The Wacom intuos4 is a pro-grade graphics tablet with hyper-sensitivity and multiple pen nibs – ideal for speeding up your retouching when working in volume. But any graphics tablet right for your workload? The What Digital Camera Wacom intuos4 review investigates…

The Wacom intuos4 graphics tablet is among the forerunners of tablet products, replacing the intuos3 by once again updating and fine tuning the well-established professional range. Widely used by retouching studios, graphic artists and other creative and design industries, the Wacom intuos4 is a professional grade graphics tablet. If you’re the kind of person that finds yourself Photoshopping through a considerable number of images day to day then the advantage a tablet offers is unparalleled: it will save you plenty of time, increase your accuracy and up your output. The intuos4 makes perfect for en masse dodging and burning, or brushing masks. However, for first time users, it does take some getting used to (as per all tablets) – but once the hand-eye coordination and quick reference features take hold you’ll not look back.

The intuos4 comes in four sizes – from small (A6) to extra large (A3) – and is stylishly dressed in a subtle black finish. To the left (or the right if you’re left handed) are quick reference buttons with OLED displays, next to a touch ring controller which, similar to the ring of an iPod, can be twirled to cycle through options, brush sizes and such like. Four different options can be programmed to this controller, though cycling between options can be a little cumbersome if left in the wrong mode. The previous intuos3 model had fewer buttons clustered together and a less intuitive control strip. The intuos4 looks the part and, should you be working in dim rooms with balanced screens, maintains effective visibility for quick and efficient use.

The intuos4’s pen (or stylus) comes with a rubberised grip for comfortable hold and has click buttons for quick access menus. There are even different nib types that come with the intuos4 should you want to have the feel of a hardened pen, pencil or softer brush-like feel. These options compliment the intuos4’s incredibly sensitive response – with 2,048 levels of pressure sensitivity, as little as 1g of pressure will cause response. This doubles the sensitivity from the previous intuos3 model and is a key sell point, though arguably the 512 levels provided with earlier models such as the intuos2 are more than capable.

Additionally Wacom has updated its drivers for the intuos4 – a common complaint with previous versions bundled with older intuos models – to ensure a more stable experience that now allows for programming of multiple programmes to specific buttons and shortcuts. It makes transition from one programme to the next that bit more seamless in ues, plus assigning controls to a variety of programmes in Wacom’s software is simple to use and update to your personal means.

Ignoring the Wacom CintiQ – the company’s incredible ‘work directly on screen’ type tablet – the intuos4 offers a highly professional solution and, given the lack of dominance from other manufacturers, is up there with the best offering on the market. For what little criticism can be made, it’s essentially a case of whether any tablet is the right choice for your workflow or not – if so then the intuos4, at any size, shant disappoint at a professional level. For those only tweaking the odd photo however, a smaller tablet to the side of your keyboard may suffice, this is one for the more demanding and professional.

Likes: Speed of workflow, sensitivity, ease of install, touch ring controller, stylish

Dislikes: It’s an unavoidable hefty financial investment, customisable buttons overkill for some users

Price: £429 (for large size

What Digital Camera Score: 87%