Cool, ambidextrous redesign

Wacom's stunning redesign of its Intuos tablet is more than just a color change. With a click of a radio button in the Wacom Control Panel, the Intuos4 is ready to be flipped over for use by a lefty (or righty, if you defined left-handed as the default). This photo shows the left-handed orientation.
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Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET / Caption by:

USB options

In a nice touch, there are two Mini-USB connectors so that your connection is always at the top of the tablet regardless of orientation. Each has a sliding cover for when it's unused, to prevent you from thinking it's an extra USB connector and trying to hook a second device to it.
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Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET / Caption by:

Light up labels

One of the most frustrating aspects of programmable input devices isn't them, it's us; we have to remember how we set up all the buttons and dials to gain efficiencies from them. The Intuos4 places LED labels to the side of the ExpressKeys (the buttons) and the Touch Ring (the circular scroll strip). The labels update for each application-specific set as well.

The (somewhat hard to see) button in the middle of the Touch Ring toggles through four different positions, each indicated by the dot you see to its right. For each position, you can define some kind of scrolling behavior. For instance, I configured one of the slots to scroll through thumbnails in Adobe Bridge by assigning the left arrow to one scroll direction and the right arrow to the other.

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Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET / Caption by:

Redesigned pen

The new pen is about an inch shorter than the old with a completely new sensor in the nib to make it more sensitive to lighter pressure. It's gone from 1,024 levels of sensitivity to 2,048. Like its predecessor, it can sense up to 60 degrees of tilt as well.
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Photo by: Wacom Technology Corp. / Caption by:

Improved pen holder

Though Wacom has always supplied nib replacements and a nib puller for its pens, the company finally figured out a storage method other than rolling around in the drawer--inside the pen stand. The new stand also looks a bit less cheesy than the clear acrylic model from the previous version.
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Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET / Caption by:

Mouse

The mouse has been improved a bit as well, smaller and with an offset sensor for a more traditional feel, and definitely feels more usable than previous versions. Still, the friction of its felt bottom on the tablet doesn't feel quite as fluid as an optical mouse.
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Photo by: Sarah Tew/CNET / Caption by:

ExpressKeys

It's pretty straightfoward to program the ExpressKeys.
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Photo by: Screenshot by Lori Grunin/CNET / Caption by:

Touch Ring

You can program the Touch Ring for four different functions per application, and set the speed of operation for each. The ring itself has 72 steps. I generally had to set the speed to slow for most operations or I'd overshoot my target. That's especially true with zooming.
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Photo by: Screenshot by Lori Grunin/CNET / Caption by:

Display toggle

While this setting came in handy on the Cintiq, which is an actual monitor, I disabled it on the Intuos4. It's only really useful if you configure the tablet mapping to a single display (in a multimonitor setup) rather than to a single desktop across two displays.
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Photo by: Screenshot by Lori Grunin/CNET / Caption by:

Radial menu

This is an easy to configure menu that pops up underneath your cursor. Unfortunately, the command submenu isn't persistent, so if you need to do a series of copy and pastes, for example, it turns out to be far more work than using your keyboard shortcuts. I expect Wacom will refine this in subsequent releases.
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Photo by: Screenshot by Lori Grunin/CNET / Caption by:
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