Its rare for me to get so excited over a piece of hardware, geeky as I may be, there can be only so much enthusiasm one can muster over a few pieces of plastic and metal but with the Intuos 4 I must say that my excitement is bubbling over!
Firstly the packaging is beautiful. Its sleek quality look is a true representation of the product inside, but its the contents that really excite.
The design of the Intuos 4 is simple and elegant, sleek black with smooth lines, with the tablet itself in matte black contrasting with the glossy black espress key area.
The pen too has been redesigned with a shaped tapered rubber finger grip, making it very comfortable to hold and all around good ergonomic design.
There is a rocker switch at thumb or forefinger level making right or left clicking a breeze
The pen holder doubles as a nib holder and comes complete with 10 nibs of varying styles, from spring loaded to pencil type to brush style.
The pen ( also batteryless) is very sensitive, in fact apparently twice as sensitive as the Intuos 3 version , and it makes the pressure sensitive features of photoshop a breeze to use.
The tablet comes with a wireless batteryless mouse for those times you dont wish to use the pen. It works well , with left and right buttons , and a scroll wheel and 2 additional buttons youc an programme to do tasks as you see fit.
Its sleek and goes well with the tablet although I prefer the ergonomic design of my logitech mouse for using for any length of time.
Having said that its rare to need to use the mouse once you get used to using a pen, and due to the adaptablity of the sofware provided with the tablet you can use the pen for just about any purpose.
The tablet has 8 express keys and a scroll wheel or Touch Ring similar to an ipod scroll wheel.
The express keys can each be personalised to peform your choice of action, and can even be set up to change with many different applications.
For instance I have my keys set up for photoshop with my most used commands for that, and then completely differently for all other applications.
This could be confusing but Wacom have solved this problem by having an lcd screen to the right of the keys which tells you what each key is set up to do. ( Not on the small version)
The Touch Ring has a central button to allow you to switch between 4 customisable purposes which you can also personalise and adapt to your preference.
I use one of the functions to increase and decrease my brush size which is a great convenience, saving from switching to the keyboard for that purpose. You can also programe it to act as a zoom, or panning tool and in CS4 it can rotate the canvas.
In addition to the tablet pen and mouse, Wacom also provides some bundled software, of which you can choose several. Included choices are Nik Color Efex Pro 3 WE6, Wacom Brushes 3, and two of the following: Adobe Photoshop Elements 7, Autodesk Sketchbook Express, or Corel Painter Sketch Pad.
I can honestly say the Intuos 4 has changed the way I use my computer, and its all for the better.