Wacom Intuos Pro Pen Tablet.
Sample sketch done using the Wacom Intuos Pro Pen Tablet.
Sample sketch done using the Wacom Intuos Pro Pen Tablet.

Better than ever

The new Wacom Intuos Pro Pen Tablet comes with a host of improvements which make digital sketchings and drawings easier. The NST creative team reviews.


AS an artist, some of you may miss the old way of harnessing your creative energy using a sketchpad. Well, with advances in technology, Wacom has a solution for digital artists who still wish to incorporate paper into their work.


FIRST IMPRESSION

THE Wacom Intuos Pro Pen Tablet has a slim and sleek design. It measures 338 x 219 x 8mm and weighs 700gm. It’s built using premium materials such as anodised aluminium cover at the back. The surface texture is different than the previous model. During the drawing test, it produced a nice solid scrape sound, compared to the previous Intuos Pro models which gave a rather plastic sound.

The tablet also comes with texture sheet sample card — rough, standard and smooth, to give a smoother or a rougher feel. This accessory is sold separately.

Wacom has introduced two ways to connect the device to the computer. You can either sync it via the built-in Bluetooth or via the USB-C cable which also can be used to charge the tablet.

The battery life can last only eight to nine hours of continuous sketching.

This device uses multi-touch gestures that will let you zoom, pan and navigate with your fingers when using application such as Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator.

Wacom has also added a power button at the side and dedicated touch On/Off switch, a marked improvement from the old model, when we had to deactivate the feature using the computer setting.

On the side panel, there are eight buttons known as the ExpressKeys and the Touch Ring.

The buttons allow users to create customised shortcuts to speed up the workflow, while the Touch Ring is for zooming or changing the brush size.

When you press the Expresskeys or Touch Ring, it will appear on your computer screen to tell you what each button does.

However, the Touch Ring setting is a bit too sensitive when used. If you want to have total control over it, you need to toggle the computer setting to the slowest reading gesture.


THE STYLUS

If you’re a longtime Intuos user, the operation of its stylus will feel very familiar with this new Pro Pen 2. It has the same buttons on the wide barrel and rubberised grip. No batteries or recharging are required. The pen is very comfortable to hold due to its width, length and grip.

We noticed instantly the level of sensitivity the stylus offers.

With its 8,192 levels of pressure in both the pen tip and eraser, along with reduced lag and natural tilt support, it accurately identifies the amount of pressure, as well as the precision while drawing or writing on the tablet — as if you doing it on a paper.

However, some things don’t change! These include the tendency of the tablet getting scratched from regular usage though that doesn’t impact the tablet’s performance.

The Wacom Intuos Pro also includes a pen stand in the accessory stable, which we find useful.

It doesn’t just hold your pen vertically or horizontally but it also holds 10 replacement nibs and a nib remover for ease of replacement.

Another useful additional accessory that come together with the stylus is the four colour identification rings — black, red, green and blue, on top of the silver ring that allow for easy differentiation between pen owners. This colour ring comes in handy at a working place or studio when other colleagues have similiar stylus.


THE FINETIP PEN

The pen comes with a 0.44mm finetip and black colour ink.

When we first got our hands on this, we thought it could link straight to adobe illustrator or photoshop software. But it doesn’t work that way. The finetip pen requires a different app called Inkspace which is available on desktop, iPad or Android version.

To use it, you have to attach a sheet of paper to the tablet and attach it using the paper clip provided inside the box. However, once finished, artwork can be saved as .JPEG, TIFF, SVG and PSD.

When the tablet senses the gel pen within proximity, it will go into a recording mode. A big blue cross light will appear on the Touch Ring button when there is a content waiting to be synced.

You will have to initiate syncing it by pressing the button. If you double tap on the touch ring button, it will create a new layer in your artwork.

Note that you don’t have pressure sensitivity with the ink pen. But if you use multiple strokes to create thicker lines (without lifting the pen) you can end up with some odd, complex paths.

The finetip Pen ink supply also doesn’t last very long but Wacom have provided three finetips for refills.

As for the built-in memory for this wireless tablet, Wacom Intuos Paper Pro Edition can store up to 200 files, including layers. The files can later be accessed from other devices using the Inkspace app.


CONCLUSION

At RM1,608 (before GST), the Wacom Intuos Pro Paper Edition tablet is helpful for creative practitioners who prefer to work on paper in the initial creative process.

It does away with the laborious step of scanning hand-drawn sketches by allowing you to have digital ink versions of sketches at the touch of a button. This model is targeted at those who do a lot of digital freehand sketching, inking, masking and more.


PROS:

  • Slimmer design than the previous model.
  • Accurate Pro Pen 2.
  • Tablet can sync via Bluetooth.
  • Dedicated touch on/off switch.
  • Built-in memory up to 200 files.


    CONS:

  • The finetip pen can only be used in Inkspace app.
  • Tendency of tablet to get scratched from regular usage.
  • Touch Ring setting is a bit too sensitive.


    VERDICT: 3/5

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