Wacom Bamboo vs. Intuos vs. Cintiq Tablets

There is a hug price range on these graphics tablets. Here are some street prices I just grabbed today:

WACOM Bamboo Pen 5.8" x 3.6" $65
WACOM Intuos 4 6.2" x 3.9" $229
Wacom Intuos3 6x8 $325
WACOM Intuos 4 PTK640 8.8" x 5.5" $349
WACOM intuos4 Wireless Bluetooth Pen Tablet $415
WACOM Intuos 4 12.8" x 8.0" $549
WACOM Intuos 4 18.2" x 12.0" $799
WACOM Cintiq 12WX 10.3" x 6.4" $999
WACOM CINTIQ 21UX USB (Data Port) 21.3" Pen Display - Graphics Monitor with Digital Pen $2000

Aside from the size, what is the difference essentially with these tablets?

Is Intous3 or Intuos4 a lot better than Wacom Bamboo?

Is Bamboo even good for Photoshop?

I am going to buy one of these tablets and I want something to use for Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator.

Any help you guys can give me would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!


Active Member
Hi Tron,

Not sure if you've gotten anywhere with your question yet, but since there are no replies...

Just my opinion:

I wouldn't bother spending big bucks on a tablet for photo manipulation in PS. The features which the more pricey tablets have really aren't needed for photo manipulation (ie extremely sensitive pressure levels, large active surfaces, etc). Artists (meaning traditional artists) love them because of those features, but it's overkill for general PS use.

I would pick up the Bamboo. They're much better than the old Wacom entry level Graphires, and even those were pretty good. The pricier ones have a textured working surface which, when combined with the various interchangeable pen tips, attempt to mimic the feel of real pencils, pens and brushes. Again...really not needed for working with photos in PS.

I have an Intuos3 because I like to draw/paint with Corel Painter and PS as well, and yes, the Intuos line is a nicer tablet than the Bamboo. The 4 x 6 size is just fine for photos, because you'll only be working in one small area at a time for precise stuff. Artists like the larger ones because they can draw from the elbow like on traditional media...the small sizes pretty much force you to draw from the wrist.


Active Member
Thanks for the info Rogue, I had similar questions as Tron and found this helpful.

Next paycheck I am going to grab a Wacom Bamboo and try it out.
Hi Rogue, thanks for the reply.

You said you own a Wacom Intuos 3 tablet... have you also worked on a Bamboo? If so, how do they compare? Does the added sensitivity of the Intuos tablet make a big difference in Photoshop?


Active Member
Hi Tron,

Sorry for the late reply. I have not worked on a Bamboo, but I own an older Graphire tablet. The Bamboo replaced the Graphire line, and improved upon it. I base that on what I've read on the art forums I frequent. The Graphire had a smooth plastic work surface, and the Bamboo has a textured one like the Intuos'. I didn't care at all for the plastic surface...the texture is much better.

I assume (dangerous, I know) that the Bamboo feels the same to work on as the Intuos.

The Bamboo also only has half of the resolution and pressure levels as the Intuos, but I really feel that this is more of an issue with artists using it to draw and paint. I suppose, depending on the way you work in PS, it may make a difference, but my opinion is that when working with photos it's just not needed. Also, you can go into the file settings and change the tolerances to make it feel more loose or more stiff.
Thanks again Rogue for your advice on Wacom Bamboo vs. Intuos.

I read somewhere else that the Bamboo is like using a crayon and the Intuos is more like using a fine tip marker or pencil. It was suggested that Bamboo tablets were more for office use than graphic design work. Would that be true for things like retouching and using brushes for fine masking work in Photoshop? If so I might just have to bit the bullet and go for the Intuos 4.

There is another option, the Bamboo Fun.... it's larger than the other Bamboo models and has more pressure levels, but it costs about $175 and it's white (I personally like the looks of the black tablets better).


Active Member
I just checked Wacom's site, and there are 5 different Bamboo models. The normal Bamboo, Fun, and Craft models are all identical in sensitivity levels. The other two models, the Pen and Touch, aren't designed for graphic arts; the Pen is for handwriting and the Touch is basically a large navigational pad, like a laptop's touchpad...those two do not match the other three for sensitivity.

The pens for the Bamboo models do not appear to have interchangeable tips, at least as far as I could tell from the site (Wacom's site leaves a lot to be desired, IMHO). It does say that the writing surface feels like pen on paper...felt tip? ball point? it wasn't very clear to me.

About 6 months ago, I needed to order new tips for mine. I like the hard felt tips...it feels like pencil on paper and I prefer to have some "resistance" when working. I have an Intuos3 and all the replacement tips were for the 4, according to their site. I had to email them and confirm that the tips were compatible (they are). But nowhere on the site does it say so. Hmmm...they must really want people to upgrade to the newest version...but I digress.

One last thing about the Bamboo vs Intuos...it doesn't indicate so on the site (surprise) whether the Bamboo models have buttons. When zoomed in, it almost looks like there might be a couple on the side, but it's hard to tell. Mine has four programmable buttons plus a "zoom" touch strip. The buttons are a very nice feature to have...program one to Control + Alt, one for Shift....whatever you want. It's nice to not have to reach for the keyboard or mouse when zooming, resizing the brush, scrolling, etc. The Intuos4's have like twice the buttons, plus a "scroll wheel"...I think Santa might bring one to me this year...lol.

Well I just realized I told you to get the Bamboo, and here I am touting the pricier ones. I really do think the Bamboo will be fine for you, but I suggest you head to the nearest Best Buy or similar and test drive one for yourself. Either way, after you get used to it (less than a day for me), you'll wonder how you got along without one, hehe.
Looks like the Bamboo Fun does have some buttons, but they don't look nearly as useful as the Intuos.

I think I'm just going to hold off a little longer and then get the Intuos, looks to be worth it when you compare features and price of Bamboo Fun vs. Intuos 4.
You can't go wrong with Intuos. The overall quality is much better than Bamboo. You will notice it in the details like the pen holder and the surface of the tablet.

Bamboo is cheaper but you get what you pay for.


Well-Known Member
I just picked up a Bamboo the other day and was so impressed with I put half down on a Intuos large because of the overall time it has saved me. Even using it for a mouse pad in the touch application mode rules and saves on my wrist BIG TIME. I also manipulate or edit at least 500 photos a week and am on Photoshop,Illustrator,DreamWeaver or Fireworks for around 100 hours a week. So for me it was like finding a hidden treasure and well worth spending any kind of money on if you spend any kind of time in one or all those programs!


Retired Administrator
Timely to see this.

My daughter is completing her Communication Design course this year. And she wants a tablet.

I have experience with other WACOMS but I don't know much about Bamboo. An Intuos is kinda expensive here(after the conversions, taxes and mark-ups).

Will the WAC Bamboo be robust enough for a start - for freelance work, simple drawing and commercial art design jobs (brochures, posters and such) ?