Apple hasn’t exactly been receptive to styli. Steve Jobs was never very fond of them, especially for iOS devices. Supposedly, our fingers are sufficient for pointing. But what if they aren’t enough? That’s exactly why Wacom is making great devices like the Intuos Creative Stylus for iPad and iPad mini. In addition to functioning as a stand-in finger, it connects to your iPad wirelessly, allowing for pressure sensitivity and two shortcut buttons. Is this the stylus you’ve been waiting for?
The Wacom Intuos Creative Stylus is very similar in design to other styli from Wacom. It has a very nice black metal exterior that feels like a very high quality pen, indeed. Near the bottom, there are two buttons that can be assigned to various functions in supported apps. But the real functionality comes from the tip, which works on the iPad’s touch sensitive surface just like your finger. Unlike your finger, this stylus can convey up to 2,048 pressure levels via Bluetooth to a supported app on your iPad. These features really put this stylus in a completely different group of accessories than the standard stylus you can find just about anywhere.
Inside the box, you’ll find the Intuos Creative Stylus along with a battery, a travel case and two additional rubber nibs (stylus tips). Setting up the device is simple. All you have to do is insert the included battery into the stylus and pair over Bluetooth. Download a supported app and get started. Unsurprisingly, Wacom’s own Bamboo Paper app is the best app to use with the Intuos Creative Stylus (though it’s pretty great without the stylus; just saying). It supports pressure sensitivity, shortcut buttons, and palm rejection. The app itself separates out your ideas into notebooks, which have their own settings to change. I, for instance, really like using graph paper. Once you have your notebook open, you can get to drawing or writing, which is more natural with a stylus than a finger, and even more natural with the Intuos Creative Stylus. Why’s that? The pressure sensitivity makes a big difference in making it feel and look more realistic. It helps bridge the gap between writing on a real notebook and a digital one.
As much as I like the Intuos Creative Stylus, there are a couple of problems, though I don’t think either are Wacom’s fault. First, I’ve had quite a hard time getting the palm rejection to work very well. What I actually think is going on here is iOS is mistaking my palm for the multi-touch gesture that switches between recently opened apps. No worries, the stylus is still very useful, even if you have to be a little careful with your palm.
What’s slightly more of a problem is that the touch sensitivity of the iPad or iPad mini isn’t as high resolution as a dedicated graphics tablet that you could also buy from Wacom (for use on a Mac or PC). That means you can’t always line up your strokes perfectly, which may be a real problem for artists. For someone like me, that means drawing a square in a single stroke instead of drawing four lines and trying to connect the corners perfectly. Again, this isn’t Wacom’s fault, it’s a result of Apple’s hardware choices. But then again, monitors that function as graphics tablets are very expensive accessories, and this stylus provides a similar experience, albeit somewhat less precisely.
I don’t think either of these issues are show stoppers. This stylus is still more than capable for most users who to draw or write with their iPad or iPad mini. It’s great for sketching out ideas, drawing quick graphs, taking notes, etc. It’s not necessarily the best stylus for art requiring high precision, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t capable.
The Inutos Creative Stylus is a huge step up from using your finger and will be a great utility to many users.
Buy the Wacom Intuos Creative Stylus
Provides: Pressure sensitive input for iPad and iPad mini
Minimum Requirements: iPad or iPad mini