Leave your sketchpad at home with this pricey pro-quality stylus for iPads
Have you ever wished you could take your sketchpad on your travels? For those who once took a bulky sketchpad on holiday but now just travel with an iPad, this pen-sized stylus from Wacom is a great way to get sketching again while in some of the world’s most beautiful spots – but is it any easier than drawing on paper?
Although the Wacom Intuos Creative Stylus doesn’t require any kind of battery power to make marks on and iPad – any old basic stylus will do that for you – this sleek blue/black aluminium and silicon device has Bluetooth 4.0 on board to make a connection to a tablet. Unfortunately, it uses a single AAAA battery, which are far from widely available. However, this tiny battery (one is included in the box) means that thee stylus rocker control – which sits underneath the thumb in resting position – can be programmed. By default, a slight forward pressure-push of the thumb erases what you’ve just drawn, and a slight backwards motion undos that erase, or the mark you just made a page. This button can also be customised to give you two shortcuts to almost anything you want, such as a change of nib.
Pencil it in
Out-of-the-box, the Wacom Intuos Creative Stylus gives you only just a couple of options for a technical pencil and a magic marker, but as soon as you hook-up to an iPad, two more options appear as a reward, including a standard HB pencil and a Biro. Drawing is comfortable; it’s possible to rest part of your hand on the iPad’s screen at all times, a feature that helps create a natural feel.
Is it easier than paper? Using the Wacom Intuos Creative Stylus, it’s definitely easier to avoid (and undo) mistakes – largely thanks to that rocker – though we did have a few issues. The rather thick 5mm-wide nib, while sensitive enough on the iPad screen (using a claimed 2,048 pressure points), is too thick to be able to easily tell exactly where a mark is on the page will appear, creating the kind of mistake you just wouldn’t get with a pencil or pen on paper. Consequently, the erase button is extremely important. We also found that the pen disconnected itself from the iPad too frequently, and took just a few seconds to many to reconnect.
The Wacom Intuos Creative Stylus works with any app as a basic stylus, but as a Bluetooth-connected stylus with shortcut buttons, it works best with Wacom’s Bamboo Paper notebook app. We also found that it worked with other third party apps including Sketchbook Express and Psykopaint. It works with the iPad 3, 4 and iPad Mini and iPad Mini with Retina, and is available in black and blue/black. It weighs 24g.
Although it’s necessary to have Bluetooth switched-on on your iPad, of course, the poor pictorial instructions suggest that all you have to do is enable Bluetooth to complete the pairing. However, in practice, it doesn’t automatically pair with the Wacom Intuos Creative Stylus; instead, you have to open the Bamboo Paper app and complete the pairing from their. It took us a while to work out to do this, though once you’ve found the right icon, it’s simple enough.
We do like the Wacom Intuos Creative Stylus – particularly its excellent shortcut button – and its battery life of about 150 hours. However, its reliance on AAAA batteries, a lack of sensitivity and that very high price means this is something for professionals only.