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Wacom Significantly Upgrades The Intuos Intro Line In Size, Sensitivity, And Function

By Kishore Sawh on March 7th 2018

Allow me to put a period on all the sentences now by saying that in order to do great post processing work and end up with the imagery you are capable of producing; the kind you want to produce, you must have a pen tablet. In the world of photography, that means a Wacom. And now you can have incredibly good ones for incredibly cheap.

We have two reviews of higher-end Wacom tablets coming very soon, the Intuos Pro Medium and the Cintiq Pro 13 inch, but the prices for those range from $350 ($299 right now) to $1,000, which isn’t in everyone’s budget. Luckily, however, the basic Wacom tablets are now better than ever with this refresh, and start at just $79.

[REWIND: Intuos Pro – The Ultimate Retouching Tool Review]

“Today, Wacom announced a new, significantly upgraded version of its Intuos pen tablet for creative beginners and enthusiasts. Bundled with software for drawing, painting and image editing, the new Intuos tablet offers an immediate start into digital art. Anyone interested in getting creative on a digital level will be able to enjoy a natural pen experience, improved accuracy and enhanced online navigation capability. Ambitious comic and Manga fans, hobby painters and photographers just need to download a software of choice to “get creative.”

This the fist major upgrade to the basic Wacom line in over two years, and it’s a significant upgrade. The new Intuos line comes with built-in wireless Bluetooth on some models ($20 premium on the ones without), have the same active area as previous generations but are overall smaller and lighter; have a built-in pen tray, 4 express keys, an LED indicator, and the Bluetooth models have a 60 percent battery life improvement.

Additionally, the new pens have 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity and use battery-free EMR tech with a better overall design. That’s double the pressure levels found on the last generation of pro lines. Suffice to say it’s more than enough for photo retouching.

The new Wacoms come in two sizes, medium and small, and the Medium comes standard with Bluetooth for $199, whereas the small can be had with bluetooth for $99 or without for $79.

Having not used these particular models it may be a bit premature to say which to get, but experience with Wacom units over the years suggests you should get the small unit with bluetooth. When retouching you usually map a very small area of the tablet so having a large active size is unnecessary. The only downside is sometimes the small units aren’t providing enough place to rest your hand.

example of mapping – that’s the size of the tablet I use even on a small tablet

The larger units, aside from being more expensive used to be a lot bigger, but like the current (new) Pro Line they have made the Medium about the size of the previous small without penalty in active area. Take a look at this review of a small Intuos of 2 generations ago to get an idea.

If you’re used to the wired experience it’ll take a little getting used to the minor lag of the Bluetooth, but it’s just so so nice to be wire free so definitely go for that one. If you take your photos seriously and retouching, and you want the next best piece of kit to get other than your nifty 50, get one of these.


Kishore is, among other things, the Editor-In-Chief at SLR Lounge. A photographer and writer based in Miami, he can often be found at dog parks, and airports in London and Toronto. He is also a tremendous fan of flossing and the happiest guy around when the company’s good.


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  1. Fernando González

    Thank you so much! I knew about the Intuos series but not the $79 price tag! I thought the $99 one was the only option lol …  Placing my order now

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  2. Motti Bembaron

    Hey Nick, I absolutely agree with you regarding the Huion. The Huion Insporoy Q11K has 11″ of active area, it’s wireless and costs just around $120. They are first class tablets.

    But you shouls also try the XP-Pen Star06, same specs for $90.

    I disagree with Kishore regarding screen tablets. A few years ago I tried the Intuos and could not get used to it. After two weeks of battling with a bad driver and trying to train my hand-ey coordination I gave up.

    I now ordered the Huion KAMVAS GT-156HD V2. It’s a screen tablet like the Cintiq, but far cheaper ($488).

    I tried a screen tablet for a little while and that’s the only way I want to edit photos.

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    • Jacob Jexmark

      The problem with Huion, XP-Pen and the other cheaper Cintiq clones are the screens. The Cintiq has a 94% AdobeRGB color gamut and is very color accurate. The Huion, not so much. This reason alone is worth the premium price of the Cintiq. However, if you are not as picky about color accuracy then the Huion is a fantastic piece of hardware for the money.

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  3. Harry Lim

    I’ve been on the fence about getting a tablet for many years but I’m close to pulling the trigger. If I’ve never used one, should I spring for the Pro model or get my feet wet with the intro line? I don’t mind spending more if it’s going to last awhile.

    Similarly, if I’ve never used a tablet, would it make sense to jump into the Cintique line or should I start with the Intous line first?

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    • Kishore Sawh

      Harry, I would say if you’ve never used one before don’t go the Cintiq route. They are amazing, but really they’re not for everyone, and less flexible (unless you go mobile studio pro).

      If the volume of your work will be high, and you know you edit a lot or retouch a lot then the pro has features you’ll appreciate for sure. However, I have the new Pro Med, Cintiq 13, and the old Pen & touch and I can tell you I used to use that base model so so much. My recommendation therefore would be to get the one for $99. It has bluetooth, and more than enough pressure, and for photos it’s fine. One of the biggest benefits of the Pro line is the multi-touch (if you want it) and the location and number of function buttons. For those fluent in the use of a Wacom these are a big deal. But you’ll be happy with the $99 model for a while.

       Understand you’re gonna be frustrated for a few days, and then after you’ll wonder how you ever lived without one. I usually am VERY hesitant about telling people to buy things, but I genuinely feel a Wacom tablet will make a huge difference both in process and output.

      Check out my other Wacom tutorials and reviews on site

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    • Nick Viton

      If you’re just getting your feet wet, try a Huion. They’re far less expensive and work great.

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