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The Intuos5 professional pen tablet was introduced in early 2012. 

From a sensitvity point of view, it's exactly the same as the Intuos4 - that's 2048 levels of pressure and a resolution of 5080 dpi.

The differences between the Intuos4 and the Intuos5 lie in primarily in cosmetic differences, so let's look at some of them ...

Tablet Surface

The Intuos4 active surface seemed to wear away quickly to a slippery, shiny surface while the surface of the Intuos5 seems somewhat more resistant to the surface wearing away with use.  The wear on the Intuos4 doesn't affect the performance of the tablet - it was just a bit unsightly according to some users.

Multi Touch

The Intuos5 tablet now include multi-touch which allows the user to navigate their screen with their fingers (this is the first version of the Intuos that does not include a mouse) and it's kinda like having a monstrous touch pad for your computer.

The touch options are set in the Control Panel (Windows) and System Preferences (Mac).

There are three tabs (Touch Options, Standard Gestures and My Gestures) which means you

Intuos touch options

can program the way your Intuos5 behaves with multi-touch or you can turn it off completely if it's not to your liking.

After installing the drivers and connecting the Intuos5 you may have three different ways to navigate your computer - your normal mouse, the pen and your fingers using multi-touch.  If you want to save space you could remove your mouse because you've got two methods to navigate.

I've been using the Intuos line since the first version and find multi-touch to be somewhat annoying but that's only my opinion, however, I've been growing more used to multi-touch.  Other users absolutely love the multi-touch capabilities right from the get-go.

Express Keys

Both Intuos versions have the same number of Express Keys (3 on the Small version and 4 on the Medium and Large versions). 

On the version 4 (Medium and Large tablets) there are lights that tell how Express Keys have been programmed and a quick peek at the tablet surface confirms how you've programmed your Intuos4.

On version 5 (Medium and Large) the lights have been eliminated but you can still find out how the Express Keys have been programmed.  One of the Express Keys needs to be programmed to Show Settings.  When this Express Key is pressed then you get an on-screen display  (kind of like your own HUD).  This is how it looks (you can just make out my desktop in the display) ...

intuos on screen display

This covers all of the properties of your Intuos5 that are found in the Control Panel (Windows) and System Preferences (Mac).

Simply clicking on any item will bring up the appropriate section of the Wacom Tablet Properties, allowing for changes.

On one hand this on-screen display is convenient and on the other I really miss the little lights on the Intuos4.  I work in a dark area and find it difficult to locate the correct button - as a result I don't make use of the Express keys as much on the Intuos5 as I did on the Intuos4.

Wireless Ready

The wireless kit that is available for the Intuos5 may be the best of the new features.  All three of the newest version of the Intuos are wireless ready and it's simply a matter of installing a intuos wireless kitrelatively inexpensive wireless kit (that works on both the Bamboo and the Intuos lines).

On the bottom of the Intuos tablets are a couple of little covers.  When they are removed the battery and the sending unit for the wireless kit can be installed - takes about 30 seconds.

There is even a little 'hidey hole' for the safe storage of the pickup for the little receiver that's installed in a USB port in your computer.

The key features of the kit include ...
  • 10 hour battery life with the Intuos5 Small.
  • 9 hour battery life with the Intuos5 Medium.
  • 6 hour battery life with the Intuos5 Large.
  • 15 hour battery life with the Bambo Capture or 10 hours battery life with the Bamboo Create.
  • RF wireless technology offers immediate pairing which avoids compatibility issues.
  • Operating distance up to 10 Meters.
  • Recharging through the USB port takes 3.5 hours for 85% charge and less that 6 hours for a 100% charge.
This is probably a very good add-on when you buy your new Intuos5!

Other Features

Most of the other features of the Intuos5 are the same as the ones in the Intuos4 - click the link to check them out ...


The Intuos4 graphics tablet (also known as computer drawing tablets) from Wacom  is the previous addition to the professional line of pen tablets.

It is an amazing upgrade from version 3 - and that particular line was no slouch at all and millions of users will agree with that.

The majority of the set-up is done in the Wacom Tablet Properties Dialogue which is found in the Control Panel on Windows or in the System Preferences on your Mac.  

On my system you can see the following ...

  1. Both an Intuos3 6X8 and Intuos4 Medium tablet are installed.
  2. The Intuos4 is selected and both a normal Grip Pen and an Airbrush have been used with the tablet.
  3. The applications selected for special attention are Paint Shop Pro Photo X2, Adobe Photoshop and Corel Painter X.
  4. The Tip Feel is on the Firm side as I tend to press hard when using the pen.
  5. The top button on the pen is Step Backward and the bottom button on the pen is Right Click.
Intuos4 properties


The new features in the latest addition to the professional line includes:

  • Ambidextrous - easy for lefties to use
  • Increased levels of pressure
  • New pen tip technology
  • An awesome pen stand
  • Illuminated display (Medium, Large and Extra Large)
  • Multi-function scroll wheel
  • Precision Mode
  • Radial Menu
  • Downloadable software including Nik Color Efex Pro WE6

Let's look at each one ...


