Wacom Intuos4 Wireless Bluetooth graphics tablet debuts

Wacom have quietly outed a new active graphics tablet, the Bluetooth-enabled Wacom Intuos4 Wireless.  The new model has an 8 x 5 inch active area, slotting in just underneath the regular, wired Intuos4 Medium announced last March, and hooks up to a PC or Mac via Bluetooth; battery life is up to 18 hours (though not of continuous use) and it recharges via USB (and can be used in tethered mode).Video overview after the cut

Over at CNET they've already reviewed the Intuos4 Wireless, and reckon it's certainly more convenient than the wired model.  However they also had some issues with Bluetooth pairing, and expressed concerns about battery life; if left turned on, the tablet can apparently drain the battery to the point where it can no longer be recharged, meaning a replacement (costing between $39 and $49) must be bought.

As with other Intuos4 models, there's an OLED display, various shortcut buttons and a scroll-wheel, many of which can be user-programmed.  The pen supports 2,048 levels of pressure, and comes complete with standard, felt, stroke and flex nibs.  The Wacom Intuos4 Wireless is available in the US now, priced at $399; it'll land in the UK at the end of March, priced at £359.99.

Press Release:

Wacom Intuos4 Wireless provides creative freedom

The ideal pen tablet for on-the-go professional creators of digital content

Monday 1st February 2010: Wacom today announces the Intuos4 Wireless professional pen tablet, a highly-anticipated product featuring Bluetooth wireless technology. The new Intuos4 Wireless is aimed at digital content creators such as photographers, designers and artists who seek the freedom of wireless technology as well as the control and comfort benefits inherent in Wacom's professional range of pen tablets. The liberating experience of being able to move about the room and work "unattached" from a computer also makes the Intuos4 Wireless an excellent tool for use at a collaborative work session. In addition, the medium-sized Intuos4 Wireless fits easily into most computer laptop bags, offering an ideal input solution for mobile creative professionals.

By combining the successful Intuos4 pen tablet design with Bluetooth wireless technology Wacom is able to provide users with the flexibility and freedom to work in the most comfortable way for drawing, editing, painting, retouching or general computer work. The Intuos4 Wireless meets the intuitive nature and overall experience offered by the Intuos4 brand.

The Intuos4 and Bluetooth

Bluetooth wireless technology is a global communications standard found in millions of computers and mobile devices that allows these devices to communicate reliably over distances of up to 10 metres. Ideal for home, office, or remote-meeting use, the Intuos4 Wireless provides mobility and freedom when working with Bluetooth-enabled desktop or laptop computers. It can be charged directly from the computer via USB.

Breakthrough design improves workflow, boosts productivity

Whether on the road, at home or at work, the slim and ergonomic design of the Intuos4 Wireless pen tablet makes it the ideal creative tool for working with digital content in comfort. Available in one size (medium), the Intuos4 Wireless has an asymmetrical design that puts the Touch Ring and the customisable ExpressKeys on one side of the tablet, making them all available to the user's non-dominant hand. The ExpressKeys are instrumental in helping improve workflow and boosting productivity by placing commonly-used commands right at the user's fingertips. Illuminated (OLED) displays provide helpful reminders as to the function of each ExpressKey. These settings are application-specific, and the displays will immediately update as the user changes between applications. To switch the tablet from right-handed to left-handed use, the user simply rotates the tablet 180 degrees and changes the orientation of the illuminated icons within the Wacom tablet driver software.

The Touch Ring on the Intuos4 Wireless is capable of controlling up to four different functions in any application. A button located in the centre of the ring "toggles" the ring between application-specific functions such as zoom, scroll, brush size adjustment or canvas rotation. The position of the illuminated LED located along the perimeter of the Touch Ring indicates the current function.

With all these features, the Intuos4 Wireless provides the perfect tool for an individual, ergonomic style of working, free of any cables.

The Intuos4 Grip Pen

The Grip Pen that comes with the Intuos4 Wireless features Wacom's proprietary Tip Sensor technology, offering users near-zero (one gramme) starting pressure for the most sensitive Intuos pen tablet performance to-date. The pressure-sensitive support starts with a light touch, emulating the same feel, response and result derived from working with traditional creative tools such as brushes, markers and pens. Additionally, the Intuos4 Wireless pen has 2,048 levels of pressure, doubling the resolution of the pen's pressure curve to further enhance feedback and expand creative control within software applications that support pressure sensitivity. The Grip Pen also features a pressure-sensitive eraser and two customisable side-switches that can be set for commands such as double-click and right-click. The Intuos4 Wireless ships with a handy clip-on pen holder for securing the pen to the tablet when not being used.

Intuos4 Wireless pen stand

A weighted desktop pen stand not only provides a convenient pen holder, but also functions as a handy twist-off storage compartment for pen nibs and a handy nib extractor. Standard, felt, stroke and flex nibs ship with the Intuos4 Wireless, allowing users to simulate the feel of working with a variety of traditional art and design materials.

Available software

Purchasers of an Intuos4 Wireless pen tablet are entitled to a choice of one application from a selection of three creative applications offered by leading software manufacturers Adobe, Autodesk and Corel. Users select their applications via download. In addition, Intuos4 users will appreciate the significant upgrades to Wacom's powerful, user-friendly driver software, including precision mode and radial menus for even more precise and accurate work.

Additional accessories

In order to provide the best pen tablet experience possible, Wacom has created a range of accessories that includes several different types of pens. For example, the Intuos4 Art Pen supports the barrel rotation feature within such applications as Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and Corel Painter 11, allowing users to create natural brush effects by rotating the pen, much like a calligraphy pen. The Intuos4 Airbrush has a similar form and finger-wheel control as a traditional airbrush and enables users to create and define paint patterns within certain creative programmes.

Pricing and availability

The Intuos4 Wireless is priced at £359.99 (including VAT) and will be available from end of March 2010.