Bam­boo Sty­lus Fine­line

Mac Format - - RATED | KIT - £50 Man­u­fac­turer Wa­com, wa­com.com Works with iPad 3 or later, iPad mini or later Pres­sure lev­els 1024 | Jan­uary 2015 Rests eas­ily in the hand Three but­tons to speed work Pen cap and colours Bet­ter but­ton place­ment Works in Sketch­book/Bam­boo

Wa­com re­turn with two styli aimed at dif­fer­ent users; both are wor­thy of the name, but both could be bet­ter

Wa­com is syn­ony­mous with qual­ity sty­lus and pen-tablet so­lu­tions, con­nect­ing com­puter users to their screens and, more re­cently, they’ve cre­ated desk­top­class touch­screens with the Cin­tiq and Com­pan­ion lines. The first Wa­com pres­sure sen­si­tive sty­lus for iOS – the In­tuos Cre­ative – was a rev­e­la­tion and quickly be­came, for many, a firm favourite.

Fast-for­ward two years and the company has re­leased two se­quels: the Fine­line (for note mak­ers) and the Cre­ative 2 (for artists). So which one is best for your needs?

On pa­per (ahem) the ob­vi­ous dif­fer­ence lies within the lev­els of sen­si­tiv­ity: the Fine­line has 1024 and the Cre­ative 2 has 2048. The tips of both sty­luses have shrunk to less than 3mm in size and are made of a firm, rounded plas­tic ma­te­rial, and the bat­tery is now built in and recharge­able (rather than the AAA bat­tery of the orig­i­nal sty­lus).

The Fine­line nib is a mil­lime­tre smaller than the Cre­ative 2 (1.9mm and 2.9 mm re­spec­tively). The Fine­line is slightly heav­ier, but that in­cludes a pro­tec­tive cap, which the Cre­ative 2 lacks. Both suf­fer from a Blue­tooth pen-tilt is­sue that af­fects all thin nib sty­luses: an­gle from the left to the right and you’ll see a mov­ing off­set in the line you draw.

The heav­ier recharge­able bat­tery of both sty­luses shifts the bal­ance to­wards the back of the pen. If you’re draw­ing on a screen for a long time this is an is­sue, and, in this case, the Fine­line is prefer­able. Both have a rub­ber cap that shields the mi­cro-USB recharge port; nei­ther feels like the pro­tec­tive end will last the life of the pen. The Cre­ative 2 has three but­tons (the Fine­line has one); the place­ment leaves lit­tle to be de­sired, and they never feel as reach­able as their desk­top sib­lings.

How­ever, most con­cern­ing is the lack of out-of-box app support for both de­vices. At the time of writ­ing, pres­sure-sen­si­tive support for the Fine­line and Cre­ative 2 is patchy. Though the sty­luses will work with many apps in terms of con­nec­tion, this lim­its their full use­ful­ness.

And so, the win­ner, by a mar­ginal amount, is the Fine­line. We can’t say the dif­fer­ence in pres­sure sen­si­tive lev­els is hugely no­tice­able, but it’s a bet­ter shape and weight, the pro­tec­tive cap al­lows you to pocket it and it doesn’t feel like the cheaper de­vice of the two op­tions (though in ac­tual fact, it is). Oh, and it comes in a range of colours! Paul Ker­cal

In some ways this is as good as you could hope for, how­ever, it still misses the mark of what it could be. Cur­rently one of the best sty­luses (although not with­out some hes­i­ta­tion). Given the choice, buy this.

The Wa­com Fine­line has a thin­ner tip and a more colour­ful per­son­al­ity.

The Wa­com Cre­ative 2 shows its pedi­gree but misses a best-in-class rec­om­men­da­tion.

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