheaper alternatives, but none of them has the same ubiquitous driver support, software integration, precision, and reliability as Wacom. No wonder they have over 85% of market share. Wacom pens use patented electromagnetic resonance technology, so they don't need batteries or any wires to function, reducing maintenance and weight for a more natural pen feel.

Tablet size and resolution vs. screen size

Tablet sizes should be relative to your screen size and resolution. The smaller the tablet surface, the less hand movement will be necessary to move the cursor on the screen. Having a tablet too small for your screen leads to a jumpy cursor and makes fine selections too difficult. A tablet too big for your screen feels slow, requiring too much hand movement, and may tire your arm muscles quicker.

Tablet resolution is also a factor. Wacom has two lines of tablets, Intuos and Intuos Pro. As of September, 2013, the regular Intuos replaces the Bamboo lineup, while the Intuos Pro is essencially the same product as the previous Intuos5, with the inclusion of built-in wireless connectivity and minor cosmetic changes on the ExpressKeys button design. The former has half the resolution of the flagship Intuos Pro line and this difference may be very noticeable, depending on your screen size. Given the same tablet size, the higher the resolution, the bigger the screen that can be used comfortably with it.

Bigger tablets, such as the 8" x 12.8" models (Intuos Pro Large, for example), are difficult to use along with a keyboard and tend to be more adequate for single task work where typing is secondary, for example video editing or drawing. If you are an illustrator and you are used to drawing with very long strokes, a larger drawing area may be necessary.

For dual display use, keep in mind that the overall screen proportion is much more horizontal than the tablet itself. Through the system preferences configuration panel, the tablet can be set up for different screen mappings, single screen mode or screen switching with a hotkey. The most natural way, in my opinion, is to keep the screen proportion exactly the same as the tablet surface. If you use dual displays, this means that some of the vertical area of the tablet would be inactive and that the horizontal resolution available will be mapped to a much bigger number of pixels—for example, 3840 x 1080 for dual 24" displays. This would require a larger drawing area than a single screen, and preferably a high end tablet such as the Intuos Pro Large model. An alternative that works fairly well is to use a smaller tablet and set up a hot key combination to switch the control between the two screens.

My favorite keyboard for use along with a Wacom tablet is the Apple Wireless Keyboard. Because it has no numerical keypad it has a smaller footprint and fits nicely at either side of the tablet. On the Windows side and for the same price, the Logitech K810 keyboard is highly regarded. A full size keyboard may be too large to be used on the side of a tablet larger than an Intuos Pro Medium, leaving the tablet too far from the central seating position. Some users prefer to place the keyboard in front of the tablet. This position only works if you don't need to type much during the day.

Display resolution vs. Wacom tablet size

Display resolution vs. Wacom tablet size

Pay attention to the tablet size you choose:

Having a tablet too small for your screen leads to a jumpy cursor and makes fine selections too difficult.

A tablet too big for your screen feels slow, requiring too much hand movement, and may tire your arm muscles quicker.

First days with your new tablet

Working with a tablet is a paradigm change and may require an adaptation period for hardcore mouse addicts.

All tablets work with absolute positioning, while mice are relative positioning devices. This means that you can slide your mouse several times to move the cursor across your screen, while on a tablet all you do is move your hand and position the pen tip on the corresponding point on the tablet surface.

This changes your eye vs. hand coordination logic and can be a little difficult the first time. In my case, I bought my first Wacom Graphire 4" x 5" model (replaced by the Bamboo and then regular Intuos line) after suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome for a good time. No matter what treatment or medicine I used, I always felt pain after using my mouse for extended periods, so adapting to a new input device was surely less painful than keeping the mouse.

My tablet arrived in the middle of a book design job and I delved straight into it, leaving the mouse disconnected. You can use a mouse along with the tablet, if you prefer, and Wacom also offers optional wireless mice that work on the tablet surface. But my reasoning was that the more I forced myself to get used to the tablet, the faster I'd master it. After two days of work, I was already comfortable with it and never used a mouse again in the 14 years after that day.

Intuos vs. Intuos Pro

Generally speaking, the Intuos Pro tablets are Wacom's professional line, while the Intuos line is more geared to home users. This doesn't mean that the regular Intuos models are unfit for professional use. I've used a Graphire, the precursor to the Bamboo and regular Intuos, for lots of years without any problem.

Two key differences separate Intuos Pro and Intuos lines: performance and customization. Pro models have better resolution and sensitivity, and can recognize the pen tilt angle, unlike the regular Intuos lineup. The Intuos Pro can also be customized in more ways, with eight express key buttons that can be mapped to application-specific profiles. For example, I have one of the tablet buttons mapped to the new tab command when I'm browsing the Internet.

Wacom Intuos Pen Touch Medium

The Wacom Intuos Pen & Touch Medium (CTH680) is a reasonably priced tablet, but still very capable, even for professional work. This model would suit first time pen tablet users with displays up to 24 inches.

On top of that, the professional line is better built and should last longer under intense usage.

Intuos Pro advantages are:

  • Better resolution - 5,080 lpi vs. 2,540 lpi.
  • More pressure levels - 2048 vs. 1024.
  • Intuos Pro pens are tilt sensitive.
  • Precision mode, unavailable on the regular Intuos, lowers the pen sensitivity momentarily, making it easier to draw fine lines and detailed selections.
  • More programmable express keys and more comprehensive customization options.
  • Slightly slimmer profile.
  • Available in larger sizes.
  • Optional wireless mouse support.

Wireless tablets

All Intuos Pro models come with built-in wireless connectivity, while the regular Intuos tablets require an additional dongle to provide wireless functionality. The Wireless Accessory Kit (ACK40401) includes a battery module and transmitter to be connected to the tablet and a tiny USB receptor on the computer. This is the same kit used on the previous Bamboo models.

Instead of Bluetooth, the proprietary RF connection has better range and longer battery life, which varies from 16 hours on the Intuos Pro Touch Large to 48 hours on the small Intuos models. The tablet can still be used during charging through a regular USB cable.

Performance wise, wired and wireless should be comparable. Previous models that used Bluetooth instead of a dedicated RF dongle had more lag and some freezing when switching between applications with specific tablet configurations. The current models have none of those problems. Buying the Wireless Kit is a great option if you have the habit of using the tablet on your lap or when working on location, specially considering the low US$ 40 price tag.

Wacom Cintiq vs. Intuos

The Cintiq family combines a pressure sensitive tablet with a slim LCD display, enabling users to interact directly on the surface of the screen and in a much more natural way. There are three models available: the top of the line 24" Cintiq 24HD, the 22" Cintiq 22HD and the 13" Cintiq 13HD. Both the 24" and 22" come in two variants, with or without touch input. The price difference is small and I'd recommend you to buy the touch versions, since all major operating systems already incorporate touch gestures for control and navigation. All models can be used as main or secondary displays. Unlike older models, like the discontinued 12WX, all current Cintiqs use high quality IPS panels that can be suitably calibrated for color critical use.

Wacom Cintiq 24HD Touch

The Wacom Cintiq line combines a pressure sensitive tablet with a slim LCD display, for an even more natural interface. This beauty here is the Cintiq 24HD Touch model.

Our recommendations

For photography, graphic design, web design, illustration, and video editing, up to 30" LCD size:
Wacom Intuos Pro Medium (PTH-651 model)

For less demanding creative work, general usage, and web surfing, up to 24" display size:
Wacom Intuos Pen & Touch Medium (CTH-680 model)

For an illustrator dream setup:
Cintiq 24HD Touch or the Cintiq 22HD Touch, if you prefer to work on a smaller display area.

What to avoid

The small regular Intuos has too little active area for precision work on higher resolution LCD screens above 1600px of horizontal resolution. It may be adequate for general use or handwriting recognition, but a medium size Intuos Pen & Touch is a better investment.

I'd also avoid the small Intuos without touch support. Multitouch input is already deeply integrated into Windows 8 and a touch gestures can also be used to navigate on latest Mac OS operating systems. Touch devices are here to stay and the tendency is that we'll see even deeper integration in the future. The small Pen & Touch model costs only $20 more and is a more future-proof option.

Usage examples

Check out this video for some examples of the Intuos Pen & Touch Medium tablet in action.

Comments

GalileaW
Apr 4th, 2011 - 13h59

Great review. Thank you!

Reply
Jimmy
Aug 2nd, 2011 - 20h05

Thanks, very helpful.

keep it up

Reply
Sam
Aug 10th, 2011 - 11h15

Very helpful! Thank you!

Reply
Robert
Sep 12th, 2011 - 05h50

Thank you very much :)

Reply
Ivy
Sep 28th, 2011 - 20h16

EXCELLENT REVIEW! Very comprehensive. Curious about what you think about the new Inkling?

Reply
Fabio
Sep 29th, 2011 - 16h06

Ivy, I've not had a chance to test the Inkling yet, but it looks to be an interesting product for illustrators. The only possible deal breaker is that it isn't very precise, with +/- 5mm accuracy near the page corners.

For general work, a pen tablet is a better bet. If you are comfortable with a mouse and work primarily as an illustrator, I'd give the Inkling a try.

Cheers,

Reply
Andy
Oct 15th, 2011 - 13h21

Thank you for your information. It was very helpful, however I still have a couple of questions, since I am not very good a drawing.Can I also use a tablet for selective coloring of a photo, I mean, Is it possible to have the photo scan or copy to a tablet itself so i can fallow along the lines better...? If so which model would do this sort of task? Thanks again.

Reply
Fabio
Oct 16th, 2011 - 11h42

Andy,

You can trace your artwork by placing it over your tablet an drawing directly over it. The pen works just fine even without directly touching the tablet surface. Older models had a clear overlay that could be lifted, but current ones are fixed. You can always cover your artwork with a clear sheet of mylar or any similar plastic to protect it while tracing and make the pen slide easily.

For colorizing images, I don't think this is the best technique, tough. When you use the pen tablet, you develop eye / hand coordination just like with a mouse, mapping mentally each movement on the tablet surface to what you see on the screen. You can open your image in Photoshop or any similar application, desaturate it, choose a suitable color and brush size, shape and opacity and start painting with the cursor, controlling it with you hand movement. It is surely more intuitive in real world than I can describe it! You can also map the pen pressure and tilt (only Intuos4) to opacity, brush size and brush shape for more realistic results.

Both the Intuos4 and Bamboo models would work fine. Choose by your display resolution.

Thank you for your comment,

Reply
Alessandro
Oct 19th, 2011 - 22h58

What is better? Bamboo Create or WACOM INTUOS 4 PTK440? Thanks for your great article!!

Reply
Fabio
Oct 20th, 2011 - 08h23

That's a tough choice, Alessandro. If you want to use it for illustration, I'd choose the Bamboo Create for the larger size. It's easier to draw with longer strokes. For general usage or photo retouching, both are similar, but I'm usually more comfortable with the medium size tablets, like the Bamboo Create or Intuos Medium.

Thank you for your comment,

Reply
charly
Aug 14th, 2014 - 04h25

hey fabio im gonna be getting a wacom tablet for drawing and animation and to record my screen and stuff like that so i dont have to use my moms ipad (apple) and i have been doing research on yet both the wacom create and intuos 4 and i dont know wich is better for all that?

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aeon
Oct 28th, 2011 - 07h44

I'm seaching for the best available tablet to use with GIS products (saga GIS, GRASS, and ESRI ArcGIS 10). However, the wacom site and google did not really help.

Suggestions about a site where a comparison between models (maybe even of different producers?) is possible / presented?

Just for the record: wacom has an annoncement of the DTU-2231, which seems to sell as PL-2200 by now. However, techspecs and compatibility are more hidden than presented. And wacoms website is pure consumer bullshitting. I need more "professional" information.

Reply
Fabio
Oct 31st, 2011 - 18h44

Aeon,

I've never used GIS applications personally, but I did some research to be able to reply to your comment. It seems that those apps have no support for pen pressure and tilt controls, so your main decision factor is resolution. The higher resolution the pen tablet is, the easier it will be to accurately select small data points on a map. For this reason alone, I'd go with the Intuos4 or Cintiq lines.

If you want the best possible and are comfortable working with a single display, buy a Cintiq. Nothing beats the feel of working directly on the screen. It's more natural and productive. The Cintiq 24HD is the newest and most sophisticated model of that line, sporting a 1920x1200px resolution.

The DTU and DTF interactive displays are more geared for industrial use. They offer less pressure levels and no customizable buttons. Given the small price difference - US$ 100 for the 21,5" models - I'd go with the Cintiq.

If a multiple display setup is a must, choose an Intuos4 Large model. Based on my tests, it has enough resolution to drive two 30" displays. The Intuos4 has a precision mode that slows down the cursor, making fine selections easier.

Wacom has a page dedicated to GIS professionals and also a YouTube video showing some examples of their products in use. It sure is marketing talk, but the video might help you to see how those pen displays work in action.

Keep us posted on what model have you bought and your experiences with it.

Cheers,

Reply
aeon
Nov 2nd, 2011 - 16h55

Thanks, Fabio! That's a really helpful reply! We'll start discussing the issue in our budget meeting tomorrow, and I'll try to remember to post the outcome.

By the way, deeplinks to the wacom site do not work for me. (May be a cookie issue, though.) I end up every time choosing my region on the /globalsites.aspx That's web usability for you.

Reply
aeon
Nov 4th, 2011 - 08h16

Fabio,

sadly, I could not convince the majority of our lab members in the first hearing.

However, I found links I'd like to share here, since your blog was one of the first hits on my search.

Stackexchange was really helpful: http://gis.stackexchange.com/questions/10444/is-it-easy-to-digitize-in-arcgis-using-the-wacom-tablet

and via a post there, I found this blogpost:

http://letters-sal.blogspot.com/2011/05/digitizing-wacom-way.html

I'll try to find someone at another lab to lend us their tablet and try it out. Maybe, after a while, my labmates become accustomed. ;)

Reply
Fabio
Nov 4th, 2011 - 14h31

Aeon, thanks for posting. For me, the ergonomic improvement alone is worth the investment. Hope you manage to get a pen tablet soon. The larger Bamboo Create is a great product for the money.

Cheers,

Reply
StephenB
Nov 11th, 2011 - 17h53

Fabio - your review is very helpful. You give actual information which is what users are interested in when comparing models. Contrast your informative review with this extract from the Wacom website:

“Who uses Bamboo? Bamboo is for virtually everybody. For people who want to add a touch of personality to their digital life. People with friends and blogs and passion, people who like art and fashion. People who draw, document or design, People with a life – a social one, a creative one, a full one, a fun one or just an expressive one.”

… and so it goes on, with advertising videos that take up time showing happy smiling people using the products rather that concentrating of the actual features of the tablets.

I don’t want to “Step into a world of diverse digital expression”, I want to know how well a line on the tablet is reproduced on the screen, and if it is worth paying more for higher resolution in a tablet. As far as I know they do not have any videos showing this sort of thing, so I do not know if a small drawing on an Intuos4 is significantly better than a small drawing on a Bamboo. They should arrange for an illustrator to trace on the screen a small drawing on both machines and then show us jpg s to see if we think the difference is noticeable.

Yours is the only place I have found where you mention that you can trace a drawing by placing it on the tablet and you do not need the pen to touch the tablet. I was puzzled about this since reading that the Intuos3 have removable plastic sheets to place the drawing under, but this model has been discontinued. After you mentioned this I found overlay sheets on ebay for the Intuos4 which simulate different textures. I am not sure if they are transparent, but if they are not, you could buy the ones for the Intuos3 and tape them on.

You mention ‘virtual tracing’, which is different from real tracing, as the drawing is scanned first. I assume from what you say that this is a much better method. I would just like to add that by creating a new layer in the graphics program, the original drawing and the traced new layer are completely separate images, one on top of the other. Then you draw 'on the screen' by looking at the screen but with the pen on the tablet.

It is hard for me to decide between the new Bamboo Create £125 which includes Autodesk SketchBook Express, Adobe Photoshop Elements, Corel Painter Essentials, and Nik Color Filters, has but has lower resolution 2540 lpi,

And the:

Wacom Intuos4 PTK-640 Medium A5 Graphics Tablet £315 With 5080 lpi but no bundled free software

My question I would like to ask you is this: if I buy the lower resolution 2540 model and I find the lines drawn are not accurate enough, would it be possible to overcome this by mapping the 2540 model to only part of the screen? In other words, if you only use part of the screen so the cursor only moved around in, say a quarter of the screen, and you use the mouse to initially position the drawing in that place to work on it there, can you increase the effective resolution of the tablet?

