Last week, Wacom unveiled its latest tablet pen -- the Intuos Creative Stylus -- alongside a trio of Cintiq Companion standalone slates. The stylus is indeed a departure from the regular ol' scribbling units that we've seen popping up all over. This time around, the Intuos Creative Stylus draws much of its look and feel from Wacom's Pro Pen (or Cintiq Pen) with its on-board buttons, soft grip and recognizable shape. Of course, it wields the same 2,048 levels of pressure sensitivity that we've seen on units included with Intuos and Cintiq models as of late, and connects to the latest Apple tablets via Bluetooth 4.0. All that sounds great, but as you might expect, it comes with a higher price. Is parting with $100 a safe bet in October or are you better off sticking with your current tools? Venture past the break for our initial impressions.
Wacom Intuos Creative Stylus hands-onSee all photos
Like the Cintiq Pen -- or Pro Pen -- that we spent some quality time with earlier this summer, the Inutos Creative Stylus ships with a carrying case that sorts extra rubber nibs, a AAAA battery replacement and safely stows the gadget itself. While the case certainly isn't anything flashy, it's a nice addition that helps soften the blow to the wallet just a smidge. And, you know, it protects your investment from the perils of a rucksack. As we've already mentioned, this sketching accessory shares much of its aesthetics with that Pro Pen. For this reason, we can see folks who aren't yet willing to splurge for a Cintiq Companion using one of these alongside a third or fourth-gen iPad or iPad mini they already own. Anyone who's using an Intuos pen tablet or Cintiq pen display will be able to get cozy pretty quickly here -- a lot easier than with other, less feature-packed styli anyway.
Once we inserted the battery, pairing the stylus with an iPad mini took only about a minute. The device works without implementing the Bluetooth connectivity, but doing so enables the palm rejection, clickable shortcut buttons and all 2,048 levels of pressure sensitivity. In other words, you'll want to pair the two in order to make the most of the investment. Once you get into Bamboo Paper and other supported apps, the experience is much better with the enhanced palm rejection in play. Those shortcut buttons perform as expected and the pressure levels are really nice when using certain tools that play well a variation in force -- like regular ol' pencil for shading.
As far as the new software goes, version 2.0 of Bamboo Paper sports improvements that make for a more useful mobile tool. In addition to the built-in features of the aforementioned stylus, the app's new tools, color palettes and paper options serve up a more robust digital work bench than before. The added sharing to Tumblr and Dropbox (as a PDF) works as advertised on the iPad mini that we test drove it on, so at the very least, this free app is worth taking for a spin.
Wacom Bamboo Paper 2.0 hands-onSee all photos
The one aspect that we're not so pleased with is the stylus' tip. We'd prefer a $99 connected unit to sport a nib similar to the regular Pro Pen or Bamboo Stylus feel. Sure, we aren't trying to create finished art here, but a more pen-like tip would make adding small details a bit easier and improve accuracy overall. For now, this device is more like drawing with a piece of chalk or a used Sharpie than a fine tip pen or pencil. Currently wielding an Android slate? The Bamboo Stylus feel is your best option as integration with this Inutos unit isn't available for tablets outfitted with Google's OS. If you're aiming to get serious about mobile sketching, the Intuos Creative Stylus is a solid option, so long as that larger nib doesn't become a hindrance on more detailed scribblings.