More artists, designers, and photographers are switching from mouse to tablets. There are huge advantages to using tablets with Photoshop – creating strokes and curves easier, painting with pen pressure to vary brush size and opacity, and using the extra buttons. How does the Wacom Intuos5 stack up? Read this review to find out!

What’s new

The Intuos5 introduces multi-touch surface, ExpressKeys, and optional wireless capability. Unlike the Intuos4, the Intuos5 does not have an OLED display. Wacom replaced this with the ExpressKeys which are touch-sensitive buttons that show an on-screen menu when you place your finger over it. This sounds like a downgrade, but it’s actually designed like this so that you can keep your eyes on your work. The pen is the same.

Wacom Intuos5 Box


Design and Build Quality

With its minimalistic stealth black design, the Intuos5 looks great with anything. Everything around the drawing surface has a soft rubberized. The ExpressKeys button on the side of the tablet are bevelled so that you can access them by feel. It’s ambidextrous design lets you rotate to suit your left-handed or right-handed configuration. This might just be the most attractive tablets available. Asides from its looks, the build quaity is excellent with no flex of the tablet any way you hold it. It feels durable in your hands and weighs just enough to rest comfortably in your lap.

Wacom Intuos5 Small


Pen

The pen is identical to its previous version, the Intuos 4. It has 2048 levels of pressure, 60 degrees of tilt sensitivity, some buttons, and interchangeable nibs. In the hands, it feels light without feeling hollow. It’s thick rubberized grip (a little bit of a dust magnet) allows you to better control your strokes. The eraser tip feels loose but is perfectly fine when you use it. Unlike other brands of pen tablets, the Wacom pens don’t require any batteries.

Grip Pen


Pen Stand

The pen stand looks great and does a great job holding the pen. It sits perfectly and has a weighted base to prevent it from wobbling. The grooved top lets you place the pen horizontally so that your workspace can look more zen and artistic.

Pen Stand

Pen Stand


Hidden Nibs

The pen stand has a surprise that many people who buy this tablet usually miss. Inside the stand holds 10 nibs and a nib extractor. You can use the metal ring to remove the nib from your pen and replace it with another nib to simulate different media. It comes with plenty of standard black replacement nibs as well as three gray felt nibs, one flex nib, and one gray spring nib.

Nib Storage


Tablet Surface

The tablet surface has a slightly different texture than the other Wacom tablets. It’s slightly smoother than the Intuos4 so that your nibs don’t wear out as fast while keeping the paper-like feel. It has four LED backlit corners to show your active area leaves some space around it so that you can end your strokes without hitting the surface edge. While the surface is still prune to scratches (as expected with any tablet), it doesn’t have a plastic protective cover that you’d find on many other tablets. Mine has a few scratches but they’re only slightly noticeable and it doesn’t affect my drawings. The surface is replaceable should it be damaged. However, because the surface has integrated touch electronics, you have to send it in to Wacom to replace it for you for a “nominal fee”. If you’re concerned about scratching your tablet, you can place a screen protector or paper over it and it will still work.

16 thoughts on “Wacom Intuos5 Review”

  1. I purchased one of these when I purchased a new laptop. It didn’t connect wirelessly from the get-go. So I returned it. The AppleStore swapped it out right there. Got home and now unit #2 won’t connect. Now back to the apple store again. At the AppleStore they did diagnosis on the new laptop and it was fine, so they swapped out a 3rd model. 2 days later, intermit signal loss again. I called Wacom, and they tell me to wiggle the wireless dongle. That was there advice on a 250$ pice of equipment. Wiggle it. When that scientific advice failed to work they took a week to send me a replacement wireless kit. Now the replacement kit still has the same problem. I have bin with Wacom a user since ’94. this is the worst thing they have ever made. As well as horrible customer service. I recommend avoiding at all costs.

  2. I just got this today at Best Buy but I’m disappointed that not all of the surface is usable. Only the area within the LED corners are usable. In a glance, it looks like the whole surface area is usable. Guess I technically did buy a 5×7 inch tablet, but visually I thought it was bigger than I thought.

    I will be exchanging it for a medium. Thank you for the review but I felt like you should have mentioned this

  3. Good review! I´ve been using intuos 5 for about 6 months and its a wacom tablet, flawless. I have to say that I´ve used for years the old, but always reliable intuos 3, that still working perfectly, but when I saw the multi touch function, I freak out, it was awesome!, using the finger to rotate the canvas and zooming, and it detects one, two, three and four fingers gestures, amazing. But when you have it in use its not so awesome, its slow and not work correctly all the time, I don’t know whats the problem but it does not help in your work so much, that was th e big disappointment. and if you want to be a little picky, the new express keys are a little to hard to press, maybe its just me, but if you have to use them all the time, like if you have the color picker set on them, its a little bit annoying, I prefer the old express on the intuos 3. The touch ring its very usefull, better than the old touch strips, and it can be configured for 4 tools, zoom, brush size, etc etc, rotate canvas too.
    All an all, It is a wacom tablet, the best in the market. The surface have better feel than intuos 3, and the nib eater intuos 4, the pen feels a little heavier than intuos 3 which its nice, and it comes with 10 extra nibs.
    Well, hope my comment was helpfull, cheers.

  4. On a work surface Intuos5 Wacom Tablet Pen & Touch, there are scratches. Doesn’t harm the functioning of the tablet …?

    1. I have the Intuos4 with a lot of scratches but it doesn’t harm the function of the tablet. The scratches are not deep enough for the pen to get stuck.

  5. The monoprice tablets don’t compare to Wacoms. I have the Monoprice 12×9 and recently got the the medium Wacom Intuos5. Wacoms are better by so much. Pen is lighter, no batteries, better sensitivity, touch wheel and doesn’t have this glitch that bugs me so much.

    The MP tablet would click and stay there. It doesn’t unclick even if I tap the stylus again. I have to click my mouse to fix this.

    I mean the MP is great and does it’s job… can’t argue with the price right? But if you just want something that “works”, stick with Wacom.

    1. Good price for a big tablet
      Intuos is very beautiful and i trust it but too expensive for nonamerican

  6. The tablets looks professional and is well built.

    It would be nice if you tested tablet. How it works. How durable the surface is. How sensitive to pen strokes is it? Will scratches appear after hard usage?
    And many other important working moments. otherwise this post looks like just another short review or Advertisement.

    1. Photoshop Tutorials Editor

      Thanks for the tips Gleb! I added more details to it including the surface area. As with any tablets, the surface does get scratched from the pen. The Intuos5 does not have a protective cover but you can certainly put one on it (ex. thin paper) and it will still work. But really, there’s not much flaws to this tablet without nitpicking.

      With reviews, if the vendor sent us the product, we would mention it. Otherwise, it is a review for something I personally got and chose to review myself.

    2. Other reviews gave this tablet high marks too so I wouldn’t be so quick to say it is a paid advertisement

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