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Wacom Intuos 5 – Touch, Wireless, Value and Verdict

Ardjuna Seghers

By Ardjuna Seghers



  • Editors choice
Wacom Intuos 5


Our Score:



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.

Wacom Intuos 5

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.

Wacom Intuos 5

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.

Wacom Intuos 5 9

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.

Wacom Intuos 5 10

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.

Overall Score


Scores In Detail

  • Build Quality 9
  • Design 10
  • Features 10
  • Performance 10
  • Value 10

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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