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Wacom Intuos 4 Graphics Tablet - Wacom Intuos 4 Graphics Tablet

Ardjuna Seghers

By Ardjuna Seghers



Our Score:


Because of all the physical upgrades Wacom's Intuos 4 is easier and better to use than ever before, but it wouldn't be all it could without the excellent software. Wacom's driver works on almost any operating system including versions of Windows from 95 onwards, Mac OS X or Classic and Linux. A single properties window lets you adjust all settings for the tablet and pen within any application you wish. The only thing that's inexplicably missing is profiles for different users or for sharing across computers, an oversight we hope Wacom will soon rectify.

Two changes to Wacom's driver aside from those necessary to accommodate the Intuos 4's new hardware features are a Precision Mode, which as the name suggests switches to a lower sensitivity so that bigger movements are required for the same action (ideal for quickly switching to fiddly detail work or delicate selections where a slip can ruin things) and the Radial Menu. The radial menu is a similar concept to the selection ring on Gyration's Air Mouse, where pressing a certain button brings up a ring of actions or shortcuts around your cursor, allowing you to choose up to eight different ones with a flick of the pen.

When you register your Intuos you get a choice between downloading a selection of third-party software titles, including AutoDesk Scetchbook Express 2010, Corel SketchPad or Adobe Photoshop Elements 7. While these should help you get started, to be honest a tablet of this calibre deserves the fully-featured versions of these packages such as Adobe Photoshop CS4 and Corel Painter 11.

With prices ranging from just under £300 (or around £270 if you can get an academic discount) for the Medium tablet to £650 for the XL one, the Intuos 4 is by no means cheap but nonetheless well worth every penny if you're serious about digital art or design - especially since there really is no competition at the high end of the tablet market. Once you've used a Wacom Intuos, tablets from other manufacturers such as the Genius G-Pen M712 will just seem cheap and inadequate by comparison.

If you're really on a budget or need something that will fit in a shoulder bag you might even consider the Small Intuos 4, but keep in mind that not only is the drawing area relatively cramped but you'd be missing out on the OLED screens too. Another 'budget' option is to go for the previous generation Intuos 3, which is still widely available and obviously considerably cheaper than its successor.

Meanwhile, if you already own an Intuos 3 and have the cash, is it worth upgrading? Let me answer that simply by confessing that I'm looking to upgrade my precious Intuos 3 to a 4 as soon as I can afford to. Yes, it really is that much better.


The best just got considerably better. Wacom's Intuos 4 combines great looks, excellent ergonomics, impressive build quality and class-leading features into a whole that's as practically satisfying as it is aesthetically desirable. If you do a lot of photo editing or you're a digital artist, illustrator or designer, go out and beg, (permanently) borrow or buy the new Intuos right now.

Overall Score


Scores In Detail

  • Value 8
  • Features 10
  • Design 10

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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