Review: Wacom Intuos Manga

With the dimensions of 8.3″ x 7.0″ x 0.4″ and a price tag of $99, the Wacom Intuos Manga represents a renewed push into the consumer digital artist space. Does it live up to the hype? What can you expect from a tablet that sells for under $100? I put the Intuos Manga to the test and my results with it will surprise you. Read on to find out why…

intuos_manga_box

History

I’ve been using Wacom products for over 15 years now and have never had a single complaint with them. Their products are incredibly well built and, with care, can last a very long time. Over the years, I have upgraded my Wacom tablet whenever a new model has been released. In short: I’m a Wacom fan.

So when I was given the chance to review the Intuos Manga line, I jumped at the chance. I was curious to know how their consumer tablet compared to the professional Intuos models I’ve used in the past.

Historically, the Intuos line has always been marketed towards design professionals. With the Intuos Manga (formerly marketed as the Bamboo line), Wacom has consolidated their professional and consumer tablets under one brand moniker.

Specs

The Intuos Manga, which weighs less than a standard paperback book, comes with Mac and Windows drivers and connects via USB or wireless (for an additional $40). The Intuos Manga handles up to 1024 levels of pressure sensitivity, which is half the value of the professional Intuos line. The device also comes with built-in multi-touch capabilities, allowing the the Intuos Manga to serve as a trackpad for touch input. It is designed for both left and right hand use.

Inside the Box

Wacom does an expert job with their packaging. In the past, I’ve compared the unboxing experience to that of unboxing an Apple product. That comparison still holds true with the Intuos Manga.

intuos_box_lid

Upon opening the box, you are greeted with the Intuos Manga tablet (bundled inside a mesh fabric) and the stylus.

inside_box

Upon removing the tablet, you’ll find a driver disc, instruction pamphlet and USB cord. The packaging is very similar to the Intuos5 Medium model.

intuos_goodies_inside

The tablet itself has four built-in express keys (located in the black trim area) for common keyboard modifier keys (Shift, Command, Option, Control). The silver area is where stylus and touch input is received. Touch input can be turned off via the toggle switch located on the top right trim of the tablet. It can also be turned off via the Wacom driver utility software. Also on the top trim area is a compartment for installing the wireless module. The blue cloth ribbon trim on the top of the tablet can be changed out for the included black ribbon, for further customization.

intuos_manga_ports

The drawing surface of the Intuos Manga has the feel of high quality plastic. The overall unit is light and easy to grip.

intuos_tablet_and_stylus

As for the stylus, it is svelte and easy to grip. I prefer it to the more bulky Intuos5 stylus. Like its big brother, the Intuos Manga’s stylus is cordless and does not need a battery to operate. The nib can also be replaced once it inevitably wears down. How fast the nib wears down is dependent upon how hard you bear down on the tablet surface. (Don’t worry: Wacom bundles a few spare nibs in the box.)

Installation

Install the drivers from disc (or if you prefer, download the latest drivers from Wacom’s website) and BOOM! you’re ready to draw. Don’t have a drawing package? Don’t fret: Wacom includes serial keys for downloadable versions of Manga Studio Debut 4 and Anime Studio Debut 8.

Setup

Wacom’s utility installs itself in your System Preferences in Mac OS X. There are a myriad of options to choose from. Under the main tab (Tablet), you can toggle the ExpressKeys to one of several presets. This is incredibly convenient because it allows you to minimize your dependence on the keyboard for commonly used shortcuts.

wacom_tablet_utility

Next up are pen settings, where various parameters including Tip feel, Erase pressure and even stylus buttons can be customized.

pen_settings

Mapping is by default to your main screen. If your setup includes multiple displays, you can choose which screen you’d like to use with your Intuos Manga tablet. I have mine set to work exclusively on my 24″ monitor, but it can easily be set to any or all of your displays.

mapping

The Touch Options and Standard Gestures both work well, but for my use case, I generally turn those settings off. I tend to use my tablet only for drawing and sometimes touch input can get in my way by picking up an accidental swipe or gesture.

touch_options

gestures

Lastly, the Intuos Manga also supports an “on demand” radial menu, for even quicker access to commonly used shortcuts. In order for this setting to take, you must have an ExpressKey or Pen button set to “Radial Menu”. This also works, but I generally never use this setting either, because my keyboard is within easy reach. (I’m old school like that.)

radial_menu

How does it Work?

