Tech review

Lumia Connects Trial

Posted on: November 12th, 2014 by roz


Putting the "mobile" back into mobile digital art

Since Microsoft's recent purchase of Nokia, they have been pushing the Lumia brand on social media and on TV showing that there is more to the mobile world than just Apple and Android. One way of showcasing their phones is to get them into the hands of the general public.

Portrait in Green

The Lumia Connected Trial is aimed at artists and photographers and allows them to borrow a Lumia phone of their choice for two weeks with freedom to create what they can. The results of these can be seen plastered around Twitter, just search for @Connects or #ConnectsTrial, or @_connects on Instagram.

Lumia 930 art

I've been using Lumia's flagship 930 and a curious painting app called Fantasia Painter. I say curious as it seems quite a bazaar collection of crazy brushes and gimmicky effects, although if you can ignore that, there is a nice painting app underneath with quite advanced brush and pallet options.

Portrait of Emma painted on Lumia 930

It's quite a challenge painting on a mobile phone again after using the larger iPad a Surface for so long, but a challenge I've been enjoying.

For more information, check out the Connects Trial website

New tip on the block: DotPen

Posted on: August 7th, 2014 by roz


"Redefines drawing and writing for smart devices"

When I first started painting on my iPhone, back in 2010, one thing in particular I loved was the return to the childlike pleasure of finger painting. It felt fun, natural and as though you were directly connected to your artwork. However, when I got into more serious painting, it started to feel cumbersome and inaccurate.

Fortunately for us there has always been a steady flow of new styli (styluses?) with which to abuse our credit cards. First we saw the foam-tipped Pogo and then the big rubber-tips, such as Just-Mobile's chunky AluPen. Then there was Adonit's JOT, a stylus which tried to solve the accuracy issue by utilising a transparent plastic disk. Then came the big boys, the expensive pressure sensitive Bluetooth styli that included rubber-tips (Pogo Connect, Wacom Intuos Creative) and the tappy-disks (JOT touch).

It's difficult to say definitively which are good and which are bad because every artist is different, and we have our pet pens that we swear by. The web is full of forums with artists arguing about which are good, bad and ugly.

Upon the release of the first Surface Pro, we were gifted with an affordable tablet with, not only a pressure sensitive pen, but one with a precise pointed nib, and after using the pro for a year now, painting on the iPad or my Surface 2 can feel unwieldy.

Meet DotPen

Powered by a simple AAA battery (not those impossible to find AAAA), this is a stylus with a proper tip which seems to work on any touch device (I have used it on iPad, Surface 2, Surface Pro 2, iPhone 5C, Lumia 520, and their website have a growing list including Samsung, Amazon and Nexus devices).

At 143 mm long, DotPen feels like a real pen and features a unique 1.9mm Active-Quill tip producing amazing fluid pin-point writing accuracy. Powered by a single AAA battery (not included), DotPen provides up to 12 hours of continuous latency-free drawing and writing use.

Funded by a Kickstarter, they have surpassed the necessary $25,000 needed to bring this little beauty to market. I have used the DotPen for a few weeks now, more time is needed for a more in depth review, but I have to say it seems to succeed where so many others fail.

If you're still looking for that truly accurate stylus, if you're not a fan of the foam/rubber-tips or tappy-disks, or if you just need one more stylus for your collection, then the DotPen could be what you need.

The precise 1.9mm tip of the DotPen