Let's continue on with the design factors, professional finishes, durable housing, and many other important features which make the Intuos3 a hassle-free integration into your lifestyle.
The Intuos Design Factor
In a perfect world, you should be freely moving your body in the direction you want it to go, with no resistance. Of course this just isn't going to happen. Nature has other ideas about where your body parts should be. While not an expert on proper wrist movements, CTS, and related injury reduction, I did however, feel a relief from using the pen more often than the mouse.
The Intuos3 has a nice glossy finish. The area which you will be using is more of a non-reflective charcoal gray matte finish. Some people may have preferred the entire tablet to be non-reflective and "dull" in regards to catching stray rays of light, but I haven't had a problem with it. A Wacom user would have to be using the tablet at a 90-degree angle, perpendicular to their monitor, in order to catch bothersome reflections, but this would be very rare. Most users hold their tables in a parallel angle to the monitor, or even to the side of it.
The casing of the Intuos3 is housed in a very thick plastic shell, which keeps the tablet from warping. Also, the tablet itself is NOT "sandwiched" together, creating further potential warping problems. By this I mean the plastic case is not slapped over the sensor board and then a thin flat plastic case underneath. The Wacom Intuos3 underneath casing, is made so that it has supports on all sides.
Mouse & Monitor Friendly
Ever wonder how many times you click your mouse in any given day? Well, an average is about 5,000. It's not too hard to get to this figure when you consider the types of jobs we have in today's digital society, and then you come home and guess what--on the computer, clicking away to your favorite websites and on your favorite programs. Most of the basic movements of the mouse are replaced with the Wacom pen and I was blazing through applications that normally took longer. How much longer? Well, let's be honest, a mouse click is pretty darn quick, but it's not just the mouse clicking. You must be comfortable while doing it. Long and extended periods at the computer are physically draining, and even dangerous if you don't exercise your muscles properly--and regularly.
Currently, I use a 21" Eizo F980 CRT monitor. I was surprised to find the 6x8 Intuos3 did just fine with this large monitor size. The software Wacom has you install, interacts with your pen tablet and "maps" the size of the monitor to your tablet. I haven't tried this size of pen tablet on a widescreen monitor of 21" or larger, but I am fairly confident the 6x8 could handle sizes up to 22" widescreens. Maybe even larger.
Initially, the design of the Intuos3 didn't catch my interest, but after a few days, I realized that my wrists were not as strained as they usually are in a typical day. The bottom one and a half inches of the tablet, is gently curved downward, so your wrist can rest against it without having the constant irritation of an edge strain. If you don't know what I mean, try setting the insides of your wrist on the edge of your desk for several minutes, eventually, the slightest movement will feel like your wrist is being poked. Now for the same period of time, rest your wrist on something that is more curved to your wrist. You'll notice a substantial difference.
Generous USB Cord Length
One of the benefits of owning this tablet is the 8.2-feet USB cord. How many times do you find yourself running out of cord when you plug in your USB devices. Wacom knows you're probably going to be using this tablet not just on your desktop in an orderly fashion, but might want to put the tablet in your lap, and recline back in your computer chair while drawing. And yes, I did exactly this and was very comfortable.
In addition to the long USB cord length, you have the option of changing the angle of the cord's direction: straight out (North of the tablet), or at a 90-degree angle to the side (West of the table).