I was somewhat hesitant to go back to a tablet, having been accustomed to drawing directly on the screen with my Yiynova Tablet monitor. But, nevertheless, I fired up Manga Studio Debut and was pleasantly surprised as to how responsive the Intuos Manga really is. The stylus glides across the surface comfortably. Mark making was smooth and there was zero lag. I initially felt that the smaller surface area of the Intuos Manga would bother me (coming from an Intuos5 medium tablet), but that really wasn’t the case.

Drawing with the Intuos Manga was a very pleasant experience, and not unlike using my Intuos5. In fact, I think I like the smaller form factor of the Intuos Manga a bit more than the Intuos5. And the extra 1024 levels of pressure sensitivity? I don’t miss it as much as I thought I would.

Conclusions

This product is targeted to consumers who are interested in dabbling in digital art. It easily fulfills that expectation and much, much more. In the past, I would have never even considered a tablet like the Intuos Manga, but thanks to some hands-on evaluation, I think the Intuos Manga would definitely get a second look. If you’re budget conscious, or want an easy (read: inexpensive) entry into digital art making, the Intuos Manga is a no-brainer.

In my usage, I didn’t run across any problems or flaws with the device. (And if I did, Wacom backs the device with a two year warranty.) The Intuos Manga works well as a drawing tool and as a trackpad. Keep in mind that using a drawing tablet like the Wacom Intuos Manga takes time and practice. If you’ve never used a digital tablet before, it takes some getting used to. Essentially you are looking at your screen while making marks on the tablet, which is somewhat of a disconnect from drawing traditionally. But it can be mastered over time. (With that said, I still prefer drawing directly on the screen.)

With the Intuos Manga, you are getting a well built tablet and an excellent stylus, plus most of the features of the Intuos5 at a fraction of the price. I’m seriously impressed. The Intuos Manga gets 5 out of 5 Bob Weiners.

-Krishna

These beautiful and intelligent people wrote

  • Tiara Sather
    June 16, 2014 at 3:15 pm

    I have a question. Does the Wacom Intuos Manga work with any program (ie, Photoshop, Illustrator, etc) or does it just work with those two programs it’s bundled with?

    • Krishna M. Sadasivam
      June 16, 2014 at 3:47 pm

      Yep – it works with everything that supports it. I use it with Manga Studio, Photoshop and on occasion Sketchbook Pro.

    • Krishna
      August 24, 2014 at 1:03 pm

      hi Tiara: It should work with *all* programs that state Wacom support. Painter, Manga Studio, Photoshop, Illustrator, should all work.

  • jess
    August 24, 2014 at 1:00 pm

    I have never used a drawing tablet before but I had this one recommended to me. do you think that this is a good one to start with? do you know if you can scan sketches into the computer and use the tablet with them?

    • Krishna
      August 24, 2014 at 1:02 pm

      hi Jess: I think the Intuos Manga is a fine starter tablet. Once you scan your sketches into the computer, you can bring it up in Photoshop or another design tool of your choice and use the Intuos Manga to add to it.

  • Joanna
    September 9, 2014 at 5:58 am

    Hello!
    I want to ask something and I hope u can help me. I really want to buy this product BUT I red online some reviews and people were complaining and they were disappointed and said that if you live somewhere in Europe and you buy it, it doesn’t have any software. The american branch is offering “Full downloadable software bundle: Adobe Photoshop Elements, Autodesk Sketchbook Express, ArtRage Studio and Nik Color Efex Pro” it turns out there is no software at all. I live in Europe. If I buy it through amazon.com, will i have the software? I am really confused. And one more thing, if I buy other tablet (not Manga), I can’t have access to the Manga programme that is in wacom intuos manga?
    Thank you for your time and have a great day.

