Working with a Wacom tablet is just great. Today most professional designers, like digital painters and designers who work a lot with photos (retouch, matte painting) use wacom tablet. One of the greatest features of intuos 4that it can detect pen pressure in 2048 levels, providing really smooth pen movement and pressure detection.
The Japan Wacom company released their latest Intuos this year. I am a happy owner of an Intuos 4 since June. Previously I had a Wacom graphire 2, which was pretty small and old, but I liked it too (I have it more than 4-5 years and it works perfectly). Intuos 4 is pretty nice, comes with buttons and little displays next to the buttons, so you always see, what is the function of the buttons.
There is a pen stand, which is great, because you can open it, and store your nibs inside. The nib extractor is also inside the pen stand. There are different nibs for the pen (five standard nibs, one flex nib, one stroke nib, and three hard felt nibs). I like to work with the hard felt nibs, the standard ones are good too, but they wear off pretty easily.
The changes from Intuos 3: pen pressure levels are 2048 in Intuos 4, it was 1024 in Intuos 3. The tablet can be used with left and right hand too, you can easily rotate the tablet and there are multiple USB connectors, on both side.
There is a touch ring on the Intuos 4, which pretty much works like the touchring on ipods, it is a nice tool to change brush size or zoom in/out. We can also set different touch ring functions (4 different settings for a program), and switch between them with a button.
You can purchase different accessories for your tablet. These are not cheap but can add great comfort and different tools for your work flow.
Wacom tablets are not cheap, but the quality is perfect, and it is just the best tool to use for painters. I bought the L size, but I don’t use all the active area, so I guess an M size is perfect for everyone (except with a very big screen, like 24″)..