First Look Review: Intuos3 12x12 Tablet

30 Apr, 2006 By: Ron LaFon

Wacom's pressure-sensitive drawing and design tool earns high marks

Highly Recommended Wacom introduced the Intuos3 12x12 tablet along with its Intuos3 12x19 tablet, both joining the Intuos3 6x11 tablet released in late 2005. Although AutoCAD no longer ships with plastic overlays for tablets, it does include a tablet template drawing (TABLET.DWG) in the Samples directory that users can plot and insert in the Intuos3 tablet. It's then easy to configure and calibrate AutoCAD to use the tablet with the overlay. As with previous releases of AutoCAD, you can customize the template by adding macros and commands.

Wacom Intuos3 12x12 Tablet
Pros: Increased resolution; wide support; variety of pointing devices; high-quality construction.
Cons: None significant
Price: $579.95


The capabilities of the Intuos3 will delight artists. For non-CAD applications such as illustration, paint and photo software, the included grip pen offers pressure-sensitive input, making it easy to draw or paint. With the appropriate pointer device, the tablet also reacts to tilt as well as pressure, enabling a wide range of useful effects with ease.

Control areas consist of two small vertical strips located toward the top right and left of the active tablet area, offering convenient access whether the user is right- or left-handed.

Input instruments, or pointing devices, are cordless and don't require batteries. Each instrument is individually recognized, so users can, for example, have two grip pens, each with differently defined characteristics. When the tip of the pen gets close to the tablet, it recognizes the device. This is an innovative and a very useful implementation of pointer technology by Wacom.

All Wacom Intuos3 tablets are built using enhanced electronics for twice the resolution (5,080lpi) of previous Intuos tablet models.

The Wacom Pen Tablet Driver CD contains the tablet installation software, a tutorial, the electronic user's manual, tips and tricks and other documentation. The installation procedure is simple and straightforward, and the Wacom control software offers lots of customization and configuration options, including the ability to control the size of the active area on the Intuos3. If replacing an earlier Wacom tablet with the Intuos3, be sure to uninstall the older tablet and its driver software and reboot the system before installing the new tablet software.

Wacom's control software is easy to use -- here's a screen of the Wacom Tablet Properties panel from the included driver software.

The Intuos3 12x12 has a suggested retail price of $579.95, which includes the grip pen and ergonomic mouse, as well as a stable pen holder for the grip pen. Add-on accessories include an airbrush pen, inking pen, 6D art pen, lens cursor and a kit of components for modifying the grip pen that ships with the tablet. A selection of software is also bundled with the Intuo3, including Adobe Photoshop Elements 3, Corel Painter Essentials 2, Nik Color Efex Pro 2 IE and Wacom Brushes 2.

With increased resolution, wide software support, broad range of pointing devices, compatibility with Macintosh and PC computers and its high-quality construction and excellent engineering, the Intuos3 12x12 tablet is at once responsive and easy to use. The Intuos3 12x12 tablet easily received Cadalyst Labs' Highly Recommended rating.

Highly Recommended

About the Author: Ron LaFon

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