    • Krishna
      September 9, 2014 at 6:32 am

      hi Joanna:

      I’m not sure how the software bundle works in Europe. In the box itself, there are codes so that you can download the software online. Contacting Wacom directly will certainly clarify any issues.

      • Joanna
        September 11, 2014 at 1:53 am

        Thank you! What programs your tablet has?

        • Krishna
          September 11, 2014 at 6:44 am

          Mine came with digital coupons for Manga Studio Debut 4 and Anime Studio Debut 8.

          • Joanna
            September 12, 2014 at 7:40 am

            Thank you so much! Have a great day!

  • Sarah Madison
    September 27, 2014 at 3:16 pm

    So I’ve deciding on either getting this tablet or the Intuos Pen and Touch tablet, I know they’re both the same other then the programs each on comes with. I’m just now going into digital art and I’m thinking about doing some small comics on DA for random characters that go on in my head. As of now, I’m just a hobby artist who would like to go further into the drawing world and see what I can do. My question being: which one do you think should be a better starter, the Intuos Manga or the Intuos Pen and Touch?

    • Krishna
      September 27, 2014 at 3:46 pm

      I checked the specs for both devices – they seem to be identical in looks and have the same levels of pressure sensitivity. Your choice between the two would be determined by the bundled software…

      • Sarah Madison
        September 28, 2014 at 2:38 pm

        Alright thanks.

      • Krystal
        November 5, 2014 at 9:02 pm

        Hi, I was also considering the same question, but I want to know for the programs that comes with Intuos pen and touch and Intuos Manga, how different is the software exactly? I want to be able to doodle some manga and improve my skills in drawing manga, but I also want to be able to make umm lets say more realistic drawings for a portfolio I’m working on to be submitted and reviewed by professionals. Please and thank you.

        • Krishna
          November 5, 2014 at 9:06 pm

          Thanks for your comment, Krystal! As far as the bundled software packages go, I’d personally forgo them altogether and invest in something like Manga Studio 5 (which sells for between $30 – $70, depending on sales promotions, etc.). With Manga Studio 5, you’ll be able to draw digitally and apply whatever style you want. Manga Studio 5 is also orders of magnitude easier to use than Manga Studio 4.

  • Candie
    October 4, 2014 at 6:31 am

    Hello there!

    I have a question. I’m really intrested into buying this. I never had a Wacom tablet before, so does this have to require a computer/laptop in order for this to work? Does this tablet have a screen like the Wacom Cintiq? I wanted the Cintiq, but it’s too expensive for me.

    Thanks!

    • Krishna
      October 4, 2014 at 8:21 am

      hi Candie: This tablet requires a computer to work. What you’re interested in is a tablet monitor, which lets you see what you are drawing. I use a Yiynova MPS19u tablet. I’ve had it for almost two years, and it’s a fraction of the price of a Cintiq.

      • Candie
        October 5, 2014 at 11:21 pm

        Oh okay. Thanks!

  • Maculmania
    October 6, 2014 at 12:05 pm

    What kind of free software you got from Wacom Intuos manga? is Manga studio debut 4?

    • Krishna
      October 6, 2014 at 12:44 pm

      From their website: “Full versions of CLIP STUDIO PAINT PRO and Anime Studio® 8 are included.”

  • HazuHina
    October 17, 2014 at 4:06 pm

    Hi, I just bought Intuos Manga (this is my first time trying drawing directly on the computer. Well, I’m actually waiting for my pc be repaired and in the meantime I’m using another computer. I want to try Manga studio but I’m quite afraid, if I download it with this computer, will I be able to download it again on the other pc?

    • Krishna
      October 17, 2014 at 5:41 pm

      Hi HazuHina: I think the Manga Studio license only works on one machine… You may want to wait until your machine is repaired before installing.

  • Lim
    October 31, 2014 at 9:46 am

    I am thinking of getting this as my first drawing tablet. A friend is will to sell his old Wacom Intuos 3 for the same price as a new Intuos Manga.

    Do you think I’ll be better off with the new Intuos Manga or the old Intuos 3?

