Intuos3 A5 Wide full review
Another month, another new Wacom tablet, and another reason to upgrade that grey plastic tablet sitting on your desk. Hot on the heels of a new entry-level Graphire4, Wacom has introduced a wide-format option to its mid-range Intuos3 line-up.
The Intuos3 A5 Wide, a Wacom first, is primarily aimed at users with widescreen displays and multi-monitor set-ups. Wacom claims that as much as 50 per cent of the creative community will soon be using one or the other option. Current Wacom tablets can distort images or crop them on a widescreen, while the active area to map dual monitors can be dramatically reduced. The Intuos3 A5 Wide resolves this with an active area of 6 x 11 inches, giving it a 16:10 aspect ratio, as near as possible to the native 16:9 widescreen format. Setting up a widescreen option is now a pain-free process, images stay crisp and distortion free, with all tools displayed on screen or across monitors.
The Intuos3 A5 Wide has the same sleek, dark good looks associated with the recent Wacom tablet upgrades. The transparent active area, used by some for tracing photographs, has been replaced with a solid grey covering which itself can be replaced if wear and tear takes its toll. A traditional transparent cover is also available.
The pen is longer and leaner than the Intuos2 model; the rubber casing now extends halfway up the barrel for added comfort. Drawing is intuitive and precise with 1,024 levels of pressure sensitivity. The mouse has been dumped completely from the widescreen model, though traditionalists can purchase one for £25 (plus VAT). The tablet surround increases the size to a still compact 10 x 16 inches, a consideration only if workspace is limited.
Left and right of the active area are two identical sets of ExpressKeys and Touch Strips, a left-hand option missing from the smaller A6 tablet. This is a real bonus for any creative-heavyweight southpaw. The ExpressKeys come pre-configured with frequently used shortcuts, but can be easily modified to accommodate favourite graphics applications, with over a hundred supported. These can be modified to your heart’s content via your Mac’s System Preferences, adding specific tasks for your favourite graphics applications, such as Photoshop and Painter. Quickly mastered, the Touch Strip allows you to zoom and scroll through Applications, in a similar way to working on a laptop mouse pad although the strip is significantly thinner and slightly fiddly.