Wacom Intuos Pro Pen and Touch Review (Medium): powerful graphics tablet
Note: this product has been updated for 2017.
New Intuos Pro Medium (2017) vs. old Intuos Pro Medium
New Intuos Pro: It’s thinner, it’s under 1/2″ thick and has a smaller footprint. It’s easy to carry in a bag or backpack. The backing is anodized aluminum. The pen stand is smaller and pucklike; the pen case has been redesigned. It only comes in Medium and Large; both have eight ExpressKeys. The Pro Pen 2 has 8, 192 levels of pressure sensitivity.
There’s also the Intuos Pro Paper Edition that comes with the Pro Pen 2 and a gel ink pen. Optionally, there’s also a ballpoint pen, and Wacom plans to add a pencil. The Paper Edition lets you utilize real paper and digitize via an app.
Type of Tablet
The Wacom Intuos Pro is a graphics tablet that you draw on while you look at your computer monitor. Comes with pen. Also called the Intuos Pro. All Intuos Pros have touch (and pens). The regular Intuos tablets have touch and non-touch models, and fewer high-end features than the Pro line.
The Intuos Pro Pen and Touch Medium Tablet is a professional-grade tablet that lets you draw, design, or edit photos or use in place of (or alongside) a mouse in any program. It features 2,048 levels of pressure sensitivity.
The medium size is Wacom’s most popular tablet among creative professionals. It combines pen and touch and is wireless and customizable. It comes with 10 nibs of varying sizes, and the pen has tilt recognition. The tablet is 14.9 by 9.9″ with a usable area of 9 x 5 1/2 inches. It weighs in at 10.9 oz.
Compatible with Windows Vista and up, Mac OS X 10.6.8 or later (with Intel processor).
Intuos5 Touch vs. Intuos Pro Medium
The Intuos Pro Medium is pretty much the same as the older Intuos 5 Touch with some differences to the form factor. (To make things even more confusing, what used to be called the Bamboo line is now called Intuos, without the “Pro”). Its express buttons, rocker ring, and gesture controls all give you easy shortcuts for common operations.Also, the Pro comes with the wifi kit, and you had to buy it separately with the Intuos5 Touch.
The look and feel of the tablet is more Cintiq-like now with Express Keys that are designed to be easier to press than in the Intuos5 Touch. The buttons are actual buttons rather than buttons that look like indentations. The inner surface and buttons are all beaded. The plastic is harder than in the Intuos5 Touch, but it still gives. The pen is a little thinner and lighter.
Tablet, Intuos Grip Pen
Color identification rings
Assorted replacement pen tips (total of 10 nibs of varying shapes and sizes)
mini USB cable
Quick-start guide Installation CD with driver Online user manual Product information documentation
Bundled with Software:
Adobe Photoshop Elements 11 (sells for $79.99) Autodesk Sketchbook Express (tablet version based on complete version, features gesture-based menu)
Anime Studio Debut 8 (sells for $49.99)
Corel Painter 13 (30-day trial)
Nik Color Efex Pro 4 Select Edition (tablet version based on complete version)
The bundled software adds about $180 of value. (Ballpark estimate–not counting the free trial as anything.)
The Intuos Pro Pen and Touch Medium Tablet comes in three sizes: small, medium, and large. We’re reviewing the medium, since it’s Wacom’s most popular and also the most practical. The small tablet is not much cheaper and is less comfortable to use. It’s best if you have a small desk space. The large can be a bit too large–so the medium is rather like what Goldilocks might choose.
Unlike a mouse and mousepad, you can map Intuos tablets to your screen. So to move from one part of your screen to another, you need to move your hand around a bit, rather than making several swipes with a mouse. The large size may be a bit awkward to use spacewise. The Medium is good for monitors of up to 30″.
Good for righties and lefties. For left-handed use, the manual tells you how to make a small loop in the cable so it will go in the correct direction.
At just 10.9 oz., this is fine for on the go, and fits into most laptop cases.
The 2,048 levels of pressure sensitivity offer a great deal of control over your digital art. The tablet is very responsive and you can adjust pressure sensitivity. It has a single USB cord and a dongle for wireless access. You can map how much of the tablet you want to use as a live workspace.
OLED lights surround the active area, so you stay within your bounds. The medium’s size is good for working with multiple monitors.The medium is an excellent size to use with multiple monitors as well as for general work. It’s large enough to not feel cramped, but not so large as to be overwhelming.
The eight Express Keys and 4-function Touch Ring let you program custom shortcuts in your favorite programs or browser functions. If you happen to touch while using the pen, palm rejection will kick in and give preference to the pen.
A nice feature is the Express View Display, where you can rest a finger on theExpressKeys and a reminder of its function will light up on the screen. You can toggle between pen and touch. You can use hand gestures to pinch, pan, and zoom, such as pinching to zoom and swiping to navigate.
You can use the built-in gestures or program your own under the on-screen “My Gestures” menu, which lets you choose 3, 4, or 5 fingers. There’s also a handy radial menu you can bring up to give you 8 more customized commands.
