Wacom Intuos4 Pen Tablet Review.

Wacom's latest graphics tablet update just got more intuitive in the shape of the Intuos4 Pen tablet.

The new Intuos4 tablet is quite simply excellent and has, incidentally, already been awarded TIPA’s best digital accessory in Europe award. I had the Medium sized model to play with (there are Small, Medium, Large and Extra Large variants) with an active area of 223.5mm x 139.7mm and the first standout feature of note is the brilliantly simple ambidextrous design.

The new layout has all controls on one side of the tablet; the advantage here is it makes it easier to use all the features since the detachable USB cord and dual USB ports then allow you to turn the tablet 180°, plug it back in for left and/or right-handed use.

Add to the mix, new LED backlit labels for the programmable ExpressKeys, (though the bottom model in the range, the cheaper “Small” version, disappointingly lacks these LED labels) means the problem of forgetting what ExpressKey where programmed to do what did what on previous versions is eliminated since the LEDs allow you to see what is programmed even automatically switching between applications, which is very neat indeed.

It is the customisability of the Intuos4 system that provides its real power as the new Touch Ring feature demonstrates. The Touch Ring allows you to use it like the ExpressKeys, but can be programmed to zoom and scroll or change brush size in a photo editing package such as Photoshop. Alternatively, it can be used as a scrubber if video editing is more your thing.

The new Grip Pen has also received significant enhancements with new Tip Sensor technology that provides for almost weightless sensitivity in terms of pressure. It has 2048-levels of pressure compared with the 1048-levles of the Intuos3 series tablets, making it much more smooth and more precise to use for brush strokes and the like.

The weighted pen stand has been revised in that it is a storage compartment for replacement nibs and the nib removal tool too. But one of the other significant enhancements is the redesigned mouse. The mouse does not need a battery but is oh so much more precise to use than on previous versions and overall while the Intuos4 is an evolution on the previous very good Intuos3 it provides a set of updates and new features that make it so much better.

One sticking point however must be mentioned, it may look a bit overpriced at a penny shy of £330 but after using the Intuos4 Medium for a few days, it’s hard to argue against owning one assuming you have the budget, of course.

It’s hard to improve on something that’s already brilliant, but Wacom have obviously had a good head scratching session and come up with just that. The brilliant just got, well, erm… Brillianter? But at a price, because the "Small" is priced at £199.99, the price rising through the range with the Extra Large priced at a startling £699.99.