Entries in stylus (14)

Sensu Brush Review - Was it Worth the Wait?

Sensu- Artist Brush for iPad from Artist Hardware on Vimeo.

It took 6 months from the close of their successful Kickstarter campaign (it felt like a lot longer somehow), but the team at Artist Hardware finally started sending out the first Sensu brush production units earlier this month to their patiently waiting backers, including us.

So, was it worth the wait?

Oh yes - we have a new love in our lives!

Industrial design

The Sensu has been designed as both a stylus and an artist brush for your iPad (and other capacitive screen devices).

It performs this dual function using a very carefully thought out design that incorporates the brush handle as a protective cap when in 'stylus mode' and it works really well.

Sensu brush stages - Image courtesy of sensubrush.com

As a Stylus

When the Sensu arrives (complete with a nice little felt slip case for Kickstarter backers) it is in stylus mode (top of the picture above). We were really impressed by the way the Sensu Brush works as a stylus or pointing device.

How it feels

The chrome-plated brass body feels light but stable in hand. The length of the stylus means it fits perfectly in the crook of our hands between thumb and index finger when used in pen/pointer mode. The smooth sculpted shape of the stylus body/brush cover is simply lovely. 

We felt it was one of the most natural and balanced styli we have used. It seems just about perfect for long sessions writing, sketching, or painting. Of course, everyone's hands are different, but we think the Sensu is spot-on as a stylus.

Sensu brush stylus - Image courtesy of sensubrush.com

Stylus tip

Artist Hardware have gone for the soft, malleable rubber 'ball' approach that many other stylus makers have used, which does seem to best emulate a human digit. The construction is solid though and we had no worries about possibly tearing the material or mushing it out of shape like some of the cheaper styli we have tested.

As with many new styli, it takes a short while to get used to the amount of pressure needed, but once you have worked it out you don't think about it again.

As a Brush

It is when it is in brush mode, though, that the Sensu really shines. Slip the protective cap away from the stylus tip and you reveal the brush, cosseted inside.

Flipping the cap round and putting it back on over the stylus tip creates a handle for the Sensu Brush which is only a little shorter than the handle found on another favourite of ours from last year, the Nomad Brush.

Sensu in Brush mode - Image courtesy of sensubrush.com

Again, the team at Artist Hardware have thought very carefully about the design here and we don't have any complaints about the balance or feel of the brush in use. As with the stylus mode, the brush sits nicely in the crook of our hand and, with fingers on the rubberised barrel grip, feels perfectly natural to use. 

Similar to the Nomad Brush but with a more tightly bunched cluster, the hairs of the brush are synthetic, conductive, fibres.

In use, the brush felt very responsive and tracked precisely across the iPad's screen. Like the Nomad Brush, it is possible to use the brush as a pointing device on the iPad screen if you really wanted to (though it is not always as accurate or reliable as your finger would be for these tasks).

You can see Matt Lynaugh from Artist Hardware doing just this in his video below, where he demonstrates using the Sensu to paint a portrait in ArtRage on his iPad. It is well worth a watch if you're keen to see the Sensu brush in action.

Painting a Portrait with the Sensu brush and Artrage from Artist Hardware on Vimeo.

Tried, tested, loved!

We tried the brush with ArtRage, procreate, Inspire Pro, SketchBook Pro, Paper, and the stylus with Penultimate, Notability, Skitch, Bamboo Paper, even (perhaps especially) Draw Something, as well as other apps that we had sat on our iPads. The Sensu worked faultlessly with all of them.

But we're not the only ones who have been using the Sensu, check out some of the images below from Matt Lynaugh (the first one being the end result of his video above) plus a few other Sensu users who have shared their work:

Sam-3.17.12 © Matt Lynaugh

Assorted Veggies © Matt LynaughImage © Raul Allen

Image © Margi Laurin

Final Thoughts

Whilst individual user style and personal preference always come into play with devices like the Sensu, we have to say we have loved using the Sensu Brush. In fact, it is now a permanent companion to our iPad and taken everywhere with it.

The iPad Creative kids (ages 6 and 4) took to the Sensu with total ease as well and began painting with the brush immediately after it was unwrapped. In fact, for a while, it was a struggle to get it off of them.

If you are looking for a great stylus or brush for your iPad, but especially if you are looking for both, our recommendation is that you order the Sensu as soon as it becomes available.

We got our Sensu by backing the Kickstarter project and we are very happy we did.

Sensu will be available for purchase in May 2012 from sensubrush.com at a price of $39.99.

Pressure sensitive stylus from Adonit, a million iPad artists cry out in joy!

Serenity from Macworld recently got to test drive Jot Touch, a brand new pressure sensitive iPad stylus from Adonit, she came away rather impressed with this sub $100 Bluetooth stylus. Pressure sensitivity is pretty much the most sought-after feature amongst iPad artists and this solution from Adonit could have many us giggling with excitement when it launches this March.

We'll bring you more details as we get them, but the important standout features are its 200 levels of pressure sensitivity via the spring-tip mechanism, Bluetooth connectivity and the free software development kit for integrating support for the stylus into any iOS app.

Source: Macworld

Further Reading: iPad Accessories

The Cregle iPen: A fine nibbed active stylus

Apple have worked hard to achieve an excellent level of precision with their iPad display, but detailed work, whether painting or note taking, can be tricky and often requires a great deal of zooming in and out of the canvas.

The Cregle iPen, an active stylus that is currently in need of fanancial backing, looks like quite a clever solution to this problem.

"The Cregle iPen transforms the iPad into a content creation device, not just a content consumption device. iPen is the first active digitizer stylus that allows you to write with precision directly on the iPad. Unlike the passive digitizer used in the typical iPad stylus, iPen writes like a real pen with accurate positioning and palm rejection features that passive products simply cannot achieve.

With the Cregle iPen’s active digitizer, the attached receiver picks up the iPen’s signal and its precise position as it hovers above the screen (whereas a passive stylus can be located only when the user touches the screen). This crucial advantage allows iPen to actively transmit 60 samples per second to pinpoint the pen’s exact location."
We are certainly intrigued. We noticed some delay in the video demonstration, hopefully that will be eliminated in the final product. Head over to the iPen Kickstarter page for more details and to show your support.

Sensu - Act Quickly, Save $10 on Brush/Stylus Device

Yet another Kickstarter project, but this one is for iPad artists. It's also time sensitive and you can save $10 if you act quickly.

The Sensu combines both an iPad paint brush (like the wonderful Nomad Brush) with a rubber tipped stylus, for arguably the best of both worlds in one device.

The retail price for the Sensu will be $34.99, but if you get your Kickstarter pledge in now (or within the next few days) you only have to pay $25.

We have ordered one so we will let you know what we think when it arrives, but if you are after a brush/stylus for your iPad at a reasonable price and you can wait for few months act now!

Should iPad owners take Note?

GSM Arena have got their hands on the Samsung Galaxy Note, an Android powered smartphone with a 5.3" 1280 x 800 display! Not only does the Note have about a quarter of a million more pixels to play with than the iPad, but it also comes with the power of a 1.4GHz dual core processor, a camera that captures superb 1080p video and a stylus for handwriting tasks and sketching.

It's hard to gage just how successful the Note will be. Is it too big for a phone but too small for a tablet computer as we suspect, or will people flock around the idea of one device to serve both camps? We'll be keeping a keen eye on this new class of device.

Further reading: GSM Arena

iPad animation tutorial using DoInk and Bamboo Stylus

DoInk Animation & Drawing by DK Pictures, Inc. is probably the best animation iPad app we have had the pleasure of using. Like all the best iPad apps, its simplicity is a key strength. Regardless of your skill level DoInk, with its powerful vector tools, key framing and bezier curve editing should keep you entertained for some time to come.

In the video above Priscilla Alpaugh Cotter creates a super-cute dancing frog using DoInk and the Wacom Bamboo Stylus.

If you have created an animation and would like to share it with the iPad Creative team, please be sure to get in touch using the 'Email The Team' link in the menu panel on the right.

For further articles about iPad animation follow this link.

Jot: Is the Stylus Search Over?

Adonit, the people who brought us the Writer iPad Case as a Kickstarter project last year, have a new Kickstarter project that they think will end your search for the perfect iPad stylus. They call it Jot.

The USP of Jot?

