Wacom Intuos S CTL4100 Review
Today we are taking a look at the good old Intuos S from Wacom. I am sure, regular readers of this site may have already seen this device before on here. You would be right. This model is no longer the newest on the market with its first release in 2018, but still offers a lot of value for its price and is a great starting point for the world of graphics tablets. So let me tell you why this is still the case.
Opening the box, we will find the tablet, the battery-free pen, the USB-A to USB-Micro cable as well as a quick starter guide. The cable is 1.5 m or 4.9 ft long. For all the Wacom experts out there: The pen is the Wacom Pen 4K (LP-1100K) model. The design of the Intuos S is minimalistic and sleek. The rounded edges are well finished.
With only an overall size of 20 x 16 cm or 7.87 x 6.3 inches, the tablet is surely one of the smaller tablets out there. The tablet should work with pretty much any old Windows or Mac device, as even Windows 7 and macOS X 10.11 are still listed as compatible on the spec-sheet of the Intuos S.
The tablet has a work area of 15.2 x 9.5 cm or 6.0 x 3.7 inch. It features four programmable express keys at the top of the device. The pen offers 4096 pressure levels and is battery-free. The tablet can be connected via a Micro USB Port. On the backside, there are four tiny rubber feet, so the tablet won’t slide on a table.
Together with the pen, the tablet weighs only about 240 gram. The Intuos S costs about 80 dollars or 80€, there is also a Bluetooth model for 20€ or 20 Dollars more. If the tablet is too small for you, then Wacom also offers the bigger ‘medium’ model for 200€ or 200 dollars. Depending on the region you live in, there are also different colors available.
Installation & Software
The whole installation process is extremely fast and uncomplicated. Just get the right driver from the Wacom website, install it, and connect the Tablet. You are done in less than 2 minutes, no matter if you install the Intuos on a Windows PC or a Mac. You can also use the Graphics tablet on an Android device if you have a suitable USB adapter. There you don’t even need to install any kind of driver or app.
The configuration software is straight forward. You can program the four different express keys however you like. You can also configure what the two buttons on the pen will too. The pressure sensitivity of the pen can also be adjusted. All these configurations can be made for individual applications, so you can have a different setting for Photoshop or Illustrator.
You do not need to add every program manually, luckily it shows you a list of your recently used programs and even adds them if Wacom has suitable default shortcuts for it. So that speeds up the process by a lot.
Another cool thing is, that you can store all your settings locally or in the cloud. So that means, if you use the tablet on different devices, all your manual configurations are synced up. You also get to choose between two additional software downloads. You can either get Corel Aftershot or Corel Painter free for 90 days with this tablet. These promotions can be different depending on the region you live in. So, please check the Wacom website for details.
Drawing with this tablet is just fun. The whole process feels very intuitive and natural. The surface of the tablet has a matt finish on it, which is very pleasant when you rest your palm on it. There is no noticeable lag between the time you move the pen and getting the stroke on the screen.
The pressure levels work great as well. The difference between the softest and strongest input is quite large. Therefore, it’s quite easy to control how much pressure you want to use on your brush. Sure, these days a lot of graphics tablets already offer 8192 pressure levels, but 4096 is completely fine too.
The pen is really light, but at the same time feels really durable. The two buttons also feel high quality, and so do the four express keys on the tablet. One nice feature of the pen: The pen stores the extra pen tips inside. So, if you ever need to replace one, you just need to unscrew the end of the pen.
The biggest strength of the tablet is also it’s biggest weakness: It’s size. The tablet is so small, that you can easily pack it away in a small bag and take it with you, no matter where you go. You can also store the pen in the little loop at the top. The compact size also results in a small work area, which some people may find annoying. You need to decide for yourself if the compact size makes sense for you.
The Intuos S is a fun graphics tablet, even though it’s already two years old. It is very small, so you can bring it with you wherever you go. If you have the Bluetooth model, you don’t even need to bring any cables with you. The drawing experience feels intuitive and precise. With the four programmable express keys, you can map a few often used shortcuts and have a decent workflow. The pen feels light in the hand.
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Longer drawing sessions are no problem at all. Thanks to the hidden tip storage inside the pen, you can’t lose your tips that easily. It’s just over all a great graphics tablet, especially for beginners who don’t want a huge device that takes up a lot of desk space. If you are planning to start drawing professionally however, than a model with a bigger work area and more buttons would probably be better suited for you.