Is Adobe's new creative art hardware an artist's necessity or novelty?

We put the software giant's first piece of creative art hardware, the Ink & Slide, to the test.

Our Verdict

It's an interesting idea and a strong venture into hardware for Adobe, but we're not convinced that the price is justified.

For

  • Stylus uses Adonit PixelPoint technology
  • Input buttons
  • 2,048 levels of pressure

Against

  • Too expensive compared to other styluses
  • iPad only
  • Limited app compatibility

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What is Adobe's Ink & Slide good for?

The build quality of the Ink (the stylus) and Slide is solid enough and it feels great to use

Adobe's Ink & Slide offers both a state-of-the-art stylus, and a 21st century take on the good-old straight edge.

Designed to work with Adobe apps such as Illustrator Draw and Photoshop Sketch running on an iPad, the latter isn't just any old ruler – it can act as a smart input device for an app's shape-drawing tools.

As well as drawing straight lines you can also use it as a French curve or shape template by cycling through the various options available in your chosen app by clicking the button on the top of the Slide component.

What is Adobe's Ink & Slide good for?

The Ink & Slide works with iPad (fourth generation), iPad Minis and iPad Air

Although it's a great way to feel as though you're getting more hands-on with your drawing, in use it's rather gimmicky.

If you get too close to the edge of the iPad's screen you can either lose connectivity or leave unwanted marks.

Furthermore, the line tools function with or without the Slide, which only works with Adobe apps. This will be frustrating if you prefer drawing in Procreate or iDraw.

At £160 the Ink & Slide isn't cheap, and the novelty of the Slide doesn't justify the extra cost

Of the two bits of kit, the Ink stylus is by far the most useful. It feels great in your hand, with your fingers sitting nicely along the angles.

The device makes use of Adonit's PixelPoint technology, which makes available 2,048 levels of pressure. This means you can generate fine or graduated marks with ease.

Furthermore, the tip is like a biro (rather than the spongy tips of some older styluses), which boosts general accuracy.

What is Adobe's Ink & Slide good for?

You can colour code the tip of the Ink via the setup menu

It only has one input button on the side that's designed to work as a menu function in the Adobe apps, unlike its main rivals that have two.

At £160 the Ink & Slide isn't cheap, and the novelty of the Slide doesn't justify the extra cost.

Buy Ink & Slide on Amazon (opens in new tab)

Especially so, when you consider styluses such as Adonit's Jot Touch or Wacom's Creative Stylus that offer similar functionality to the Ink for nearly half the price.

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The Verdict
6

out of 10

Ink & Stylus

It's an interesting idea and a strong venture into hardware for Adobe, but we're not convinced that the price is justified.

Beren Neale
Deals Editor

Beren has worked on creative tech magazines and websites at Future Publishing for 13 years. He started this journey as Staff Writer on the digital art magazine ImagineFX, and in 2012 found himself bridging the magazine/website divide as Commissioning Editor on the newly launched Creative Bloq. Since then he took the editor role on ImagineFX, was Launch Editor of the fine art magazine Paint & Draw, moved to Canon Pro Europe website as Deputy Editor, and then edited the graphic design magazine Computer Arts. In 2020 he moved back to Creative Bloq, the biggest global art and design website, and as Deals Editor has applied his expertise in creative tech to help digital creatives get the best deals on the kit that they need and love. Outside of work, Beren is an avid rock climber and music nut.