Wacom intuos pro (small) unboxing, review and first experience.

Six days ago I received my Wacom Intuos Pro (small) tablet!

At the moment I’m in my first year of industrial design at the technical university of Delft. Since designing is becoming a lot more digital I thought that it would be a good investment if I would practice with this way of working from the beginning on. Another reason I bought it is to use it for our blog (photo editing). I chose for the smaller version because I wanted it to be portable.

Unboxing

I ordered the tablet at http://www.tablet4u.eu/ . It’s a Dutch company that offers good prices for Wacom products. They also ship by a number of couriers (Parcelforce, UPS, and others). My experience until now is really good, I ordered it on a Friday and received it that Monday. The tablet was also in a strong and safe package for delivery.

Inside the delivery box is the Wacom box itself. It looks pretty good. The shell shows some information and inside is a black box which you can open (see photos). After opening there is a small post card that says ‘Welcome’. The next layer contains the tablet which is wrapped in plastic with some information on it. The next compartments contain: the pen, pen holder, installation CD, Manual, USB cord, customization rings, wireless adapter and battery. In the photos you can see it yourself.

After unboxing I connected the tablet with my laptop, installed the software with the CD and got the latest driver from their site. The first few minutes felt a little weird and uncomfortable, but after that I began to feel more comfortable and started to like the flow. I decided to use only the tablet for a while to get used to it. Sometimes it became a little frustrating because I was so used to a mouse, but believe me, after that you will love it.

I also think that the tablet looks good next to my laptop. Of course this is not the reason I bought it, but a set up that works well and looks nice is something extra which creates a balanced work environment and in my opinion this allows you to be more productive.

current set up

current set up

What it offers

A lot of people think you only need such a tablet when you’re a designer/illustrator or when you’re into any kind of digital art/drawing. Instead of calling it a drawing or graphic tablet I would call it a ‘control surface’ or maybe a ‘flow surface’, because it has a lot more to offer than just drawing. When you have the tablet your costs of paper, fineliners, markers and pastel colours will also drop. One more advantage is that the virtual drawing offers you a bunch of new opportunities/features/or whatever you like to calm them. For example you can play a lot easier with colors, hue saturation, brightness, the use of textures, etc. You can also easily make separate drawings and add them together. Or maybe make your first rough sketch with pen and paper, scan it and work it out by using your tablet.

The tablet has a multi-touch working surface/trackpad which allows you to: zoom/turn/move an object, navigate effortless while working and swap quickly between programs. Besides the multi-touch trackpad it also has six express keys and a touch ring. These allow you to work with short cuts and a better flow. The pen has a nice rubber grip which feels comfortable and comes with a pen/pen nib holder. The tablet itself has a smooth/soft coating, finished with a matte black color.

The Intuos Pro includes a wireless kit which is pretty useful for those who travel a lot or for those who don’t like the wires. The installation is simple: insert the wireless adapter, plug in the USB connector/receiver and it will automatically install the software.

Overall the tablet offers you a quick and smooth work flow. Let’s be a bit more specific about the major controls if you would like to know a bit more. At each section I added some pictures that I got from the manual so that you can have a clear idea about how it works. You can edit the settings of the features that I explain in the control panel.

Pen

The pen has 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity and tilt recognition. This allows you to work at the same high accuracy level of a normal brush or pencil. The pen has two buttons which you can customize for your own preferences and the rear end is an eraser (with the same amount of pressure levels as the tip). The pen holder contains ten other nibs: Five standard black replacement nibs, three hard felt nibs, one stroke nib and one flex nib. The pen holder does a good job and looks awesome in my opinion.

Expresskeys

In the photo you can see the auto set up for your express keys. What’s nice about this option is that the keys are customizable. So you can set up anything you like from launching apps to undo an action or using it as ctrl/alt/shift. You can even make different set ups for each of your applications such as: Lightroom, InDesign, Illustrator, etc. It’s all up to you. For holding your focus while working there is an on-screen radial menu and express view heads-up display. This pops up when you touch the button and when not touched it fades away in a second.

Touch ring

The touch ring comes with four different options. By clicking the center button you can toggle between these modes. Mode 1: Auto scroll/zoom. Mode 2: Cycle layers. Mode 3: Brush size. Mode 4: Canvas rotation. You can use the ring for all your programs and even while using your browser the scroll option works smooth!

Multi-touch

As mentioned before the multi-touch option enables you to control a computer using only your fingertips on the tablet surface. Since it is a multi-touch surface you can use different gestures for different actions. For example: by swiping for fingers in a straight motion forward you go instantly to your desktop screen, by swiping again you go back to where you were. This doesn’t work with three fingers and in my experience it works accurate.

Radial menu

The radial menu is a pop-up menu that provides quick acces to editing, navigation, media control function and more. For example: when you’re drawing in ‘Krita’ (can be any software you prefer) you can quickly swap between different brushes or pencils using this menu. The menu is mostly accesible by pressing the lower button on the pen.

radial menu

radial menu

Specifications

Here  and if you have time left and want to know everything, just read the manual.

Well, I hope you enjoyed reading my review and come back because I promise you: I will practice a lot!

Promotion video by Wacom

Short video of what’s possible using a wacom tablet

Funny fact

While I was reading about the pen I stumbled upon the concepts ‘accuracy’ and ‘precision’. In the first place I thought it meant the same. But why would Wacom use two words with the same meaning in one sentence? So, I used my best friend: Google and now I know the difference!

Accuracy and precision are two important factors to consider when taking data measurements. Both accuracy and precision reflect how close a measurement is to an actual value, but accuracy reflects how close a measurement is to a known or accepted value, while precision reflects how reproducible measurements are, even if they are far from the accepted value.

You can think of accuracy and precision in terms of hitting a bullseye. Accurately hitting the target means you are close to the center of the target, even if all of the marks are on different sides of the center. Precisely hitting a target means all the hits are closely spaced, even if they are very far from the center of the target. (Source: http://chemistry.about.com/od/unitsconversions/fl/What-Is-the-Difference-Between-Accuracy-and-Precision.htm or check Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accuracy_and_precision).

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