When I decided I wanted to upgrade my tablet, my biggest concern was: Is it worth it to go from Bamboo to Intuous? Is it a significant improvement, or should I save money for a Cintiq instead?
I did a lot of research and couldn't find anything of much help, so I went ahead and tried the Intuos Pro to see for myself, and now I’m going to share what I found in this review while comparing it to the cheaper alternative Bamboo line for those who are wondering, like I was, which one should they buy, or whether or not they should get rid of their Bamboo. I hope you'll find this helpful!
Here they are: Bamboo Connect (2.5+ years old) on top, Intuos Pro (4+ months old) on the bottom. They are both “small” sized but they look radically different, right?
- The Intuos has the same drawing area as the Bamboo, but more about two times the extra space, giving you more room for arm movement, which is a big plus; it makes drawing easier and a lot more comfortable.
- Intuos has 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity versus the 1024 levels of the Bamboo line. Now, it’s not like it makes a world of difference, especially in the looks of the final product (a painting) BUT I can tell/feel the difference. Not at all a huge let down for the Bamboo line tough!
- Intuos has rubber all around it. I thought that could add unwanted adherence but that’s not at all the case, the rubber is all good.
- Drawing surface texture: The Bamboo’s texture is good but Intuos’ is rougher, more paper-like, I prefer it!
- The Intuos has buttons in it which you can configure as you wish with pretty much any of your software’s shortcuts, it’s pretty awesome! It’s not a huge advantage for me because I’m used with using the keyboard for shortcuts, but some people love them. It also has that wheel which you can use to zoom in and out, change layers, change brush size and rotate (you can switch between these commands by pressing the button in the middle).
- The Intuos Pro has a touch feature (most Intuos and some Bamboo have that too) and it works beautifully, it doesn't get confused by your hand touching the tablet while drawing or anything (don't know about the touch Bamboos)
- The Intuos Pro has a wireless adapter. I thought I wouldn't care for it so much but oh man was I wrong! I love not having even more cables on my desk! The charge lasts for a wonderful amount of time, I have no complains! However, the bigger the tablet size, the less the charge will last.
- The Intuos feels more bulky and durable than the Wacom, and people on the intwerwebs seem to find it durable too (mine is new so I don’t know. I had my Bamboo for 2.5+ years, beaten it up a lot, carried it with me all over, dropped it and it’s pen, and it still works perfectly and the drawing surface is worn out but fine and has no scratches)
- Intuos’ software lets you customize pen and eraser pressure in a more effective way – which you should do! It also allows you to configure it differently for general use and for drawing-software use! For instance you can keep the touch on only for general use, etc.
The Pens, nibs and accessories
- Unlike Bamboo’s pen, the Intuos’ Grip pen has a tilt angle of up to 60 degrees (which can be very useful when using certain brushes, if you’re into them). They both have rubber on them but the grip pen has a more adherent rubber which I prefer. It also has that ring for customization, you can see mine is red, but it comes with other colors as well. Oh and it has an eraser!
- The Intuos is compatible with other, fancier pens, like the airbrush pen. (They be expensive tho!)
- The Bamboo has that thing to keep your pen in which I actually like a lot, but the Intuos' pen stand is just beautiful, especially because it also serves as pen nibs storage:
1: 5 of the standard black nibs.
- The Intuos Pro comes with 4 different kinds of nibs, as follows: (refer to picture above)
You should always replace it when it gets pointy and sharp to avoid scratching the drawing surface.2: 3 of the hard felt nibs
– these feel like paper, they have a cool rough texture for drawing but it must wear the drawing surface more quickly.3: 1 of the flex nib
– it has rubber in the tip, it’s my favorite ever! It feels so smooth, but not slippery!4: 1 of the stroke nib
– Same material as the standard one (plastic) but with that metal thingy that makes it flexible. I didn’t use this one much but it does feel nice!
Problems and Cautions
- Driver issue: When I first got my Intuos Pro, I installed the latest driver exactly as the manual said, aaand it didn't work properly: I wasn't able to draw straight lines, it would always look wavy, very noticeably so. So I tried installing an older version of the driver and the problem was solved! The older version that works is the 6363 - you can download it here .
- Another driver issue: twice so far has the tablet gone crazy. One time it went back to the default settings and I had to re-configure it. The second time it was simply out of control entirely, acting up really bad. I re-installed the driver then, uninstalled the old tablet’s driver, and thus far it’s been behaving itself wonderfully (issues-free for about 2 months). The good news is that every Wacom tablet allows you to make a backup of your tablet’s settings so all you have to do is and load it if you have any problems!
- A lot of people on Amazon said that the surface scratches easily (in like a week or two of use). They said the same thing about the Bamboo – didn't happen to any of my tablets. All you have to do to avoid this is change the pen pressure levels, make it more sensitive, so that you don’t need to put much pressure on the pen. Another thing you can do to further protect the surface is to put a paper on top of it, it actually feels pretty cool!
- A lot of people on Amazon also said that the USB plug was bad, too tight and broke easily (they said that about the Bamboo as well) – also didn't happen to any of my tablets. You just gotta be delicate/patient with electronics!
- Caution: read the manual. Some important things from the top of my head are: you can't drop the battery, you can't let the battery get to a very low % or it won’t charge anymore, and you can't let the pen rest on its nib/eraser! You can view it here .
In the end, I decided the Intuos Pro was a worthy upgrade and kept it.
However, I am convinced that one can achieve the same level and complexity of artwork in both tablets. Considering the Bamboo tablets are usually less than half the price of an Intuos, if you have a budget or if you'd rather save some money, go with the Bamboo, it’s going to serve you well. Now if you can spare the extra moneys (or if you’re getting it for Christmas lol) then I do recommend the Intuos line, the Pro is a really, really good tablet and I don’t regret getting it for one second!