    • Krishna
      October 31, 2014 at 1:02 pm

      You’re better of with the Intuos Manga. Better features, better support (warranty).

  • Taras
    November 6, 2014 at 9:00 am

    Is this tablet useful for work with Maya, Zbrush, Mudbox, Cinema 4D… and similar software?

    • Krishna
      November 6, 2014 at 1:49 pm

      hi Taras, I personally haven’t used my tablet with those apps, but I have seen other folks use their Intuos tablets for tools like Mudbox and Zbrush.

  • Patpat
    November 10, 2014 at 5:31 am

    hi! question, i’m kind of planning to start on digital art, and i was wondering if this tablet is compatible with windows 7? and if its also compatible with SAI, because its the drawing program most artists has recommended me. oh and is intuos manga only for drawing mangas and animes? thanks!

    • Krishna
      November 10, 2014 at 6:35 am

      Patpat: Yes, it will work with Windows 7 (SP1). I don’t have Paint Tools SAI, so I can’t comment on whether the tool is fully supported or not. And, yes, you can use the tablet for *any* type of art. Don’t let the “Manga” title scare ya. :)

      • Patpat
        November 17, 2014 at 7:16 am

        oh wait, one last! what if the windows 7 isn’t SP1?

  • Patpat
    November 11, 2014 at 5:33 am

    okay, thank you!

    • Patpat
      November 11, 2014 at 5:35 am

      oh wait, one last! what if the windows 7 isn’t SP1?

      • Krishna
        November 17, 2014 at 2:06 pm

        I don’t think it will work then. (I tested the device on a Mac, for what it’s worth.)

  • Jonathan
    November 15, 2014 at 5:27 am

    Hi Just want to know if the WACOM INTUOS MANGA will also work on photoshop 5.5 ? coz what is shown in the demo above is photoshop 6 Thank you…

    • Krishna
      November 15, 2014 at 1:27 pm

      It should…

  • sonya
    November 22, 2014 at 12:23 am

    Can we do coloring in “wacom intuos pen and touch tablet as like in wacom manga?

    • Krishna
      November 22, 2014 at 8:26 am

      The Intuos Manga is every bit as functional as the standard Intuos.

  • jane
    November 23, 2014 at 10:47 am

    Hello, I was wondering if I could use The intuos on other art programs, Krita for example. and if not I would like to know if the programs coming with the intuos are free or do I have to pay for them after a short period of time.

    • Krishna
      January 10, 2015 at 11:04 am

      Good question, Jane. I don’t have any experience with Krita, but Wacom’s generally got excellent support for all major software apps. The versions included are full versions, but they may be a version or two behind.

  • Ragnarok Lover
    January 9, 2015 at 11:28 pm

    Did your Intuos Manga come with pen nibs, pen holder and pen ring? It says so on the box, but when i got it, it wasnt there :(
    Can u suggest me other wacom with includes extra nibs and pen holders at the some price?

    • Krishna
      January 10, 2015 at 11:08 am

      Mine did not come with replacement nibs. Replacement nibs (from what I have researched) can only be purchased from Wacom.

  • cornerro
    January 13, 2015 at 5:00 pm

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oBrcZE2kutg …min 1:50 for replacement nibs

  • Cosmicpanda2
    January 19, 2015 at 5:04 am

    Hey, sorry to be a pain, but I live in Australia, and I bought the Intuos Manga, and its SBD code gave me everything they promised, except for the Manga Studios which was quite upsetting.
    Is it just my own bad luck or is there something about the SBD not working fully in Australia?

    • Krishna
      January 19, 2015 at 7:54 am

      Cosmicpanda2, I’d reach out to Wacom – they’re pretty cool about helping out their users.

  • tutu
    February 18, 2015 at 9:44 pm

    hi! i was wondering if the pen that comes with the intuos manga can be used directly onto the screen of a touchscreen pc or a regular touchscreen device without installing the software. is the pen kind of like a regular touchscreen pen but smaller?

    • Krishna
      February 18, 2015 at 10:06 pm

      Good question – I haven’t tested the pen with a touchscreen PC or other touchscreen devices. Maybe someone reading this can chime in?