Intuos4 mapping
This is something the lefties out there have been waiting for - a truly ambidextrous tablet.

The Express Keys on the Intuos4 are located on one side of the tablet and the orientation can be changed in the Wacom Tablet Properties which is found in the Control Panel (Windows) or the System Preferences (Mac).  

This means a left hander can use the pen with their left hand while having access to all of the Express Keys with their right hand!

The Intuos4 can be easily mapped in four different configurations ...

  1. Express Keys Left
  2. Express Keys Right
  3. Express Keys Top
  4. Express Keys Bottom

They are accessed on the Mapping Tab on the Wacom Tablet Properties.

Increased Levels Of Pressure

The Intuos3 will recognize 1024 levels of pressure and the Intuos4 will recognize 2048 levels of pressure - that's double!  The ability to dynamically change line weight, opacity, exposure and any number of other adjustments is much more sensitive.

New Pen Tip Technology

The Intuos4 pen will recognize pen pressure with only 1 gram of force while the Intuos3 required about 10 grams of pressure.  The benefit of this is that the slightest feather touch will start laying down paint in your projects.

Awesome Pen Stand

intuos4 tips How can a pen stand be awesome?

Well it is - screw off the top and there are a variety of10 different replacement tips for your pen and a tip removal tool - now that is cool.  

The pen stand even doubles as a - well - a pen stand.

Illuminated Display

The Express Keys on the Medium, Large and Extra Large tablets have illuminated labels that tell exactly how that Express Key is programmed.  

When the Express Key program is changed the label changes as well.

intuos4 medium

No more trying to remember how each key was programmed - and it looks darn nice as well, don't you think?

Multi Function Scroll Wheel

This is a really nice improvement.  There is a central toggle switch which changes the function of the scroll wheel conveniently located between the banks of Express Keys.  The default toggles are ...
  1. Zoom in and out.
  2. Cycle through the layers
  3. Increase and decrease brush size
  4. Rotate canvas (Photoshop CS4)
intuos4 scroll wheel

Changing Scroll Wheel Function

Scrolling through the Blend Modes is a great way to take advantage of the Multi Function Scroll Wheel.

This makes it much easier to see how changing the Layer Blend Modes will change the overall appearance of the image and it's a great way to take full advantage of your Intuos4.

Step One

Go to ...

Control Panel > Wacom Tablet Properties (Windows 7)

System Preferences > Wacom Tablet Properties (Mac OS X)

When the Wacom Tablet Properties screen opens up go to the Applications section and click on the + sign.  If Photoshop (or Elements) is not one of the options then browse to the Adobe folder and select the program launch file.

Click OK to get back to the Wacom Tablet Properties screen and this is what you will have ...

intuos4 tablet properties

Step Two

Highlight the Photoshop Icon and then Click on the Functions and then the Touch Ring Tab ...

intuos4 functions

Step Three

Choose one of the four functions and click on it it drop down the options available.  There are seven choices for each of the functions - choose Keystroke to bring up this screen.

intuos4 keystroke

Now it's a simple matter to enter in the keystrokes to cycle through the Blend Modes - you can see that they are Shift = and Shift -.

Enter a name for the scroll function and click OK.  Close the Tablet Properties dialogue and you're done.

Now you've got a nice little way to cycle through the different layer Blend Modes and this is how it looks when the centre button is pressed ...

.intuos4 scroll wheel

Precision Mode

In Precision Mode the mapping of the pen slows down dramatically which enables very precise painting or selecting.  It is activated by pressing the Express Key that is programmed for Precision Mode.

Radial Menu

This is an amazing addition to the Intuos4 line of tablets.  When you press the Express Key that is programmed for the Radial Menu an overlay appears on the screen right where you pen is located - a pie shaped overlay.

Each division of the pie has been programmed for a different function and all you do is tap the pie section you want to activate.

Each of the pie pieces can be programmed with any keyboard shortcut and each of the pie pieces can have a sub-menu with additional commands hiding under it.

intuos4 radial menu

To set up the Radial Menu exactly how you want it will require some effort.  Some of the commands you may want (like Adjustment Layers) don't have keyboard shortcuts meaning they will have to be created.

Learn how to create your own unique keyboard shortcuts and how to program the Radial Menu here ...

Intuos Privileges

As a registered owner of an Intuos product, you have access to the Wacom Privileges.  

The privileges give you access to substantial savings on 33 (give or take) different software titles that will take full advantage of the power of your tablet.

The software manufacturers include titles from Adobe, Corel, Nik Software, onOne Software and Autodesk to name a few.

Check out the privileges on the Intuos Privileges page ...

Page Links

Intuos5 New Features

Tablet Surface

Multi Touch

Express Keys

Wireless Kit


Intuos Privileges

Tablet Users

  • Digital Imaging
  • Graphic Design
  • Animation
  • Illustration
  • Industrial Design
  • Medical & Health Care
  • Education & Training
  • GIS & Mapping
  • Business & Office
  • Control Systems

The Line Up

Intuos4 small

Intuos4 medium

Intuos4 large

Intuos4 Extra Large
Extra Large

Intuos 4 pen tip
Pen Tip

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