Go forward into the future - with a pen
Before there were tablet computers, such as the Apple iPad, there were tablets for personal computers.
Indeed, they are still around and Wacom has recently released an update to its Intuos professional pen tablet range.
The Intuos 5 Touch is a new range of pen tablets for personal computers running Apple's Mac OS X 10.5.8 operating system or later and Microsoft's Windows XP Service Pack 3 or later.
They allow computer input via the included pen and the touch designation indicates you can use your fingers as well.
The new range has a multi-touch surface which puts it up there with the latest computer hardware designed to run Microsoft's multi-touch Windows 8 operating system.
It's a very handsome piece of hardware with a matt black finish.
The medium-sized model is a 224mm x 140mm pen tablet designed to replace a mouse or notebook touch pad when photo editing and doing design and artwork.
There's a smaller 157mm x 98mm model and a larger 299mm x 190mm model.
Each Intuos 5 comes with a Grip pen, a pen stand, 10 replacement pen nibs (five standard, one flex, one stroke and three hard felt), a pen nib removal tool, USB cable, quick start guide, installation CD with driver software and a software DVD.
The software DVD includes Adobe Photoshop Elements 10 and Corel Painter as well as some specialist pen tablet applications.
The Intuos 5 Touch is easy to install, you just plug it into a USB port and throw in the driver installation CD. It takes a few minutes to set up.
The larger Adobe Photoshop Elements 10 package and Corel Painter take less than an hour to install.
The pressure sensitive Grip pen is a little chunky to hold; Wacom says it is ergonomically designed, but it makes for a good mouse replacement. It's even got a right click and double click button. If you've used a mouse, you'll have no problems with the pen which also has an eraser on its top. They seem to have thought of everything.
The inclusion of four keys normally reserved for a standard keyboard, Shift, Ctrl, Alt and pan/scroll, is a nice touch and saves you having to scramble for the standard keyboard when you need those keys when you are highlighting multiple photographs or other such tasks.
You don't have to use the pen, either, when it doesn't suit you so you can ditch it for some jobs and use your fingers instead.
So as well as being great for the provided software, it's also great for Windows 8 applications such as Fresh Paint designed for touch.
Few keyboards and mice are wired these days and the Intuos 5 Touch is no different. A wireless accessory kit from Wacom makes it wireless so you can sit back away from your computer and work to your heart's content.
Intuos 5 Touch medium-sized model