Affordable Graphics Tablet: Wacom Intuos Pen and Touch Small Tablet

Affordable Graphics Tablet: Wacom Intuos Pen and Touch Small Tablet

By on Nov 29, 2014 in Affordable Graphics Tablets, Wacom Reviews | 2 comments

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CTH480S

The Wacom Intuos Pen and Touch Small Tablet (CTL480) is one of the ideal affordable tablets on the market. Hailing from highly acclaimed Wacom manufacturer, the Intous Pen and Touch small is perhaps, according to many Wacom advocates, one of the better options in the graphic tablet market. Other than the average rated Bamboo Touch Pad, the Intous Pen and touch Small (CTL480) has apparently replaced the obsolete Wacom Bamboo Capture, Pen and Touch tablet. The Intous Pen and Touch Small is a #1 Best Seller in Amazon’s Computer Graphics Tablets category and it meets the Best Graphics Tablets’ affordable tablet guidelines of falling under $100.00.

I do have this tablet currently installed to write a full review so this will be a partial review, more like a living document or hybrid review of summation and personal experience until I finish my two weeks of use and the videos.

87% of the reviews on Amazon are positive with 7% giving it an average rating and 6% giving the tablet negative ratings. This bodes well for one of the smaller, affordable, products Wacom puts out and to be fair, it’s well deserved. The Intous Pen and Touch Small does the job well if you can work within a pretty small work area of about 6” in width and 3.75” in height. It’s a very, very small work space.

However, the tablet has a smooth surface, you don’t have to worry about too many quirky extra steps to get it started in order to start your project once it’s installed, and apart from a few hiccups, it does seem to install pretty well. Let’s face it, nothing in technology is perfect, there will always be problems. Wacom had some with this tablet. Mostly in the form of incorrectly stating the tablet was plug and play in the sense the tablet was supposed to automatically download the drivers. However, it didn’t do that by just plugging it into the system so it’s possible the directions were badly written. Once I inserted the DVD/CD which came shipped with the Intuos Pen and Touch Small, it downloaded the drivers and installed itself perfectly fine, or so it seemed. Unfortunately, immediately afterwards I stumbled onto another well-known problem. There seems to be some disconnect between Windows 7 and the Wacom Intous Pen & Touch drivers. I found a quick little fix that may or may not work for all who come into contact with this problem and I will post that in the video when that’s done.

Once it was installed and the driver issue resolved the Intuos Pen and Touch Small has been working fine. I worked on a poster illustration for a client last week. It took some getting used to after I spent several months working with Turcom’s TS-6580. I guess I got use to the rougher surface of the TS-6580 and the smoother surface of the Intous Pen and Touch Small had me drawing squiggly lines. So much so I had to get a sheet of paper to put over the surface for a while until I got used to it. That didn’t help that much because it made the lines a bit more squiggly. Honestly, I cannot in good faith, whole heartedly accuse the tablet of this because, as I said, I have not used a Wacom in a long time (like years long) other than a Cintiq a few times in one of my previous employments. The pressure sensitivity works fine, sometimes it’s too sensitive. You can get great line weight and control if you take your time to get used to the Intous Pen and Touch small if you’re coming off another brand of tablet.

The main problem you may have, as mentioned before, is the size. Yet, you should be aware of that if you’ve done your research. This is the SMALL version of the Intous tablet. Using it, it seems it was designed primarily for laptop users. Here’s a fair warning, the USB cable is extremely short. It’s about 3.3 feet long. So if you’re USB connector isn’t extremely close to your drawing space, you may want to assess your work space. I got lucky with mines and even then my USB cord keeps hitting the space bar on my keyboard when I work and causing that specific tool associated with the space bar to pop up.

Don’t let this discourage you, again, I’m sure anyone, including me, could work around this and organize their workspace better. I just haven’t got around to it, but I felt the need to emphasize the size of the Intous Pen and Touch Small.

There’s also the touch technology. I don’t use it as much, but if you leave it on you can use hand gestures to zoom in and out of your artwork. Rotate it without using the rotating tools of the graphics software in question, at least it did this in Photoshop. You can also use the touch technology outside of your graphics software to move around your mouse and just browse your system. It’s pretty fun and can be convenient, but for me, I preferred it off as I worked on my artwork.

Overall I would recommend the Intous Pen and Touch Small if you want to stay under a $100 and want to remain with the reputable Wacom name. There are also two other versions of this tablet. The Wacom Intous Small without Touch technology and the Manga Touch Small. All three are good options.

Specifications Overview:

Overall Size:  8.25 x 6.9 Inches
Work Area/Active Area: 6 X 3.7 inches
Connector Type: USB or via Wireless Accessory Kit which is sold separately
OS Compatibility: Windows Vista Sp3, Windows 7, Windows 8 (32 or 64-bit systems) and Mac OS X 10.6.8 or later with Intel Processor.
CTH480S2 is the same Graphics Tablet, but for a few extra dollars you receive a free downloadable copy of Manga Studio Debut 4 and Anime Studio Debut 8.
Both CTH480 and CTH480S2 support Right and Left Handed users
Resolution: 2540 LPI
Pressure Sensitivity Levels: 1024
RPS/PPS/Read Speed: 133

Pros:

  • Wacom reputation, Wacom products are well recognized as good products.
  • Nice and light design, small sized to fit well in cluttered spaces, but this can also be a con for some people.
  • Great pressure sensitivity.
  • Touch Technology.
  • Smooth drawing surface.
  • Four buttons at top that coordinate with CTRl, ATL, etc. buttons or can be programmed.
  • Battery-free pen.
  • Pen has an Eraser.

Cons:

  • Had some difficulty with installation of software and drivers.
    • Word around the internet and among experienced users is that the driver malfunction may also occur after the tablet is aged significantly, but there appears to be some known fixes on the web as well. However, you can find drivers here.
  • Work space can be a bit too small for some people.
  • Various complaints from a range of customers regarding the surface of the tablet, it’s hardness, and how quickly it can wear down the pen nibs. See comments below for further information and discussion on this.

 CTL 480

(Non Touch Technology Intous Small Tablet Review Summation)

The Wacom Intuos Pen Small Tablet allows you to draw, paint and sketch digitally or markup documents. It comes with free downloadable copies of Autodesk Sketchbook Express and Art Rage 3 Studio. It has four application specific Express Keys and you can use a wireless accessory kit to connect to any system with wireless connectivity hardware.  This version doesn’t have touch technology, so it’s just a smaller tablet with Intuos technology. It’s a great starter tablet, especially for children 10 and up who want to start learning digital art techniques. Essentially, it’s the CTH480 without touch technology.

Specifications Overview:

Overall Size: 8.25 x 6.9 Inches
Work Area/Active Area: 6 X 3.7 inches
Connector Type: USB or via Wireless Accessory Kit which is sold separately
OS Compatibility: Windows Vista Sp3, Windows 7, Windows 8 (32 or 64-bit systems) and Mac OS X 10.6.8 or later with Intel Processor.

Pros:

  • Wacom is well recognized as a good product.
  • Nice and light design.
  • Smooth work flow.

Cons:

  • Some users had difficulty adjusting to the size.
  • Some users had difficulty with drivers, please go to Wacom directly to download updated drivers should you choose to purchase. You can find them here.
  • No Touch Technology
  • Various complaints from a range of customers regarding the surface of the tablet, it’s hardness, and how quickly it can wear down the pen nibs. See comments below for further information and discussion on this.

 CTH680

(Manga Intous Small Tablet Review Summation)

The CTH680 is the medium sized version of the CTH480. Thus the main difference is a larger active area, but it also comes with touch technology which allows you to zoom, scroll, rotate and do other things with various multi-touch gestures.  Of course you can edit digital photos, illustrate, paint and sketch digitally and it also has 1024 levels of pressure sensitivity just like the other versions.

Specifications Overview:

Overall Size: 10.8 X 8.8 inches
Work Area/Active Area: 8.5 x 5.3 inches
Connector Type: USB or via Wireless Accessory Kit which is sold separately
OS Compatibility: Windows Vista Sp3, Windows 7, Windows 8 (32 or 64-bit systems) and Mac OS X 10.6.8 or later with Intel Processor.

Pros:

  • Wacom is well recognized as a good product.
  • Nice and light design.
  • Smooth work flow.
  • Larger active area than the CTH480 , CTL 480 and CTH480S2.

Cons:

  • Usually sells for over $100.00
  • Some users had difficulty with drivers, please go to Wacom directly to download updated drivers should you choose to purchase. You can find them here.
  • Various complaints from a range of customers regarding the surface of the tablet, it’s hardness, and how quickly it can wear down the pen nibs. See comments below for further information and discussion on this.