  • Trina
    April 2, 2015 at 10:46 am

    I am going to buy the Intuos Manga for my daughter’s 20th birthday. She draws really well and loves Manga. I also want to find a good laptop at $300 or less that she can use Manga with. What do you recommend. I don’t want to invest too much money into this until I know she likes it. :)

    • Krishna
      April 2, 2015 at 11:51 am

      hi Trina: I think your best bet on laptops would be to purchase a refurbished or used model, either Mac or PC would be fine. As long as the computer has a decent processor and enough RAM (8GB should be plenty), you should be good to go.

  • Geex
    April 5, 2015 at 1:36 am

    Hi Krishna,
    I am very new to this digital art. I need to do more writing and some of drawing. (the ration of writing:drawing is ~ 60:40) may you suggest me some good product? i have been searching since last one week and come across lots of products and getting confused in square!

    till i have seen are:
    1. adonit jot pro
    2. wacom one medium (it seems to fulfil my need but not sure)
    3. wacom linking (found useful but has many bad reviews on net about performance)
    4. wacom intuous magna or pen and touch (feel good for drawing but not sure how it will perform on everyday handwriting)

    notes: i am using dell latitude e5410 (Ci5, 4GB, 128GB SSD) my budget is ~ 10-12K INR.

    Thanks in advance!

    GeeX

    • Krishna
      April 5, 2015 at 8:58 am

      Good question! I’m not sure about writing, as I only use my tablet for drawing. You can’t go wrong with the Intuos Manga for drawing. It’s got a small form factor that makes it easy to transport, compared to the Intuos Medium. I don’t have any experience with the Adonit product, so I can’t comment on how well it works or not. Like you, I’ve also heard that the Inkling is pretty awful (haven’t used it though, but I’m fairly certain it is.)

  • Statrter
    April 11, 2015 at 6:17 pm

    Hello, thank you for this article.
    I want to create videos with caracters I draw, is this possible using Sketchnook Pro with this tablet?
    Thank you

    • Krishna
      April 17, 2015 at 8:29 pm

      Sketchbook isn’t for videos – but you can use another application to record the work you create in Sketchbook Pro.

  • Chelsy
    May 3, 2015 at 7:45 pm

    Hi! I just got the intuos manga and I’ve enjoyed drawing with it. I’ve been drawing with paint tool sai and the pressure sensitivity doesn’t seem to work. Any tips on fixing the pressure sensitivity for smooth lines? Thanks!

    • Krishna
      May 3, 2015 at 8:05 pm

      hi Chelsy: glad you are liking the Wacom Intuos Manga. Alas, I have no experience with Paint Tool Sai – maybe another person reading this can weigh in with some helpful tips.

  • Darwin
    May 20, 2015 at 9:11 am

    What Laptop is compatible for this one?

    • Krishna
      May 20, 2015 at 9:55 pm

      I’m hedging my bets that the Wacom Intuos Manga tablet will work on most major laptop manufacturers (Dell, HP, ASUS, and Apple etc.)

      • DARWIN
        May 21, 2015 at 1:46 am

        One more, does it also function as blank sketchbook or only with comic panels?

  • Layla
    June 4, 2015 at 10:03 am

    Hello~! :) Thanks so much for the awesome review~

    So far it’s been a month since i got my intuos manga tablet and my goodness
    I fell inlove with it~! SO VERY EASY AND AWESOME *^* i love how i can use my fingers on it :) ehehe i sometimes use it as a mouse too xD

    but i have a question :) ..the clip studio that comes withe tablet is a full version right? so why is it after entering the verification code and open my clip studio there’s a note above the headings that says “Next License Verification will be after 30 days”

    omg..should i worry? Dx did i do something wrong when i installed it? :( pls help

    • Krishna
      June 4, 2015 at 12:50 pm

      Thanks for the feedback, Layla. Glad the review helped you out! hmm, I’m not sure about the licensing of Clip Studio. My version of the tablet came with Manga Studio Debut. Definitely something I’d ping Wacom about…

  • Vignesh
    June 29, 2015 at 4:33 pm

    Just a doubt, I want to buy this intuos manga for not only 2d art but also 3d art,animation and rigging. Also I am mostly a 2D flat style icon and infographics creater. So will this tablet suit my style? currently I am using a professional mouse, So will this be better than what I am currently using for my work?

