We're all used to drawing directly on a tablet or computer screen, but this drawing tablet provides an alternative surface to write on. Moving the pen over the tablet is like moving your finger on a track pad. Drawing directly on the screen may sound easier to do, but with practice this feels natural. Separating the monitor and drawing surface definitely has its advantages, the biggest being that your hand doesn't block your view of the screen. Unlike a mouse, the stylus offers pressure sensitivity. The Wacom Intuos is one of the cheapest drawing tablets that Wacom offers.
What is Wacom Intuos?
Wacom Intuos is a drawing tablet from a company that is known for their professional tools. The Intuos drawing tablet is designed as an affordable, compact drawing tablet with pressure sensitivity control, which recognizes over 4,000 levels of sensitivity.
The Wacom Intuos is available in two sizes: small and medium. The small tablet has a 7-inch work space and is available with or without Bluetooth capability. It offers a 10-inch work space.
The Wacom Intuos has four express (shortcut) keys on the tablet and two on the stylus pen. Most of the tablet is taken up by the drawing area. The smaller tablet has 6 by 3.7 inches of work area, while the larger model has 8.5 by 5.3 inches. The Wacom Intuos offer the user 15 hours of work time and a battery-less stylus. There are four rubber pads on the bottom to prevent the tablet from sliding around on a tabletop.
This feature enables the user to use the maximum brush size, or just a fraction of that selected brush, depending on the amount of pressue applied. The pressure sensitivity can also be adjusted to be within special ranges or of a certain thickness or gradient. The Wacom Intuos recognizes over 4,000 levels of pressure. For artists who do heavily detailed work, this is a major time saver.
Above the drawing area there is a row of five buttons. These are slightly concave to allow the pen to rest nicely on them. The express button can be assigned keyboard shortcuts, except for the middle button. The middle button works to power the tablet and set up Bluetooth. However, the other four can not only be assigned different shortcuts, but they can also be customized to work differently for different applications.
The Wacom Intous is compatible with Mac, Windows 7 and up, except for Windows 10S.
To a computer, a drawing tablet is nothing but a mouse with many buttons. You can use the tablet in any program by hovering the pen over the surface and tapping to click on an item.
Installing the proper drivers and software allows you to customize the buttons, view battery life, control other settings, and provides an on-screen instruction guide. The Express keys can be set to be a type of mouse click, navigation, or on-screen control. Include the buttons on the pen, the click and navigation settings allow you to use the pen just like a mouse, including the right click and scroll function.
The installation process is easy, but if it is your first time using a drawing tablet, it can take some time and experimentation to use it into your workflow.
How it Compares
We picked a few similar products available on the market to see how they compare.
- Graphics tablet to use in any software for digital art, photo editing and animation 4096 levels of pressure sensitivity...
- Connect this digital drawing tablet to your computer via USB cable to your Mac or PC to easily write, edit or convey...
- Slim design and compact sized art tablet with a large drawing area (6.0 inches x 3.7 inches); Perfect for limited...
- ease of use
- design quality
The Wacom Intuos is simple, straight to the point, and easy to use. Those customizable buttons can work to your advantage to create an efficient workflow.
Constructed from a light-weight plastic, the Wacom Intuos feels well-built for the price, but with enough wear and tear there will be visible scratches from the stylus. It is also prone to finger smudges.
Wacom covers the Wacom Intuos for up to a year when bought from authorized retailers.
- 8192 Levels of Pen Pressure Sensitivity - You can enjoy smooth and accurate lines when using the drawing tablet....
- 12 Express Keys and 16 Soft Keys - The 12 physical express-keys on the left and 16 soft keys on the top of the drawing...
- Difference with the original 1060PLUS digital tablet in Appearance - Full-Area Surface Cover, Pen Carrier, and Thinner...
This tablet is probably the best large tablet you can find for a very affordable price, but the software does not hold up to Wacom. It isn't as customizable as the Wacom Intous, but it does have a larger drawing surface: 10 by 6.25 inches. Also, it has 12 customizable tablet Express keys and 16 soft shortcut keys on the work surface. However, users have criticized these Express keys for not being as customizable as the Wacom, due to what the driver allows. Even though it has 12 buttons, users only use five or six buttons due to their limited settings.
Another feature this tablet seems to lack is the ability for the computer to "flip" it so it can be used by left-handed users.
