Wacom Intuos Pro Small – Review

I’ve been using Wacom Intuos tablets for a couple of years now. I started out with a Bamboo tablet years ago when I tried my hand at graphic design. I moved up to a Wacom Intuos Pro medium tablet about five years ago and have since added a Wacom Intuos Pro small to my editing workflow.

You’re probably wondering why I want to add a small version of the tablet if I already have the more expensive and larger medium sized tablet. It’s a fair question, and one I will answer in this post.

For those of you not familiar with graphics tablets, they consist of a drawing surface and a pen and are designed to be used in place of a mouse for editing. The theory is that using a pen is more natural, and you have finer control than is possible with a mouse. They do not have to replace the mouse, but most people tend to abandon the mouse once they are proficient with a tablet and pen.

Becoming proficient with the pen tool is the point at which most people struggle. We have been so conditioned to using a mouse to operate a computer that even though we have used pens and pencils for much longer, it no longer feels natural when operating a computer. I struggled initially when trying to switch to a graphics tablet, but with a little perseverance it does become second nature. When I say a little, I mean a lot but don’t give up. It is worth it in the end.

Why did I purchase a small version?

When I purchased the medium version a few years ago, I read lots of reviews by pro photographers. All of them said with a larger graphics area on the tablet, you could be much more precise. This is true, think of it as a map. The smaller the map, the greater the scale and the less detail you have. Relate this to an image on your screen printed on to the graphics tablet. The closer to a 1:1 ratio you get, the more precise you can be with the pen on the tablet surface.

The downside to this is that the larger the tablet, the more desk space it takes up. There is a considerable difference in size between the medium tablet and the small tablet as can be seen from the specifications below.

The amount of hand movement required to navigate around the medium tablet also becomes tiring during long editing sessions, especially if you map the table to just one screen, effectively increasing the resolutions of the tablet.

What I Like About the Small Tablet

The small tablet still has a sizeable working area and if you work on a dual monitor setup, you can map this to a single screen which increases the resolution and precision you can achieve. The only other drawback is that you give up a couple of express keys. These are programmable hot keys located on at the side of the graphics area. They can be configured to perform a variety of functions and keystrokes that you use regularly.

I do not miss the extra two keys, six is more than enough for my Lightroom workflow. My only wish is that you could program them with different functions depending on the Lightroom module you’re working in. For example, you could have them marked for Flagging and rating in the library module, then tool selection in the develop module. This functionality is not there in the current driver version, maybe it will come in future versions.

The smaller tablet makes it much more portable. The medium tablet really isn’t designed to be taken on the road. The small tablet fits in to the iPad pocket in my laptop bag which means I can take it with me wherever I take my laptop and with minimal effort.

Other Benefits of the Small Tablet

As I have my tablet with me more often than not, I also find myself using it for more than just Photoshop and Lightroom. My {{dayjob}} requires me to spend a lot of time in Microsoft Visio creating and editing diagrams. I find that using the wacom tablet also speeds up my workflow in that application.

Recommended Accessory

As I am carrying my tablet with me a lot more, there was one accessory I decided to purchase was a case for the pen.

Wacom Pro Pen 2 Case

While carrying my first tablet, the pen buttons eventually got damaged by constantly being compressed in my bag. I didn’t want this to happen to the Pro Pen so set about looking for a hard case. I eventually purchased the original Wacom Pro Pen 2 case. It’s more expensive than some of the alternatives that are available, but the quality and protect it provides are worth it.

Conclusion

If I were to wind the clock back, I wouldn’t purchase the medium tablet. I would just purchase the small version. The cost savings are considerable, even when you include the pen case. It is very rare that I use the medium tablet now and will probably end up selling it. If you’re interested, drop me a line in the comments.

Thanks for stopping by, I hope my experience with the Wacom tablets helps you to make a decision on which one is right for you.

Have a good one.

Andy's Signature