Provides: Rubber nib and paintbrush stylus input
Developer: Artist Hardware
Minimum Requirements: Any device with a capacitive touchscreen
The Sensu Brush—a combination device that doesn’t sacrifice utility—is a rare creature. This dual rubber nib and paintbrush stylus offers a portable rubber stylus with a cleverly packaged synthetic paintbrush inside, offering you multiple options whether you’re flipping through news articles or painting your masterpiece. The Sensu splits in the middle and lets you hide the paintbrush inside a protective cap, so your bristles stay pristine, even as you use the rubber nib on the protective cap as a regular stylus while on the go.
First up is the Sensu’s brush. As a tool for artists, this stylus is itself a masterwork of design; the rubber nib is obviously not intended for use while painting (it doesn’t feel like a paintbrush at all when you drag it across the screen), but the synthetic bristle brush offers the feeling of a real paintbrush. It offers a pleasant resistance when pressed against the screen, so brush strokes feel natural as you push the brush against the screen and the brush yields with just a slight push back. The barrel features a smooth rubber grip, and the weighting is perfect, with a lightweight but solid feel that’s comfortable for extended use.
The electrically conductive brush hairs work flawlessly on your iDevice’s screen, though it does feel a bit weird at first. The brush requires less pressure than you would think, but even with the lightest touch its tracking is smooth and accurate. Drawing in apps like ArtRage, Paper, or Brushes feels so much more natural with the Sensu than with your finger or any other stylus, and the precise control is useful for even highly detailed drawing. Sensu has a great gallery of videos up on their site, which all provide great examples of how the brush works.
For the Road
The rubber nib stylus category is pretty packed, but few other styluses offer a brilliant two-in-one combo. Unlike other combo devices that promise to slice and dice (but in reality just end up in a junk drawer), the Sensu’s clever cap design incorporates a standard rubber nib stylus onto the end of the brush stylus’ protective cap. This way, when your brush is capped (and therefore protected from bent or mangled bristles), you still have a portable, useful, half-sized stylus at hand.
There’s really not much to say about the nib end; it’s a pretty standard rubber stylus that just happens to hide a wicked good paintbrush stylus.
Bottom line; if you’re an artist (or fancy yourself one), you really need a paintbrush for your iPad—and not just any old paintbrush. The artistically less inclined will also find a pretty unique stylus combination, with a travel sized rubber nib stylus and a paintbrush that just feels cool to use when flipping through photos or scrolling a website. Although you’ll need to be cautious when placing the brush end back inside the cap, the bristles are fairly sturdy and you can remove a few bent bristles without impacting overall performance.
Buy the Sensu Brush