Reply
Fabio
Nov 14th, 2011 - 10h43

StephenB, Thank you for your comment. I'm really happy to hear that this page has been useful for you and other users.

I'm not an illustrator myself, but I've worked closely with professional illustrators and also have traced lots of artwork and roughs using a Wacom pen tablet. As you said, there's a difference between drawing freehand directly on the tablet surface, tracing on a vector application - like Adobe Illustrator, and tracing over the original artwork by placing a clear overlay on the tablet surface.

If you want to draw freehand using the tablet or use a program to simulate natural media, like Corel Painter or even Photoshop, you'd be better served by the Intuos line. The higher resolution really shows in this kind of application and the pen tilt can be mapped to the brush dynamics, creating more natural results. The added levels of pressure are also most welcome.

On the other hand, if your final products are vector illustrations, the Bamboo Create would work just fine. On my design jobs, I usually scan a rough drawing, place it in a locked layer in Adobe Illustrator and then trace over it to produce a final drawing. Our Illustrator sometimes worked directly on the vector drawing, bypassing the pencil sketch altogether. In this application, you can rearrange the vector points and handles at any time and there are almost no freehand strokes involved, so tablet resolution matters less. Keep in mind, though, that a higher resolution pen tablet is necessary if you're working with multiple displays or a single big screen. I'm on a 30" Dell here and I sure feel the difference between a Bamboo medium and an Intuos of the same size.

It is possible to trace directly over the artwork, as you suggested. There's no need to buy a tablet specific overlay: any clear plastic would work just fine. Slightly textured plastics work better because they're less slippery. In my tests, the pen tracks just fine at up to 4mm from the tablet surface. In this case, resolution also matters and an Intuos would be preferable.

It's possible to map the tablet to only a part of the screen, effectively increasing the resolution / screen area ratio, leading to a slower and more precise pen feel. I don't' know, though, if this is practical, since you'd still need the mouse to work on the rest of the screen area. Switching between both devices all the time is tedious and I prefer to use the pen exclusively to do everything on my computer. The last time I've touched a mouse was more than 10 years ago and I don't miss it at all.

The Bamboo Create and Capture models have one important benefit that the Intuos line doesn't have, yet: touch input. Mac OS X Lion and future versions of Windows are optimized for trackpad use and I miss having this feature in my Intuos in OS X Lion. The scroll wheel is just so so. I'm not aware of any rumors, but I assume this feature will probably be added to the next Intuos5 line.

Keep us posted on your results with the new tablet and feel free to contact me if you need any other information.

Cheers,

Reply
StephenB
Nov 17th, 2011 - 12h06

Fabio - thank you for the detailed reply. I intend to draw fairly small cartoon type drawings. Since you say "the higher resolution really shows in this kind of application" with the Intuos4, I think I will buy this one. In the past I would draw with pencil, go over with pen, rub out the pencil, scan the drawing, and clean it up using the mouse. I think my productivity should increase with the tablet.

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Nikki
Nov 17th, 2011 - 01h06

I would like to start with a huge THANKS for everything you've mentioned and replied to. After hours of researching to make the same decision as StevenB (between Create and Intuos4) most reviews have been useless, and you are the only one to suggest placing the drawing directly on the tablet to trace — and I was playing around with a sketch of my own on a Bamboo Pen & Touch (my Dad's old one) last night. Didn't even think of that. Brilliant.

I was still very undecided until I read the second last paragraph about not being able to use the intuos4 as a trackpad. I love trackpads, (way better on the cramped hand,) and was about to be give the game point to the Bamboo CREATE — until I remembered it came with a mouse.

I guess I'll stick to a mouse a bit longer, and just use my pen as much as possible. I like the sounds of the durability of the intuos4 and to correct StevenB, (sorry,) it DOES come with your CHOICE of two free software products.

STEVEN B! (in case you didn't read the above…)

ONE THING:

The Intuos 4 DOES come with the bundled software! On wacom.com, in Products > Intuos > intuos4 Medium > …beside the Introduction headline there is a link 'What's New' and UNDERNEATH that 'FREE SOFTWARE' where it states "As part of this program, you can chose two applications from a selection of three valuable creative applications offered by leading software manufacturers: Adobe®, Autodesk®, and Corel®. Many of these applications also offer valuable upgrade programs which you can access through the Wacom Privileges Program.  Additionally, you can choose to download two different plug-ins that give you additional brush tools and photo effects in Adobe® Photoshop® or Photoshop® Elements." followed by a quick description of each.

Lots of Love guys,

you saved my 22nd bday mistake… Thisclose to NOT biting the bullet and cashing in a little extra. ;)

Have a good night.

And remember… Christmas… THE INKLING ahhhhhhhhh <3 http://wacom.com/en/Products/Inkling.aspx

Reply
Fabio
Nov 17th, 2011 - 10h14

Nikki, keep in mind that the Intuos doesn't come with the mouse. It's optional and costs $65. But you can always keep your old mouse. The tablet work alongside the mouse just fine.

The Bamboo Create is very similar to the Pen & Touch model. If you're satisfied with your dad's tablet, I'd suggest you to save some cash and buy the Create instead of the Intuos4 Medium.

Also, if you use a Mac with OS X Lion and have a LCD no bigger than 24", points for the Create: the resolution is sufficient and the multi-touch input is handy for Lion.

I think I've made your decision harder... Sorry. :)

Cheers,

Reply
StephenB
Nov 17th, 2011 - 11h52

Nikki - thanks for the information about the bundled software. And happy birthday. After reading what you have said and what Fabio has said I think I will go for the Intuos4 even though it is more expensive.

Reply
Nikki
Nov 17th, 2011 - 01h26

ps. ...any thoughts on the Inkling? I just watched the video again and the fact that I dreamed about a product like this my whole life makes it such a hard decision!

Reply
Fabio
Nov 17th, 2011 - 10h05

Hi, Nikki. First of all, thank you for the kind comments. ;)

I'm not so sure about the inkling. It's been marketed by Wacom as a sketching device and I think this is an appropriate approach, since it's not very precise, having +/- 5mm accuracy near the page corners.

It outputs vector artwork, which is a plus, but I'm not sure about the quality of it. The best way to draw vector shapes is to use the traditional bézier curves and I'm sure a freehand vector drawing would have an insane amount of points.

I'd get a traditional pen tablet instead, unless your work requires quick sketching and you're more familiar with drawing on paper.

Check out this two reviews with some real world usage examples.

DigitalArts

Robert Hranitzky

Reply
Marie
Nov 17th, 2011 - 20h59

Hi!

i found this review VERY helpful. I use a an older large intuos at work where i am a textile designer. since i work in fabric, my end product is about 44x36 in so i work at a high resolution.

I have decided to finally get a wacom for my home as well so i can work on personal textile and art projects, but i cant decide between the medium and large sizes. the medium seems better for travel and will work well, but im so used to my large tablet at work im scared to downsize.

any suggestions to help make my decision?

Reply
Fabio
Nov 18th, 2011 - 10h26

Marie,

The newest Intuos tablets have higher resolution and I'm currently using a medium one with a single 30" display. I'm sure the resolution won't be a limitation, unless you're running multiple big displays.

What would be different for you is the pen feel and drawing stroke length. The medium model will appear to have a faster pen and you'd have to use shorter strokes, compared to your your large tablet at work. It is possible to get used to this difference, of course, but it'll sure feel a bit different, specially if you do much freehand drawing.

Cheers,

Reply
luke robinson
Nov 18th, 2011 - 17h22

I've been researching tablets all day. yours is the best review. Since you also do a great job in response, here goes.

(2) questions; software and size;

-Having a sketch tool with autodesk continuity would save the translation from hand work to autocad. Will you please comment on the idea of "sketch to finish" architectural drawing using these tablets.

-Above in the chart the extra large rates as good for CAD. Please elaborate on this. I often need multiple sketches in one view; sometimes related in position as in a plan/section study, at about 12x18 the extra large is right for this. Also I sometimes need to turn the drawing, would this happen electronically? Could this be problematic with the bigger size? Id go see one but in Cincinnati there are none on display.

Thank you for your time and attention, Luke Robinson.

Reply
Fabio
Nov 21st, 2011 - 14h03

Luke,

I'd suggest you to try a demo tablet in order to evaluate if it fits your needs. I'm not proficient in CAD and my work background is in design and photography. I've seen architects working with Wacom tablets and they used the tablet more as an input device directly in Autocad than a sketching tool.

You can always sketch using the pen tablet, place the sketches in a locked layer on your editing program and create the finished drawing over them. Having a tablet would free you from scanning those sketches and it's also a more ergonomic device than a mouse.

Regarding the size, the larger sizes are useful if you work with only the tablet in front of you and rarely has to touch the keyboard. It is also useful if you need to trace large artwork or sketches directly on the tablet surface.

Based on your description, maybe the Cintiq line would suit you well, if you have the budget for it. This would allow you to work directly on the screen.Take a look at this video here and see how an user is using a Cintiq tablet with Solidworks.

Thank you for your comment,

Reply
Syreeta
Nov 20th, 2011 - 19h28

This is an excellent article. I am in a similar situation to StephenB where I want a buy a tablet, but I only want one to suit my purposes and don't want or need to upgrade (funnily enough I too draw in pencil, ink, erase lines and then scan. I hope to ink directly on the PC to save mistakes on really good pencil work and not have to worry about erasing lines). I also wanted to choose between the Intuos4 Medium and the Bamboo Create and feel that maybe the extra pressure sensitivity (is 1024 really not enough?), tilt sensitivity, touch ring and expresskeys don't justify the huge leap in price between the two.

Which brings me to something that I have never found an answer for. Does tilt sensitivity really make a difference in terms of how the tablet senses the way you hold the pen? That was something that worried me as I would have to go for the Intuos4 if it is really much more accurate from pen nib to cursor compared to the Bamboo. I wondered if you had to hold it in such a way that seems unnatural just so the tablet senses its coordinates better. I haven't been able to try either tablet so I don't really know.

I'm a traditional artist trying hard to transition to digital, but I really don't have the money to try something and then upgrade, which is why I want something that is suitable for what I want it to do (cartoons, sketches, editing stop motion animation frames, etc. Currently have a 22" monitor) and stick with it to master it. I won't be using the touch features of the Bamboo (if that is the better choice), it's all about the accuracy for me more than anything else. I doubt even 2048 levels of pressure can handle even the lightest touch of a pencil on paper, so I believe the pressure is not really that important either.

I hope this isn't TOO long and I'd love to hear your suggestions!

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Fabio
Nov 21st, 2011 - 14h15

Syreeta,

The tilt control is useful only when you're trying to mimic traditional media techniques and only in programs that allow you to map the tilt to the brush shape (or any other dynamics), like Adobe Photoshop and Corel Painter. You can draw just fine without it and the pen pressure alone is sufficient to create a natural looking drawing stroke. The cursor accuracy depends more on the tablet resolution, but, unless you have a huge display, the Bamboo would work just fine. Refer to the sizing table above for some pointers.

Regarding the pressure levels, 1024 is plenty. Think about it: a 8 bit B&W image has 256 levels of gray and looks like continuos tone for our eyes. Keep in mind that you can change the tablet pressure sensitivity on the control panel and also combine it with the pen color, opacity and other dynamics in your drawing programs. This gives you an infinite number of combinations to suit your drawing style.

My bet: go with the Bamboo Create. I has an adequate size for your display and is a great first time pen tablet buy. I've used an older model, much simpler, called Graphire, for many years and upgraded only when I've bought my 30" display.

Cheers,

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Syreeta
Nov 22nd, 2011 - 07h19

Thanks a lot Fabio.

I had also emailed Wacom too to ask them and forgot to ask something else. Does the Bamboo Create's pen have a pressure sensitive eraser? I know the Bamboo Fun does (well in one of their videos it was mentioned), but there isn't a whole lot of info on specs like that.

I'm still a little worried about getting the Bamboo Create as I don't plan to upgrade after it (seriously too poor), so I'm wondering if the Intuos4 is really my only option. I would like to aim for a Dell U2410 monitor in the future which would add another 2" to my screen estate, plus I'm working on a type of special overlay with a small LCD screen that can clip onto the tablet (effectively turning it into a DIY Cintiq, but not voiding the warranty) could the Bamboo Create still handle that?

Sorry for the extra questions. By the way, the chart doesn't have the Bamboo Create on it yet. What is the maximum resolution you think it could support (monitor or otherwise)?

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Fabio
Nov 22nd, 2011 - 09h22

Syreeta, the Bamboo Create is comparable to the previous Fun medium model, so it'd work just fine with any 24" LCD with 1920 x 1080px resolution, like the Dell U2410. I think this is a safe choice for you, go for the Create.

I'm not sure about the eraser. The Fun model seems to have a pressure sensitive eraser, but I'm not sure about the Create. Please let us know what Wacom replies.

I'm intrigued by your DIY project. Would love to hear more about it. Keep us posted.

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Pablo Llamas
Nov 25th, 2011 - 16h26

i have this page/article saved on my browser and check it everyday because of the questions that readers make and you answer about them tablets, well here I go now,

I´m a graphic designer from Mexico, I do a lot of illustration so I decided to buy a tablet, first tought in mind was the intuos4 but I kept searching, that´s how I ended up finding your site and article, for opinions.

the point of this is, I have saved enough money to buy an intuos4 medium (that´s the one I want) but lately in the comments I've seen you have recomended the Bamboo Create instead of the Intuos4, and that makes me doubt myself, what are the reasons you prefer the B.Create over the intous4m? is the intuos4 "too much"? can I get advantages from the differences of the intuos or is the Create enough?

it would help me so much if you'd answer!

& excuse my english if i messed up on any word!

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Fabio
Nov 26th, 2011 - 09h44

Hi, Pablo.

The Create is much cheaper than the Intuos4 and offers more bang for the buck. It is sufficient for most users' needs and has an unique advantage: touch input, which comes handy for use with OS X Lion.

If your display area is no bigger than 24" and you're going to use it for graphic design, mostly vector illustration and general use, the Bamboo Create would suit your needs just fine. I'm also a graphic designer and I've used the Bamboo precursor, called Graphire, for many years. I have an Inutos4 Medium now.

The Intuos is more robust, has better resolution, more accessories and tilt support on the pen. You can't go wrong with it.

If your illustration style is more like natural media and you use programs like Photoshop and Painter to simulate paper and ink textures, the Intuos may be better due to the additional resolution and tilt support.

Thank you for your comment,

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Pablo Llamas
Nov 26th, 2011 - 14h22

thank you so much for your answer!

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john stap
Nov 27th, 2011 - 23h22

At this moment I can buy the intuos 4 small, for 25 dollars less then the bamboo create! What would you do in such a case?

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Fabio
Nov 29th, 2011 - 08h30

John, I'd go for the Bamboo Create. I prefer the medium sized tablets. The smaller ones require too little hand movement and that feels a little awkward to me. Buy the Create unless you have little desk space or require any of the unique features of the Intuos, like the pen tilt sensitivity or the customizable express button labels.

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amanda
Dec 4th, 2011 - 20h03

fabio,

these reviews are very helpful but i am still lost i know nothing baout these tablets i am buying one as a gift for my husband he does alot of illustration and sketches but nothing professional he wants a tablet but gave me no information and i dont want him to know i am getting it for him. i am torn b/t the bamboo create and the intuos 4

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Fabio
Dec 5th, 2011 - 11h32

Hi, Amanda. If this is your husband's first tablet and he uses a single display no bigger than 24", buy the Bamboo Create. It's really good for the price. Thanks for the comment.

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Glen
Dec 10th, 2011 - 07h02

Hi, im a little bit confused. I want to do some digital art (mostly paintings ) but i dont really understand how it works the relation between "Monitor size - tablet " i have a 23" widescreen Benq monitor nad i was thinking to buy a wacom capture. It will work good for what i want to do ? or do I need a create o intuos4 model ?

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Fabio
Dec 12th, 2011 - 15h19

Glen, the Bamboo Create would suit your needs just fine and is perfectly adequate for a 23" LCD. Go for it.

Regarding the tablet resolution vs. display area ratio, think of it as two grid matrices mapped to each other. The tablet size relates to the display area, so larger displays require larger drawing areas and better resolution (the ability to differentiate more points), or else the cursor would feel less precise and jumpy.

