Thursday, March 1, 2012

Wacom Intuos 5 touch

Wacom has released today a new version of the Intous 5 tablet series. This new family adds some interesting features to the previous generation of tablet. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to use the Intuos 5 Small in the last days. This article doesn’t pretend to be a full review of the product; I will just talk about the good and bad points that impressed me.



Design and multi-touch

First of all I have to say that I really do like the design and the ergonomics of this new product: comfortable and, in the same time, very solid. It really seems designed for professional photographers and artist in mind. Why? Check, for example, how the buttons works and you will find the answer. They are both capacitive and click sensitive. So you can scroll between them without clicking to have a preview on what function they have and then click (having both a tactile and audible confirmation of the input that you gave). This allows you to stay with your eyes (and mind) focused on the screen. No interruption of your workflow, no need to look the tablet.


The first “real” new feature that I noticed is about the multi-touch functionality.  Basically you now get both the high precision that only the Wacom pen technology can give you with the benefits that a multi touch tablet can offer.

You can have an idea of what the touch and pen combo features offer watching the following video.



Essentially I am drawing with the pen and using a 2-finger input to zoom and rotate the canvas in Photoshop. Unfortunately multi touch technology is not deeply implemented in modern software, but I am sure that in the feature we will see huge improvements.  Wacom multi touch is very advanced (supports more than 10 points at the same time) and the good news is that the driver offers a very nice panel to personalize your shortcuts. You can see my setting in the following screen.



Basically you can personalize in a different way each program and get very impressive results. You can choose to assign a different shortcut for each gesture. Just watch the following video to see how I work in Photoshop while using the Pen and the touch in the same workflow.



I really think that the touch feature offers a nice improvement in the way you can approach the software.

The drawbacks of the multi-touch are essentially related to the behavior of the tablet when you approach it with your hands when you want to use the pen. Basically when the pen is close enough to the tablet surface the touch function is disabled. This systems works fine if you get close to the tablet with the pen pointing on it but, if the pen is too far from the surface when you put your hand down, the driver could recognize unwanted inputs. Not a big problem, it’s just a matter of habit. 
 
Anyway as you may have notice in the video sometime the multi-touch doesn’t react as expected. I have to get confident with this technology but I think that it has great potential.

Another feature that I really like is the extended surface area. You’ll not get your pen nib stuck with the borders of the tablet any more. This was a problem for many users. While drawing on the borders of the area you could get the pen nib in the “duct” on the side of the active area. This again confirms that these products are made with the users in mind.



Other features

Same pressure levels and pens. Wacom found that 2048 levels of pressure are enough and this is why the new generation of Intuos tablet is not offering any improvement in this sense. I have to say that I noticed the improvements from 1024 to 2048 but they where maybe a little bit small and this is why many users are still using (and happy with) the Intuos 3. I agree with Wacom. Regarding the pen I don’t see any possible improvements from the Intuos 4 technology and Wacom engineers must had the same awareness.

Personally I am very enthusiast about the new multi-touch feature but if you don’t want it you can get the new 5 Medium sized tablet for a reduced price (lower than the previous generation of Intuos 4 tablets).

Wacom didn’t change the material that is used for the tablet surface.  This material was made after years of studies and research. What Wacom engineer wanted was a material that, used in combination with the different nibs, can give the best possible drawing experience. I like the material but I don’t like how fast the nib run out when you use it. I have to say that the nib wearing will be much more slow after the few weeks of use. You have to “run in” the tablet. Personally I prefer the feeling of the 24HD surface, but this is really a matter of personal taste. I think that I'll soon make a new post on the blog with more details regarding the nib wearing.

What is new for Intuos users is the wireless module. No longer based on bluetooth technology but on a more efficient one, you just have to plug in the dongle and the software will do the rest. I have been told that with the small sized tablet you should be able to work for 16  hours continuously. This wireless module is exactly the same we have seen on the Bamboo series.
 
Conclusion

Basically what we have is the same, excellent, Intuos 4 Pen technology with some smart design improvements and the multi-touch. I think Wacom has done a good job.

