Wacom Intuos Pro Review – Mid-Range Powerhouse
The Wacom Intuos Pro used to be the Intuos 5/Intuos 4, but the newer models have some great improvements over the old models. Let’s see how the changes measure up to the needs of digital painting and photo editing. You may prefer more features and may not think this is the best drawing tablet. If that’s the case, you would be better off if you purchase the Cintiq. Really like the Intuos Pro, but your wallet doesn’t? Take a look at the Huion H610 or H1060PLUS.
If you’ve seen the Intuos 5, you might be thinking that the Intuos Pro looks a lot like the 5. Actually the Intuos 5 look a lot like the Intuos 4. So what’s the difference? Let’s start with the oldest model. The Intuos 4 came in 5 difference models: Small, Medium, Large, Extra-Large and Wireless. The Intuos 5 comes in 2 models for non-touch: Small and Medium and 3 models for the touch variation: Small, Medium and Large. The Intuos 5 basically takes all the good things about 4 and upgrades it. It adds multi-finger touch for gestures so you can get more hotkeys in without memorizing complicated combos, it adds expresskey view, which pops up on your screen as your finger hovers over a button and tells you what you’re about to press. This is due to a technology called “capacitive expresskeys,” which allows the tablet to sense your finger’s electricity and know where it is. The 5 has illuminated corner markers which show you the edge of the active area that you can draw in on the surface of the tablet. Aesthetically, the Intuos 5 added a rubber shell to it’s exterior and has a smoother drawing surface than the 4, allowing your hand to slide easier when using gestures.
The Intuos Pro is actually just the 5, but it seems to be made out of a different material. The rubber coating is now less pronounced, and doesn’t cover up the touch ring or the hot keys so much and gets rid of that “gummy” feeling you get when you press a rubber coated button. The exterior casing is harder than the Intuos 5, and now includes 4 lights at the corner of the touch ring to show you which one of your designated functions is active. As with the 4 and 5, you can program these functions as whatever you like. All the surfaces of the Pro are textured, from the buttons to the drawing area. The Intuos 5‘s surface is smooth (maybe even a little smoother than the 4).
The unboxing experience of the Intuos Pro is great as always. Wacom is always sticking to the classic, solid, matte black & white color scheme that reinforces their brand as a premium leader in tablet technology. The box is simple, with a minimalist appeal, and definitely looks like a pricy item, as opposed to other brands who try too hard to cram lots of things on the box, and accidentally make their product look cheaper. When you open the box, everything is packed in it’s own space, and the plastic wrapping showing you what the default expresskey setting are is not only informative, but artsy as well.
The Intuos Pro is compatible with Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows 10; Mac OS 10.8 and Mac OS 10.10. or higher. Works with software like CorelDraw, Corel Painter, Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Fireworks, Macromedia Flash, Manga Studio, Stratos3D Max, AutoDesk Maya and ZBrush— basically supports anything. Wacom always remembers to update their drivers, so your Pro will not go obsolete for a very long time. If you look at their driver download list HERE, you can see that they’ve even updated their support for the Graphire tablet to Win 8. This tablet was made in the early 2000s, and they’re still providing service for it!
Controls and Functionality
The Small Intuos Pro has a drawing area of 12.6 in x 8.2 in, the medium has 14.9 in x 9.9 in and the large has 19 in x 12.5 in. I would suggest that you get the medium for screens 15″-17″. Get the large is you are drawing on something like a 22″ or larger screen, and the small if you have a screen at or under 15″. But let it be noted that I’m not a fan of the small size at all… too small, and what are you doing drawing with such a small screen anyway? The only reason you should get a small is if you’re a hobbyist and can’t (or won’t) spend the money on a medium or large. For quality resolutions that allow you to work in professional level detail, you really need a bigger tablet and screen to see what you’re doing and get finer strokes in.
The small weigh 1.4 lbs, the medium weighs 2.2 lbs and the large weighs 3.9 lbs. Unlike the Intuos 4, there is no extra large size. That’s okay though, since the XL Intuos 4 has a 18.2″ x 12″ active area, smaller than the large Intuos Pro.
The Intuos Pro has an active area that can be configured to whatever size you want. The backlit corner indicators are there to tell you what the max size is, but you can go smaller by programming it into the tablet driver menu. There is some space at the edge of the active area that you can expand your drawing area into, but I find that this space is better used to rest your hand on. If you’ve read my review regarding the Huion H610, H1060PLUS or Turcom TS-6580, you know that one of my complaints about these tablets was lack of space to rest my hand with the default settings (maxed out active area). Yeah, it’s not a big difference because you can change the active area of the Huion and Turcom too, but Wacom just adds the little things to make it more convenient for you.
