This one's for the artists - aspiring or advanced. Let's take a look at Sensū, a capacitive artist brush with a built-in stylus.
Sensū was created by Artist Hardware, a company out of Illinois who's been designing products for artists for years. They've been working with brushes much of this time as well, including designing both standard artist brushes and nifty "out of the box" styles like these silicone artist brushes.
In the Box
The packaging is simple for the Sensū - white cardboard with green brush strokes accenting the bottom, and a large photo of the actual brush on the front. It's a simple box for an elegant product, with nothing inside but the Sensū brush in a protective piece of foam.
The Sensū has the heft of an expensive pen, and feels crafted with equal attention. Although it attracts fingerprints like the screen of the family's iPad, it is all shiny curves and precision build.
When closed, a firm rubber ball on one end acts as a stylus, with just enough give to feel the pressure you're applying makes a difference. The other end is rounded the tip of a pen. As you open the Sensū with a firm pull, you'll see the rubberized grip and the real magic of this - the brush.
Since Artist Hardware has been making brushes for years, they are well versed in what it takes to make a good brush. The heft, grip, and above all material of the brush hairs themselves all come into play for a good brush, and you can tell there's years of experience built into the Sensū. On their website, the company notes they tested various metal fibers while trying to find the right capacitive hair, until a friend in Japan turned them on to a new hair material being developed for the cosmetic industry. Apparently adding conductive properties allowed fine powder to leave makeup brushes easier when they contacted skin. The hair felt perfect for an artist's brush, and the Sensū had it's material.
Be careful when you close the brush you don't bend the hairs - I had no issues, but it's not something you should do in a rush. If you do bend one, the company recommends you then remove it with a set of tweezers.
Use as a Brush
Admittedly, I'm no painter. I took a brief stab at using the Sensū brush and FiftyThree's Paper app, and came up with the below [stunning] work of art. I added the ModMyi.com watermark because of the intense level of awesomeness inherent in the art.
That being said, working with a real brush completely changed the feel of drawing, and was fun. Kids would love this, just as much as actual artist's would appreciate a familiar tool while working in a digital medium. The Sensū guys have a few videos on their site showing both kids and actual artists using the brush with a variety of great painting apps for the iPad, which does a great job of showing the varied applications for the brush.
Price / Conclusion
At $39.99 (available on SensuBrush.com with free shipping), the brush seems a decent deal - the workmanship is top-notch, and the brush is something you'd have a long time. Since you're not using any actual real paint, it shouldn't need to be replaced. There are a couple cheaper options available, but they're instantly recognizable as less elegant, with cheap looking brushes and stubby grips. The brush is where Sensū really shines - it looks and feels like a real brush. Artist's will instantly respect this one!
We're giving the Sensū brush 4.5 leaves.
As is customary for an MMi review, Sensū is hooking up our readers with free stuff! (Thanks guys!) You're getting our review unit, so expect a couple fingerprints and an opened box. Use the widget below to grab entries into the raffle, and we'll pick a winner Saturday morning.