21 comments:

  1. Salve Vittorio, le faccio i miei complimenti per il suo articolo: tempestivo ed approfondito!
    Poiché anche io ho intenzione di acquistare la tavoletta ma sono dubbioso per un particolare non secondario, posso chiederle di fare un piccolissimo test?
    Nel caso fosse possibile, vorrei che provasse ad usarla con OneNote 2010 e postasse uno screenshot: purtroppo ho acquistato ormai due anni fa una intuos 4L la quale produce, con Onenote, un tratto sgranato e impreciso, senza che mai Wacom nel frattempo abbia affrontato e risolto la questione (naturalmente non si tratta di un problema del mio esemplare ma dell'intera linea).
    La ringrazio anticipatamente.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Salve, grazie per i complimenti. Personalmente uso OneNote per prendere diversi tipi di appunti e non ho mai avuto problemi particolari anche se il software non è molto preciso (sia con la Cintiq 24HD che con la Intuos 4 e 5). Se vuole può contattarmi tramite email e le posso mandare più di un file prodotto con OneNote. catalyst AT fastwebnet.it

    ReplyDelete
  3. wacom made another failure, I'd say. the surface.. they are just became greedy with the pen nib selling out. why don't they make an intuos3 type of sheets for i4 and i5? (...). pro's that use their tablets more than for a couple of hours a day, will all agree that this is just not the right decision. and wacom forums are full of those complains. "pen nibs start to wear noticebly in 20min", "pen nibs wear out in 3-4days of work" and etc. it would be smarter to make the tablets more expensive but solve the quality of the work with the produkt. for ex.I'm def not comfortable changing nibs every day cos they start to feel bad, scrach and etc.

    all in all, wacom is a leading company for this kind of tablets today, so I guess we'll just have to wait for their end of downfall - till some other companies show their initiative in this poor market and improve the truly important functions/ergonomics, not just the look and some wireless shmireless crap.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Lol man. Nobody is asking you to buy Wacom products. I am sure that Wacom does really care about clients opinion and maybe you should tell them your thoughts. What maybe you should try to understand is that there is a huge difference between a low quality material and a material that needs to be replaced during time. When you draw with a drafting pencil than you will have to replace lead… Wacom made several studies to find the best possible drawing surface and they asked hundreds of clients to give their feedback. We now have this material that tends to use the nibs. Maybe you should think about how you express yourself, you comment seem more a grumble from a desperate teenager than a serious complain from a persona capable of consent. I really do agree with some of your points and I am not happy about how fast the nibs are wearing but I can’t understand why you have so much anger.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Salve Vittorio, complimenti per l'articolo veramente ben fatto, volevo chiederti, dato che ho intenzione di sostituire la mia vecchia Intuos 2, che prodotto consiglieresti ad un illustratore tra la nuova Intuos 5 e la Cintiq 12wx (l'unica che potrei permettermi). La risposta sembra ovvia, la Cintiq regala un feeling molto più vicino al disegno tradizionale, ma molti clienti si sono lamentati per la sua imprecisione, la non uniformità nella retroilluminazione e la pessima calibrazione.
    Un'ultima cosa, hai mai avuto modo di provare la inking pen sulla Intuos?

    Ti ringrazio per qualsiasi aiuto tu possa darmi.

    Saluti

    Marco

    ReplyDelete
  6. Salve Marco. Grazie per i complimenti. Personalmente ho provato troppo poco la 12WX per dare un giudizio serio. Le mie impressioni sono state solo positive e, tra i colleghi che la usano, non ho sentito lamentele particolari, solo problemi che sono stati risolti in modo più o meno puntuale. Personalmente credo che il “touch” rappresenti una grossa possibilità, ma ovviamente non rinuncerei alla possibilità di disegnare “sullo schermo”. Il mio consiglio è quello di provare entrambi i prodotti di persona. Non ho mai provato le inking pen, sono spiacente.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Salve Vittorio, mi scuso per rispondere così in ritardo ad un tuo così pronto intervento sull'argomento, ma il quotidiano a volte ti risucchia nei suoi meccanismi spietati eheheh allora, raccolgo il tuo consiglio riguardo un test di persona, è la cosa migliore da fare in questi casi, considerando "l'esigua" spesa da affrontare (sarcastic mode on). Acquisterei ad occhi chiusi il modello da 21" ma diamine costa molto!!! Purtroppo la Wacom non avendo concorrenti ha creato questa sorta di monopolio, non essendoci in giro un'alternativa alla loro offerta :(

      Ti ringrazio ancora e continuerò a seguire il tuo blog :)

      Delete
    2. Ad onor del vero ci sono svariati concorrenti, specie nel mercato cinese (tutti produttori che importano anche in Italia, volendo). Inoltre senza andare troppo ad est, si posso trovare svariati prodotti della Hanvon (anche direttamente in Italia), se ti interessa un prodotto con display potresti valutare la Sentip. Personalmente posso dirti che bene o male si ottiene quello che si paga, sia in termini di qualità che di supporto!

