Wacom has unveiled Intuos4, the latest version of its pen tablet system for creative professionals such as designers and artists. The tablets feature a redesigned look with OLED displays showing what tasks or commands the shortcut buttons are set to perform in particular applications.

The new Intuos4 Grip Pen features Wacom’s new proprietary tip sensor technology, which the company says offers users near-zero (1g) starting pressure for an even more natural feel. Additionally, the Intuos4 pen delivers 2,048 levels of pressure, doubling the resolution of the pen’s pressure curve to further enhance feedback.

The Intuos4 Grip Pen features a pressure-sensitive eraser and two customisable side-switches for setting commands such as double-click and right-click on the pen. For those looking for a pen with a thicker barrel, a thick bodied Intuos4 replacement grip comes as an accessory.

Read our review of the Wacom Intuos4 here

The Intuous4's new reversible design puts all of the shortcut and modifier keys in a position for right-handed or left-handed users. The ExpressKeys are located on one side of the tablet, making them all available to the users’ non-dominant hand. Wacom says that to move from right-handed to left-handed use, the user should rotate the tablet through 180 degrees and change the orientation of the illuminated icons within the Wacom tablet driver software.

New to Intuos4 are illuminated OLED displays (except on the Intuos4 S model) that provide a helpful reminder of the current function setting of each ExpressKey. As these settings can be application-specific, the displays will update immediately as the user changes between applications.

Also new to the Intuos4 is the introduction of a user-defined Touch Ring capable of controlling up to four different functions in any application. A button located in the centre of the ring ‘toggles’ between functions such as zoom, scroll, brush size adjustment, canvas rotation and layer selection. The position of an LED located along the perimeter of the Touch Ring indicates the current function.

Upgrades to Wacom’s driver software include the introduction of precision mode and radial menus. In precision mode the mapping of the pen tip changes to a slow motion movement, which is designed to enable even more precise and accurate work. This feature is activated when the relevant ExpressKey is held down. Releasing it returns to normal mapping. Radial menus enable users to quickly access preferred functions through a hierarchical menu display.

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

Also available is an Art Pen, which turns on the rotation feature in Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and Corel Painter X to deliver natural brush effects, much like a calligraphy pen, as well as an Airbrush that enables users to create and define paint patterns within certain creative programmes. Finally, there is also the Classic Pen and a cordless and battery-free Wacom mouse.

The Intuos4 comes in four sizes: the small Intuos4 S for £183, the medium-sized Intuos4 M: for £280, the large Intuos4 L for £357 and the extra large for £626. All prices exclude VAT.