Windows Vista SP3, 8, and 7 (32- or 64-bit), or 10; Mac OS X 10.6.8 or later (needs Intel processor).
The included Intuos Grip Pen comes with 10 extra nibs that will give you lots of control over drawing. It’s a little bit of a hassle to change the nibs, but I love that there are so many nibs, and it’s fun to try them out. On the other hand, I tend to stick with one, instead, I change the brushes in the art program.
The nibs come hidden in a handy holder, the base that holds the pen (you have to open up this holder to find them). You can change brush size by using the ring.
The replacement nibs offer a fun array of tips with 5 regular, 1 flex, 1 stroke, 3 hard felt for a total of 10. The stroke nib is spring-loaded to give you more tactile feedback.
I really enjoy having my choice of nibs for different effects. Using a stylus or pen instead of a mouse really seems to ease wrist strain and carpal tunnel caused by the mouse.
The Grip Pen offers tilt recognition from -60 to +60 degrees, as well as rotation sensitivity which greatly expand your drawing and painting options in not only the lines, but also the textures and patterns you can make. You can also use the tilt sensitivity when drawing industrial designs that must be exact and follow angles and curves.
Adobe Photoshop Elements 11
Autodesk Sketchbook Express (a tablet-optimized “mini” version of Sketchbook Pro that’s free anyway)
Anime Studio® Debut 8
Corel Painter™ 13- 30 day trial
Nik Color Efex Pro 4 Select Edition (tablet version based on complete version)
You can use this with any software on your computer. The driver will automatically install for Windows, but with OSX (Mac), you have to install it from the disk or download it off Wacom site (wacom.com). Remember to deactivate any antivirus programs before installing, then reactivate them when finished. You can use this tablet with any programs on your computer (e.g., Photoshop, Illustrator, Maya, or as a mouse replacement in Word).
Remember that not all art programs support pressure sensitivity, and you may have to adjust tablet settings within programs, for instance, Photoshop allows you to choose which tools and functions (such as opacity) you want to respond to pressure.
For Linux Wacom drivers, please visit this Sourceforge page.
The Intuos Pro Medium detects the software you’re using and offers optimal short cuts and selections.
The tablet is useful for handwriting, with its Windows capabilities-you can take notes in Windows Journal and use the search function to search your handwritten content. You can also convert handwriting to typed characters.
There are digital ink tools that mark up documents in Office 2007 and later, if you’re not only using this for digital art. There is a standard mode and a recognition mode for handwriting recognition that is only necessary if the recognition software you are using isn’t working well because it is using a lot of memory. Recognition mode will maximize the data rate.
Good customer service
Ring lets you change brush size
Lightweight (10.9 oz.) and fits in most laptop cases
Comes bundled with 5 art programs including Photoshop Elements 11 and Autodesk Sketchbook Express
Intuos pens also compatible with Cintiqs
Some complain of loose USB port. You only need to use the USB while charging. Some say the included mini USB is too large and needs to be jammed into the port, and had better luck with a replacement mini USB.
Some people compained in their Intuos Pro Pen and Touch review about problems with wireless and touch connectivity
Battery doesn’t last long
Nibs wear down quickly and can leave pits in the tablet
TIPS: Decrease pressure sensitivity in the settings, and you will not need to press very hard. Also, laying a sheet of paper over the tablet while drawing can protect the tablet and pen nib. Or try the Posrus cover, link below, under Accessories.
Customers overall were very satisfied with this tablet. They remarked that the many small improvements made it more pleasant to use than both the Intuos5 Touch and the Intuos4, which did not have touch.
Some got buggy drivers in the Pro, leading to loss of pressure sensitivity and other issues. Drivers have to be downloaded from Wacom’s site.
Old Wacom drivers should be deleted before adding the new ones, and there can be other software conflicts as well when it comes to drivers.
I have always had good experiences when calling Wacom, even if the product is past warranty. They have been patient and helpful. Their online forums often provide answers for issues. It does seem that they stonewall a bit when it comes to drivers not working right with software.
Drivers relate to software made by other companies, for instance, Adobe, so if there are issues it may not be solely Wacom’s fault. Things sometimes seem a bit awry between the two companies.
The Pro Pen and Touch Medium is a professional artist tool that provides excellent results. It’s designed to be a cousin to the Cintiq. Nonetheless, some users have had issues with the USB and connectivity. We hope Wacom will iron out any connectivity and USB problems soon.
Our Intuos Pro Pen and Touch review concludes that this is a high-quality and solidly built tablet that could easily become an artist’s primary tool.
Video: Mapping the Display
This video from Wacom shows you how to map the tablet to your screen. It shows the Intuos 5, since Wacom doesn’t have a video for the Pro, but as I mentioned earlier, they are the almost same tablet, with some differences in the form factor.
Need help choosing which one suits you best? Read our article: How to Pick the Best Wacom Tablet: Intuos graphics tablets
Read more about choosing the best graphics tablet for what you need,
end of Wacom Intuos Pro Pen and Touch Review (Medium)