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Glen
Dec 13th, 2011 - 07h41

Your reply come just in time because probably this week i'll buy my first tablet. Thank you for your answer now im more secure, i'll go with the bamboo create and lets see how it goes :) thanks again.

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Syreeta
Dec 14th, 2011 - 22h45

Hello again Fabio.

I haven't forgotten you! I've returned to report that I currently have in my possession a Bamboo Comic (a Japanese Bamboo Create that comes with software for manga and stuff like that. It's also white and blue!). I am impressed with the construction of it (not flimsy AT ALL and the pen isn't very chunky as it looks), though I feel it is not as responsive and as accurate as I'd like. Since I can't return it (being from the land of the rising sun an' all), I was thinking of practising on it and at the same time saving up for a Intuos4 Small to compliment it.

I could use the Intuos4 Small for fine detail work that requires accuracy (like line art) and use the Bamboo Comic for work that requires more sweeping strokes and colouring larger areas. I still can't justify the cost of an Intuos4 Medium after I have spent he money on the Bamboo Comic, so I figure why not get the best of both worlds to fit my workspace and budget? Plus I don't think I have the space for the Medium as for some reason Wacom's tablets are getting bigger and bigger!

The Bamboo Comic fits just right on my desk (still bigger than I would like) and the Intuos4 Small will be similar in size. I tend to draw from the wrist (I generally work on mostly A5 size paper anyway), so I don't think the small active should bother me too much. Do you think this is a good idea? I'd love to hear your thoughts. Oh and as for the DIY Cintiq project, it flopped mostly because of insane jitter (a common issue that made the 12" Cintiq not so popular). I was planning to use an iPad LCD panel as the screen and while I got an image and everything, the signal from the tablet's pen was blocked in areas and jittered a lot!

Plus, I am unable to find FFC cables and connectors I need to extend a FFC cable that controls the LED backlight, so I'm completely stuck and can't bear to spend any more money trying. So I'm going to go the same route as everyone else and learn to use the tablet the way it was intended. Cintiqs are nice, but are completely out of MY reach! Hope to hear from you soon. :)

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Daisy
Dec 14th, 2011 - 23h54

Hi Dear,

Iam about to buy a Bamboo Pen here in Europe, and Im confused of the resolution thing...

Im using a 22" samsung TFT, with a 1650x wide resolution.

Now I have to choose between TWO Bamboo Pens, the older ctl-460 or the newer ctl-470. The older have 1270 lpi, and the new have double, 2540 lpi.

The problem is I have extremely low cash atm, and I have to touch my 2nd level savings (which I put off for extreme situations only) to buy the newer one. Ofc If I could, I'd buy the newer...

The question is: as a starting member of the tablet users (I used to draw and scan my arts), should I take the 2540 lpi, or I wont be experiencing any downsides if I stick with the 1270 lpi, older Bamboo Pen???

How should I count it? I mean 1270 line per inch. The working area is 5.8 × 3.6 inches...so the width can handle 5.8x1270 lines? Thats far greather than 1650, so from this view, it would be enough?

Im just guessing here, please help me :).

The review is marvelous, thanks a bunch!

Looking forward for your reply, have a nice day!

Daisy

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Fabio
Dec 15th, 2011 - 15h10

Hi, Daisy.

Both models would have sufficient, but not great, resolution for your current display, but the newer model would feel more precise. If you plan to do more freehand work, like simulating natural media, the higher resolution tablet would have a clear advantage. The newer model has also more levels of pressure sensitivity and touch input, which comes in handy for general computer usage and web surfing.

Why don't you try to buy an used or refurbished model? I don't know about the prices in Europe, but Amazon USA currently has the CTL460 refurbished for US$ 59.95, the CTL470 for $78.49 and, better yet, the larger CTH661 Fun Pen & Touch model for $114.95, which is a great price. You can also try eBay.

Cheers,

Fabio

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Daisy
Dec 15th, 2011 - 08h08

Oh, one more thing!

If the 1270 lpi would not be enough to fit fine on my 22" 1650x1050 screen, how could I (with which software, or settings) make the tablet work only a shrinked surface, not the whole screen, so the resolution would fit?

I have to mention that your review is just awesome, It helped a lot, and the comments were very useful too!

Thanks for your support Fabio!

Have a great day!

Daisy

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Fabio
Dec 15th, 2011 - 15h20

The bundled tablet driver allows you to map the tablet surface to just a portion of the screen, effectively increasing the resolution vs. area ratio. This setting is under the mapping tab of the Wacom control panel.

Another way to make better use of the tablet resolution is to zoom in your artwork and work on smaller pieces at a time. Also, if you're working with vector drawings (Adobe Illustrator or Corel Draw, for example), you can zoom in and fine tune the bézier curves at any time, so the freehand precision matters less.

I'm think you won't have a problem even with the lower resolution model, although the new model and also the Fun Pen & Touch medium size would have better performance for the price.

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Daisy
Dec 15th, 2011 - 21h50

Dear Fabio,

Thank you VERY much for your reply, I am really reassured by your answer, I am heading for the lower resolution one, cos of the lack of coins.

I will try it out and devinitely post a comment here, for the future generations =). But I dont think many people will face this problem tho.

Again: Thanks a bunch, and have a great day Fabio!!!

Daisy

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Beth
Dec 19th, 2011 - 07h09

Hello,

I just want to ask for an advice in buying my first tablet. I am an animation student and we use Intuos3 in our school, and I really love to make digital art/illustrations. I have a Dell 24" lcd and I am torn between Wacom Bamboo Connect or Create, so is it better to get the bigger one or the small one will do just fine? Thank you so much. And sorry for my wrong grammar since English is not my first language. :)

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Fabio
Dec 19th, 2011 - 18h57

Hi, Beth. The larger model, Bamboo Create, is a much better choice for illustration use, specially on a 24" LCD. I'd avoid the smaller models for any user other than general computer usage. Buy the Create. I'm sure you'll like it a lot.

Cheers,

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Chris
Dec 20th, 2011 - 12h41

Like many others I'm torn between the Bamboo Create and Intuos 4 (medium). The major difference between the two thats got me flipflopping is the "tilt" feature. The Create looks much more appealing to me since it has "touch" capabilities and better price. I don't mind the 1024 PL or not having quick keys. I would be using the device for graphic design & illustration on photoshop and illustrator. Does tilt allow you to make strokes that would not be possible without the feature or does it just make them feel more natural?

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Fabio
Dec 23rd, 2011 - 09h38

Chris, the tilt sensitivity helps to make brush strokes more natural when you're trying to simulate natural media in bitmap programs, like Photoshop and Corel Painter. It's not a mandatory feature, since you can map all brush dynamics, including stroke shape, to the pen pressure, achieving very realistic results. I'm sure you won't be missing much by buying the Create.

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Becky
Dec 26th, 2011 - 05h37

Hi Fabio!

I am wondering if the $100 difference between the Capture and Create is worth the bigger space, eraser button, and more programmable buttons.

I need the mouse/track pad capabilities as it's easier in Aperture with it, so Intuos is out of the equation for me.

I am a professional photographer who uses the liquify tool, dodging and burning (ie: free-hand coloring), frequent zooming in and out, and resizing of my paint brush often. I also use cloning and healing which needs an "option-click" that demands I go back to my keyboard, and my apple magic track pad can't do that. (Or can it???)

I need enough programmable buttons to allow me to "option-click" to "define the area" for cloning and healing, a button for resizing my paint brushes, and a button to automatically open my liquify tool. The zooming can be handled by the trackpad-like qualities I assume.

Now, I read somewhere that the pen for the Create has not only the eraser, but a programmable button on it as well. The Capture's pen does not have the eraser, but LOOKS like it might have a programmable button. I would be pleased with a programmable button as I could just click it and have it function as my eraser when needed. I REALLY want an eraser to be easy to access... but not $100 want it.

I use my 15" MacBook Pro, and a 24" display to edit. I need to be able to sit on the couch a distance from my computer and hold the tablet comfortably in my lap while editing (for my back and wrist problems). Would the bigger size of the Create help make it more steady on my lap?

Thank you for writing this article. It has really helped me to understand these tablets far more than any other article I have found thus far. I will be directing fellow Photographers and Graphic Artists to this site in the future!!

Thanks,

Becky

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Becky
Dec 26th, 2011 - 05h50

Though I did just read this "All told, the lack of an eraser is a big downside on both the Bamboo Capture and the $20 less expensive Bamboo Connect. It essentially removes the ability to work as a drawing tablet for many people, and you don't get a second programmable button on the pen that you can swap for the eraser function either. " here... http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2397406,00.asp

REALLY hope that's not true.

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Becky
Dec 26th, 2011 - 05h51

Oops, but then I read THIS... "To our surprise we saw, during our tests, that the Bamboo Capture’s pen didn’t come with an eraser; getting it replaced isn’t possible. But don’t panic: either one of the 2 buttons on the pen or 4 keys on the tablet works as a way to switch to eraser tool."

Read more: http://www.blitzreview.com/gadgets/wacom-bamboo-capture.html#ixzz1hcoucGH6

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Fabio
Dec 27th, 2011 - 16h27

Hi, Becky.

The Create is the only Bamboo model that has an eraser on the back of the pen. In my opinion, the larger size alone is worth the price difference. The Connect and Capture models are too small for use with a 24" screen and inadequate if you want to extend your laptop's desktop to both the internal 15" screen and the external LCD. For you usage I highly recommend getting the Bamboo Create CTH670 model.

Cheers,

Fabio

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Becky
Dec 28th, 2011 - 03h34

Thank you VERY much!

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Harry
Jan 11th, 2012 - 23h24

Hello,

Needless to say, you're review of Intuos4 vs Create is the most objective, in depth and up to date out there. Thank you for taking the effort to put this together.

I'd be grateful if you could elaborate the difference with respect to the bundled software and its bearing on the price. There just isn't enough information about what version of Photoshop is included in each of teh products. Wacom seems to have taken a less than helpful, ethical even approach of just putting the name of the software e.g. Adobe Photoshop Elements and no version number. Both on the product boxes that I checked at Best Buy and on their website.

PE 8 to 9 or 10 is itself an $80 dollar upgrade. Not to mention they've identified security risks with 8 and stopped supporting it. So its a significant factor when considering the purchase, especially for someone looking to get all the tools and apps in one go and get cracking out of the box.

After much research and no luck I finally went and bought a Bamboo Create (CHT670 - as you stress :)) yesterday. Immediately after billing I opened the package to see the version of software and voila, it has Adobe PE9 (can't expect 10 as its Adobe exclusive as yet). Tonnes of stuff to do with it. Tried things out till late early AM. It is good and feels "sufficient".

And then the devil of doubt stepped in. Just to find better pen usage practices when I started researching all products, Intuos4 Small suddenly seems like a better choice. It can manage free hand art and Vector aided design equally well as the reviews suggest, owing to the higher pressure levels and tilt recognition. Intuos4 Small costs the same as Create. The active area is lesser but it would suit my wrist oriented style I theorized. So since this morning I've been frantically trying to find out what the software bundle deal is. The Wacom website says 9. Went to the store again and was about to pick up the Intous4 when I just double checked with the cashier and it turns out it had 6.0! And here's a cautionary note for Intous4 Small buyers. There are two prices out there - 199 and 229. I'm not sure when the switch happened. But the 199 model seems to have PE 6, which can leave you with heartburn when compared to PE 9. So if there's anybody out there who has recently bought the I4 Small model please let us know what's the deal you got. May you live in interesting lines. Thanks.

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Diane
Jan 22nd, 2012 - 13h31

Hi

Everyone that I read about is into drawing and illustrating. I want to begin by using a tablet for writing and having it convert to word. I hate typing and do alot of work that requires using paper sources and have to always look back and forth to type. Feel like I will write faster than I type. Also do alot of powerpoints.

But I would like the options that would allow for the drawing etc. if I learn more and can advance into that.

Thanks

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Fabio
Jan 23rd, 2012 - 17h23

Hi, Diane.

I've never used my tablet for handwriting recognition, but this is one of the uses mentioned on the Wacom site and I know lots of people use the pen tablets primarily for this task.

Since the pen won't be your main pointing device, you don't need a very large or high resolution tablet. I''d suggest you to buy a Bamboo Capture model, which is the cheapest one that has touch input in addition to the pen. It's an inexpensive model, costing around $95 at Amazon.

Keep us posted on your experiences and feel free to share them here on the site. I'm sure other users have the same question.

Cheers,

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parchita
Jan 22nd, 2012 - 22h10

Hi! Thank you for very comprehensive overview! Still I`ve got some questions. I am a graphic design student and I am looking for a tablet for digital painting as well as photoediting etc. I am little bit confused, which one to buy. First, is it bad idea to buy a used one? I mean of course it depends how it has been stored, but maybe its not so big difference between them...?

Secondly, I can`t afford to buy Intuos4, but I was wondering between Intuos3 (probably used) and something from Bamboo. Both of them has 1024 pressure levels and similar price. What would you recommend?

Moreover, I read form recent comments that you were recommending Bamboo Create, but in some reason, in the Wacom Europe web-page there are just Bamboo Pen & Touch, Bamboo Fun and Bamboo Pen. Do you now if any of them is equivalent with Bamboo Create? Or which one of them is worth to buy?

Thank you so much in advance!

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Fabio
Jan 23rd, 2012 - 17h29

Hello! The Create is the newer model that substitutes the Fun Pen & Touch. You may find a killer deal on the discontinued model, so look around.

Those Wacom tablets do not wear fast and last for many years, so you can find an used one in good shape. The only parts that show wear are the pen nib, which is designed to be user replaceable (look for new nibs at the Wacom website) and the rubber around the pen, that gets nasty after some years. You can always buy a new pen and it's not that expensive, but this may offset the difference between an used and a brand new model.

I have one good argument for buying the Bamboo Create, though. It has multi touch support and this is very handy for scrolling web pages and using gestures in Mac OS X Lion and the upcoming Windows 8. I'm sure the next Intuos5 line will have this feature, too. For this reason alone, I'd buy a Bamboo Create or the older Fun Pen & Touch large model - CTH661.

Cheers,

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Sionainne
Jan 31st, 2012 - 19h10

Word of warning to any who are thinking of buying the Inkling. It was a teriible product and i could not get it to work properly. i spent a month calibrating it and finally had to send it back. Don't waster your time!

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Randy Mayes
Feb 2nd, 2012 - 17h49

Hi, thanks for this review. I'm a teacher exploring the possibility of using the Bamboo tablet as an alternative to the chalkboard and have found (using a borrowed one CTL 460K and SmoothDraw3) that even at relatively slow writing speeds it produces poor results when I have to lift the pen to cross an A or a T. When watching screencasts of Sal Khan or others who are proficient on the tablet, this just doesn't seem to be an issue. They are writing quickly and clearly getting good results even though they are lifting the pen and putting it down quickly. Can you tell me why this might be happening? I'm working on a good DELL with System 7, so I don't think it's a processing issue on the computer hardware side of things. Thanks!

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Fabio
Mar 5th, 2012 - 18h51

Randy,

This might be a shot in the dark, but have you tried the latest drivers downloaded directly from the Wacom website?

Another suggestion is to make sure the tablet is connected directly to the computer USB port, without any hub or USB extension, since this might impact the USB transfer rate.

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Alison
Feb 24th, 2012 - 04h12

Hi. Thanks for taking the time to reply back to everyone! I found your comments useful...but I have some questions as well. I'm pretty much a beginner to tablets but at my previous company that I worked with we were given tablets and I picked it up pretty fast with them. I believe the ones we had were the Bamboo Pen & Touch (with the red pen holder on the side). It really was a small tablet, when I was drawing in Illustrator I noticed I kept going off the edges of the tablet...kind of like how I'd draw on paper. I'm not sure what size monitors we had, they weren't huge... probably 22" or around that. I was able to adapt to it, however I hated how I would have to pick up my pen when I wanted to continue drawing a smooth stroke. And I noticed I kept wanting to erase with the back of my pen! LOL!

For quick info I'm a graphic designer but I also do digital illustrations and would like to experiment more with drawing/painting digitally on the computer. I used to do it the traditional way...draw, then scan images and color in Photoshop. The laptop I have at home though is a Macbook Pro 15"... I've never hooked up a tablet to it. Would be it difficult to use with it?

