“Why hasn’t anyone thought of this before?” A review of the Sensu Brush, a paintbrush for mobile devices.
When you consider what the Sensu Brush actually is, it seems intuitive to think, “Why hasn’t anyone thought of this before?” A stylus in the form of a paintbrush, as it turns out, is not only optimized for artists-on-the-go, but adds a welcome level of comfort to various touchscreen tasks.
Since its inception, the stylus has taken many unconventional forms, from conductive gloves to fish sausages. But no matter how convenient or stylish a stylus might be, even traditional rubber tips often fail to deliver the natural glide of a genuine pen or marker. Because styluses need to make a reasonable amount of contact with the screen in order to be receptive, smoothness is sacrificed in favor of a jolty, unyielding motion that can only respond if the stylus is held at a certain angle. The SensuBrush relies on supple bristles for contact to maximize comfort and eliminate the dreaded “gorilla arm” experienced by frequent touchscreen users.
The brush itself is notoriously sweet and simple. Bristles are nested in a sturdy metal housing which serves as both a cover and a handle when attached to the base, and the tapered, elegant handle is wrapped with a rubber grip for comfort and precision. I feel rich just holding it, as if I’m wielding a Montblanc. The brush lives up to its name with almost zen-like contours and soft, pliable bristles.
The biggest downside to the brush’s sensitivity is that bristles seem to work together rather than individually, making the glide smoother than that of a stylus but the end result more or less the same. However, when I tested the brush with different apps, each had a different result, which made it difficult to accurately evaluate the brush’s responsiveness:
The SensuBrush is a bit more flair than function – while on many apps it does not produce lines any finer than those of a stylus, it’s a beautiful tool to carry along and is sure to draw some oohs and ahhs from a crowd. The durability of the brush casing, as well as the brush’s compact size, make it an ideal travel item that can last decades provided the bristles are well cared-for.
But is a glorified stylus with such limited capabilities worth the extra bucks? The brush retails for $39.99, nearly twice the price of a straight-from-the-store Apple stylus, which I think is far more than it’s worth. Then again, I also think a Moleskine is priced at far more than it’s worth, so let value be in the eye of the beholder. As the true value of the brush really depends on the particular app with which it’s being used, it’s safe to say that the brush will probably pay off the most for serious artists willing to shell out a bit more to begin with for higher-quality painting apps – and let’s not forget that the brush would work brilliantly on a touchscreen monitor for a bona-fide design project. That all being said, the SensuBrush is one-of-a-kind, an expert at its own game, with no other competitors to boot this Kickstarter prodigy off the playing field.