First Look
Wacom Intuos3 Professional Pen Tablets
New Built-In ExpressKeys And Zoom/Scroll Touch Strips

Once you use a pen and tablet for your digital darkroom work you rarely go back to mousing around. Aside from avoiding repetitive stress problems, working with a pen and tablet makes the work faster, smoother, and in all ways cooler. Wacom Technology Corporation, whose pens and tablets have been with us for years, seems to be on a constant lookout for ways to make the work more productive as well. The latest in their product line-up, the new Intuos3 professional pen tablet, offers some fascinating improvements in the field. The new tablets, released as we went to press, include what the company calls ExpressKeys and Touch Strips.

ExpressKeys are an on-board set of customizable keys that default to keyboard modifiers Control, Alt, Shift, and Spacebar. The new finger-sensitive Touch Strips allow users to zoom or scroll with their non-dominant hand while working with a Wacom battery-free pen or mouse with their dominant hand. The great news for left-handed artists and photographers is that the customizable ExpressKeys and Touch Strips are on both sides of the tablet. Thus, you can customize either left- or right-sided controls to do whatever you need. The 2" Touch Strips can be used to zoom, scroll, or perform a custom keystroke action such as changing brush size in Adobe Photoshop, all without having to move to the keyboard.

The new Intuos3 pen tablets include a new industrial design with a high-gloss transparent surface; a redesigned Grip Pen with a larger rubber barrel for enhanced comfort; an improved, smaller battery-free mouse with five programmable buttons and a scroll wheel; doubled resolution of 5080 lines per inch; and a new software bundle composed of Adobe Photoshop Elements 2, Corel Painter Essentials 2, and nik Color Efex Pro 2 IE, all of which take full advantage of the programmable and pressure-sensitive Wacom pens. In addition, we saw new tips for the pens which allow you to choose the "tooth" or pen surface feel on the tablets.

The USB-only Intuos3 tablets will be produced in three sizes with active areas of 4x5, 6x8, and 9x12. The previous version, Intuos2, will be continued for those who require serial connectivity or larger sizes (12x12 and 12x18). Intuos3 supports Apple and Microsoft platforms.

Estimated street prices are: Intuos3 4x5 at $199.99, Intuos3 6x8 at $329.99, and Intuos3 9x12 at $449.99.
For more information, visit Wacom's website at: