I only have an iPad 2, so thanks to my friend Amber for letting me borrow her iPad 3 for this. WACOM was kind enough to send me this to review. So – let’s check it out!
The WACOM Creative Stylus is a pressure-sensitive stylus that can be used to make art on your iPad mini, iPad 3, or greater. It works with many drawing apps for the iPad such as Sketchbook Pro and the Bamboo Paper. You can see the full list of apps that support the stylus at WACOM’s site. I tested the WACOM Creative Stylus on Sketchbook Pro and the Bamboo Paper because that’s what I personally have.
The stylus comes in a sturdy plastic case that can hold up to 5 nibs, the stylus, and one battery. 2 nibs are included so there is room for more in the case. Here is the size of the stylus when compared with a pen:
The packaging feels fancy – it is as if you are opening an Apple product. The stylus itself feels like a high quality stylus when you are using it. It has the usual 2 buttons on the side of the stylus. The behavior of these buttons depends on the app that you are using and how you configure it. These are most often used to trigger an eraser or to undo in the case of the iPad.
Pair the stylus by: Enabling Bluetooth on your iPad > launching your app of choice > turning on the pen in the app’s menu. Again, this location varies per app, so there are videos to show you how to do each one.. Honestly it was extremely easy to figure out without even looking at how to do it. I actually confused myself because I got it working so fast. Since I have always been an early adopter of technology I am used to the old days where pairing something via bluetooth was a repetitive circle of pain. In this case it was as easy as turning on a switch.
Reviewing the stylus itself it tough because how it works largely depends on which app you are working with. The iPad’s hardware was never designed by Apple for artists. Yes, Apple has a reputation for being the company that makes things for artists. In recent years they really just aren’t. I bought an iPad 1 and 2 hoping that Apple would delve further into the creative capabilities of this device. The reason I don’t own a 3 is because Apple doesn’t appear to be interested in doing this.
All iPad pressure-sensitive styli work through a software workaround to achieve this without any support from Apple’s native hardware. You are never going to get a CINTIQ-level experience on an iPad because of the iPad.
The WACOM Creative Stylus nib is a squishy rubber thing. It also helps simulate using a real pen because it “gives” a little bit when you press.
Here is a 30 second pen sketch I did of an eyeball in Sketchbook Pro on iPad. The pen worked well, I just find the iPad to be cumbersome to work on. I’m used to working on an iMac with an Intuous 4, hence the overly loose way this looks.
– Comes in a nice package with a sturdy plastic case that can hold up to 5 nibs. It feels almost like an Apple product with how nicely it is packaged.
– Comes with 2 extra nibs.
– Easy to set up.
– Pressure sensitivity is the best you are going to get on an iPad.
– Stylus feels nice when using it and the buttons are very responsive.
– You will have to replace the battery in the pen from time to time and take the battery out between usages, but the case accommodates this well.
– Some people may or may not like the rubber tip.
At a price point of $99.95 WACOM’s Creative Stylus does a great job at overcoming the iPad’s hardware limitations and delivering a great product. My issues all have to do with the iPad and not the WACOM’s Creative Stylus. I have always found the iPad to be hard to use and imprecise when drawing regardless of if I am using my finger or a stylus. WACOM’s Creative Stylus is the absolute best iPad Stylus I have tried. It does exactly what it says it does, is packaged nicely in a case that is useful, and it is easy to set up each time such that even my cranky self didn’t feel any sort of frustration. I was able to get it working without even reading the manual.
Should you get it?
If you are an artist and want to draw on your iPad at all and if you want to use these apps the WACOM Creative Stylus is a great choice. It’s a highly rated product everywhere for good reason. If I owned an iPad 3 I would devote some time into getting the technique down. I feel that this would work very well for thumbnailing my comics in meetings and being able to quickly import that into Photoshop for production.