I’ll admit, I bought my Wacom Intuous Small tablet as an impulse purchase.
I’d been watching drawing shows (hello Pub Draw) and swiftly grown frustrated with pencil and paper. I hemmed and hawed and finally rushed out to Best Buy to buy the cheapest tablet I could to justify my reignited interest in digital art after over a decade of being away from it.
With a decent price point, a couple of pieces of art software bundled with it, and Wacom’s brand name behind it, I’d wholeheartedly recommend this tablet to any new digital artist especially if they are getting into digital art and aren’t sure about putting a lot of money into it yet.
But don’t let my brief recommendation sway you. Read the rest of the review to see if this is the right drawing tablet for you.
A note, as I’ve warned artists about tablet reviews before: I am not sponsored for this review.
- Dimensions: 7.87 W x 6.3 H x 0.35 in
- Weight: 8.1 oz, 8.8 oz with Bluetooth
- Connections: USB and/or Bluetooth (if you get that model)
- Pressure Levels: 4096
What You Get
Inside the box (which is relatively small, by the way) there is the tablet, the pen, the USB cable, and a short instruction book.
This small instruction book is essential, because not only will it help you set up your tablet but, more importantly, it will also show you how to replace your pen nibs. Pro-tip – there’s extra nibs inside the pen itself.
Better yet, if you register your Wacom Intuos with Wacom you have the option to download and use 3 different pieces of art software:
- Corel Painter Essentials – A digital painting program
- Corel After Shot – A photo editing program
- Clip Studio Paint Pro – A digital painting program geared towards comic and manga artists
- Note: This is a 2-year license. At the end of the two years, if you want to keep using this program, you will need to purchase it.
Installation of your Wacom Intuos is a snap and should take a short amount of time before you’re off drawing.
- Plug in the USB cable to the tablet and your computer
- You must do this to download the drivers for the first time
- Download and install the Wacom Tablet Driver
- Register your driver to get access to the bundled software
If you wish to pair your tablet using the Bluetooth function (if available), remove the USB cable and pair by pressing the Bluetooth button in the middle of the express keys.
Okay, wow. If you’re looking for a small tablet, the Wacom Intuos Small is small. Of course, I actually liked this as I didn’t have a lot of room on my desk, so I would set it more on my lap while I was drawing.
The cable is super long but thankfully comes with one of those cable management ties already attached. Mine pretty quickly got bundled to a third of its length because I have a USB hub on top of my desk.
The pen is pretty comfortable to hold. There are no obtrusive seams or overly large buttons to get in your way. And the buttons have an excellent click feel to them, so you know you’re actually pressing one.
I think the biggest draw for me, though, coming from a much older generation of tablet when I started is the express keys. Express keys were not a thing when I first bought a tablet. I only had a keyboard (still needed, by the way) and the buttons on the pen if I was lucky. With the Wacom Intuos Small, you get four express keys to map to highly used functions like my favorite: Undo.
The driver and driver interface are very intuitive for both setting up your pressure sensitivity and your pen/express keys. Great for someone new to drawing tablets. But I’ve gushed enough. Let’s see what it’s like to draw with this bad boy.
Because of the easy installation and setup, I was drawing within fifteen minutes of plugging the Wacom Intuos tablet. I had to fuss with some of the settings a few times, but that’s my personal issue.
There’s a little bit of resistance when drawing on this tablet, which is a relief. Drawing on a glass-like surface can feel off, and I was worried about this as it is a plastic-type device. But there is a bit of a paper-like feel to this, similar to drawing on a pad of paper.
I will warn any new artist of this now: you will experience some disorientation in drawing on this tablet if you’ve never practiced looking at an object that isn’t your paper. You are not looking down at the tablet, but rather up at your monitor. It will take some getting used to, but you can still produce results, I promise.
Small in size, lightweight and easy to install – the Wacom Intuos Small is a pretty great tablet for a reasonably low price point. Backed by the name of Wacom, a prominent leader in the tablet industry, it’s hard not to find great things to talk about with this version.
Four express keys and two pen buttons allow for a more efficient workflow when drawing.
An intuitive driver lets even a beginner calibrate the tablet to their specifications without having to read a help manual.
No battery recharging of the pen is a big bonus. I would hate to have to stop when I’m on a drawing spree just to recharge my pen!
Most importantly, the Wacom Intuos Small Software bundle packs added value into its tiny package. A new artist can be up and running in a very short amount of time.
One of the most significant issues I’ve found with the Wacom Intuos Small is the pen nibs. In my experience, the basic nibs that come with the pen wear down pretty quickly. Of course, I may press too hard, but I was still going through a pen nib per month and a half drawing every day.
One other, smaller issue I’ve had is that the nylon loop to hold the pen sometimes holds onto it too tightly. I ended up having to yank the pen out a few times.
This is also a personal preference, as some people absolutely love their no-screen tablets, but I’m not a big fan. I would rather see what I’m drawing right beneath my pen, and that’s just not possible with the Wacom Intuos.
I’ve heard of people having issues with the Wacom Driver, but as I didn’t experience that, I will only give you a word of caution that it’s been a long-standing reported issue.
Putting It All Together
Overall, I would recommend the Wacom Intuos Small to new artists looking for something with a good brand, the software bundled with it and a decent price point. It’s great if you’re just starting out and unsure if you want to really delve into Digital Art or not.
Being portable due to its small size, it’s also great if you want something that you can use while you’re on the couch as long as you have a laptop to hook it up to. A cheaper option than running out and buying a Surface or an iPad!
If you’re a new artist, or an artist looking for something small and easy to carry around, take a look at the Wacom Intuos Small. You can find it on Amazon and other Wacom retailers.