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Wacom’s recently shipped Intuos2, is similar in appearance and function to the Graphire2 (see Reviews, November 2001), and performs equally well. However, there are some marked differences between them that may influence your purchase; the Graphire2, though less expensive, doesn’t have as many features as the Intuos2.
Intuos2 comes in five different sizes, which range in price from £139, for a 4-x-5-inch tablet, to £599, for a 12-x-18-inch one. We tested the 6-x-8-inch £255 tablet.
The Intuos2 includes a great pen with a comfortable rubber-grip and a solid mouse, and it supports a variety of add-on pointing devices. Wacom has increased the Intuos2’s sampling frequency to give it greater accuracy, but that improvement means it won’t work with pens and mice designed for older Intuos tablets – you’ll have to buy new accessories.
To help beginners get started, the Intuos2 includes Corel’s Painter Classic. In addition, the Intuos2 4-x-5-inch and 6-x-8-inch tablets come with Photoshop Elements, a version tailored specifically to photo editing. For beginners who don’t own these programs, these are terrific bundles – especially considering the low price of the tablets. (The larger Intuos2 tablets don’t include a version of Photoshop, as graphics pros likely own it already.)
The Intuos2’s 2D mouse feels substantial, and it includes three programmable buttons and a scroll wheel. If you invoke Extensions Manager at start-up in Mac OS 9 while you’re using your Mac’s mouse, the tablet won’t work.
Another nice touch included on the Intuos2 is a row of customizable buttons in the tablet’s work area. And the Intuos2 can detect the pen’s angle and create correspondingly fine or broad strokes. Although this feature is not supported by most graphics apps, the full version of Painter (version 6 and later) has adopted it.
The larger Intuos2 models are in their own class. With many tablet sizes to choose from, great precision, and expansion possibilities, the Intuos2 is a fine option for artists, architects, and designers.