Product Type: Wacom mice & trackballs
Newest Review: ... when Windows Vista hadn't even been conceived. So I downloaded the drivers from Wacom's official website and after some tinkering my h... more
Better late than never
Wacom Intuos3 A5 USB
Author Name: Art001
Wacom Intuos3 A5 USB
Date: 03/06/11, updated on 04/06/11 (30 review reads)
Advantages: great performance
Disadvantages: the drawing surface tends to come off
When my Genius MousePen packed up, I had to face the hard problem of choice. Barry Schwartz in his TED video was right: choice does not always make you feel better. It actually makes you feel pretty lousy sometimes. Anyway, Genius was dead and something new had to be bought. I reviewed Genius MousePen before and praised it for good performance, especially on a fast computer. I still think it was pretty good for its money. It lasted me 2 years during which I carried it with me everywhere and moved it about a lot. I think that's what finally killed it. My guess is that the cable did not enjoy this dynamic lifestyle.
So I decided it was time to finally get a Wacom. But which? Bamboo was cheap, but terribly small and not really up to my purpose. There was an Intuos2 on eBay, but, having observed Intuos' compatibility issues in the past, I wasn't so keen on getting an old model. Intuos4 seemed far too expensive. If I, say, wanted to go for the A4 size, then for a few dollars more I could get a Cintiq from eBay. Thus, it looked like Intuos3 was the only way to go. It probably is the most popular graphics tablet anyway.
I bought one from eBay. It wasn't quite new, but came in the original box (which wasn't as stylish as the Intuos4 box, I have to admit) and did not reveal many signs of wear, except that it was clear that the previous owner has a pet who liked to chew on the stylus. The installation CD was quite useless in my circumstances as the tablet was launched when Windows Vista hadn't even been conceived. So I downloaded the drivers from Wacom's official website and after some tinkering my husband got the computer and the tablet to recognise each other.
Apart from the tablet itself, the pen, and the pen holder, the box set contained a special Wacom mouse. But the mouse was quickly dismissed as unnecessary, even though it works much better than the Genius mouse from the MousePen set.
Now I should probably switch to my impressions from the tablet. I decided not to divide them into pros and cons because in this case it seemed difficult.
1. The tablet I bought is A5 (meaning the active drawing surface, not the tablet itself), which is quite enough for drawing. Its 1024 pressure levels are really there.
2. The drawing surface is smooth and even, so the pen moves easily and the tip doesn't wear out as quickly as with Intuos4. Same with the drawing surface: you don't end up leaving marks and feeling guilty that you've applied too much pressure. The Intuos4 surface has a rather dry feel, Intuos3 is like a skating rink compared to it. On the other hand, you don't get that authentic feel provided by Intuos4 with its matte surface and special pen tips: whatever you draw on Intuos3, it feels like digital drawing (but do you care?).
3. What I didn't like about the drawing surface is that it starts coming off and other people using Intuos3 also complained about it. I had to attach the corners of mine with super-glue. Not sure it's a nice idea, but at least it holds the surface in place and doesn't affect sensitivity.
4. There are 2 modes for the wire. It can come out from the top of the tablet or from the side. I switched mine to the side mode and put a bit of scotch tape under it to hold the cable in place (otherwise it will be popping out). This is quite good, although Intuos4 takes the idea even further and allows you to plug the wire on either side of the tablet (which is just awesome and will allow you to change the wire if your pet chews on it or something).
5. The navigation buttons on the sides are not as funky as on Intuos4 and I don't even know what most of them do. The little zoom touchpads are handy though.
6. The tablet feels solid and built well (if you forget about the drawing surface coming off!). Of course, it is heavier than most generic tablets.
7. The pen doesn't require a battery. Most users comment that it makes it feel lighter, which is true, but I only noticed the difference after holding both pens in different hands. Otherwise, I'm sure, everyone just forgets about the weight of the pen. But the rubber grip is great.
8. The performance is excellent. I noticed that I can draw much quicker with Intuos3 than with Genius MousePen. I wasn't very happy with the way Intuos4 imitated pencil drawings. I have no such complaints about Intuos3.
9. Can't avoid talking about the price. As an old model, Intuos3 is cheaper, especially if you get it from eBay or a similar place. But as a Wacom tablet, it's still quite expensive. I think a couple of years ago it was too early for me to buy it, now is just the time.
10. Installation. Unlike generic tablets, Wacom products are not plug and play. If you buy an Intuos3 now, you will most likely find that the CD supplied hasn't got the right drivers for your machine. You can find them on the Wacom website, but things will not necessarily go smoothly at first. You might have to uninstall and re-install the drivers a couple of times before you figure out what works. Fortunately, it will work eventually (I hope).
This is probably it. I think Intuos3 deserves 5 stars for being what a graphics tablet should be. It is not absolutely perfect, but I am fully satisfied with it and don't think I will turn to generics again.
NB: This review is mirrored in my blog on my personal website www.artymind.com
Summary: The Citizen Kane of graphics tablets
|Ease of use:|
|Variety of features:|
More reviews in the field of Mouse / Trackball
- Dell Wireless Touchpad
- Microsoft Wireless Optical Mouse 5000
- Microsoft Wireless Optical Mouse Blue Moon IMD
- Acer USB Optical Mouse
- Microsoft Wireless Optical Mouse 2.0
- Hippus HandShoeMouse Right Medium
- Hippus HandShoeMouse Left Medium
- Hippus HandShoeMouse Right Small
- Microsoft Wireless Notebook Optical Mouse 4000
- Microsoft Wireless Notebook Optical Mouse