I'm not sure what size I'd need or if a small Bamboo would be sufficient. I'm pretty sure I'd like a bigger size though, but I'm on a budget. Are there any old models like the Create?! I was also wondering if pens are interchangeable or not...or does it have match for that specific model? I'd just love that pen with an eraser!!! Although I suppose I could get by without one. It takes a long time to erase freehand strokes in Illustrator though...

Also can you explain the above chart, maybe this is a stupid question...but what do the two different bar colors stand for?

And thanks for the suggestions... do you know anything about this older model? http://www.epinions.com/Wacom_Bamboo_Pen_Tablet_MTE450?sb=1

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Alison
Feb 24th, 2012 - 04h18

Nm...you don't have to answer the older Create model question. I see that you answered it previously. :)

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Fabio
Mar 5th, 2012 - 19h10

Alison,

The tablet size is dependent on the monitor size and also on the personal preferences of each user, as you have experienced. Some people draw with broader strokes and adapt much better to the larger tablets.

The smaller tablets have less working area. When this area is mapped to a large display, each point on the tablet surface corresponds to a big area on the display. If the actual resolution is not enough, the cursor feels too fast, jumpy and less precise. The orange bars on the tablet size vs. screen size graph mean that while that screen size is not perfectly matched, it is useable for that given tablet model.

A Wacom Bamboo Create would work fine with your laptop. Just dowload the latest drivers from wacom.com and plug the tablet in the USB port. It's really that easy and there's little fo configure. If you'd like to draw in bitmap program, simulating natural media, like Photoshop or Painter, then you'd have various configurations in the programs themselves to map the pen dynamics (pressure, tilt, etc) to the various brush variables, like size, opacity, scattering, etc.

By the way, the Create has an eraser on the pen. Handy, for sure!

If you want a bigger model, your only option is the Intuos line. Wacom has just released a new model, called Intuos5. Maybe you can get the outgoing model - the Intuos4 - for a better price. A large Intuos4 would be great for you. Hope you manage to find one for a good price!

Thank you for your comment,

Fabio

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Alison
Mar 6th, 2012 - 04h46

Thanks for the reply!

I think I'm looking at a Bamboo one right now (maybe an older model) since I'm on a budget but I really want a tablet. Intuos are so out of my price range right now...even the older models except maybe Intuos2. Would an Intuos2 work on my macbook? Also since I'll be working primarily on a 15" screen (unless I go buy a bigger monitor) would a big tablet really matter (besides personal preference?)... your chart makes it not seem like it does. I think a medium sized tablet might be okay for me but I wouldn't go small. Would you consider 6 x 4 to be a small size? Or a 5 x 3?

Thanks for your help!

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Fabio
Mar 6th, 2012 - 08h22

Alison, Amazon has the older Bamboo Pen & Touch model refurbished for $130. I think this is a great price for a very competent medium sized tablet. The size is plenty for your 15" MacBook Pro and this is the same tablet you used at your previous job. The Intuos2 is too old and I'd avoid it.

Fabio

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Alison
Mar 6th, 2012 - 22h26

Okay. Thanks very much for your help and opinion! :)

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Alison
Mar 6th, 2012 - 22h46

The CTH661 (13" overall product) is actually a lot bigger than the one I used at work (9"), so I'll most likely go with this one if it's more bang for the buck. :) Thanks!

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mary laurene perez
Feb 24th, 2012 - 09h00

is there any sketch tablet with display in the active area?

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Fabio
Feb 24th, 2012 - 18h38

Mary, the Wacom Cintiq line incorporates the pressure sensitive tablet directly the the display, allowing you to sketch on the screen surface.

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vENOM
Apr 18th, 2012 - 06h47

And Mary it costs you thousands of dollars.,.,so don't depend upon the gadgets,.,.,always independent on ur skills........!

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vENOM
Apr 17th, 2012 - 15h42

Dude, my PC resolution is 1280*1024,,,,,,,& i didn't even touch a graphic tablet yet + my drawing skill is newbie......but i love these tablets,.,.,.,which is the best recommendation u can give me......?

Plz reply......!

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Fabio
Apr 30th, 2012 - 09h40

Get a Bamboo Capture for US$ 90 and be happy. :) It'd be perfect for you.

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Jennine
Apr 20th, 2012 - 17h39

Exactly the information I was looking for. Thank you!

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Thanh Xuan Thuy
Aug 6th, 2012 - 01h08

Thanks for your detail information!

I consider to buy a wacom table for teaching (such Khan's style) but I wonder, small size is comfortable for writing or not?

should I invest in one A5 (medium) size for teaching activities?

many thanks,

Reply
Fabio
Aug 15th, 2012 - 19h06

Hello, Thanh.

I think a small model would be suited for this use. You'll probably be writing only small words and notes, so the larger surface won't make much of a difference. The smaller ones are also more portable and easy to carry around.

I'd choose the Bamboo Capture model, which is the least expensive that has multi touch support.

Thank you for your comment

Reply
Daniela
Aug 20th, 2012 - 02h23

Hi!

Thanks for this review! Is very helpful but i still have a quesion. Last night i spent hours Doing something in illustrator (using a mouse) and after a while my hand was hurting me so bad! So i have decided to buy a tablet. I read your review And i really liked the intous5. However i am on a budget (about 200-250usd). I found too small the small intous5. But i really dont know whats the best for me..i would like a medium size...

Do u think That there is an older intous model better that the bamboo Create?

Reply
Fábio
Aug 20th, 2012 - 15h22

Daniela,

In this case I'd recommend you to buy the Bamboo Create. It's a very capable pen tablet and I'm sure it would suit you well. This model has a surface area about the same size as medium Intuos.

Alternatively, you could look for an used Intuos4 Medium model, but I think the price is too close ($270 range) to the new Intuos5 Medium to make it worth it and used tablets always show some signs of wear. For example, the pen nibs wear out, the tablet surface gets scratched and the pen rubber grip gets dirty and more sticky over the time. Replacing those items is possible, but would drive the price closer to a new one.

Reply
Donna
Sep 2nd, 2012 - 22h48

what is the difference to a digital artist between the bamboo pen/docking station and the bamboo create... besides the price?

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Fabio
Sep 3rd, 2012 - 07h22

Donna, the Bamboo Create, model CTH670, is the only model in the Bamboo line that has a medium sized working area - 8.5" x 5.4" or 21.6 cm x 13,7 cm. This means it can be used with higher resolution displays than a small model, like the other Bamboos: Connect, Splash and Capture. It is also much easier to draw or retouch images on a larger area. This is also the only model in the lineup that has an eraser in the pen. In my opinion, the price difference is well worth it.

Reply
Vivian Bedoya
Oct 11th, 2012 - 19h10

I've been using my Wacom Graphire 2 for years and love it but it's not going to last forever and I'm weighing my options. The comparison you made between the Intuos and the Bamboo Capture are exactly what I needed. Thank you!

Reply
Fabio
Oct 13th, 2012 - 11h55

Vivian, you won't believe the difference when you get a newer tablet. I've moved from a Graphire 2 to an Intuos 4, having used a Bamboo Create sporadically during this time. My Graphire clearly didn't cut anymore for the Apple Cinema 20" LCD I had at that time. It is great to have more precision and also some of the niceties of the newer models.

The Bamboo Create is the natural heir to the Graphire. You can buy it with confidence and I'm sure you'll love it.

Thank you for your comment,

Fabio

Reply
mab
Oct 12th, 2012 - 18h00

I've read the majority of the comments and just when I think someone has asked the question I want answers to, I don't quite get the answers.

I'm working with a 17" laptop and using it for digital painting, photoediting. I was looking at the Capture, but you continuously suggest the Create. Besides the lack of eraser and the size difference would I be wasting my time on the Capture?

Reply
mab
Oct 12th, 2012 - 18h02

Mainly I'm asking if I would outgrow the Capture too quickly (as I'm just a beginner)

Reply
Fabio
Oct 13th, 2012 - 11h50

Hi, mab.

The Bamboo Capture and Create are very similar, except for the size and lack of eraser on the Capture pen. This may be a shortcoming if you're heavily on digital painting.

If you have the budget, in my opinion, the extra size alone makes the Bamboo Create worth the difference, specially for higher resolution displays like yours. Given that both tablets have the same resolution (2540 lines per inch), the larger active surface on the Create model gives it 220% more points mapped than the Capture.

On the real world, this means you can have much better cursor precision with the larger active area. This might not be noticed on smaller displays, but anything above 1440 x 900px clearly shows the difference, in my experience.

In any case, I'd rather have a smaller tablet than to work only with a mouse. It is this much better, really. If you're on a really tight budget, buy the Bamboo Create to get the hang of using a tablet and sell it on eBay later, if you feel the need for a larger working surface. It costs about US$ 90 at Amazon.com.

But keep in mind that the Bamboo Create is currently at US$ 138 for a factory refurbished model, with warranty, also at Amazon. This is a super deal and I think much better value than the smaller model.

Hope this helps you!

Cheers,

Fabio

Reply
Oscar
Oct 20th, 2012 - 17h59

Hi,

I just bought a Bamboo Create from Amazon and did not see this post before that, i has not arrived yet. At this point I have a 32 inch TV connected to my PC 1360x768 screen resolution, its a samsung widescreen connected through HDMI. I wanted to use sketchbook pro 6, corel painter 12 and photoshop mostly for architecture work persentations and other drawing. I can see that I might have problems due to the fact that I'm using a Bamboo create. Will I be needing a new monitor (smaller) what are the odds? I did not buy an Intuos because I found it very expensive for the type of usage I will give to it.

Thanks in advance,

Reply
Fabio
Oct 21st, 2012 - 15h37

Oscar, you'll be fine. The main factor that dictates the tablet size is resolution, not screen size. A Bamboo Create can handle a 1360x768 px resolution screen just fine. I'm sure you'll love your new tablet.

Thank you for your comment,

Fabio

Reply
Oscar
Oct 23rd, 2012 - 23h52

Great! Thank you Fabio. I'm still waiting for the tablet that I ordered on Amazon through Electrobrands and Fedex just lost the package... They said they will send another unit to me.

THanks again,

Reply
Jeff
Nov 11th, 2012 - 12h53

Hey Man,

Great review, this is really really helpful information :)

I had a scroll back through the previous comments but couldn't quite find the question that I have.

I am going to buy the INTUOS 5 but I am still unsure about which size to get, I would be using it with a 13" Macbook Pro (Early 2011) and so from your info graphic above, am I right in assuming that the small size would be the most appropriate? Or would it be the medium?

Thanks again pal,

Cheers,

Jeff

Reply
Fabio
Nov 11th, 2012 - 18h22

Hello Jeff.

The medium sized Intuos5 is the most versatile model, even though the small one has plenty of resolution to work well with your screen size. You may want to add a second LCD in the future and the extra area of the medium model may come in handy.

Let me add two more variables to your decision: if you'd like to use it to draw, the small model may be too tight for your brush stroke. On the other hand, since you're using a laptop, it is much easier to carry around than the medium one. By the way, Wacom makes a nice carrying case for each model.

Cheers,

Fabio

Reply
Nathan Smith
Dec 22nd, 2013 - 10h38

Wow I enjoyed your review very much, I have to disagree with this recommendation for some people. If you're an artist, and are used to moving or drawing with your arm, than the medium size or even the large may be perfect for you. However, as a professional photographer, I do 95% of my editing moving only my wrist. Most of my work is detail work.

I used to own a bamboo pen, and I found the size to be more than adequate. Previous to that, I did all my editing using the trackpad on my MacBook Pro. I just started using an Intuos Pro, and I absolutely love it.

Two prominent photo shop experts, Aaron Nace, and Matt Kloskowski, both use small tablets. In fact, Aaron actually maps only a portion of his small tablet to do for the shop editing.

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Steve D
Dec 27th, 2012 - 12h02

Hey Fabio, thanks for all the in depth comments you have provided here, very informative.

Just a quick question on the Bamboo Pen & Touch; I purchased the medium version of this drawing tablet and I used it oh so briefly with my 20" old iMac before it died.

I am now a little torn as to which model to purchase, as the 21" pretty much locks you into the spec once it leaves the factory, and while I can see it lasting OK, the 27" looks like a more flexible option for similar money. Could that tablet size work OK with a new 27" iMac, or is it highly recommended to stick with the 21.5"? I note the 27" is just outside your yellow bars on the recommendation graphic and I wanted to get your thoughts.

The 2 resolutions are: 1920x1080 and 2560x1440.

Reply
Aaron
Jan 28th, 2013 - 09h05

Oh what a great review!

All my questions are solved.

Thanks.

Reply
Fabio
Feb 6th, 2013 - 14h03

Thank you for your kind words, Aaron.

Reply
Miriam
Feb 19th, 2013 - 20h45

I need help please!

Which is better? Wacom Bamboo Splash or Wacom Bamboo Crafts? Which has a bigger working space?

I use Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop & InDesign CS6 & i'll mainly need it for Digital Artwork used in graphic advertising & print. I'm a beginner.

Reply
Fabio
Feb 20th, 2013 - 08h00

Miriam, both tablets have the same hardware and specs. The only difference is the software bundle. They're capable models, but I'd recommend you to spend a little more, if possible, and get a Bamboo Create. It has a larger working area, making it a more versatile model, specially if you use a display above 23 inches.

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Dre
Feb 24th, 2013 - 02h38

Im torn on either getting the wacom bamboo capture or create? I work off of my laptop 11.6" is that too small for me to get a tablet?

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Fabio
Feb 24th, 2013 - 09h25

Dre, the Bamboo Capture is sufficient for your laptop screen, but you might want to use it with an external display in the future. In that case, the Create is a much more versatile model.

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John
Feb 25th, 2013 - 21h35

Thanks for that excellent review. I was very confused by all the models that Wacom has.

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John C
Mar 1st, 2013 - 15h18

Hi Fabio,

After reading your analysis and everybody's comments I made up my mind to purchase a Bamboo Create but then I found it is not available in Europe. It seems everything has to be renamed, adjusted or whatever to justify increased pricing!! However, what I hope you will be able to advise is whether the Bamboo Fun M Pen and Touch is the nearest I can get to the Create or is it the same?

Thanks

Reply
Fabio
Mar 2nd, 2013 - 07h14

John, the corresponding model on the new lineup is the Bamboo Fun Medium Pen&Touch. It seems that the new lineup names were not yet launched in the US and other countries in the Americas. Other than the nomenclature, the hardware is the same and there are only some small differences in the software bundles.

Thank you for your comment,

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John C
Mar 2nd, 2013 - 10h37

Thanks Fabio. Why these things have to be remarketed and renamed in different parts of the world i know not

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Nila
Mar 7th, 2013 - 11h51

Thanks so much! Everything I needed to know x

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Dominika
Mar 21st, 2013 - 02h50

Hi Fabio,

I would be grateful for your help in deciding which tablet+pen to buy. I would use it for drawing illustrations. I'm using 17" display and resolution 1366x768 if that's relevant.

Thank you a lot

Best regards

Dominika

Reply
Fabio
Mar 21st, 2013 - 19h01

Dominika, I'd buy the Wacom Bamboo Create (Bamboo Fun Medium Pen&Touch in Europe). It has more than enough resolution for you display and would work very well for vector or natural media illustration.

Thank you for your comment,

Reply
Mickey
Apr 27th, 2013 - 04h05

Hi Fabio!

I have found your review and the subsequent thread very helpful. I primarily work in video, After Effects, etc. I have had the opportunity to try both the 13HD and 24HD Touch Cintique models. I've never used a pen tablet before, but can see the benefit and the precision they provide. I really like the Cintique, who wouldn't?, but I'm trying to decide if the Intuos 5 would be better suited for video work. I do prefer a full arm approach to my work so the larger format is what I am considering over the medium. What would you recommend? Thank-you very much!

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Fabio
Apr 29th, 2013 - 09h33

Hi Mickey.

I think the large Intuos5 would be perfect for you. Maybe even better than the Cintiq, since it'd allow you to work on a larger display, like 27" or 30", or multiple monitors, which is killer for video editing. Developing hand to eye coordination isn't that difficult and I'm sure you'll feel at home with the Intuos in a few days. You can find my in-depth Intuos5 review here.

