Review: Wacom Intuos Creative Stylus 2

The Wacom Intuos Creative Stylus 2 is a stylus with some quirks you have to get used to get it to work the way you want.

Design


The Creative Stylus 2 is the updated model of the Creative Stylus 1 that was released in November 2013. I bought the first version also.

There are some differences. The new model has rechargeable battery built in that can be charged by USB cable, and the nib is made smaller with a hard contact surface. The old one uses AAA batteries, has the big rubber nib.


The packaging design has improved. The bottom of the case now has anti-slip rubber. Included inside is the USB charging cable and one spare nib. It's great to provide the case for protecting the stylus during transport.


The pen requires 2 hours for a full charge. I actually prefer the older model with AAA batteries because I always have a standby battery which means I can use the pen whenever I want with just the swap of a battery. I don't need to charge the pen, I charge the battery.


That thing there is the spare nib. The new nib has a smaller contact surface unlike the old rubber nib. It's also hard so every contact on the iPad screen will give you audible contact sound. It's good to have a smaller nib because you get to see more of what you're drawing BUT... more on that later. So far, it doesn't seem to have created any scratches so that's good.


To change the nib, you just insert the old nib into the small hole, tilt the pen at an angle to lock the nib to prevent it from moving, then pull the stylus away to leave the nib behind. Just pop in the new nib and it will click in place.

Functionality

Okay, now on to the functionality, to test how good it is for drawing.


This is my first sketch using Creative Stylus 2 and the Wacom Bamboo Paper drawing app on the iPad. The Bamboo Paper app is my favourite drawing app because I like the strokes of their pen tool.

This app supposedly support the palm rejection technology but this feature does not work well. You can see that there are already a few stray marks in the sketch above and in later sketches.

Palm rejection works so inconsistently that it's better to keep your palm and fingers off the screen. A sure way of disabling palm rejection is to put your palm on the screen first before you draw. It's only natural for people to put down their palm first before they draw. Well, in this case, when your palm touches the screen, the stylus stops working and will not create any strokes. How stupid is that?

By the way, I'm sure this is a software bug because in another iPad drawing software called Astropad with palm rejection that works flawlessly. It could be because their engineers were ex-Apple employees.


Look at the stray marks I created with my palm while trying to write some words.

In short, just treat this stylus as if it doesn't have palm rejection.


The other big problem is the potential offset issue with the nib and where your stroke appears.

Whether or not the offset will happen depends on how you position your hand and how often you deviate from that position while drawing.

On Bamboo Paper settings, you get to choose which is your master hand and how you usually hold your pen. The drawing app will compensate for your hand-orientation. In theory it's great but in real life it's not that simple.

When you're drawing, deviate from that position and you'll get offset in the strokes. You can deviate from the position slightly but just not too much or the offset will be significant.


Here's a sketch of a car. By the way, I tried to join all the lines but it's difficult because of the offset and I can't keep my hand-stylus holding position in precisely the same position every second.

So it will definitely take some time to get used to drawing with a stylus like this.


Here's a sketch of the same car using the Creative Stylus 1, the older version. Even though it has a rubber tip, for some reason, there's no offset problem with that stylus. I was able to draw smoothly, and join lines wherever they should be joined.

I actually prefer Creative Stylus 1 because your hand position doesn't matter.


Here's another test to see if I can draw straight lines that align with one another. This will test where you want the strokes to appear, and where they actually appear.

I'm more comfortable drawing straight lines when holding the stylus in a specific position. My hand position changes depending on whether I'm drawing vertical or horizontal lines, and that's when the offset will appear.

Like I mentioned earlier, you get some leeway as to deviating from the selected hand position, but do not deviate too much.

Pressure sensitivity

Pressure sensitivity does work.

Using this stylus on other apps

You get all the features of the stylus (e.g. pressure sensitivity and palm rejection) from apps that support it, in this case it would be the Wacom Bamboo Paper.

With other drawing apps that I've tried, this stylus just performs like a normal stylus.

Conclusion

Before getting this stylus, you should note your drawing habits. Do you like to change your hand orientation often when drawing? E.g. changing hand orientation is common for artists who like hatching.

The offset issue happens when you deviate from the hand position selected in the settings. It will take some time to get used to drawing and knowing when offset will happen. So that's the learning curve.

Palm rejection just does not work well.

I've actually rated this product 0 out of 5 stars in my first version of the review. After several months of usage, after getting used to not deviating from the hand position, the drawing experience is now more pleasant. As such, I would now rate the Creative Stylus 2 a 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Availability

Check out the customer reviews on Amazon.

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