Out of the box, only one cover is included, but it does offer several tracing pages. These tracing pages only have adhesive on one side, so you can slip a piece of artwork underneath and trace it into digital form. This is one feature that sets this tablet above the rest in this review. Even if you use the protective papers included with the tablet, the nibs on the end of your stylus will wear down with use.
Although, there are a few advantages to this tablet. It includes a 8GB SD Card, which is used to store artwork. This allows the artist to work from any computer, given that it has the same programs. Then pen also comes with a cap to prevent damage while traveling in a backpack. There is also a artist glove included for those who don't like their hand rubbing against the tablet surface.
- ease of use
- design quality
This tablet provides a larger work area that gives the user a better idea of what part of the tablet corresponds with which part of the screen. However, if you're left handed, you're better off with the XP-Pen Star06 (mentioned below).
It feels light-weight, but durable. It also comes with a pen holder so you don't lose your stylus and extra nibs. The nib changer is also included in the holder. The texture of the work place doesn't have too much texture, but it isn't slippery either.
Products are covered for 12 months of purchased from an authorized retailer regarding the quality. Returns for refund must be completed within 30 days of purchase. Consider registering your tablet for better customer service.
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The Parblo Island drawing tablet is good option for amateur artists. It's cheaper than Wacom, but it doesn't include the free bundled software like Wacom does.
The work area is 8 by 5 inches, recognizes over 2,000 levels of pressure, and also has tilt sensitivity. The tilt sensitivity recognizes 60 levels and the driver software allows the user to adjust those levels their preferences.
The work space area has a good amount of texture so your pen doesn't slide around while you're working. This tablet only has four express keys and two side buttons on the stylus. However, the bottom button is locked to double click, it can't be customized.
One disadvantage about this tablet is the fact that it has a built-in cable that connects to the computer. If the cable were to get damaged, the tablet would be useless.
The pen stylus is battery-free and the buttons are flush with the surface, so it can be hard to find without looking. This also allows the pen to roll around. This tablet doesn't come with a pen holder, so it is more easily lost. Unfortunately, the cursor follows the pen on screen with no lag to allow for stabilization, and this can be an issue for some artists.
- ease of use
- design quality
The driver only allows the user to assign shortcuts using only an on-screen keyboard provided by the software, not the users physical keyboard. This limits the user, and the tablet doesn't have special symbols like the brackets you would use to change brush sizes in Photoshop.
While it seems well-built, the design screams "budget." If you are one to nit-pick and aesthetics, this may not be the tablet for you. The express keys jiggle in their setting and give a loud click when pressed. Scratches and other marks start to show after only a few days of use.
Parblo Island has a 12-month warranty for defects in material and workmanship, but a 5-year warranty for all LED components. For a refund, you must file a return within 30 days of purchase.
- The Star 06 features both wired and wireless USB capability: Simply plug the included ISM 2.4G USB receiver into your...
- The Star 06's 1050mAh lithium battery charges quickly and conveniently during wired use. 2 hours provides a full charge...
- Our battery-free stylus features 8192 pressure levels and does not require charging. Work and draw without unexpected...
The XP-Pen Star 06 offers a USB or bBluetooth connection to a computer. Out of the box, it includes a manual, artist glove, stylus pen, pen stand with 8 extra nibs, and a 4GB USB drive with the driver software for Mac and PC.
This tablet features 6 express keys, recognizes over 8,000 levels of sensitivity, and has a 10 by 6 inch work space. Left-handed users can rejoice, this tablet recognizes being flipped so you don't have to remember upside-down express keys. Both the orientation and the levels of sensitivity can be adjusted in the driver settings. By using the scroll wheel, the artist can switch brush sizes quicker than other methods. This can also be used to zoom in and out of images.
- ease of use
- design quality
The scroll wheel is a feature that takes out the tedious work of switching brush sizes or zooming in or out on artwork. However, the express keys can only be set from a predetermined list.
This tablet is light-weight but doesn't feel cheap. After only 2 hours of charging, the 1050mAh battery lasts for 16 hours.
Like the other tablets, the XP-Pen Star is covered for 12 months. The accessories (stylus, charger, ect.) are only covered for 3 months. There is an option for one extra month of coverage if you follow XP Pen on social media sites.
Drawing tablets like the smaller Wacom Intuos are great for artists who might find themselves taking their work with them, but tablets like the XP-Pen and the Parblo Island are a great deal if you have a larger amount of workspace available. Also, if you are considering a tablet from this list and you're left handed, the best choice will be the XP-Pen tablet. As matter of fact, the XP-Pen is our favorite on the list, with a rating of 4 out of 5 stars.