Wacom has come a long way since their first touchscreen stylus, which was in retrospect an extended pointer for your iOS device. That’s why I’ve given them some time to get the smartphone/tablet graphic stylus as good as it can be with the Intuos Creative Stylus 2, a very adept sidekick if you sketch, write, but want to – understandably – leave the more expensive tools at home.
For reference, I briefly had my hands on the Adobe Ink, Adonit Jot, and even the original Intuos Creative Stylus through fellow artists well before this, and the CS2 is quite refined compared to those choices and its immediate predecessors. At 5.6 inches long and 0.39 inches in diameter at its narrowest point on top, there’s a split of metallic slate gray while that familiar rubberized black plastic makes up the grip. For connectivity, a Mirco-USB port sits at the top and is hidden by a rubber flap; expect that piece to accidentally get ripped off after a few weeks.
An inset rocker is also found on the grip and acts as two buttons for function shortcuts (Eraser and Undo) that’s resistant enough not to accidentally press in the middle of drawing, and single LED light indicates Bluetooth pairing and battery life when appropriate. But the biggest external improvement by far is a proper 2.9mm nib which no longer looks like a stubby crayon made of rubber and appears to be carryover from the Bamboo Fineline stylus. And of course, you do get a extra nib and Micro-USB cable all arranged in a neat molded carrying case.
The CS2 retains those 2,048 levels of pressure sensitivity while the feel now has a noticeably smoother glide across the screen, although some may prefer the tactile friction of the previous Intuos CS nib. This all translates to drawing accuracy that’s responsive and more natural than initially expected, and in most cases both soft lines and broad strokes were picked up without retracing.
Truth be told, no graphic tablet or styli couldn’t and probably never should fully replace old fashioned paper and pencil but an established selection of apps such as, but not definitely not limited to ArtRage, Pixelmator, and Tayasui Sketches makes the CS2 immensely versatile. Equipped with an iPad 3 and some time to illustrate, I found it hard to actually find much to complain about when palm rejection did its job; just as long as you’re careful when handling your tablet or strategically resting your hand elsewhere. Admittedly, errant marks still occurred but were far less annoying and frequent with other compatible apps that properly enabled all of the CS2’s abilities (Bamboo Paper, Zen Brush, and Autodesk SketchBook).
Low energy Bluetooth Smart technology (4.0) is standard and lasts close to a day from a full charge. For each app this styli has to connect to each individual program – either way the CS2 will require initial pairing and only works with most current and recent iPad models (3/4, Air, and Mini 1/2/3). Unsurprisingly there’s no Windows or Android support, and I don’t expect it in the near-future considering all the other products Wacom currently makes for those platforms.
You have a good number of graphic styluses currently available but the Creative Stylus 2 manages to bring the precision without the steep price to match, and is a recommendable choice for any level of digital artists or note-taker with an iPad. It’s obviously not a regular Intuos or Cintiq replacement by any stretch but great for impromptu brainstorming when the need arises.