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Wacom Intuos 4 Graphics Tablet - Wacom Intuos 4 Graphics Tablet

Ardjuna Seghers

By Ardjuna Seghers

Reviewed:

Summary

Our Score:

10

Getting back to the controls, the touch-strips of the Intuos 3 have been replaced by an iPod-like ‘wheel' on its successor, which Wacom has named the TouchRing. Not only does the ring offer more accurate and flexible action than the strip did, but the common (and extremely annoying) problem on the Intuos 3 where users would inadvertently activate the touch-strips by brushing against them has also been eliminated. It's good to see Wacom not just adding new features, but listening to user feedback and rectifying the problems older models have revealed too.

At the centre of the ring is a round toggle button which can switch the ring between up to five functions, including scroll/zoom, adjusting brush size and rotating your canvas. Sensitivity can be adjusted individually for each separate function using Wacom's excellent software driver.

At this stage those of you who are left-handed (like myself) may be wondering how a single control strip, compared to one on each side for the Intuos 3, accommodates south paws. Again, Wacom has implemented a superior solution to before. The fixed USB data cable which was a weakness of the older model (since if the cable was damaged the tablet became effectively useless) has been replaced with a pair of mini-USB ports at the top and bottom of the Intuos 4.

When you want to change your handedness, simply flip the tablet over, insert the USB cable into the appropriate slot and tell the software about the new orientation, after which it will rotate the OLED symbols and tablet sensitivities accordingly (though it shouldn't be required, in our testing we found a few instances where the new orientation wouldn't take effect without a reset - but then it's not something you're likely to want to change often). In yet another of those touches that show Wacom's designers deserve every one of their pay-checks, if you open the ‘door' for one USB port it automatically closes off the other port, preventing dust and grit from getting in.

Even the drawing surface of the tablet has had an upgrade, and thanks to a softer texture and the pen's slightly softer nibs it now feels more like drawing on real paper than ever. Nibs might need to be replaced more frequently, but it's inexpensive to do so and a small price to pay for the tactile improvement. The only real complaint here is that if you have a particularly heavy hand it's easier to permanently mark the tablet's surface than on the Intuos 3.

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!

hankb6d

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)

LinguisticPedant

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.

Vivid

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.

TechVegan

July 31, 2009, 5:02 pm

@Vivid:


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 :(

phred

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.

Ohmz

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 ;)

GoldenGuy

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.

TechVegan

July 31, 2009, 10:23 pm

@phred:


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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