I’ve worked as an illustrator and designer for twelve years now, and during that time, I’ve only upgraded my drawing tablet twice. As you can imagine, my tablet gets used excessively on a daily basis, and I can’t think of a single workday when this cherished tool isn’t needed. This longevity speaks volumes of Wacom’s product quality and durability. Thanks to the company’s ongoing support, older models have remained compatible across numerous operating system changes, and it wasn’t until recently that I finally felt compelled to seek better performance and updated features. Today, I’m taking a look at the Intuos Pro—courtesy of the kind folks at Wacom.
I’m still a big Intuos line fan and haven’t found much reason to transition to the Cintiq. Spending over $800 for a 13 inch screen (the smallest offer) doesn’t appeal to me when considering the comparable pressure levels across both models. As someone who primarily works in a linear fashion, the Intuos is more practical due to its smaller size and lighter weight. I’m not saying the Cintiq lacks substantial benefits, but for my particular usage, I find the Intuos the most logical option.
"Their commitment to elegance and proficiency extends beyond product engineering, and is reflected in the way Wacom chooses to package their brand."
Wacom, originally founded in Japan in 1983, has a long tradition of crafting premium products for professionals and students alike. Their commitment to elegance and proficiency extends beyond product engineering, and is reflected in the way Wacom chooses to package their brand. As an artist, I appreciate Wacom’s passion for the industry. The Intuos Pro comes in a gorgeously designed box that can easily serve as an art piece on its own. The snowy white container boasts a large illustration on the top cover, which acts a teaser for the tool’s capabilities—an absolutely brilliant marketing decision.
I’m reviewing the M model which currently retails for $349.95 and includes the following: the Intuos tablet itself, a Wacom grip pen, a pen stand with ten replacement nibs and a nib removal tool, a 2 meter (6.6 ft) USB cable and color identification rings for a personalized touch. To further modify your new Intuos Pro, Wacom offers several additional accessories (sold separately), such as the airbrush, the art pen, a “classic” pen version, a grip pen, the pro accessory kit, Intuos soft case, standard black pen nibs (5 pack), stroke nibs (5 pack), hard felt nibs (5 pack), flex nibs (5 pack), nib set for the art pen, a standard pen grip and a thick bodied pen grip for the grip pen.
"Upgrading from an Intuos4 to the new Intuos Pro feels refreshing, and the improvements are immediately noticeable. The pen is significantly lighter, and I find myself clenching the grip less when drawing."
The Intuos Pro price point is extremely affordable whether you’re a student or professional since this kind of tech is designed to last for years. However, the accessories are overpriced, and you’re better off going through Amazon or a second-hand shop if you really want the specialized items. Who would want to pay $79.95 for a simple carrying case when the entire art pen, for example, costs $99.95?
The M Intuos Pro measures at 338 x 219 x 8 mm / 13.2 x 8.5 x 0.3 in and weighs a mere 700 g (1.54 lbs). It packs 8192 pressure levels for both the pen tip and eraser with a tilt recognition of ±60 levels. The Intuos Pro also boasts Bluetooth 4.2 connectivity, which is a godsend for people like me who struggle with a fully occupied workspace.
"Button and feature assignments have remained largely the same, so veteran users should feel right at home. If you’re new to drawing tablets, you’ll find that Wacom’s UI is robust and easy to use."
Upgrading from an Intuos4 (I used the small model for the last six years) to the new Intuos Pro feels refreshing, and the improvements are immediately noticeable.The fully matte body means you no longer have to worry about fingerprints and schmutz covering the entire left panel. Every part of the Intuos Pro is enveloped by a smooth, matte material that allows the tablet to remain clean through rigorous working session.
The pen is significantly lighter, and I find myself clenching the grip less when drawing. If you’ve worked with older Wacom tablet models until recently, you’ll be happy to find that installation and overall tablet management is now handled via a consolidated HUB that controls everything from driver updates to button assignments. Installation takes minutes, and there should be only three small driver updates that need your immediate attention before the tablet is ready for action.
Button and feature assignments have remained largely the same, so veteran users should feel right at home. If you’re new to drawing tablets, you’ll find that Wacom’s UI is robust and easy to use. Everything from pressure settings and tip feel adjustments to tilt sensitivity and button modifiers can be accessed via the practical Wacom Tablet Properties tab. The Intuos Pro also comes with touch options that can be enabled with a click of a button, located on the side of the tablet’s body. Personally, I find little use for the touch feature. Unless you’re trying to mimic finger painting or are using the tablet for web browsing instead of a mouse, I recommend keeping it off to avoid interference when working.
"Creating broad, long brush strokes results in cleaner and crisper lines. I no longer have to maniacally spam ctrl+z until I can get the perfect stroke, and I’m able to achieve the desired line quality more efficiently."
The tablet has its own set of button commands. The wheel is used to zoom in and out of pages, cycle between layers, control brush sizes and rotate the canvas. The other buttons serve as shortcut keys and can be independently customized to better suit your workflow.
For my particular setup, I’ve disabled everything but one of the pen buttons that I’ve appointed as the Alt key modifier. I only use this function to zoom in and out of my work canvas. Keep in mind that this is just my personal configuration, and not a recommendation. I’ve mapped the most used shortcuts to my keyboard since I prefer utilizing my free left hand for quick-commands, while drawing with my right. I started using Wacom products when they were much simpler and lacked most of the contemporary features, so I’ve been accustomed to a hybrid setup between the drawing tablet and keyboard. I guess old habits die hard.
"The Intuos Pro is a worthy successor to the Intuos line, and the best price/performance model in the entire Wacom lineup."
Drawing with the Intuos Pro is effortless, and I commend Wacom for addressing nearly every issue I had with the Intuos4. Creating broad, long brush strokes results in cleaner and crisper lines. I no longer have to maniacally spam ctrl+z until I can get the perfect stroke, and I’m able to achieve the desired line quality more efficiently.
The Intuos Pro is far from perfect, however, and continues to suffer from some the same technical bugs as its predecessor. If you are a Windows 10 user, you’ll face power state issues with the tablet after waking your PC from sleep. Eight out of ten times, I’m forced to plug the USB cord in and out of the device in order to get the pen working again. The old trick of restarting the Wacom service from the services.exe menu no longer works, and the only options are re-plugging the tablet or restarting the PC. It’s a minor annoyance, and most users aren’t going to be bothered by it.
Conclusion: The Intuos Pro is a worthy successor to the Intuos line, and the best price/performance model in the entire Wacom lineup. Unless you absolutely need to draw directly on a screen, the Intuos Pro remains the best choice for both professionals and hobbyists.
Review by: Tin Salamunic