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Wacom Intuos 4 Graphics Tablet review

Ardjuna Seghers




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Wacom Intuos 4 Graphics Tablet
  • Wacom Intuos 4 Graphics Tablet
  • Wacom Intuos 4 Graphics Tablet
  • Wacom Intuos 4 Graphics Tablet
  • Wacom Intuos 4 Graphics Tablet
  • Wacom Intuos 4 Graphics Tablet
  • Wacom Intuos 4 Graphics Tablet
  • Wacom Intuos 4 Graphics Tablet
  • Wacom Intuos 4 Graphics Tablet
  • Wacom Intuos 4 Graphics Tablet
  • Wacom Intuos 4 Graphics Tablet
  • Wacom Intuos 4 Graphics Tablet
  • Wacom Intuos 4 Graphics Tablet
  • Intuos4 Graphics Tablet (325 mm x 203 mm - 5080 lpi - Pen - USB)


Our Score:


Pricing: £201.99 (Small), £299.99 (Medium), £399.99 (Large), £649.99 (XL)

Graphics tablets is one of the few sectors in the technology market where one brand dominates to the point where it's the only one professionals would consider. Wacom has a well-established reputation as the best that money can buy, but despite the lack of competition the company hasn't stood still. It has recently upgraded its professional Intuos range of tablets and we're taking a look at what the Intuos 4 Professional Pen Tablet has to offer.

The Intuos currently sits near the top of Wacom's range, which starts with the Bamboo for casual users, offers the Graphire for those who want wireless, and culminates with the Cintiq which combines a tablet and LCD monitor into a single device. Though Cintiqs are still the most expensive of Wacom's offerings, in fact the Intuos 4 is the best-specified tablet out of the lot because the Cintiqs are still based around the same architecture as the Intuos 3 was.

Before we get onto the upgrades and changes Wacom has implemented in its fourth Intuos tablet, let's quickly go over just what a graphics tablet does and what it's for. Essentially, it's like a piece of very thick digital paper. You use a digital pen to draw upon it, and what you draw appears on your screen. Of course it doesn't appear on the tablet (unless you have a Cintiq), so it takes a bit of getting used to, but once you have the hang of coordinating your hand to the screen you'll never want to go back to a mouse for drawing or detailed photo-editing. Nearly all tablets are pressure-sensitive so you can vary the width, opacity or jitter (etc) of your lines, and Wacom's pens uniquely offer 60 degrees of tilt sensitivity too.

The Intuos 4 package consists of the pen and tablet, USB cable, pen-holder and driver CD. The first thing some might notice is that the set has received a visual make-over. Gone is the blue and grey colour scheme that adorned all but the special edition Intuos 3 tablets, to be replaced with a mixture of satin and gloss black that makes it look and feel like an even more premium product.

To go with the new look the pen feels different, too. Its whole length is now soft-touch instead of just the lower part on its predecessor (though the lower rubber 'grip' is still replaceable), which combines with a shorter and slightly fatter body to make it more comfortable to hold. The two-way rocker switch near its base sticks out less too, so it's not as easy to press the lower ‘button' accidentally while working. Its action remains flawless however, with a nice click to confirm presses. Wacom's unique ‘Penabled' technology means the pen never requires batteries, and its build quality is excellent.

Dark of Day

July 31, 2009, 8:57 am

I'll second all that!

I got the medium sized one shortly after it was released and it is fantastic.

Doesn't make your skills any better alas but certainly lets you make the most of any you have ...and enjoy doing it!


July 31, 2009, 1:55 pm

I will third that!!!

Lee Marshall

July 31, 2009, 1:59 pm

Great review, just a shame it's currently out of my budget.

However, will you please use the correct spelling of Matt, it is not Matte!!!!

Matt is a dull or flat finish

Matte is a mask to block out areas of film (as in Matte Painting, the crappy backdrops they use on low budget sci-fi films)


July 31, 2009, 3:15 pm

@ Lee Marshall: Both forms of spelling are, in fact, correct. Matte is more specific to masking and film, however, it is still applicable and therefore valid when referring to the finish of an object.

PS - I want one of these.


July 31, 2009, 4:49 pm

I've been using the M size for a few months now. I actually don't feel that PhotoShop (certainly up to CS2) really makes the best use of these tablets. For me the most compelling software to buy is AutoDesk Sketch Book Pro, it's a beautiful, fast sketching program that is ideal either for illustration or marking up screen grabs, something that I've found very useful when discussing product designs in conference settings. You get a limited licence for free with the tablet but as the full package is only a £90 download it's silly not to buy the fully featured version. It doesn't have the awful cursor lag of Corel's sketching programs (I'm using a very fast laptop with a Quadro FX3600 graphics card) and it's a lot more flexible.

Moving up from my old skiddy Graphire to the Intuos 4 was a massive step up in performance, the surface provides a very comfortable level of friction but it really does wear the felt nibs down like nobody's buisness. I'm very happy with my purchse, I would've loved to buy a Cintiq 21 (my client has a bunch of them) but at £1300 less (and a lot more portablity) I'm quite happy with my Intuos 4.


July 31, 2009, 5:02 pm


Thanks for the interesting feedback.

As to your point about the Cintiq 21, the Intuos 4 is not only a lot cheaper but also offers a better surface, double the pressure sensitivity and other advantages. As mentioned in the review Cintiqs are still based on the same tech as found in the Intuos 3 :(


July 31, 2009, 6:57 pm

For U.S. readers please put the price in U.S. dollars for those who don't know the conversion rate.Also where,or if available in U.S.Thanks.


July 31, 2009, 8:11 pm

@ phred, I think TR wil start doing that when American sites starting doing it for UK readers as well. ;)

Francesco Mastellone

July 31, 2009, 8:37 pm

And for European readers, please put the price in Euros, for those who can't use any of the converters which are all over the internet.

...I don't think that's gonna happen, fred ;)


July 31, 2009, 9:59 pm

Yeah now you know how it feels Pfred! Anyway my dashboard says the pre-VAT price translates to about $574.91.


July 31, 2009, 10:23 pm


Sorry Phred, we're a UK site so our priority will always be UK pricing. Having said that, our shopping links have recently been updated so now US pricing should be available :)

On a general note, we reviewed the Large tablet, where the Medium offers the same basic functionality but is significantly cheaper (around £330/$350)

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