edit: Wireless use review
Went a whole work day with the new intuos 5. No problems at all, and a relief to get back to something more familiar after being stuck with old tablets the past couple weeks.
I love, love the wireless mode. It's not bluetooth like the previous tablet models, but RF signal. I was worried that there might be some pen lag, but no matter how fast I worked it didn't hiccup once. Being able to prop up the tablet anywhere on my workdesk or put it away without needing to navigate around excess wires is a blessing! The battery drain wasn't a problem; plugging it while away for breaks seem to have kept it up enough to last the day.
I have a lot of good impressions so far. Still getting used to finding the tablet buttons, and the new UI overlay helps a lot for that.
I can't believe how clumsy I am sometimes, though. despite all my best efforts I still fumbled my tablet and dropped it on the floor the very moment I opened it... :b
Yeah. I need to find one of those gel iphone cases for my tablet or something.
The intuos 5 came in the mail today! It's a beautiful beast. I've only been using it for an hour or so and I've found it much easier to re-adapt my drawing habits to, compared to my problems upgrading from the 3rd to 4th generation intuos.
I hesitate to state that my old intuos 4 had flaws; it added new hardware and software functionality which was awesome and had immediate results, but I had a severe issue with readjusting my ingrained 3rd gen habits (read: hotkey buttons) to the new express key design choices of the 4th gen. That, and the new tablet surface had a grainy drag resistance to it (a replicated canvas feel) that gave my drawing arm some fatigue after a long days work of use, and ate up my pen tips faster than I liked (1/month). Eventually I got used to the new button layout, and over time that grainy surface worn smooth with lots and lots of use, and I came to love it -- what helped most of all was learning how to use the Wacom software driver's Radial Menu to store all of my photoshop shortcuts. It made me pretty sad to lose that when I returned to using my old intuos 3 when my 4 broke several weeks ago.
Suffice to say, Intuos 5 improves upon Intuos 4's design and even adds the much coveted wireless option (YES!) and the curious touch functionality that they introduced with Bamboo. You can read all about the technical specs on the Wacom website, it's much more concise there.
As for what matters to me: I like Intuos 5's buttons are recessed under the soft plastic, it keeps the tablet cleaner since no more gunk will get trapped in the cracks -- what makes me really happy is that there's now a little embossed nubbin for better touch memory of which button I'm using, and a much improved overlay UI that makes much more sense than the text windows on the tablet in 4. There's still that grainy surface texture in the drawing area, but I suspect that will become less of an issue as I break it in with regular use. I'm really excited to try out the Wireless functionality, but since I have a large tablet, I don't believe the battery will last for the whole 10-12 hours of my work day (but I'll use it anyway for the time I can :b). The Touch function is still more of a curiosity for me; it would make more sense if it was say a Cintiq screen, but we'll see how technology evolves over the years to take more advantage of it (windows 8).
Oh, and my intuos 4 art pen works on it -- YES.
tl;dr: It's a great upgrade to an already great product line. If you have a well loved intuos 3 or earlier, the new technology is an appealing upgrade in addition to all of the other tech introduced with the 4th generation. However, take into consideration the amount of time needed to get used to a new button layout (if that's your thing). For intuos 4 users it offers a refined design, touch functionality, a wireless option, and even carries over the same pens (which was not the case for 3rd to 4th gen).