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Wacom Intuos 5 Touch Medium Graphics Tablet Review

We have a look at the latest graphics tablet from Wacom with Pen and Touch controls. Could this be the latest gadget to speed up your photo workflow?

| Wacom Intuos 5 in Graphics Tablets and Mice

Wacom Intuos 5 Touch Medium Graphics Tablet Review: Wacom Intuos5 Medium Graphics Tablet Pen Holder
Recently we looked at the entry level Wacom Bamboo Fun Pen and Touch. For more advanced photographers, designers, illustrators, and even those who suffer from RSI, is the professional level Intuos 5 Pen and Touch Medium Graphics Tablet. The newest feature added to Wacom's popular Intuos line of graphics tablets is the ability to use hand gestures to control the computer.

Wacom Intuos 5 Pen and Touch Features

The Wacom tablet comes with five standard nibs, one flex, one stroke, and three felt nibs so that you can choose your favourite nib at the start. They are cleverly stored in the pen holder, which also contains a metal ring that is used for removing nibs from the pen.

Wacom Intuos 5 Touch Medium Graphics Tablet Review: Wacom Intuos5 Medium Graphics Tablet Pen Nibs

Key Features

  • Pessure sensitive grip pen, pressure-sensitive eraser
  • 2048 levels of pen pressure, with up to 60 degrees of pen tilt
  • Ergonomic design
  • Customisable expresskeys, 6 on small, 8 on larger versions
  • Expressview display (on screen)
  • Multi funtion touch ring
  • Multi touch surface
  • Active area: 223.5 x 139.7mm
  • Overall size: 379.9x251.4x11.5mm
  • Available in small, medium, large
  • 2 year warranty
  • Wireless accessory kit available (same wirelss kit is used on the Bamboo and Intuos 5 making it easy to upgrade from the Bamboo to the Intuos 5 if wanted)
The tablet includes: Various software titles including full versions of: Photoshop Elements 10, Autodesk Sketch Pad, Corel Painter Sketch Pad. (Choose and download one when you register the Wacom Product).

System requirements: Internet connection fo software download, USB port, colour display, CD/DYD rom, PC: Windows 7 SP1, Windows Vista SP2, Windows XP SP3 or later, Macintosh: Max OS X 10.5.8 or later, Intel processor.

Wacom Intuos 5 Touch Medium Graphics Tablet Review: Wacom Intuos5 Medium Graphics Tablet Wireless Kit Installed
Wacom Intuos 5 Medium Graphics Tablet Wireless Kit Installed

Wireless Kit: This is an optional extra and includes a lithium ion battery, wireless transmitter and small wireless USB receiver this sits neatly in the tablet under removable covers.

Wacom Intuos 5 Touch Medium Graphics Tablet Review: Wacom Intuos5 Medium Graphics Tablet Wireless Kit

Wacom Intuos 5 Pen and Touch Handling

Wacom Intuos 5 Touch Medium Graphics Tablet Review: Wacom Intuos5 Medium Graphics Tablet With Pen

Tablet - The tablet features large rubber feet underneath to keep it securely in one place. The LCD display from the Intuos 4 has gone, and instead when you press any of the buttons, an overlay appears on screen giving you details of what each button does, as shown below:

Wacom Intuos 5 Touch Medium Graphics Tablet Review: Wacom-screen-overlay

Touch - As this is a touch device as well, you can use the tablet with gestures. You just need to swipe a number of fingers across to perform certain functions, which can be customised, for example you can set four fingers up / down, as undo and redo. It also means you need to be aware that you can't leave your hand resting on it, as it will also control the mouse. Touch can be switched on/off so that you can rest your hand on the device if you want, and then use the pen only.

Wacom Intuos 5 Touch Medium Graphics Tablet Review: Wacom Touch Settings

ExpressKeys - These can be customised to anything you want, they can also be set to do different things in different applications. By default the top key is used to switch touch on and off. You can also add in your favourite applications in and customise these buttons to suit each application as desired.

Wacom Intuos 5 Touch Medium Graphics Tablet Review: Wacom Button Settings

Wacom Intuos 5 Pen and Touch Performance

Here we've used the pen to retouch the original image to remove any blemishes such as stray hair, dust spots, or any skin imperfections and once this was done, we then used the pen to add additional colour highlights to the hair, as well as additional colour around the eyes. The use of the pen is much smoother than using a mouse and makes the process much quicker as it's not as painstaking as a mouse.