The buttons on the Pro are easier to press than the Intuos 5 because it’s not all covered with that rubber material. It feels better to press it too, with a firm, gradual depression and no click sound, like how it was on the Intuos 4. Compared to this, the Huion and Turcom had a looser fit between the casing and the buttons, so the button wiggles a little bit… and those two brands all have buttons that click when you press it. The Pro has a much better setup than the Cintiq, especially the small Cintiq! While the Cintiq offers a great intuitive exprience by letting you draw directly on the tablet, the small Cintiq has a rocker button that allows you to press in the up, down, left, right directions instead of the smooth scrolling touch ring. The small Cintiq also has only 4 buttons, whereas the small Intuos Pro has 6 hotkeys and the medium and large have 8 hotkeys.
The capacitive hotkeys and touch/gesture ability is a huge, huge plus. Before you had to memorize tons of hotkey combos, but now you can program them into gestures using 5 fingers at the same time, max. The capacity hotkeys allow you to hover your finger over the button and an overlay pop-up will show up on your screen and tell you what button you’re about to push. After you memorize the layout, you can turn this function off. None of the inexpensive alternatives like Huion, Yiynova, Ugee or Turcom have tablets that do this. These alternatives are able to offer you a vastly reduced price, but sacrifices the most helpful workflow optimizer on the Intuos Pro. The touch ring comes with four lights at the corners to tell you the programmed designated functions but doesn’t have a display to tell you what they are on the tablet. Instead the selected command is shown on your screen. On the Intuos 4, you have to look down and read the display to see which function you have activated.
The pen and tablet combo have 2048 levels of sensitivity, with tilt recognition, which Huion, Yiynova, Ugee and Turcom also don’t have. I find that with a standard pen and nib, my strokes don’t really register tilt all that much, but with a brush nib (spring nib) or chisel nib, it will be a lot more obvious whether you’re tilting or not. Unlike the other brands, the Intuos Pro comes with a pen that does not need you to insert a battery or charge it with a cord. The pen holder is standard shaped, and similar to the pen holders of other brands, but it has a hole in the middle for storing your pen vertically. Other brands only have a horizontal hole, sometimes two horizontal holes so you can rest it horizontally in more than 1 direction. The Wacom pen holder is also a lot heavier and bottom heavy so it won’t tip over. The Wacom pen has a rubber grip that can be replaced or upgraded for an ergonomic grip (also sold by Wacom). You can add small colored indicator rings to tell apart your styluses if you have more than one and have them all programmed with different settings. They also come with an eraser on the opposite side of the nib side. The other brands have similar looking pens, but are lacking the rubber grip, the colored rings and the eraser side. They usually make up for this by keying the eraser function to one of the two buttons on the grip of the pen.
If you are a professional or seeking to be one (like an art student, etc), it’s definitely worth it to invest in one of these. They are not as expensive as the Cintiq, but is very high quality and used by many professional (and sometimes famous) artists worldwide who actually could afford a Cintiq! It’s a matter of personal preference really. If you think that being able to draw on the screen is a deal breaker, get a Cintiq or Huion GT190 or Yiynova MSP19+. If not, I recommend you save up a little money and get the Intuos Pro medium, it’s a solid choice that is not too small and not too big and will serve you well for many years. Maybe it’s not exactly a sexy Arabian racehorse, but why pay for a racehorse when a Clydesdale will do?
What’s in the Bundle?
Comes with tablet, wireless kit, stylus, pen holder with 5 standard nibs, 3 felt nibs, 1 flex nib (spring nib) and 1 stroke nib. Comes with Smith Micro Anime Studio, Corel Painter (30 day trial) and a 30 day trial to Lynda.com when you use your serial number on the wacom site.
- professional artists
- art students
- serious hobbyists
- photo editing
- realism painting
- 3D work
Click HERE to learn about our grading criteria.
A great, beautiful looking tablet with 6 (small size) to 8 (medium and large) hotkeys and touch ring capability. Brings new life to the Intuos 5 by adding gestures and pop-up helper menus simply by hovering your finger above the keys on the tablet. Professional level sensitivity at 2048 levels with pressure, and tilt enabled. All the lights and the extra touches on the tablet are small individually, but together, they make for a much smoother workflow so you don’t have to snap out of creative mode to figure out the buttons. A bread-and-butter workhorse type that is half price or less compared to the Cintiq, but still many times more expensive over brands like Huion, Ugee, Yiynova, and Turcom.