Cheers,

Reply
Fabio
Apr 29th, 2013 - 09h36

PS: And the Intuos5 has touch support and programmable gestures than can be programmed for commonly used commands. For example, a four-finger swipe down could invoke a particular shortcut in After Effects. Take a look here for setup tips.

Reply
Vid
May 9th, 2013 - 14h34

I don't know much about tablets but I it looks like they may be the answer for a project I'm working on. I would like to be able to record the process of making a drawing by children (stroke by stroke, etc.). Do these tablets allow for that? If so, do you think learning to use the tablet for basic drawing and colouring could be a time-consuming proposition for Grade 7-age kids?

Reply
Fabio
May 10th, 2013 - 10h45

Hi, Vid.

I think a pen tablet would be perfect for you application. I imagine kids in this age would have no problems developing the eye to hand coordination necessary to use a pen tablet.

A medium sized model is advisable, since it's easier to work with a larger drawing area. The Bamboo Create CTH670 is perfect. Also take a look on the Monoprice tablets. They're much cheaper than Wacom's and would work fine for less demanding work.

I have no experience with the recording process. Maybe you could use a screen capture program and then import the results into a video editing application, to speed it up, for example.

Thank you for your comment,

Fabio

Reply
Bob Marks
May 11th, 2013 - 14h22

Dear Fabio,

Thanks so much for such a detailed review and comparison and for all your time in dealing with these queries!

I wonder if you can help me decide. I'm completely new to tablets and am mainly working on video editing, but also some graphics design and illustration. I have a 27inch Mac display. Ideally I would like multitouch functionality (but not essential) and currently use an apple trackpad instead of a mouse. I may want to add a second display in the future. UK based.

I can't decide which model - is the intuos5 the best for me? Or is there a better option? Price needs to be reasonable, but is not the most important factor here, as my organisation is buying for me and I think they can stretch to the Intuos 5.

Many thanks for your advice,

Bob

Reply
Bob
May 11th, 2013 - 14h27

Ps - I forgot to add, I also do quite a bit of photo editing, using Aperture and photoshop. Thanks!

Reply
Fabio
May 13th, 2013 - 09h45

Hello Bob.

I think the medium sized Intuos5 is the right pen tablet for you. The small model or the Bamboos don't have enough resolution to drive a 27" display, let alone multiple displays.

The Intuos would work fine, but you might want to configure one of the ExpressKeys to switch between the two screens. This would allow you to keep the tablet mapped to a single display at a time, using its whole area for better precision. With two displays, you give up some of the tablet's area in order to keep its proportion the same as the combined screen size. It's important to test both configurations - single screen at a time / full screen area mapped proportionally to the tablet's surface - and see which suits you better.

Here is my complete Intuos5 review.

Cheers,

Fabio

Reply
Bob Marks
Jun 16th, 2013 - 09h39

Thanks and apologies for the delay. Found your comments really helpful and have bought an Intuos 5 medium touch now. Very good. Love it!

Thanks,

Bob

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Mike Levy
Jun 11th, 2013 - 02h21

Nice review, with more practical information than is found elsewhere. I've been quite happy using an older Graphire tablet for editing images in Photoshop on a 1600px X 1200px monitor. I recently added a second monitor (an old 15", 768px X 1024px, turned vertically) to make a dual monitor setup. Your criteria would suggest that my 5" wide Graphire (which I believe is even smaller than the smallest Bamboo) should be woefully inadequate, yet I have failed to notice a difference in fine-motion tasks such as accurately tracing the edges of an object for making a mask. I just wonder if I'm missing out on something by not going to a bigger tablet.

Reply
Fabio
Jun 11th, 2013 - 18h53

Hello Mike.

I can definitely feel the difference when using my Inutos5 Medium with a single 30" 2560 x 1600px display or adding a secondary 1200 x 800px laptop screen. The available resolution is still adequate for most tasks, but finer freehand movements feel faster and less precise.

I have just tried mapping just a quarter of the tablet to the full screen and the difference is striking. Maybe I'm too picky, but I think you'd benefit from a larger tablet, like the medium sized Bamboo Create CTH 670.

One way to get by with a smaller tablet is to make good use of zoom when working with images or vector files. When zooming, you're actually using the full screen and tablet area to work on a small portion of the file, effectively increasing your ability to work on finer detail.

Thank you for your comment,

Fabio

Reply
Mike Levy
Jun 12th, 2013 - 03h40

Fabio, your comment about zooming hit the mark--that's exactly what I've been doing all along. It probably explains why I haven't noticed the difference in going to a larger effective screen--I'm probably just zooming in more to compensate. So it would seem that for my purpose (photo editing) small tablet + big screen works satisfactorily, but I can see that for artistic sketching it would prove unsuitable.

Reply
jonathan garcia
Jun 12th, 2013 - 04h53

Hi Fabio, I like the picture very young, I recently work with illustrator and photoshop, but recently a friend told me are the Wacom tablets, which would you recommend between tables wacom bambo or Intuos5? and what size do you recommend medium or long, I want one that is accurate and smooth, when you slide the pencil, which do you recommend? also accept other suggestions. will be my first wacom tablet, thanks

Reply
Fabio
Jun 12th, 2013 - 09h42

Hello Jonathan.

It depends mostly on your display size. If you use a very large LCD, like 27" or 30", I'd recommend you to invest in an Intuos5 Medium model. Other than that, the medium sized Bamboo Create CTH 670 model is a great first pen tablet. Avoid the smaller Bamboo models. They're too small for precision work, in my opinion.

Thank you for your comment,

Fabio

Reply
Lisa
Jul 5th, 2013 - 19h04

Hi Fabio. Many reviews of Intuos 4&5 complain of increased surface roughness and fast nib wear, causing scratching within days of normal use. Workaround solution is to buy cheap 3rd-party plastic protector cover which looks terrible, fits poorly on the medium size tablet and can interfere with touch sensitivity. Version 5 pads cannot be replaced manually on touch models - repair only by shipping back to Wacom plus service charges. I've shopped around for alternate brands, but see nothing as good as Wacom. Any experience with the rough surface issue?

Reply
Fabio
Jul 6th, 2013 - 11h50

Hi Lisa.

I've never had any problem, either with the Intuos4 or with my new Intuos5. My nibs last for ages. I usually don't put a lot of pressure on the pen while working, preferring a lighter touch and more sensitive pen tip.

The newer model has a smoother surface that supposedly solves this problem. After one year of use, I see almost no wear on it and just a few hairline scratches, while my Intuos4 had very noticeable wear at about the same age. Wacom says that the Intuos5 surface is not user replaceable, but can be serviced my them.

Thank you for your comment,

Fabio

Reply
Lisa
Jul 8th, 2013 - 15h28

Hi Fabio, I appreciate your reply. Sounds like the company made an improvement, and it helps to have a light touch. Thanks for sharing your experience with the product - I'm looking forward to getting one!

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Whitney
Jul 9th, 2013 - 02h04

Hi Fabio,

I am looking to use a tablet in my high school math classroom for notes. I've tried another teachers Bamboo Create, but am not sure if I should buy the create or a Intuos 5 which I found for a great deal. Ideally I would like to have a black screen and write notes in different colors on the screen. I would also like to be able to erase with the pen and maybe edit photos. Should I buy the Intuos 5 or is that too advanced for what I would like to do? Thank you in advance for your help.

Reply
Fabio
Jul 9th, 2013 - 08h51

Hi Whitney.

The Intuos5 is too much for your needs. A small Bamboo model is sufficient for taking classroom notes. Take a look at the Bamboo Splash or Capture models. The Capture also has touch input. If you're into digital art, drawing or photography, the Bamboo Create is better because of the larger area. But it is also bigger and less portable.

Thank you for your comment,

Fabio

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Peter
Jul 19th, 2013 - 19h05

Congratulations. Excellent advice. I am eagerly awaiting arrival of new Bamboo Create.

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Kent
Jul 28th, 2013 - 23h03

Great article and helpful feedback/replies. I have a 22" 1920x1080 screen and my intent of having a tablet is to work on pictures in photoshop. Both of them are under $200 at Amazon, which I can afford. My question is ...will a Intuos5 small or Bamboo Create (medium?) be better for my needs and why? Can you shred some light for me? Thanks!

Reply
Fabio
Jul 29th, 2013 - 07h57

Hello Kent.

If you don't need portability, the Bamboo Create is a better option. While the actual resolution is equivalent on both models, most users prefer to work on a medium sized pen tablet. Make sure to invest some time setting up the new tablet. Take a look at this guide here for a walkthrough of the most important settings.

Thank you for your comment,

Fabio

Reply
Rick
Aug 8th, 2013 - 21h43

Hi Fabio,

I teach fifth grade online and I use dual screens. I am thinking about buying a Capture so I can present and work through problems better than using a mouse to write. Is the dual screen going to be a problem with the tablet and should I be looking at the Create?

Reply
Fabio
Aug 9th, 2013 - 08h34

Hello Rick.

The Capture will be sufficient if you only want to take notes, draw and write on the screen. The larger models are necessary for applications that require higher resolution and more tablet area, like illustration and photo retouching.

Nevertheless, having a larger area can be more comfortable to work with. If you have the budget, I think the Create is worth the price difference, even for applications like yours.

Unfortunately the Bamboo tablet driver doesn't have the more advanced display mapping properties of the Intuos line. It can only the set for the full area (both displays) or only one of them. (info) There's no display switching via a hotkey, like on the Intuos.

Some users developed third party switching apps that may help you. Google for Wacom Bamboo dual monitor switch. Some examples of those apps here and here, for Windows, and here for Mac.

Please not that this only applies if you're extending the desktop are to both screens. If you only use mirroring, it acts like a single display.

Thank you for your comment,

Fabio

Reply
jale
Aug 11th, 2013 - 12h11

would it work well to use my new MacBook Pro 13" laptop, hooked up to an Apple 27" Cinema Display with resolution of 2560x1440 - with the Intuos 5 large size, also hooked up to it?

i mean, first, is the macbook display appropriate for the large size tablet? could it work properly? and either way, yes or no, would it be awkward or otherwise not functional to also use the large display 'in between' the tablet and the macbook?

would it be better to just hook it up to a new imac with a large screen? does that have a high enough resolution for the large intuos 5 ??

Thanks so much, you are such a resource.

Reply
Fabio
Aug 12th, 2013 - 09h21

Jale,

The large Intuos5 has plenty of resolution to drive both displays connected. I'm tempted to say that even the medium model is sufficient, as long as you can live with a little less precision on the cursor.

I think the large model is too big to be used on the side of the keyboard without having to bend too much to the side, while working with it. This is a deal breaker for me, so I'd choose the medium model even if it's not perfectly adequate for the huge resolution of both LCDs combined. Keep this in mind.

The problem with dual displays is that in order to keep the display proportionally mapped to the tablet, you end up not using its whole area, since two monitors have a much wider proportion than the tablet area, which is roughly 16:10.

The Intuos5 medium works wonderfully well with a single large display, like on the iMac. I'm actually using it right now with a single 30" display and a Mac Mini. The proportions map perfectly and cursor precision is excellent.

Thank you for your comment,

Fabio

Reply
maida
Aug 12th, 2013 - 06h41

is intous5 touch small is good for 14inch screen or will it b jumpy?

Reply
Fabio
Aug 12th, 2013 - 09h11

Hello Maida. It's a perfect size for a 14 inch display.

Reply
Vicente
Aug 30th, 2013 - 04h42

Hi Fabio. First of all, I have to say that you made a Really Amazing review. It's all that an upcoming designer needs to know about these tablets (like me).

But I have a little question. I'm going to buy my first Wacom because a really want to immerse myself in the design world. I've already decided that I'm going to buy a Bamboo because i'm just a noob and Intuos seem a little bit expensive and pro for me for now. I've been making some designs in illustrator and photoshop about 1 month ago, and I wish to take it as profession in the future. But I have a problem: my screen is 20,5" with a resolution of 1920x1080, and the image above explains that Bamboos are not suitable with these kind of screens...

What should I do? Do I really need to buy an Intuos5 Medium to have the best performance?

By the way, in case I have to buy a Bamboo: Which would be the best choice (regardless of cost)?

Reply
Pedro Auter
Sep 1st, 2013 - 14h30

Hi Fabio,

I really liked your post :) it was very helpful, but i still have some questions. I'm a architect student and i love to draw... I wanna buy a wacom tablet to fit those 2 things. I was thking about to buy the Intuos5 large. I use a 15 inch laptop with FullHD screen resolution, but i wanna buy the 15 inch macbook pro with retina display, and in a couple of years the 27in iMac... which intuos should i buy afterall? .-.

thanks.

Reply
Joao
Sep 5th, 2013 - 10h50

Hi, I am a mechanical engineer and I use to prepare a lot of technical sketches for my clients and subcontractor. Would you reccomend the use of Wacom Intuos for this purpose? Is it a good choice? Thanks a lot!

Reply
Waz
Sep 5th, 2013 - 18h38

Hi,

I'm looking to use a touch pad for autoCAD and floor plans,

Which touchPad would be best suited for me,

Reply
Panthon
Sep 19th, 2013 - 15h07

I wanted to make a suggestion. This is a great review, but one use you seem to have not mentioned for tablets (almost necessary) is working with 3D sculpting software, such as Zbrush. I've found that on a 24" monitor setup (dual), a large Intuos5 is just too big, as you mentioned with active area to resolution ratio.

Just wanted to mention that pressure sensitivity is even more important in 3D sculpting because you are working with depth, and that an Intuos pro is almost necessary over any other model.

Reply
Fabio
Sep 20th, 2013 - 10h59

Thank you for your feedback, Panthon. I'm sure it'll help other users.

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Dominique
Oct 2nd, 2013 - 06h25

Thank you for a detailed, clear and great review, and logical answers.

Will visit this blog often in the future.

Reply
Fabio
Oct 2nd, 2013 - 14h31

Hi Dominique. Thank you for your nice words. Make sure to check our camera recommendation tool. I've been putting a lot of effort in it. Cheers, Fabio.

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marco
Oct 7th, 2013 - 17h14

Nice and useful article, however I'm using Photoshop, a 27 inches dell screen and a small size bamboo tablet. I'm totally happy with the size of the tablet on a 27 inches screen.

The tablet isn't too bulky and I'd definitely prefer a small one over a medium or large.

Bottom line not sure about drawing, but for the photographers out there, a small bamboo tablet might be enough for your photo editing, regardless of your screen's size

Reply
Fabio
Oct 12th, 2013 - 12h43

Thank you for your feedback, Marco.

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Vivi
Nov 8th, 2013 - 15h17

Hi Fabio…I need to ditch the mouse and get a tablet as I am suffering from RSI. I work a lot with photoshop and do retouching and my screen size is 21.5 inches. From what I have read here it looks like the Intuos pen and touch small will be too small? So..what I would like to know and double check with you, will the Intuos Pen and Touch medium be okay for what I do?

Reply
Fabio
Nov 9th, 2013 - 10h36

Hello Vivi.

The small model would work for your screen size and main application, but I prefer the medium model. The larger work area makes me move more my whole arm instead of only the pulse, and this was helpful for my RSI pain. And you can always limit the work area by software to mimic a smaller tablet, if you want.

Thank you for your comment,

Fabio

Reply
Ah-kin Law
Nov 13th, 2013 - 08h49

Hi,

I need some help to make right choise, I'm Currently struggling whether or not to get Wacom Cintiq 13HD or the 22HD. Right now I own a Wacom bambo medium, to draw stuff. I'm not that great at drawing stuff (still working progess :P) it just that Wacom Cintiq feels more naturely and alot more effective to draw.

Let say I want to draw stuff like this http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-CKwg1PlPGjA/TscHJ1rSFMI/AAAAAAAAA60/mZtiPuF3twc/s1600/infamous-7-742329.jpg or

http://hdwallpaperen.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Download-Death-Note-Wallpaper.jpg or

http://pixelatedgeek.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/Starcraft-2.jpg

would Wacom Cintiq 13HD work well or the 22HD ?

A explain why and how would appreciate!!

Thanks

Ah-kin Law

Reply
Fabio
Nov 13th, 2013 - 15h38

Hello Ah-kin Law.

Your choice is more about the best display configuration for your needs than the tablet itself. Think of it this way: the Cintiq 13HD is a perfect secondary monitor while the 22HD is large enough to be used as your single display. The drawing capabilities of both models are equivalent (resolution, sensitivity, etc) and they vary mostly on screen size and overall industrial design.

