Wacom Intuos 5 Touch Tablet
The Intuos 5 Touch is one of Wacom’s professional graphics tablets. They’re a step up from Wacom’s more consumer-orientated Bamboo tablets, with eight express keys and a multifunctional concave Touch Ring to help creative individuals get the best out of their digital artwork.
It’s very easy to set up, and we were using it within minutes of plugging it in and installing the necessary drivers. It can be rotated to suit left-handed or right-handed artists, too, providing a good degree of convenience. The soft-touch finish round the outside also made it very comfortable to use. The main surface is slightly harder, but its texture provides enough friction to make it feel as if you’re drawing on paper, making the Intuous 5 feel much more natural in use. The pen is pressure sensitive, so you can taper your strokes, finishing with a thin wisp or a hard blob regardless of which nib you’re using.
The pen has 2,048 different pressure levels, a 60-degree tilt and is accurate. It also has a very welcome rubbery grip and comes with a stand that can to store up to 10 nibs. You get 10 with the tablet (standard, flex, felt and stroke), but you can buy extra pens directly from Wacom.
Despite the main tablet area measuring 278x196mm, the active area for drawing is only 224x140mm, leaving around one-third of the tablet out of bounds. This felt slightly counter-intuitive at first, but we soon got used to it. You can also connect the Intuos 5 wirelessly to your PC, but you’ll have to buy the Wacom Wireless Accessory Kit (£35 from http://uk.shop.wacom.eu) to enable this feature.
A key feature of the Intuos 5 is the Touch Ring. This allows you to scroll or zoom in, cycle through layers, alter your brush size and rotate your images by rolling your finger round the outer ring. You can press the centre to toggle between each mode, but we had a few issues with its overall responsiveness. We had to tweak quite a few individual settings to get the right sensitivity, but the main problem was the lack of tactile feedback. It made adjusting brush sizes by a few pixels or changing layers a little too fussy, and we often found ourselves using the pen instead.
It's a great tablet, and capable of far more than our game-enthused doodlings
It also made the eight customisable express keys quite difficult to press. They’re capacitive buttons, so they’ll sense your fingers hovering over them and show you each function on screen.
Drawing isn’t the only thing you can do with the Intuos 5, though, as it supports multi-touch gestures like a laptop’s touchpad. Touch control wasn’t quite as fluid as we’d like it to be, but it’s handy having a built-in touchpanel rather than having to use a separate one. Pinch-zooming was temperamental, but two-finger scrolling worked beautifully.
The Intuos 5 is a great graphics tablet. The Touch Ring isn’t perfect, but the tablet itself is one of the best around. However, if all you want is a basic graphics tablet for drawing, you may be better off with one of Wacom’s cheaper Bamboo tablets.