Wacom Intuos 5 Touch: Product Review Part 2

Intuos 5 Touch Review


Plug and Play

Setting up the tablet is easy and straight forward. Usually I place it behind the keyboard so it is right in front of me as I work. I am quite used to having my left hand place over the keyboard and the other hand using the pen. Next plug the cable to the tablet and attach the other end to the computer. I wouldn't run the CD to install the driver. If you have internet connection, it is always advised to pay Wacom's website a visit to download the latest driver and updates. That doesn't mean that the driver found in the CD is not working. Another thing, it is also advised that the previous Tablet driver be uninstalled first before you installed the latest one. However I skipped that step and the new unit still runs as normal. Just a precaution though. Having said that, I even have Intuos 4 still connected to my computer while I am using the Intuos 5.



The current tablet cable comes with an addition feature that allows you to tidy up your trailing cable if you are plugging it on the right hand side. To me this feature is a bonus but it doesn't really matter whether it's there or not. As much as I wanted to keep my workspace tidy, there are already many other cables running back and forth on my desk. The best solution to not have any wire by utilizing the wireless kit.

Note: I set up the Intuos 5 Touch on an Intel 27" iMac running OS 10.6.8 with 8 GB ram. It would definitely run on a PC running Microsoft Windows XP.

Wireless Kit
It took me just a little while to figure out the installation for the wireless kit. On the back side of the tablet, there are two panels that can be removed by sliding the covers horizontally sideway to reveal the wells for the battery and the wireless transmitter - the latter consists of a power switch and a LED indicator light. Beside the transmitter slot there is an additional well to house the wireless receiver while you are going mobile (see below), so you can simply stash the packaging box away. You may have to allow the battery to charge for about 4 hours. When it is fully charged, the LED light turns green. Try not to loose the wireless transmitter cover too.

 


When the battery is fully charged you may remove the cable from the tablet. Turn it on by pressing the ON button located on the wireless transmitter. The LED light on the tablet surface will light up showing the corner indications and another LED light beside the Touch Ring.

Stylus Pen

Wacom has allowed Intuos 4 Stylus pen to be used on Intuos 5.

Wacom Intuos 5 Touch Setup

 
The new preference pane allows the pen tip's sensitivity to be customized with a Curve Setting. In this way I could customize the pen to get a more natural result and feel from the device. The curve above shows my preference. I love to ink with the tablet and I am always trying to get it to work like my G nib. Thin lines at the starting and ending points and thicker lines in the center. A greater sensitivity coupled with the curve would take my mind off from physical pen control and focus on delivering the lines that I like digitally.

Multi-Touch & Express View
The new multitouch gesture support in Intuos 5, and "Express View" head-up display or HUD software, alongside a rather pleasing soft-touch feel gives the product the special edge over its predecessors . The entire tablet surface is a touch-sensitive input device allowing not only the use of the pen, but also enabling the use of our hand to do other functions and commands using Gesures. For example a light touch over the surface where the express keys are would show an overlay on the screen what functions you have assigned to the express keys. See screen capture below:



This would therefore enhances the user experience by allowing the user to spend more time with the tablet in his workflow and less time reaching for the tablet, keyboard or mouse! Besides, the express keys on the Intuos 5 are now indentations on the tablet surface rather than buttons. To me these provide a better recognition of the express keys as your finger runs over the surface.


Left: Intuos 4. Right: Intuos 5.

  
The above screen captures show the screen overlay when the express keys are "touched". As you run your fingers along a specific key, the overlay shows it in orange. However the screen overlay would come on whenever your hand brushes against the keys whether deliberate or accidental. Sometimes I have to run my fingers over the keys a few times before the screen overlay would appear. This inconsistency in its function irks me though, though it doesn't really affect the work flow at all.

I will talk about the gestures next.

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