I'd get the 13HD as your starter model. It's much less expensive than the 22HD and works beautifully, specially if you don't mind keeping your current display and using it for more mundane tasks, like web browsing and general computer usage.

Thank you for your comment,

Fabio

Reply
lou
Nov 14th, 2013 - 17h03

hi

i am about to buy a intous pro tablet i have a 22'' monitor 1920x1080 and will mainly use cs6 what size tablet should i buy small or medium .looking forward to hearing your comments .

many thanks lou

Reply
Fabio
Nov 15th, 2013 - 10h25

Lou,

Resolution-wise both will be fine and work well with your display. Go with the small model if you need portability, like to draw with short brush strokes or will use the tablet only for photo retouching. Otherwise the medium model is more adequate and, in my opinion, also more comfortable to use. The medium is a better all around model.

Cheers,

Fabio

Reply
Connie
Nov 20th, 2013 - 04h34

Hi Fabio - I really like how informative you are and really appreciate it.

I am about to purchase a pen tablet for the second time, I know I definitely do not want the small intuos 5, but I am currently stuck between the medium and large, and thought you could help me out.

I will be using it for all sorts of things, but mainly for designing large posters to print, t-shirt design and drawing for fun. I have a MacBook Pro (15" Retina model).

Information about display:

"2880-by-1800 native resolution at 220 pixels per inch with support for millions of colors.

Scaled resolutions: 1920 by 1200, 1680 by 1050, 1280 by 800, and 1024 by 640 pixels."

HELP ME FAB!!!

Please.

Reply
Fabio
Nov 20th, 2013 - 12h10

Hi. Connie. Thank you for the kind words.

Your MacBook has a high resolution display, retina in Apple's jargon, but those extra pixels are not used directly in a one to one grid, but instead scaled two times to allow for a higher level of detail while interface elements keep their relative size. What I mean is that your display behaves like a 1440x900 pixels LCD, but with double the density.

This means that the medium Intuos Pro has enough resolution to drive your display with great accuracy, rest assured. The large Intuos model is really, really large. It'd be a good choice if you like to draw freehand, with larger brush strokes, on software simulating natural media. For vector illustrations, the extra area is not needed, as we always zoom in and out while working.

Also, before opting for the large model, I suggest you to cut a piece of paper in the same size and try it on your desk. I find the larger tablets are difficult to use along with a keyboard and work better with a desk arrangement where they sit centralized in front of you, with the keyboard further back and in a secondary role.

Hope you enjoy your new tablet.

Cheers,

Fabio

Reply
Mya
Nov 21st, 2013 - 12h28

Hi Fabio, your blog is extremely useful, even for a complete non-techy person like me! My boyfriend's birthday is coming up and I'd like to get him a graphics tablet.

He's a Naval Architect, and I know for a fact he uses 3D software on a day to day basis - such as Rhino3D and Solidworks. Do you think the Wacom Intuous Pen and Touch (Medium) would be suitable or are there any alternatives you could recommend? I look forward to hearing from you!

Reply
Fabio
Nov 21st, 2013 - 19h21

Hi, Mya.

I think the Wacom Intuous Pen and Touch (Medium) is the best choice for a first tablet. The only caveat, though, is that 3D modeling programs rely a lot on the mouse wheel to navigate and your boyfriend may miss that. Keep this in mind.

I know for a fact that my architect sister does miss the mouse, occasionally. Nevertheless, she still prefers to work with the pen tablet even in Autocad or Solidworks due to the better ergonomics and less strain on her pulse. She also draws a lot and designs in 2D programs, and the tablet is perfect in those environments.

It is possible to map the touch gestures and tablet buttons to do everything a mouse does, plus more. All it takes is a bit of customization. It is also possible to use the tablet along with the mouse.

Cheers,

Fabio

Reply
San
Nov 23rd, 2013 - 18h03

Hello Fabio.

I would like an advice from you.

You see, I have been working with a Genius Pensketch 9x12 tablet... well, I have had a lot of problems with it but in the end I have somehow manage to use it.... I'm more a hobbyist than anything however even if its not a profession is an important part of my life and I would like to acquire a wacom... Ehh, the thing is that I'm kind of reluctant to buy a wacom intuos because my genius tablet has similar specification (1024 lvls pressure, 2000lpi, 200points/second, and an area of 22.9x30.4cm) and I would like to "upgrade" a little...

My screen is 15" (1.366 x 768px) and well.. the thing is I'm not sure which tablet (and which size) would be better... truth to be told i would prefer an intuos pro because I feel that buying an intuos would be the same as now...

Other thing I would like to ask is, how is the surface of both tablet series? :| is it true that it eats the nibs way to fast?

Reply
San
Nov 23rd, 2013 - 18h08

Oh silly me... i forgot to mention that I use the tablet for painting and drawing... so the small tablet is not that appealing...

Reply
Fabio
Nov 26th, 2013 - 18h57

San, you can't compare the tablet only based on the specs. Trust me: the Medium Intuos is worlds better than your Genius.

The budget brands, like Monoprice and Genius, are an attractive proposition if you need a large work area and are on a very tight budget. Otherwise, I wouldn't recommend them. Driver support is one of the most important aspects and Wacom has the best drivers and software support around for all operating systems. Also, Wacom models don't require batteries on the pen, have good (but not perfect) multi-touch support, optional accessories, better build quality and industrial design. I'm really a fan and they don't pay me a penny to say that.

Based on your intended usage and display size, the medium regular Intuos model would suit you fine. Keep in mind that the work area is smaller than your current Genius tablet, but I think it is perfectly sized for most uses.

If you want to invest a bit more, the Intuos Pro Medium is top notch. I have been using one for 18 months, after upgrading from an Intuos4. Actually, mine is the Intuos5, but the Pro changes just the name. It's built like a tank and I appreciate having multi-touch input. The Pro models have some interesting features for a painter. For example, it can detect pen tilt angle and offers an optional airbrush pen.

The nibs issue is overrated and was improved in the newer models. It was really bad on the old Intuos3 lineup. Unless you have a very heavy hand, nibs should last for a long time. I'm still on my first one and it's barely worn.

Thank you for your comment.

Cheers,

Fabio

Reply
San
Nov 27th, 2013 - 23h38

Thank you so much! its always nice to know the opinion of someone who has more experience.. There was a lot I didn't know

Erg.. I'm so sorry T-T but can I annoy you a little more? :|

Its that... recently I've heard.. (and read in amazon... ) that there is an issue with (old) intuos tablets and well the intuos pro about the USB connector and the USB port... something about it being quite fragile and loose... Since you have one... what do you think about it? have you had any problems? what would you recommend?

Reply
Fabio
Nov 28th, 2013 - 09h37

It can be a problem if you have to disconnect the USB cable and carry the tablet around everyday. Mine stays on the desk and never gave me any problem. By the way, all Pro models now have wireless connectivity standard and there's an inexpensive wireless kit for the regular Intuos. If you have to carry the tablet with you, wireless comes in handy and saves you from wearing the USB connector.

Cheers,

Fabio

Reply
Kristyna
Dec 1st, 2013 - 07h52

Hi Fabio, thanks a lot for this article and discussion!

Although most of people here are illustrators or graphic designers, I haven't been able to choose.

So, I'm photographer using only LR and Photoshop, I have macbook pro 13 inches with retina.

Do I need Wacom Intuos Pen&Touch M or Wacom Intuos Pro M or S??? Or something else? I don't draw long lines, but I don't want to upgrade after a while from S or pen-touch. I can afford to buy the best in this range, but I don't to spend too much illogically.. I want to buy here in EU, because the whole procedure with buying from USA is awful.

Thanks a lot!

Kristyna

Reply
Fabio
Dec 3rd, 2013 - 18h25

Hi Kristyna.

All models you listed would work well on your display. Please see my explanation about the Retina display a few comments above. Even though the LCD resolution is really high (2880 pixels), the actual work area is half of it (1440 pixels equivalent), so the medium tablets or even the small Intuos Pro have plenty of resolution for precise work. Photo retouching is also less demanding on the work area size since we always zoom in and out while working.

If you need carry the tablet around, the small Intuos Pro would be a good choice. If not, I'd opt for the medium models as they're more flexible, would work much better with multiple displays and feel more comfortable to use. You can save a few quid by going for the regular Intuos, but the Pro model is worth the difference and should last you for a long time.

I think you can order them directly from Wacom for a good price. My previous Intuos 4 was bought directly from them when I was in Italy.

Cheers,

Fabio

Reply
Annelijn
Dec 3rd, 2013 - 12h30

Thanks for your review, very helpful indeed.

I have a question; I want to give my girlfriend the most awesome Christmas gift ever.. She studies Industrial Product Design and she uses the programme Solid Works a lot. So she also need to sketch a lot. I just can't make up my mind whether to buy her a Intuos Pen & Touch or the Wacom Inkling.

It's not for school use only, also for home/fun use, but it would be great if she can use it for school too.

I saw that the Inkling doesn't get very good reviews, because the accuracy is not always very good. But the sketching in layers is very handy.

Which one would you recommend? Do you know if both products are compatible with SolidWorks or other Designer programmes? (I don't know if it's completely relevant, because I don't know the programme that well and ofcourse I don't want to ask my girlfriend too many questions about it....)

Thanks in advance for your help.

Annelijn

Reply
Fabio
Dec 3rd, 2013 - 18h34

Annelijn,

The Inkling doesn't work well. I has a +/-2.5mm accuracy at centre & 5mm at the edges. It'd work for rough sketches, but never for precision work, much less CAD drawing, like your girlfriend does.

I recommend you to buy an Intuos Medium model (CTH 680), that costs around US$ 190. This model is very versatile, has a comfortable size and can handle a variety of configurations. It's also compatible with all operating systems and can be configured to work in any program. I'm sure she'll love it.

There's a cheaper small model, but the work area is too small for precision work, unless she uses a small display. Please take a look at the resolution chart in the article. I'd recommend you to spend a little more and invest on the medium model, if possible.

Cheers,

Fabio

Reply
Annelijn
Dec 5th, 2013 - 08h17

Dear Fabio,

Thank you so much for your advise!

The price of the Medium version is a bit above my budget, but I'm going to think it over.. After all, it's better to invest in the long term use. :)

Do you mean with display, the display of her laptop? She has a wide screen laptop display, so the Medium would be better I guess...

If I still decide to buy the Small instead of the Medium, is the Small version compatible with the same programmes as the Medium version?

Kind regards,

Annelijn

Reply
Fabio
Dec 5th, 2013 - 09h06

The software driver is the same for all sizes and they work the same way in the programs. The main difference is that the medium model can handle larger displays and feels more comfortable to use.

Reply
Annelijn
Dec 5th, 2013 - 14h29

Hm, her screen is 15,6 inches, not so wide as that I thought haha.

Maybe the Intuos Small is better after all?

Kind regards,

Annelijn Weerman

Reply
Fabio
Dec 7th, 2013 - 09h44

I think it works, Annelijn.

Reply
Annelijn
Dec 9th, 2013 - 15h51

Hi, sorry to bother you again.

Her laptops' resolution is 15.6" HD (1366*768) LED, non-glare.

Is small size also ok? (Medium is really over my budget :( )

kind regards,

Annelijn

Reply
Fabio
Dec 10th, 2013 - 09h55

Yes, it is. Please take a look at the resolution chart on the article.

Reply
Musterion
Dec 16th, 2013 - 18h20

Hello Fabio,

Hope you can respond to this one! :)

I’m a Intous 4 Large user have been for few years now and I’ve made a mistake since this is my first tablet I’ve bought large thinking that it’s going to be better :) sadly that wasn’t the case.

Thing is that I use iMac 27inch with 2560x1440 and this large intous doesn’t really works great at least for me to have it mapped to the whole area so I’ve mapped a 1/4 Portion of the whole tablet and that’s how I found that way it works better for me feels more natural otherwise if I leave it to the default tablet area it’s just to slow even for that big resolution and I’ve get tired easily when doing quick stroke with the hand.

Also I don’t use the eraser and the buttons on the tablet because I manage everything from they keyboard.

Here is a screenshot of how is my tablet mapped somewhat an intous Small tablet.

http://oi41.tinypic.com/2h37gw1.jpg

http://oi44.tinypic.com/16736ew.jpg

This is where my confusion comes and it’s not an issue regarding money I just want something that fits my workflow at the moment and I’ve found that the Intous CHT480 fits for what I need but I have 2 questions about this tablet if it's going to work for me because I don’t know how much difference they make.

Difference Between Intous pro and Intous Pen & Touch

Intous Pen & Touch

Accuracy pen 0.5 mm

Input Resolution: 2540 lpi

Pressure Levels: 1024 Pen Level

Intous Pro

Accuracy pen 0.25 mm

Pressure levels 2048

Resolution 5080 lpi

As I said it’s not money in question here it’s that I don’t want to buy a product that I won’t use 80% of his features and that will take more room because of the plastic from the sides.

Would I feel big difference with that pressure levels and the resolution?

Reply
Fabio
Dec 17th, 2013 - 10h05

You won't feel much difference on the pressure levels. 1024 is really fine grained and works well. The resolution difference means that a larger tablet will have the same precision as a smaller one with higher resolution.

For your display size and resolution, you're the perfect candidate, on paper, for a medium Intuos Pro. This is what I use myself with a Dell 30" with a little more resolution than your iMac.

I wouldn't recommend the CHT 480, which is the small regular Intuos. It has 2540 lpi resolution, half of you current tablet, so it won't have nearly the same accuracy as your Intuos 4 mapped with the same area. It is really small for your display size.

But if you feel comfortable with working on a smaller area and have already tested it thoroughly by mapping your tablet this way, you can buy a small Intuos Pro or medium regular Intuos without much worry. Both will give you roughly the same accuracy, while having difference work area sizes.

Intuos Pro small PTH-451

Active area: 157 mm x 98 mm (6.2 x 3.9 in)

Resolution: 5080 lpi

Total active points: 122.834 (lpi x area)

Intuos Medium CTH 680

Active area: 216 x 135 mm (8.5 x 5.3 in)

Resolution: 2540 lpi

Total active points: 114.427 (lpi x area)

Reply
Ramon
Dec 26th, 2013 - 02h45

Hi Fabio,

I'm planning to get the Intuos Pro Medium. However, I'm second thoughts after reading some reviews saying that the USB Port that becomes loose over time. They mentioned that this problem has plagued even the Intuos 5 and Intuos 4. Are these isolated case or is it really a design issue?

Reply
Fabio
Dec 27th, 2013 - 12h07

Hi Ramon.

I think this is an issue only for users who need to constantly unplug and carry their tablets around. In fact, this holds true for all mini or micro USB connected devices. I've never had any problems both with my Intuos 4 and 5 models. In any case, the new Pro models now come standard with Bluetooth, so you can use them wireless.

Thank you for your comment,

Fabio

Reply
Ramon
Jan 3rd, 2014 - 12h21

Thank you for the response, Fabio. I took the plunge and was able to get a good deal from our local distributor for the Intuos Pro Medium. I have no plans of constantly unplugging it since I'm using it the my desktop. Although I don't see myself using the wireless kit yet, it's nice to know that I have that option. Eventually, I'll be using the touch feature more than the mouse.

I'm using it with Paint Tool SAI and Photoshop and I'm loving it! The ring function is really handy when I rotate the canvass while sketching. The advice you posted here especially the one on matching the monitor with tablet size was right on.

Thank you, Fabio. :-)

Reply
Reetesh
Jan 1st, 2014 - 09h38

Hey Fabio

The article was very helpful. Well, I am a Fashion Designer cum Illustrator & planning to buy a Graphic tablet for "Art, Sketch, Painting and photo retouch" & even for textile purpose (Creating motif, prints and manipulation) etc. I am thinking of making my Concepts more professional & commercial. I have done quite research about the graphic tablets & I am sure I will be buying Wacom brand's only, I have a budget of 10,000/- Rupee to 12,000/- rupee for the 1st time Investment.

As per now I will be using a tablet on my 14" sceern Laptop, with a Windows 7 SP1 configuration.

But Here I am a little bit confused as per my need I found "Intuos CTH 680"

Which can be useful for me as it has softwares adobe photoshop elements & Corel painter etc. Which I will be using, but it cost about 17 K+ here in India. So, please guide me a bit that, If Intuos CTH 480 will be good for me or not, As this is my 1st chance I am jumping into Graphic tablet, though I am very familiar with Adobe Photoshop, Corel draw & Other CAD softwares. So, Please Guide which will be more beneficial for me between above two models or You think I should go for Intuos pro version if I can extend my budget.

