Touch is a great addition to the Intuos family. Not only can you move the cursor or even draw with a finger using the Intuos 5 like a touchpad, but using two fingers lets you move your picture, while swiping with several fingers lets you perform various actions.
Just like with the ExpressKeys, these can be altered from their defaults, and the tablet’s hardware supports 16 simultaneous touch points, so you can even go for collaborative projects or two-player touch games. It also works really well in 3D modelling. Touch is disabled as soon as the Intuos 5 tablet senses the pen’s nib, so you’ll never accidentally mix touch and pen input.
As long as the software or Wacom’s driver supports it, you’ll be able to pinch-zoom, rotate, undo and more, just using finger gestures with the Intuos 5 Touch. This means you’ve got even more ‘buttons/actions’ than the already very generous selection provided by the ExpressKeys and pen, the latter of which retains the same radial menu as before. In other words, touch on the new Wacom tablet is far more than a gimmick, it’s a genuine enhancement.
Sensitivity is an improvement over the previous-gen Bamboo Touch, which was the first model we looked at to introduce it. At best it’s nearly as responsive as on the average capacitive tablet, so even if you didn’t use it for art, it would make for a great companion to navigate through Windows 8’s touch-based Metro interface.
If for some reason you don’t like touch, simply switch it off - or buy the Intuos 5 version without, though you’re restricted to a Medium. However, we would say it’s well worth paying the small premium for touch.
Where the older Intuos had a dedicated Medium-sized wireless model that cost quite a bit extra, with the Intuos 5 every tablet in the range can be turned into a cable-free model with an inexpensive adapter. The £35 Wireless Kit includes an RF dongle (rather than the buggy Bluetooth of the previous wireless model) and transceiver with battery. All three will fit into the tablet for easy transport.
Making your Intuos 5 wireless is as simple as installing the battery and transceiver, then plugging the micro dongle in your computer’s free USB port. While charging over the same microUSB cable that’s used for wired connectivity, a small LED indicator glows orange when the tablet is running low and green when it’s all juiced up.
The battery lasted over nine hours on our medium Intuos tablet, with the Small Intuos 5 claiming up to 18 hours while the Large should get up to six. If the tablet does lose charge while you’re using it, simply plug it back in and continue working. The wireless kit and battery is the same for all Intuos 5 models and the new Bamboo.
Since the Intuos 3 is no longer available and the Medium Intuos 4 is actually more expensive than the same-size Intuos 5 sans touch, the latest member of the family has no real competition. There simply is no other graphics tablet that comes close to the level of performance, features, quality and support that the Intuos 5 offers, and starting at £180 for the Small version with your choice of Corel’s Painter SketchPad, Adobe’s Elements, or Autodesk’s Sketchbook Express, it’s cheap for what you get.
Wacom has done it yet again. The newest Intuos 5 is simply the best graphics tablet on the market, improving on its already impressive predecessor in practically every way. That’s not to say that owners of an Intuos 4 need to rush out and upgrade unless touch or wireless are particularly important, but anyone who chooses to do so won’t be disappointed. With a new soft frame, multi-touch, capacitive buttons, refined surface, expanded software and optional wireless, the Intuos 5 is a significant evolution and a must-buy for any artist or designer.