Review Price £288.00
Wacom Intuos 5 – Hands On: ExpressKeys, Wireless and Build
Another big change to the Wacom Intuos 5 is that the OLED displays of the Intuos 4 are now gone. But worry not, it’s actually a change for the better. Instead, the new tablet’s ExpressKeys now have a capacitive surface, just like your smartphone. They are still physical, delineated buttons that can actually be pressed with a nice click, but hovering your finger on them now brings up an onscreen display or HUD (Heads Up Display), which shows which button you’re about to press, and which function it and the other dynamic ExpressKeys are set to. Essentially, this gives you the ease of the OLED displays without needing to look away from your monitor – genius!
Yet another welcome improvement is wireless capability. Wacom no longer offers a cable-free Intuos model – because its entire range can be made wireless with an optional wireless module. It also works over RF rather than Bluetooth, making it plug and play and giving it greater range. With the battery you get in the module pack, the Small tablet should last 18 hours on a charge, the Medium 11 hours, and the Large model six or more. There is no longer an XL model in the Intuos 5 line, though Wacom will continue to make their XL Intuos 4 available for those that still need a huge tablet.
Other upgrades concern build quality. The surface sheet now extends well beyond the usable drawing surface, with the usable area indicated by four LEDs in the corners. This prevents you pen’s nib catching on the edges where the old tablet transitioned to a different material, an annoyance we hadn’t even realized needed fixing on the Intuos 4. Wacom has also ditched the glossy hard plastic bezels of the 4 in favour of a lovely soft-touch, rubberized finish that’s both harder-wearing and far more pleasant to the touch.
Last but not least, the driver has seen an overhaul, with the most significant addition being that there’s now a proper adjustable curve for pressure sensitivity. The new tablet range will be available from Wacom’s eStore from the 1st of March. The Small Touch will set you back £199.99, the Medium costs £329.99 for the Touch edition and £269 for the non-touch, while the Large Touch is £429.99. The wireless module will be 34.99, and all tablets will come with your choice of Corel’s Painter SketchPad, Adobe’s Elements 10, or Autodesk’s Sketchbook Express 2011.
We’ll be bringing you all the details and our usual comprehensive verdict in the full review soon.
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