One more thing will wacom tablet also works for other softwares like Adobe Illustrator, InDesign etc. Which is Installed on laptop beside the Wacom Software bundle?

Reply ASAP, and warm wishes for Happy New Year 2014.

Thank you in Advance.

Reply
Fabio
Jan 1st, 2014 - 13h16

Hello, Reetesh. Happy New Year.

I don't know the actual screen resolution of your laptop, but generally speaking the medium Intuos model CTH 680 is a terrific value and can handle large displays with great accuracy. But unfortunately it's out of your budget.

If your display has less than 1600px on its longest size, the small Intuos CTH 480 model will work very well. If it's a little larger, up to 1920px, you can still use it, but the cursor will be a little less precise. You can always zoom in and work on smaller areas of your artwork at a time to have better accuracy. I think you'll be fine with the small model.

Cheers,

Fabio

Reply
Reetesh
Jan 1st, 2014 - 15h54

Thank you :) fabio for your guidance.

Reply
Dean
Jan 4th, 2014 - 19h52

I'm currently practicing my Photoshop editing with a borrowed Bamboo Fun (small) tablet. I find that in starting a selection or locating a point I want to start on, the cursor is jittery and I have a hard time "hitting the target". Also with drawing a selection with the lasso tool, the line wanders. One thing I think would help me would be a heavier pen (weight wise). Does Wacom make a heavier pen that I could purchase?

Secondly, the surface of the Bamboo tablet is very slippery and it’s hard to keep the point on track when I’m trying to brush against an edge or as mentioned above, trace a selection with the lasso tool. One last question: It would help if I could bring the nib in contact with the active surface area and keep the pen from starting an action until I was at the point I wanted to start at (keyboard shortcut?). I found that hovering over a point and trying to bring the pen down on an exact point to be hit or miss.

As mentioned, the Bamboo is not my tablet and I will eventually (if my experience is positive) purchase my own Wacom tablet. I currently use a 19” monitor and will eventually move to a 24” or possibly dual screen configuration.

Thanks much, Dean

Reply
Skye
Jan 10th, 2014 - 06h51

Hi, I am a professional photographer who is looking to upgrade my table. I'm currently using 15" macbook pro and 27" imac. I would love to get the intuos pro medium but the price is lil out of my range. Do you think pro model is really worth the extra money? or just the intuos medium should be ok in my line of work as a photographer? Thanks!! Happy 2014!

Reply
lillo
Jan 29th, 2014 - 09h02

Hi,

for post production of photos (I'm an amateur) and a monitor 24" which size is better of intuos pro small o medium?

thanks

Reply
Dilasha Jain
Feb 6th, 2014 - 10h30

Thank You ! This review helped me to take my Final Decision on buying 'Wacom Intuos Pro Medium (PTH-651 model)' :D

Reply
Patrik
Feb 9th, 2014 - 13h14

Hi! thanks for the review!

Unfortunately I still have a problem deciding wich tablet to buy, maby someone could help me? Since I have a very limited budget I won't afford anything more expensive then the Wacom Intuos Pen & Touch Medium (CTH680) or the intious pro (Small).

So I am wondering which tablet that would suit my needs the best: A smaller area but probably better tablet (intious pro small) or a larger area but maby less good tablet ( the intious pen and touch medium). I have had a tablet with another brand before but it sucked, therefor I am going Wacom.

I work on a 13 inch laptop. I use photoshop, illustrator, after effects, toonboom and I am planning to do a lot of animations.

Thank you in advance!

/Patrik

Reply
Fabio
Feb 10th, 2014 - 09h22

Patrik,

I'd buy the medium regular Wacom Intuos Pen & Touch Medium (CTH680). I find the larger area is more comfortable to use than a small Intuos Pro and it has plenty of resolution to handle larger displays that your 13 inch laptop.

Cheers,

Fabio

Reply
patrik
Feb 10th, 2014 - 13h25

Okej! Thanks a lot Fabio!

I will go for the Intious pen and touch Medium!

Reply
apeface
Sep 22nd, 2014 - 19h05

Hey Patrik! I'm in the exact same situation as you were with the 13 inch laptop and having to decide between Intuous Pen and Touch/Pro and small/medium for animations!!

How did it go? Are you pleased with the one you bought? ANY POINTERS??? Thanks :D:D

Reply
Emma
Feb 20th, 2014 - 19h04

Hi Fabio,

Apologies if this is an obvious question,

I am looking to transfer information as vectors from large scale paper work ( garment patterns, think A1 or larger ) straight into illustrator.

I'm looking for a pen that will transfer the information at the exact scale into the computer. I'm using a macbook pro 15'. I used one a long time ago so I know they exist.

It would be nice to use it for other aspects of drawing and perhaps as a mouse. Transferring the garment pattern information is my main concern though. Do Wacom offer anything that works like that on paper?

Your advice would be greatly appreciated!

Emma

Reply
Fabio
Feb 21st, 2014 - 06h32

Hi Emma.

You can use any Wacom pen tablet for tracing. Just place the artwork on top of it with a clear and thin plastic overlay. The pen tracks just fine up to a couple of millimeters above the tablet surface.

The scale is going to be a problem, though. You'd have to work in small pieces and then stitch them together in Illustrator. Also, in my opinion, tracing in Illustrator works much better if you create clean lines with the pen tool, instead of relying on the free drawing tools, like pencil and paintbrush, which create very cluttered lines.

I think the best approach would be to photograph your artwork in high resolution, taking care with the camera positioning to not bring in any distortion. Place this image in illustrator in a separate layer and trace it using the pen tool, with the cleanest lines possible. In any case, a Wacom tablet is my preferred input device and I spend a lot of time using it in Illustrator. Beats a mouse by miles.

Thank you for your comment,

Fabio

Reply
Rocky DeHart
Feb 21st, 2014 - 16h33

Hey Fabio,

Thanks for such a detailed article. I have one question about the tilt support, is it useful/noticable? I'm leaning towards the Intuos Pen & Touch, but I've never used a drawing tablet before and I don't know how useful the tilt support is on the Pro version. I'll be using the tablet for drawing sprites for a 2d video game.

Reply
Fabio
Feb 22nd, 2014 - 09h53

Hi Rocky.

There are three settings for tilt on Wacom's control panel: normal, medium and high. In Photoshop, for example, you can assign the pen tilt to various brush dynamics: angle, roundness and size. The difference is very noticeable.

Thank you for your comment,

Fabio

Reply
David J. Cain
Feb 24th, 2014 - 13h55

Hi Fabio

Thanks for the review and continued patience in answering everyone's questions. Above, I could only find an approximation to my setup. Hence my question. I've got two 27" monitors (iMac & Cinema Display). I am primarily a video editor but over the past few years am spending more time with other Adobe apps, intergating motion graphics into my video work.

I'm a hardcore mouser. Never used a tablet. I see you're advocating the medium Intuos Pro, but am wondering if it will be sufficient for both my monitors. You seem to suggest that it would, but find your answer more an educated guess than direct experience. Correct? Therefore, I'm still leaning toward the large. Also I'm a lefty so think I could get away with continued use of my full-size Apple keyboard, given that the Intuos would be to the left of it.

Thanks in advance for any input.

David

Reply
Fabio
Feb 26th, 2014 - 10h26

Hello David.

I've never used my medium Intuos Pro with two large displays, at most with a 30" main screen and a smaller 20" secondary LCD. It worked well, but the cursor was a little too fast for my taste. With multiple displays you have to map the tablet surface proportionally and end up loosing some active area and, consequently, resolution.

I'm sure the large model will work fine, as you expect. It has plenty resolution for both 27" displays. Placing it on the keyboard left side will definitely help with the seating position. This is your safe bet.

Would the medium work? I devised a small test here to help you with this question. I mapped my tablet to use only a small part of its surface, equivalent of a single display in a dual 27" LCD setup, and used it for a few hours with various tasks: web browsing, some Lightroom photo editing and designing a small poster in Illustrator.

And the results are... It works! Again, the cursor feels a little too fast and is noticeably less precise than with a single display, but I never felt any difficulty with precise selections. It just felt less comfortable and natural.

If your secondary display is used mostly for previewing your work, you can also map the full tablet surface to a single display and set up a hotkey to toggle between displays. It works well, but you won't be able to drag things from one screen to another in a single swipe. In this case, the medium model would work fine.

Hope this helps in your decision. In any case, post some feedback here after some weeks of using your new Intuos. This is the most asked question and I'm sure you'll help other new pen tablet users.

Cheers,

Fabio

Reply
hemant
Mar 20th, 2014 - 14h37

your review is the best sir, i am just about to buy a tablet for home digital painting as a hobby,your review solved many of my doubts

Reply
L Cav
Mar 26th, 2014 - 22h19

Tried intuos pro large and didn't like the disconnect b/w hand/eye. Would Cintiq Hybrid be ok (linked to 27" display)? Is supposed to be same work area as intuos pro large... 13HD just seems small and no touch and Hybrid same size but has touch (I think). just can't see drawing on 13" for larger projects, but maybe ok to start with. Or should i just bite bullet and go for 24HD touch? taking classes; mostly photoshop/digital art, so like the larger size to draw on but it's lots of $$$ and I'm no pro (yet) just putting together portfolio.

Reply
Fabio
Apr 9th, 2014 - 11h43

Hello. First of all, my apologies for not replying sooner. My son was born a couple of weeks ago and I took a few days off to take care of things at home. ;)

I think the Cintiq Hybrid is an interesting product, specially on the pen tablet side. I'm not so thrilled by the Android tablet due to the lack of good drawing apps on that platform. On the other hand, the extra $600 over the Cintiq 13HD gives you the ability to use it untethered on classes and also multi-touch input, which I find very handy on both Windows 8 and OS X.

Don't be disappointed by the size. It has a full HD 1920x1080 pixels screen and that's a lot of real state. Also, you can always zoom in and out while working on your artwork, making the best use possible of your screen.

Looking at your requirements and budget, I wouldn't recommend a larger tablet. You can always work on your hand to eye coordination and use the Hybrid only as an input device for your larger LCD, if you want to work on a larger canvas. It is easy to map a shortcut to toggle the input between the Cintiq and the main LCD.

I'd love to hear your thoughts after buying the Cintiq. Keep us posted!

Cheers,

Fabio

Reply
Roman
Apr 3rd, 2014 - 15h40

Hi Fabio, thanks fore this great article. You covered ALL questions which I had on my mind. It would have saved me hours of research for my decision if I would have read your article at the beginning of my research. I have decided for a Intuos Pro Medium. Thanks again. Great article! Roman

Reply
Fabio
Apr 9th, 2014 - 11h44

Thank you for your kind words, Roman. I'm happy that this review helped you.

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Stephen S
Apr 5th, 2014 - 02h08

Looking to get a pen/tablet for editing photos in Lightroom 5 and Adobe Elements 12, also general web browsing, etc. Heard its best to go with the smaller tablet to reduce carpel tunnel/hand straing and not have to move too much. Which do you suggest? the Intuos Pro? thanks for your help

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Fabio
Apr 9th, 2014 - 11h51

Hi Stephen.

I started using Wacom tablets more than 15 years ago precisely because of a chronic carpal tunnel pain. Nothing helped: exercises, stretching, anti-inflammatory drugs, chondroitin + glucosamine, etc. It really saved me and I've never used a mouse since.

My first tablet was a small model and it worked wonders. After a few years I moved to medium sized tablets, first a Graphire and then Intuos 4 and 5 models.

I know this may sound contradictory to the common sense, but my feeling is that the larger models give me less strain on the pulse than the smaller ones. I tend to move more the hand / wrist when using a smaller tablet, while the medium ones force me to move the whole arm, without twisting the wrist as much.

This is very specific to each user, so ideally you should try both models to see which one is more comfortable for you. The medium size is always a safe bet since you can map the tablet surface to use a smaller area, if you want.

Keep us posted on your experiences. Hope the tablet helps with your pain.

Fabio

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Gorkem
Jun 4th, 2014 - 11h47

Thank you for the review. My screen resolution is 1366 x 768 so i should buy small size? (for intuos pro)

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Fabio
Jun 4th, 2014 - 13h48

Hello. For your screen resolution, the small size will work just fine. Opt for the medium version if you like to work with more hand movement, or prefer the small one if portability is important. Either is fine.

Thank you for your comment,

Fabio

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Marianna
Jun 10th, 2014 - 19h15

Hello! That's a very helpful article! I'd like an advice from you, if possible...I think I'm going to buy a new tablet, I currently use a Wacom Create Pen and Touch (CTH-670), I bought it back in 2010 and it served me very well so far, however it's not working properly anymore, the pen's not clicking well, so I decided to buy a new one...Which one would you recommend out of the current Wacom tablets? I'd like to buy the one which would work out most similar to the Bamboo Create Pen and Touch...Thank you!

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Fabio
Jun 10th, 2014 - 20h29

Hello Marianna.

The Bamboo Create successor is the Wacom Intuos Pen & Touch Medium (CTH-680 model). This is the one I recommend you and most users.

In any case, if your tablet is still in good condition, you can try buying only a new pen. Wacom sells replacement pens for your model. It costs about $28.. All Wacom pens are very fragile. They have two small wire coils with ferrite tubes that break easily when the pen is dropped. I've gone through several pens for all my tablets.

Thank you for dropping by,

Fabio

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Marianna
Jun 10th, 2014 - 23h45

Thank you very much for your help and advice! My tablet's still in good condition, so I'll probably try buying a new pen too!

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Joana
Jun 11th, 2014 - 12h46

Hello Fabio. First of all thanks a lot for the article, it really helped. I'm na architect and I'm interested in buying a pen/tablet to work on Photoshop to give my digital drawings some accentuation or to write things, make notes, etc. After Reading all the article and the comments I a little torned between the Bamboo Create and the Intuos Pen and Touch Medium Tablet (I work on two LCD side by side, one 24' and the other 19'). Since I'm not na illustrator or want a oustanding quality I think that this two are enough for the job. Can you tell me please if there is a pen/tablet more fit to my needs (or even cheaper)? I'd appreciate a lot. Thanks again.

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Joana
Jun 11th, 2014 - 12h47

Nevermind the errors, the keyboard at my job are insane - literally!

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Fabio
Jun 16th, 2014 - 16h19

Hi, Joana.

The Intuos Pen and Touch Medium Tablet looks like a good option for you, even with dual screens. The Bamboo is the older and now discontinued lineup. If you can find a medium-sized Create Pen and Touch (CTH670) for a great price, it may be worth it, but it seems to me the new Intuos regular model (CTH680) costs about the same.

Thank you for your comment,

Fabio

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Karin
Jul 12th, 2014 - 06h00

Hi,

This may seem like a stupid question but Im going to ask anyway....My son just bought the intuous pro and I was just wondering can he do 2D or 3D animation using this product?

Regards,

Karin

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Fabio
Jul 12th, 2014 - 13h45

Hi Karin.

Sure! He'll be able to use the pen tablet to draw and also to interact with the animation program's interface with much more ease. It's a great tool for someone learning animation and motion design and he'll find that most professionals in this field use a Wacom tablet daily.

Thank you for your comment,

Fabio

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Jack
Jul 27th, 2014 - 17h32

From the article: "Think about controlling a first person shooter with a pen. It definitely makes little sense."

Oh, how my defeated enemies in the arenas of Quake & caverns of Descent would disagree. In the right hands, a Wacom stylus is a hybrid of scalpel & shotgun!

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Mikki
Jul 31st, 2014 - 16h39

I was wondering what the best tablet is for me? I know the Bamboo series is good for drawing anime, but I was looking for something that could do Animation as well as draw anime. Something not too heavy, portable, and also has a screen on it so I can draw anywhere I want without always connecting to my laptop.

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Fabio
Jul 31st, 2014 - 20h44

Mikki, this is the perfect user case for a tablet with a good pressure sensitive stylus. Take a look at Wacom's Cintiq Companion line and also at the new Surface Pro 3 tablet, from Microsoft.

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jackie
Aug 5th, 2014 - 09h24

I am buying Wacom tablet and I do not know how exactly to use it. I draw on sketchbooks and this probably will be my first time using graphic tablet.

