When I was first introduced to the Wacom Intuos 3 over a decade ago, I wasn’t particularly impressed. As a design student back then, it was cumbersome to lug around and its active drawing surface felt unpleasantly rubbery. Although it was roughly the size of an A4 sketchpad, the drawing area was much smaller and it was only available in a dull grey.
The new Wacom Intuos Small pen tablet however was a pleasant surprise, an improvement over previous models.
For a person that’s very particular about the weight and feel of my drawing materials, I enjoyed Wacom’s lightweight pen. The firm grip makes it feel like drawing with a conventional tool. Wacom has also utilised the pen itself as a storage area for three additional nibs, all stowed tidily in the back of the pen.
The Intuos’ pen boasts 4,000-over levels of pressure sensitivity, in order to mimic the experience of using a conventional pen. It definitely felt like the precision, smoothness and sensitivity created a very natural drawing experience for me and worked perfectly for cleaning up or etching of images. More professional tablets go up to around 8000 pressure levels, for clarification.
What is missing, however, is an eraser feature at the end of the pen. The Wacom Intuos also doesn’t have a multi-touch function that would allow you to navigate, to pan, zoom in and out of your screen using your fingers. That being said, it’s important to remember that the new Intuos is an entry-level creative tablet that’s designed for convenience rather than to be stuck at a desk.
The tablet itself has been redesigned with ExpressKeys being shifted to the top of the tablet rather than the side. From what I can tell, this will benefit the designers who are more likely to use one hand to sketch and press the buttons rather than using separate hands.
The buttons also act as a built-in pen tray, in addition to the designated pen holder in the form of a little sleeve at the top. I do like that I can customise the mapping tablet area as well as the ExpressKeys to individual programs.
The new Intuos comes in three versions – small without Bluetooth, small with Bluetooth and a medium version with Bluetooth. Reviewing the Bluetooth-enabled small version, I was a little disappointed with the slight lag that I experienced. It does come with a USB cable, however, to free you of such issues, but the 1.5 metres might be a tad too long to lay across your table.
What I do like about the new versions of the Wacom Intuos, is the compact design. It is very convenient to carry around, with a 8.8 mm thickness that is comparable to any typical smartphone. The weight of the small Intuos with Bluetooth is just 250 grams, with a seven-inch active area is good enough for an entry-level user. For those who need a little more space, the medium size Intuos comes with a 10-inch active area. They come in charcoal black, pistachio green and berry pink (a big departure from the dull grey I used).
Starting at SGD $110 (for the non-Bluetooth small version), it is budget friendly for most beginners, especially when it also comes with up to three complimentary bundled software programs for design and illustration.