Before I had a Wacom, I seriously questioned the ability that a touchpad without a screen would have to improve my editing workflow. Also the screen-integrated models were way too expensive for me to consider at the time. Those of us that have them now, however, see them as an invaluable tool in our work — and it’s one we probably want to protect.
If you use your Wacom tablet a good amount, you’ll notice numerous scratches all over the surface. This is completely normal. It doesn’t affect the performance of the tablet at all, but it’s a bit unsightly, and one might argue that the touch surface just doesn’t feel quite as nice after a while. Unfortunately, there’s nothing you can do about that — almost.
Apparently, POSRUS (read as “P.O.S. ‘R’ Us”), a screen protector brand that makes protective films for a variety of screen types, offers a screen protector for your Wacom tablet to take on the abuse of the incessant rubbing of your nibs on the touch-sensitive surface.
When I discovered this, I ordered one right away for a secondhand Intuos 5 Medium tablet that replaced my older Intuos 4 (for the record, the Intuos Pro Pen and Touch is the current, latest and greatest version, but is very similar to the Intuos 5 with its seemingly identical feature set). I got one in good condition and didn’t want its pretty surface to fade away under scratches as my Intuos 4 had done some time ago.
I did my research (or at least I think I did). I couldn’t find any other brand of screen protectors that made one just for this Wacom. I didn’t want to take a chance on getting the wrong size, having to cut it down, or not having adhesive line up properly. And so the day came when it arrived.
The POSRUS screen protector feels as though it’s high quality, but it’s definitely not thin by today’s slickest smartphone screen protector standards. Nevertheless, this makes it feel rather heavy-duty and creates what is very much its own writing surface.
This brings us to actually using the tablet with the protector on it. Yes, it’s slicker. The pen glides over the new surface much more easily as though it’s now a glossier surface. Of course, that is to be expected with less friction, which also promises to help lessen nib wear over time.
Other than the different feel (which other reviews claim is more like the Intuos 3’s original surface, although I wouldn’t know about that myself), the only other thing to consider is how it looks.
Honestly, I don’t care at all how it looks. It’s slightly glossy, reflects a bit of the ambient light, and won’t remind you of the nearly invisible smartphone or laptop screen protectors out there. And because it can’t rely on the static of an LCD display to cling into place, it has a thin row of adhesive along the entire outside edge that isn’t invisible either, but that’s at least removable and adjustable. Honestly though, who cares about any of that (aside from the removable adhesive backing — you want that)? You’re never looking at the thing when you’re editing.
Some might argue that it doesn’t feel like the “paper” finish on the latest Wacom Intuos Pro tablets. And no, it doesn’t. But, let's face it: the Intuos Pro tablets also don’t really feel like writing on paper anyway. It’s still different (anyone know where or why people started saying it was similar to writing on paper to begin with? Or is that just something only I have heard?).
So, at the end of the day, we’re left with function to consider. The POSRUS tablet protector does a nice job at that. The friction-reducing film puts a layer between your pen and the original tablet surface while your nibs will also benefit from the reduced wear. I honestly think the extra glossiness and smoothness adds to the ease of editing, allowing the pen to glide more effortlessly (it's like setting your trackpad sensitivity on its highest setting — crazy and weird at first, but the best and fastest way to work once you get used to it).
The packaging is very simple, consisting of a bubble envelope for shipping inside of which is a piece of cardboard to keep the protector rigid and the protector itself in a Ziplock-type bag (although my bag couldn’t close because it wasn’t large enough for the product).
Once you open the package and take the screen protector out, a film that protects the underside of the protector from dust until just before you’re ready to apply easily peels off, followed by the four outer strips covering the adhesive that will hold it all in place. We all know the feeling of trying to get that protector perfectly lined up, and this is no different. But the tacky-but-not-too-tacky nature of the adhesive is perfect for picking the protector up and realigning it until you feel it’s just where it needs to be.
What I Liked
It’s high quality and durable, and does the job as advertised. What more could you want? And at $10 plus a couple bucks in shipping, it hardly breaks the bank.
What I Didn’t Like
There’s nothing that I really care about to mention here. But if I had to choose, it might have been nice to have a thinner, less noticeable form to the protective film. While its glossiness would bother me on a screen, that's of course a moot point here.
Now that I have your attention, there is one thing to know about this screen protector. You absolutely want to get the one that is the "new and larger" size to "cover the entire surface." A past version of these screen protectors covered only the active area of the tablets, so if you went over that space with your pen, you'd feel a click as the pen dipped down just a fraction of a millimeter from the film down to the original tablet surface behind it — and that would be unacceptable. I got the right version, and now you should be able to as well.
Any POSRUS screen protector can be found on their website (and they have many different types and finishes for other devices). This review examined the screen protector for the Intuos 5 Medium Pen and Touch tablet, of which there is only one. You can find a protector for virtually any device on Amazon or the POSRUS website.