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Fabio Pili
Aug 25th, 2014 - 17h43

Hello Jackie.

If you have the budget, get an Intuos Pen & Touch Medium CTH 680 model. It costs around $180 in the USA and is a very versatile product, that can be used with a wide range of display sizes and is very well made. I'm sure you'll love it.

Cheers,

Fabio

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Hema
Aug 9th, 2014 - 23h40

Hi, I am interested in Photo retouching. Still no idea what tablet to buy. I can afford Bamboo (small) tab for the time being. Is manga tab also good for retouching? Much appreciated if you advise me.

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Fabio Pili
Aug 25th, 2014 - 17h41

Hema,

The Bamboo Small is more geared towards office tasks and handwriting recognition. I'd recommend you to invest a little more and get a medium sized model, like the Intuos Medium CTH-680 or the previous Bamboo Create CTH 670. Take a look at the used market. This model sells for $70 to $90 on eBay USA.

Thank you for your comment,

Fabio

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andrea
Aug 12th, 2014 - 15h45

Hi, i'm an architect and i'm extremely interested on these items... I am looking forward to a tablet to sketch and use photoshop. I'm between intous pro, pend and touch and the intous 5. Advise? thanks ;)

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Fabio Pili
Aug 25th, 2014 - 17h36

Hello Andrea,

The Intuos Pro replaces the Intuos 5 models and the Bamboo is now called Intuos.

The regular Intuos pro, medium size, is a very versatile tablet and would suit most users well. Pay attention to your screen size when choosing. Take a look at the tablet size vs. screen resolution table above to decide.

I love the Pro model. It comes with wireless connectivity standard and has more programmable buttons, which is great for macro and shortcut maniacs like myself. :)

Cheers,

Fabio

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Rueben
Aug 14th, 2014 - 08h40

Thank you for the info which surprisingly is no where on the WACOM site. It is hard enough going through each tablets specs to notice the minute differences ... this post is a life saver. Excellent !!

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Felix
Aug 14th, 2014 - 09h51

Hello, nice review and extremely helpful info about the Wacom tablets. I am interested in investing in such a tool, but with the advent of the HiDPI displays i wonder if the size recommendations are still valid for the future. For example an Apple MacBook Pro 15" Retina would have a native resolution of 2880x1800dpi, but the workspace corresponds to a 1440x900dpi equivalent. Would an Intuos Pro Small still be adequate in such a case?

Thanks.

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Fabio Pili
Aug 25th, 2014 - 17h33

Hello Felix,

Retina MacBooks have two times the resolution in each dimension, which means four times the number of pixels, but those extra pixels are not used directly in a one to one grid, but instead scaled two times to allow for a higher level of detail while interface elements keep their relative size. In practice, a 15" Retina MacBook Pro behaves like a 1440 x 900 pixels screen, but with double the density, like you said.

This means that the Intuos Pro Small has enough resolution to drive a 15" high resolution display with good accuracy, rest assured. In any case, the Medium Pro model is a better purchase, unless you need the most portability. The extra area would allow you to use an secondary external display with better performance or upgrade to a larger screen laptop in the future. Keep in mind that a Wacom tablet typically lasts longer that one computer generation for most users.

Cheers,

Fabio

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jjoleigh
Aug 16th, 2014 - 11h28

I am having difficulty in deciding on a intuos pro medium or a large. I am a fine artist that does photoshop, illustrator and animation both 2d and 3d. I work from my home in my own graphic design business and I can't seem to find any place where I can try out these 2 models to make a decision. Does anyone have any suggestions? I do have to use a keyboard every once in awhile. I have dual 27" monitors that I love. Because the monitors sit on my desk I dont really have too much space, but I dont know how much space is needed for the large.

Thanks

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jjoleigh
Aug 16th, 2014 - 11h34

Oh Fabio I just scrolled up and happen to see where you told someone to cut out a piece of paper the size of the tablet and see if it fits. Simple and genius! I will try that. Is there anything else I need to account for? I'm trying to buy the right tablet on the first go around and not be disappointed that I didn't get the large

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Felix
Aug 17th, 2014 - 14h00

hy jjoleigh,

i researched myself the optimal size for multi display setup. if you have 2560px wide monitors i think the only option to be able to control simultaneous the displays and to have precision is the huge intuos 4 xl dtp. but that model is beyond huge on the desk and the best bet is still the intuos pro medium, but controlling one display at the time. and as been suggested on this site to configure a shortcut to switch from one display to another.

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Fabio Pili
Aug 25th, 2014 - 17h24

Hi jjoleigh.

The paper mockup trick is perfect to find out the best tablet size for your desk and sitting position. In fact, maybe I should offer pre-made mockups for download on this article. I'll try and do it soon.

Dual 27" screens represent a very large work area, specially if you need very fine cursor precision, like in illustration work. Since you don't use your keyboard all the time, I think you may be a good fit for an Intuos Pro Large model, centered with your displays and desk and with a small wireless keyboard behind it, like the Apple Wireless Keyboard or Logitech K810 suggested in the article.

Alternatively, you can buy the Intuos Pro Medium model and assign its full area to a single display at a time, programming one of the ExpressKeys to switch it between displays. It's a trick that works well and gives you the full tablet area for each display. But consider it makes a pain to drag anything from one screen to the other.

Thank you for your comment,

Fabio

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Nicola
Aug 19th, 2014 - 17h23

Dear Fabio

First of all, thanks for existing! I really love people who invest their time to provide information which helps other people to save a lot of time! This world would suck without guys like you and I hope to make something similar about a topic where I have special knowledge to share some day.

But let's talk business!

I'm facing a difficult decision: for a long time I was sure the intuos medium would be the right choice, but after reading tons of reviews and considering the small difference in pricing to the Pro-models, I finally decided to go with the intous Pro. Here comes my problem: which size should I choose? According to your "size-chart" the small version would be best (green) for my 13'' Macbook Pro. But as I am currently thinking about buying the 15'' model and also use it with a 21'' Mac, I guess the Medium version is worth the money (and upgrading from smaller version would also be expensive). Now my question: on your chart you marked the interaction between Medium size and 13'' screens with orange (probably worse than green), so how bad is it really? Do you support my idea to go with Medium and use it with my small screen until I get a larger one? Do you have similar experience?

Greetings from Switzerland

Nicola

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Fabio Pili
Aug 25th, 2014 - 17h15

Dear Nicola,

Thank you for your kind words. I'm happy to help.

Regarding your decision, I'm sure the small extra for the pro model is well worth it. That's the model I use personally and I'd not trade the extra resolution, better finish, tilt recognition and programmable buttons for the money, specially considering that a Wacom tablet lasts for years.

The Intuos Pro Medium model is marked in orange in the resolution vs. tablet chart size because it can be a little large for 13" laptop users. In practice, this means that you'd have to move your hand a little too much for the resulting cursor movement, making it feel slow.

Keep in mind that I'm nitpicking here. Our brain has an amazing capability to adapt and this slow feeling may vanish after a few hours of work, or even never be felt.

Consider also that it's always possible to map the tablet to use a smaller portion of its area. This means that you can use the medium model with an area equivalent to the small one, but the reverse is not true, obviously.

All and all, the medium Wacom tablets, specially the Pro lineup, are usually the best, most versatile and future-proof purchases. Go for it.

Cheers from Brazil,

Fabio Pili

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miss malik
Aug 25th, 2014 - 14h27

hey,

I am an architect and own a 13.3" macbbok pro( Os X 10.6.8). I mostly use photoshop to design posters. And will be using illustrator in the future. I basically need a tablet that's convenient for both architetural and graphical work..What should I get? bamboo or intuos series? Ana specifically which model? I just want a nice portable tablet that speeds up my work and is smooth to use.

will get them from dxb so please recommend a model that is available in that region. Thanks

Reply
Fabio
Aug 25th, 2014 - 17h06

Hello Malik.

Your laptop screen is not overly big, so you can get by with the smaller tablets, specially if portability is important, like you said. Choose between the Intuos small (Bamboo successor) and Intuos Pro small. The Pro model has better resolution and more customizable buttons. It also comes with wireless connectivity standard, which is comes in handy for laptop users. If you have the extra budget, this is the model I'd recommend you to buy.

Best,

Fabio

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Neish
Sep 3rd, 2014 - 19h53

Thanks for the information you have provided about the tablets it has been really interesting and informative. What I need to know is which one is best for tracing. I'm a surface designer and tend to draw my images and then scan them on to my laptop and work them on PS or AI but i've been told that there are tablets that can allow you to trace on the tablet straight on to laptop. Which range is it?

Thanks in advance

Neish

Reply
Fabio
Sep 4th, 2014 - 10h00

Hello Neish.

You can use any Wacom pen tablet for tracing. Just place the artwork on top of it with a clear and thin plastic overlay. The pen tracks just fine up to a couple of millimeters above the tablet surface.

The big question is which size to choose. If you go for a large size Intuos Pro, you'd be able to trace bigger artwork at a time. On a smaller tablet, you'd have to trace smaller parts and stitch them together in Photoshop or Illustrator.

Thank you for your comment,

Fabio

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Neish
Sep 11th, 2014 - 07h30

Thanks for that Fabio, you just made my search so much easier! You're awesome. Thanks again,

Neish

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Neish
Sep 11th, 2014 - 07h40

Hi Fabio again, is it only the intuos pro that traces, or does the intuos (non pro) medium do the same?

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Fabio
Sep 11th, 2014 - 09h47

Hello Neish. Both can be used for tracing with the same technique: placing the artwork with a clear overlay on top of the tablet. Thank you for your comment. Cheers, Fabio.

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Karan
Sep 12th, 2014 - 10h45

Thanks for writing, sharing and updating this guide as well as kindly replying to its ongoing inquiries. I couldn't have chosen the right tablet without it and can't appreciate your time and efforts enough.

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Neil
Sep 16th, 2014 - 09h50

Thanx for sharing. God Bless

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rhonda
Oct 1st, 2014 - 03h20

I have a child who has difficulties with writing, I am looking at getting a Wacom Intuos Creative and a software programme of some sort that hopefully will encourage him to write and draw and incorporate his digital photos. Any suggestions about the Wacom product that would be useful and software

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Fabio
Oct 31st, 2014 - 18h35

Hello Rhonda.

Do you mean the Wacom Creative Stylus 2 than can be used with iPads? If so, this is my recommendation: get an iPad stylus, not necessarily the Wacom model.

I'd avoid buying an actual Wacom tablet since the pen used is very sensitive to drops and wouldn't last long, depending on your kid's age and abilities. Using a pen tablet also requires you to develop a good level of hand-eye coordination and it might be harder for children. Opening files, dealing with programs and all that stuff can also be frustrating.

Using a tablet and a capacitive stylus, on the other hand, is a much more manageable and user friendly environment. The only con I can see is the price. The Wacom Creative Stylus 2, at $79, it's a relatively expensive purchase. Keep in mind that this stylus is considered the best on the marked and focuses more on artists and creative media professionals that require features like pressure sensitivity.

I'd like to suggest you some less expensive alternatives. They all will allow you to sketch and handwrite over pictures. There are two main categories of styluses for the iPad: simple capacitive and bluetooth equipped. The former are very inexpensive and super durable, but they have little precision since all they do is to emulate a finger on the screen. The bluetooth models require batteries, but offer pressure sensitivity (stroke weight varies with the pen pressure) and also palm rejection, which means you can rest your palm on the screen while drawing and it won't register a trace.

A good simple capacitive stylus is the AmazonBasics Capacitive Stylus for Touchscreen Devices, costing about $10. It's so inexpensive that you can buy one just for trying.

On the bluetooth side, the answer is not so simple. I've done some research for you and most models are plagued by incompatibilities or very restricted app support. This includes the $99 Wacom Creative Stylus 2, unfortunately.

I've never used any iPad apps for drawing, but take a look at the free Bamboo Paper app, by Wacom, or the Art Set app by LOFOPI.

My suggestion is to buy Amazon's inexpensive capacitive stylus and give it a go. If you ever opt to upgrade to a bluetooth stylus, make sure to check app compatibility and read user reviews at Amazon. iPads weren't designed from

start with pen support in mind and all these products feel like a hack, to me. It might be better to look into an Android tablet with pen, like the Samsung Galaxy Note, or even a Windows 8 tablet, like the Surface.

By the way, I love your use case for the stylus. Great idea.

Hope this helps.

Cheers,

Fabio

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Geraldo Moraes
Oct 5th, 2014 - 21h01

I want to buy my thirst tablet to use in PS to edit photografies (cut, blend). What is your suggestion Intuos Medium or Intuos Pro Small ? My monitor is 21' and 1920px.

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Fabio
Oct 31st, 2014 - 18h43

Hello Geraldo.

You're comparing a smaller pen tablet with a higher resolution versus a larger one with lower resolution. In practice, both will handle your display just fine. You should decide based on the features of each model and also on how large is your working area.

Do you need any of the features exclusive to the Intuos, like tilt support, built-in wireless and more customizable buttons?

I prefer to work on a medium tablet, like the regular Intuos Medium. I think it's more comfortable to work with than a smaller model and I feel better using larger movements with the whole hand than moving mainly the wrist, as with small pen tablets.

Thank you for your comment,

Fabio

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Sahil Sardessai
Oct 11th, 2014 - 13h27

Hello.

I am an industrial design student and my major is CAD, but I also require to work on graphic design, sometimes photo and largely video editing. I mostly work with Adobe and Autodesk software. I was contemplating buying the Intuos Medium for graphic design and digital sketching/doodling work for my industrial design projects and presentations. Which model would you recommend? Wacom One medium vs. Intuos medium vs. Intuos Pro medium. We have Cintiqs in my college but they're available for limited time only. So, for personal work, I was contemplating having a One or an Intuos model as they're quite affordable as well. I'm from India and here, Cintiq is very costly. My honest opinion is that it is a tad overpriced, whereas some of the lower end models seem much more reasonable. Awaiting your reply. Thanking you in advance.

Sahil

Reply
Fabio
Oct 31st, 2014 - 18h53

Hello Sahil.

The Wacom One has the same specs as the regular Intuos and is available in the medium size, as well, but it has a simpler design and no ExpressKeys. The programmable keys might come in handy, specially for industrial design and CAD work, since you can usem them for macros or to choose specific tools.

If you have the budget, the regular medium Intuos is a great pen tablet. It's durable, versatile, offers good customization options and isn't so expensive. I think it would suit you fine and I prefer it over the One, as long as the price difference there is not absurd.

Thank you for your comment,

Fabio

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Princess
Oct 12th, 2014 - 22h15

Please advise me.

I am a traditional media artist. I am very comfortable brushes and pens etc. But i wanna be "techier" so I can earn like a graphic designer but I am having hard time using Photoshop for my drawing (i think i am just lazy to try it out) and dowloading Autodesk is impossible (error). I am very much interested with using pens in tabs unlike drawing using mouse.... I might be pursuing Architecture or Fine arts (Fine Arts preferably)...Really...i want the tab to help me to make it easier to draw and design. I also like anime....heheh...What do you think?

Reply
Oscar Erickson
Oct 14th, 2014 - 14h09

What is the difference between a Wacom PTH-651 and a PTH-651SE? Is it just cosmetic?

Reply
Fabio
Oct 31st, 2014 - 18h56

Oscar, the PTH-651SE special edition model has a silver trim on the top and bottom of the tablet. It's just a cosmetic difference and both models work the same.

Reply
virginia
Oct 16th, 2014 - 12h49

Hi Fabio,

I read most of the Q&A from above & they are amazing! thanks for the knowledge sharing.

I am using PS, AI, MS PPT often & mostly... for photo-retouching, design icon, illustration, etc.

My monitor is Dell 27'' with resolution 1920px x 1080px.

I am struggling between Intuos Medium & Intuos Pro Small ?

please advise.

Reply
Chris
Oct 22nd, 2014 - 00h08

Thanks!

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Gaby
Nov 16th, 2014 - 06h18

Hello,

I'm a graphic and web design student, and I'm planning to buy my first pen tablet.

I have a macbook pro 13" but later in the future I'm planning to get a 27" Mac.

So I'm a little confused and having tough decisions of which model to get.

So far I'm reaching towards the Intuos Pro Pen & Touch (if its the right choice for me?)

Now my problem is which size should I get? A small? Or medium?

Thanks in advance,

Gaby

Reply

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