Wacom Intuos 5 Sample Photos

The pen gives you 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity, which is great, however I found that I have nowhere near that level of ability to control how hard I was pressing the pen, but it is good to know. If you're using Adobe Illustrator then this would be perfect for drawings and illustrations.

The tablet takes up much more space than a normal mouse would in use, and there is quite a large border around the pressure sensitive area, however the additional control and benefits should outweigh the negatives, as long as you have enough desk space for it in addition to your mouse, as you may find that you still need to use your mouse at times - although with extended use it should be possible to move entirely to pen and touch use.

Value For Money

The tablet is available in three sizes, small with 6 express keys and the medium and larger versions have eight express keys, there is also a medium pen only version (without touch). The model reviewed here is available for £289, which is very similar in price to the previous model, the Intuos 4. The wireless accessory kit is available for £35 (RRP).

Wacom Intuos 5 Pen and Touch Verdict

The Wacom Intuos 5 Pen and Touch feels like an excellent improvement over the Intuos 4 with improved handling and design. It feels more intuitive to use, and works extremely well. Using the graphics tablet with photo editing applications, such as Photoshop or Paint Shop Pro is extremely easy, as the software automatically recognises the pen and it can really speed up photo editing. If you've never tried a graphics tablet for photo work, but are beginning to see the benefits from using other touch enabled devices, then now is an excellent time to invest in one, and the Wacom Intuos 5 should make the transition smoother than ever.
  Wacom Intuos 5 Touch Medium Graphics Tablet Review:
  The Wacom Intuos 5 Pen and Touch makes an excellent product even easier to use.

Wacom Intuos 5 Pen and Touch Pros

2 year warranty
Choice of nibs
Customisable buttons
Allows the use of Photoshop / other apps without the use of keyboards
Clever touch gestures feature
Feels good

Wacom Intuos 5 Pen and Touch Cons

Large border around working area


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arhb Avatar
arhb 16 3.4k 68 United Kingdom
13 Jun 2012 11:33AM
I bought one of these 2 months ago, after using a cheap alternative.
It feels solid and positive in use.
Highly recommended.
AussieInLondon Avatar
13 Jun 2012 3:13PM
I purchased one of these when they first hit the market. I had been using an Intuous 3 A3 which was wonderful and has retired back into it's original packaging if an emergency arises.

The Intuos 5 Medium Touch is an absolute joy to use not only in Photoshop/ Illustrator and Lightroom, but in ANY application that needs precise navigation. I have not used a mouse in years.

The new features are welcomed. Wacom have certainly done their research into the things their customers (Professionals in this case) have been asking for.

Retouching a photo in Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop takes much less time. Then again, I do have CS6 and that is an advantage right there before we start. Lightroom 4 is very responsive to the Intuos 5 Medium Touch.

All in all, can't say a bad word about it. As for the CONS listed by the reviewer of the main article, I think that he/she had to think long and hard to find such a petty excuse for a con. The fact is, the border does not get in the way at all. Unless you have the hands of the Incredible Hulk or a Professional Wrestler. LOL.

Serious about working in the apps mentioned? Buy one of these and watch your productivity leap up three or four rungs of the ladder. A "must buy" for small/medium sized graphic studios. Not to mention any serious photographer that needs to do post-production work on RAW/CR2 files.

Thoroughly recommend.
Mark Patten
bnconvicted Avatar
25 Dec 2012 8:07PM
I know the border around the active area seems like a con but it does have the little corner lights to show you exactly where the pen and touch will work and I personally hate the tablets that your hand hangs off the edge or if you are forced to rub your hand or wrist over the edge to get close to the edges. I get sore hands and/or wrists with a short border. I think it provides a nice smooth and hazard free area to glide over and not have to worry about rubbing a raw spot on your hands/wrists. I use mine ALL day and I can't stand being sore while doing what I love! I recommend it! I got the medium and I am in love! I disable my touch screen most times just because I'm a 'hand rester' and I am still getting the hang of it while it's on. It's perfect for me though! Nice product and I have always favored the Wacoms. Grin

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