    • Krishna
      July 6, 2015 at 5:24 am

      Without a doubt, Vignesh. A tablet > mouse for the type of work you are doing.

  • Katherine
    July 9, 2015 at 7:46 am

    Hi I do drawings for children’s books, would Intuos Manga be a good choice for work like that. Thanks in advance

    • Krishna
      July 9, 2015 at 7:47 am

      hi Katherine: The Intuos Manga should do the trick. Bear in mind digital drawing (especially with the tablet) takes some adjustment and practice.

  • Katherine
    July 9, 2015 at 11:02 am

    Thanks Krishna, I’m looking forward to mastering it.

  • Magnus
    August 3, 2015 at 6:27 am

    Hi Krishna,
    I’m just about buying a tablet for my daughter (15 years old) who want’s to start drawing using a tablet. Now my question is, in your opinion should I go for the smaller Intuos Manga or maybe the bigger Intuos Pen & Touch medium?
    She really likes drawing manga pictures, but not only manga and she is also interested in photography, so it would also be good to be able to use the tablet for editing pictures in photoshop, gimp or equivalent software.
    I understand that it is difficult to give an objective judgment, but I would appreciate your advice when you seem very familiar with this type of products.

    • Krishna
      August 4, 2015 at 4:35 pm

      hi Magnus:

      For your daughter’s use case, an Intuos Manga tablet should do the trick. Honestly, I’ve used both – and the tech in the Manga is comparable to the Intuos, but a few hundred dollars cheaper.

  • Ixion Chowdhury
    August 23, 2015 at 9:46 am

    Hi Krishna
    Can I make as good artworks like the ones in this website http://verymanytubes.com/ with Intuos Manga? I’m new to graphic tablets so should 1024 levels be able to do it? I’ll be using Photoshop or Corel basically… Thanks in Advance!

    • Krishna
      September 18, 2015 at 8:02 pm

      1024 levels should be good.

  • Francois
    September 1, 2015 at 10:32 am

    I’d like to know if it would work for adobe flash…

    • Krishna
      September 1, 2015 at 2:04 pm

      hi Francois. Yep, it works with Adobe Flash.

  • CuriousC
    November 29, 2016 at 9:24 pm

    Hi my daughter wants to try digital art and loves Manga. But im wondering if other wacom software can be installed on the intuos Manga or would I better off out laying more $$ on an Intuos medium? Does that allow the installation of more software? Sorry I’m new to digital tablets etc and my research is starting to confuse me. Your review has been the most useful thus far. Thanks

    • Krishna
      November 29, 2016 at 9:27 pm

      CuriousC: I’ve used the Wacom Intuos Manga with Photoshop, Manga Studio, and Adobe Flash. In short, it should work on all apps that support tablet devices. It’s a great value for getting into digital art. Thanks for reading!

      • CuriousC
        November 30, 2016 at 6:41 pm

        Thanks for your reply Krishna but I was wanting to know if more Wacom software can be installed on the Manga tablet? Or if I buy the Comic tablet can I install the software thats on the Manga or vice versa.
        Also whats the difference between the One by Wacom Bamboo CTL471? And the differences between the Wacom Manga CTH-480/S & CTH-480/S3? Which is newer and better? Thanks

        • Krishna
          December 4, 2016 at 7:09 pm

          hi CuriousC: The Wacom Intuos Manga is no longer produced. The comparable model is the Intuos Draw – and it works great with all major software packages. Hope that helps!

  • CuriousC
    December 2, 2016 at 10:36 pm

    Krishna? Plz reply to the above

  • Amirali
    December 19, 2016 at 4:29 am

    hello everyone can i use wacom intous manga with corel draw and adobe illustrator?

    • Krishna
      December 24, 2016 at 12:44 pm

      Yep. That should work, Amirali.