      Delete
    3. Stò guardando proprio ora il modello SenTIP 1201WD, sembra la risposta al modello 12" della Wacom ma con un prezzo decisamente più accessibile, ho letto una review che descrive il prodotto come un passo in avanti nella lotta contro Wacom ma che purtroppo non riesce ad eguagliare le performance della casa rivale, che fare? heheheh ti stò tediando con questi miei quesiti, perdonami!

      Delete
    4. Ribadisco il mio punto di vista: si ottiene quello per cui si paga. Ci sono tante proposte alternative sul mercato da svariati anni ormai. Personalmente valuterei prodotto per prodotto più che parlare di marchi. Non ho provato la Sentip, ma chi l’ha fatto tra le persone con cui collaboro conferma ciò che hai letto: non si pone sullo stesso piano di una Cintiq, d’altronde la fascia di prezzo non è la stessa.

      Delete
  7. Salve Vittorio.
    Vorrei far presente che Wacom ha risolto del tutto, anche se con molto ritardo, il problema che segnalavo nel primo post: massima qualità del tratto anche in onenote.
    Il problema è stato risolto con l'ultima release dei drivers, 6.3.1w3, per ora pubblicati solo sul sito americano.

    Mi permetto di aggiungere che nel frattempo ho provato una Hanvon Art Master 3.
    Credo possa interessare all'utente Trisorio sapere che, mentre l'hardware è di ottimo livello, il software è di pessima qualità: per riassumere, ho osservato povere personalizzazioni e controllo un po' ingenuo della periferica.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Grazie per il commento! Sono contento che il problema sia stato risolto.

      Delete
  8. AWFUL tablet. I tried to give it a chance, but it's so damn hard to paint on the 'tacky' surface. I'm gonna try and apply some lotion to it and see if that helps.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. rather than blaming the tablet blame your skills. the tablet works for hundreds professional artists and designers. It was designed to feel like paper and you can buy smoother cover sheet. It offers best precision money can buy and is relatively cheap. i wonder what it feels like to paint on canvas for you with tacky surface.

      Delete
  9. Hi. I am getting really interested in this new Intuos 5, specially because of the Wireless optional feature. My Intuos 3 is getting close to dead so I will need an upgrade and Cintiq is still kidn of far from my budget.
    My questions are, does this model really deserves the money over an Intuos 4 Wireless? That's the main feature I'm interested in, so I would like to know if with the Wireless Kit the 5 does make the cut over the 4, even with a little higher price?
    Also, about the surface, have read a lot about the nibs wearing out and I was wondering if this new model has any improvement in that topic? I use a projector sheet over my Intuos 3, would that work fine with an Intuos 5 in that matter?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi. Thanks for the comment. I did not try enough the wireless kit to tell you how good or bad it is, but many colleagues told me that they are very happy with it. You can find the 4 wireless in medium size (I saw more than one good deal on new old stock and used products).
      The nib do wear and this is perfectly normal, they are made to wear, during time the surface will get more smooth and the nibs will last longer, but they wear. This is not a defect, it is to give you the best drawing experience possible. When you use a mechanical pencil you change the lead, when you use the I4 and I5 you change the nib (they have the same surface). In my opinion adding a protective layer is a big error. I prefer to use (and consume) a product and work in the best possible way than preserving the product. If you want you can put whatever surface over the I5 (it can work fine with a small notebook on it), in my option (and I am really convinced of this) the I5 surface is really good the way it is, and really helps me work in the way I want. Nibs are not that expensive, buy more and be happy. If the surfaces scratches too much you can ask for a replacement. You can do it by your own if you have a NON touch tablet, otherwise you'll have to send it back to Wacom.

      Delete
  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  11. before buying i5 just wanna know, is it the touch are useful? i have bamboo touch but gets fail in the long run i have to turn it off .. im not fun using the touch when im designing but i5 has this feature i want to try,im affraid it fails me again. not worthy to buy i5 w/ touch..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The touch is useful if you use it :). I know some people that are very happy with it and others that simply prefer shortcuts and can't get confident with the touch technology. In my opinion the touch is the feature, but I am not sure about the present. It is a very personal choice. I would personally go for a touch model.

      Delete
  12. Hi.. hope you are still responding to questions here...
    I am looking to buy the intuos5 small... and was wondering if the small would be TOO small for use in conjunction with dual 24" monitors (background - photographer - CS6+LR4 - basic image editing)

    ReplyDelete