Adonit's Jot has a ball pen like nib, with a clear plastic disc attached, that lets you draw and select more precisely whilst seeing what you are doing. This design aims to address the main problem iPad users have with other stylus nibs and even your own built-in stylus, your finger.

Most of the time you can't see exactly where you are drawing, marking, selecting or writing as the tip of your stylus will generally cover the area directly below it, making precision a much sought after 'Holy Grail'.

Design Touches

Adonit have also given the design of Jot a lot of thought and of course it is still not finalised yet. They have tried to include some heft by making Jot similar to a luxury ballpoint pen, using aluminium and steel in its construction.

Jot will also include a protective cap for that little disc on the end which will fit on the opposite end like a pen cap does.

To add a bit of interest and style, there will be a range of colours available in the standard Jot model, but the 'Pro' version will be available in more muted, classier, metal colouring contrasted with a rubber grip.

Another key benefit for us in the Pro version is clever use of the iPad 2's built in magnets to hold your Jot on the iPad to help prevent misplacing your stylus, an expensive problem as we know from experience.

The project is already funded, but you can save a few dollars on the retail price and contribute to the development of the project by backing it on Kickstarter now. No definite idea yet on a release date although it should be available soon after the funding period ends for Jot.

You can see a brief introduction video below and if you go to the Updates tab on their Kickstarter page they have a video of the Jot prototype in action.

What do you think? Is this the stylus you have been waiting for? Let us know in the comments. 

A Dozen Styli Reviewed by Macworld

Macworld have posted a review and video overview of 12 iPad styli (or styluses), some of which we haven't seen before, along with a few of our favourites. It's not an in-depth video, but it is a nice comparison if you are still on the fence about which stylus to purchase.

A slightly more detailed look at each stylus has been posted at Macworld as a companion to this video. We won't spoil it by telling you the winner. Ultimately though, we have found that you have to hold and use a stylus for a while to see if it really suits the way you work.

Still, not many of us can afford to buy a dozen devices to stab at our touchscreen devices so it is useful to see a comparison like this. Check out the video below and Macworld's post and see what you think. We're off to discuss at length the correct plural term for stylus.

The Cosmonaut: Could this be the Perfect iPad Stylus?


The Cosmonaut is a new design for a Touchscreen stylus from Tom Gerhardt and Dan Provost. These are the two creative individuals that brought us the Glif iPhone 4 mount which has been a huge success.

How is it different?

This stylus looks a lot different (ok, fatter) than any of the previous pen-based styli that we have seen and as the video shows, the design is based on a marker pen to provide more comfortable handling. It looks very effective and anyone who has used a current stylus for a long time will know that it can be quite awkward to hold depending on what you are doing.

Looking at it in some shots it looks a little too large but we think we would really have to try one out in-hand before we could say if it was any better than other styli we have tried.

The Cosmonaut is demoed in the video being used with a variety of apps including Adobe Ideas, Penultimate, SketchBook Pro, Flight Control HD, amongst others.

If you like it Fund it

Like the Glif, The Cosmonaut is a Kickstarter project, which means it is just a protype at the moment and the guys need funding to make a go of it commercially. But this time their model is different.

Instead of setting pledge amounts (usually in pricing bands) they have instead allocated 3000 pledge slots and you can donate any amount you want to.

The caveat being that the project has a funding target of $50,000, so if everyone decides to pay $1 for their pledge they will only get $3000 and miss their target by a long way.

The good news is, with just 186 backers pledging so far (at time of writing) their total is already nearly $3000.

Your Turn

Take a look at the video below (if you are on an iOS device you will need to go to the Kickstarter page as their embeds do not work). If want to see The Cosmonaut make it to production get on over there now and pledge as much as you can afford (around $25 is a 'guide price').

If you have any comments or thoughts about The Cosmonaut (keep them clean please) then let us know in the comments.

Who Would Have Thought a DIY iPad Stylus Would Be So Cool?

We just found this video on YouTube by artist and iPad user kobausks. He has made his own stylus out of a felt tip pen and tape, creative and economical!

But it is the results he gets from it that are impressive, he demonstrates using it with a range of Art apps on his iPad and even using one of our favourite apps Splashtop Remote to control Art apps on his Mac.

It is definitely worth watching the whole video, English titles are included but it might be better to watch in HD to see them better, or are we just getting old?