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Wacom Intuos 5 review

Ardjuna Seghers




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Our Score:



  • The best graphics tablet money can buy
  • Draws superbly
  • Looks and feels great
  • Touch a genuine enhancement
  • Affordable wireless kit


  • Drawing surface is no longer replaceable
  • Touch isn’t quite as responsive as the best tablets

Key Features

  • 2048 pressure levels, 60 degree pen tilt
  • Intuos 4 tech compatible
  • 16-point multi-touch & gestures
  • Optional wireless module
  • Capacitive buttons with HUD
  • Rubberized, soft-touch frame
  • Manufacturer: Wacom
  • Review Price: £288.00

As mentioned in our Intuos 4 review, the graphics tablet is one of the few sectors in the technology market where one brand dominates to the point that it's the only one professionals would consider. Wacom still has no real rivals, since none of the alternatives on the market offer the same level of quality and industry support.

Now it’s gone and significantly improved its Intuos line once again, with the Wacom Intuos 5. Available in various sizes and prices, we’re looking at the Medium model.

Wacom Intuos 5 Pen and Touch Small (£188)

Wacom Intuos 5 Pen (no touch) Medium (£250)

Wacom Intuos 5 Pen and Touch Medium (£288)

Wacom Intuos 5 Pen and Touch Large (£388)


If you’re wondering what a graphics tablet is, it’s the electronic equivalent of drawing-paper and a pen. Try sketching a picture or editing a complex outline with a mouse and you’ll see straight away why they’re necessary. You use a digital pen to draw on this ‘digital paper’, 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 your monitor it’s a great experience.

With products like the Samsung Galaxy Note mobile phone and the brand-new Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet, more and more devices are incorporating pressure-sensitive ‘pens’ to write, sketch or draw.

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But while these Wacom-enabled Android devices - and Windows slates like the Series 7 Slate or convertible Lenovo ThinkPad X220t - are nice to draw on, digital artists and keen designers still use dedicated graphics tablets due to the extra pressure levels, pen/nib options, better drawing surface, tilt sensitivity, and more.

What’s New

The Intuos 4 was awarded a perfect 10/10 score when we reviewed it, so can its successor offer a compelling reason to upgrade? Wacom’s Intuos 5 doesn’t actually advance its predecessor’s pen tech, offering the same 2,048 pressure levels, 60-degree tilt and 1g activation weight.

Wacom Intuos 5 2

However, everything else gets a significant make-over: wireless can easily be added across the range with a cheap upgrade module, the glossy plastics of previous Intuos tablets are replaced by an ergonomic soft-touch rubberized finish and, perhaps most importantly, multi-touch has been added to all but one of the Intuos 5 family – great to test out Windows 8’s Metro interface for those without access to a touch-screen device.


The Intuos 5 still comes in shades of black, which goes well with nearly everything. It might not look quite as good as its glossy predecessor when it’s fresh out of the box, but given the dozens of smears, fingerprints and minute scratches that could accumulate on the previous model over time, you’ll definitely appreciate the aesthetic improvement of the Intuos 5’s new soft-touch frame. Otherwise little has changed in the visual department, meaning it’s one attractive and slim piece of tech.

Wacom Intuos 5 3

The new finish doesn’t just have a visual impact, it’s also so much nicer to touch and rest your palms on. In other words, the Intuos 5 is a significant ergonomic improvement, save that it’s now a little more difficult to slide your finger between buttons due to that grippy rubberized finish also extending to cover these seamlessly.

Build quality is the best on any Intuos yet, with not a hint of the creak that slightly marred its predecessors - not that build was a problem to begin with, as Wacom’s tablets have always been very durable. But it’s a welcome improvement nonetheless.

Flicky Licky

December 11, 2012, 5:05 am

A quick visit to the Wacom forums will enlighten you as to what a miserable product this is. For years Wacom have supplied defective drivers, and this new offering takes the biscuit in that respect. There are dozens and dozens of complaints about the drivers not installing. After 8 days I've given up and am returning the tablet. On plug in the only thing that works is touch. ITS TERRIBLE. It has nowhere near the sensitivity of even the worst laptop pad and is at best frustrating. For many people it is a £250 mouse mat. Be careful.


March 26, 2013, 6:54 pm

Good product, terrible customer service. They overcharge for 2 day delivery and then don't even offer to refund that fee if your order gets held up while they take their sweet time placing it. The customer service representative hung up on me before I could even inquire about that. Now I know why he hung up so fast - because they know they're doing something unethical.


June 30, 2013, 4:45 pm

Yet another useless review. Unless you spend considerable time with a Wacom tablet, there is obviously no point in reviewing this. I just ordered the large version and right off the bat I noticed some flaws. Firstly, I would have accepted if the active area was only .25 inches off the edge on all sides. Instead, we get more than an inch off the right that is completely useless.

The surface on the Intuos5 has changed considerably from the Intuos2 I have owned for over 10 years and I immediately hated it. It's primary function is to burn through nibs so if you paint for over 6 hours a day, you'll find yourself replacing them within the second day. Whoever decided that professional illustrators needed to have the surface feel like paper seriously needs to ask all the thousand of professionals who actually use this day by day before mandating such change with no option to replace or customize. Wacom's argument could be 'touch feel' and nib plastic needing to wear off more than usual so surface texture lasts longer. I'd accept this design flaw if nibs weren't so expensive but that's another topic I rather not get into. Wacom relying on nib sales sounds retarded right? And illustrators aren't (damn sure) buying this for touch.

Kay Weist

August 10, 2013, 12:56 am

Hmmm you must have had a defective tablet, I know 5 to 6 people who have this tablet and only have the most minor of issues with the drivers. They are also on three different OS platforms, (all windows tho) Vista, windows 7 and my computer is windows 8. So far only issue I have had is with the adaptor I bought separately - other then that I've found it to be a fine tablet, as I use it quite often for my commission/client artwork


September 25, 2013, 9:36 am

Nop, it's a recurrent problem from years ago with all Wacom tablets. It has nothing to do with defective tablet, just defective drivers. And Wacom never tried to fix those... instead they continue to charge a lot of money to their customers.


October 23, 2013, 7:31 pm

This Product is amazing. I bought mine a few months ago, and It is just amazing. It also must be built for rough conditions, because I have spilled my soda on it I don't know how many times.

I rate 5 stars and would definitely recommend to anyone who is looking for a good graphics tablet.

Evan Lieberman

April 26, 2014, 8:08 pm

I purchased one of these when I purchased a new laptop. It didn't connect wirelessly from the get-go. So I returned it. The AppleStore swapped it out right there. Got home and now unit #2 won't connect. Now back to the apple store again. At the AppleStore they did diagnosis on the new laptop and it was fine, so they swapped out a 3rd model. 2 days later, intermit signal loss again. I called Wacom, and they tell me to wiggle the wireless dongle. That was there advice on a 250$ pice of equipment. Wiggle it. When that scientific advice failed to work they took a week to send me a replacement wireless kit. Now the replacement kit still has the same problem. I have bin with Wacom a user since '94. this is the worst thing they have ever made. As well as horrible customer service. I recommend avoiding at all costs.


April 5, 2016, 12:54 am

I bought a Wacom tablet today to use on a Mac. The DVD that are with the tablet is out of date - I et the error message "Platform not supported." The US website is down. Customer support says grab the software from Europe. I have been downloading for 4 hours. So far 10% is downloaded. I called support in Manila again, got lots of apologies. Eventually, the support person agreed to email me the software be said there will be a delay in getting emails out. Could not say how long the delay will be. The supervisor apologies to me again, and I said I need help not more apologies. So he hung up on me.

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