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How Wacom Tablets Work

        Tech | Tablet PCs

Wacom Tablet Features
The Cintiq 24 HD touch features multi-touch technology.
The Cintiq 24 HD touch features multi-touch technology.
Courtesy Wacom Europe

Now that we know how they work, let's familiarize ourselves with the many different tablet models that Wacom offers -- 13, to be exact. All the tablets fall under three lines, each of which has distinct features that appeal to specific audiences.

First, we'll look at two lines of tablets that Wacom advertises as most appropriate for "creative professionals." These are the tablets for people who have a stronger background in digital art or graphics and want to use a tablet for work, as opposed to hobby.

First up is the Intuos Tablet. The Intuos5 comes in small (12.5 inches, or 31.7 centimeters), medium (15 inches, or 31.1 centimeters) and large (19 inches, or 48.2 centimeters) and ranges in price from $229 to $469. (An extra-large Intuos4 is available, but it loses some features.) These have the look of a traditional design tablet, meaning a matte-looking surface you "draw" on while watching your own computer screen (all devices connect through USB and a pretty standard software download). The Intuos is multi-touch capable, which means you can navigate with your fingers and you can touch a key that will easily display your tablet settings on your computer screen. With customized ExpressKeys (buttons at the bottom of the tablet that give "shortcuts" to functions) and applications like SketchBook Express, Wacom touts the Intuos line as a good option for a professional working in design.

Another tablet that's geared toward professionals is the Cintiq line. These come in a 12-inch (30.4-centimeter) model, a 22-inch (55.8-centimeter) model and two 24-inch (60.9-centimeter) models ($999-$3699). Setting them apart from the pack are their LCD screens, which allow you to draw, write or design directly on the screen. It's the same technology -- pen and all -- but with the benefit of an LCD screen. As you might surmise from the price points, these are highly advanced tablets that are primarily going to be used by professionals who need the control of traditional art tools but in a digital format. Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Lightroom, among other traditional design applications, are bundled with them.

But maybe you're just exploring graphics tablets for the first time or are using them outside of work? Next, we'll check out a line that might suit you.