This is going to sound weird, but I really like my Cricut Expression. I got it about 3 years ago, and we’ve been through a lot of crafts together! I’m so familiar with my machine that, at this point, when I need to cut something, I can just load my mat and GO- I don’t have to think too hard. I wasn’t sure I was going to like the new Cricut Expression 2– or an E2, with all of its fancy touch-screen business…..but let me explain.
I have a Gypsy, too…and I really, really, REALLY tried to like it. I loaded in all my carts, I got familiar with the touch screen, I practiced linking images and coming up with new images to cut….but I never really BONDED, you know? At the end of the day, it just seemed like an extra step, so I put it in the drawer and went back to using my Expression.
Now…enter the E2! Don’t get me wrong- I love that it’ll accept the Cricut Imagine carts….but would I like the touch screen? Would I get familiar with it quickly enough to enjoy using it? Or would it end up in the back of the closet?
Well, I’m happy to share that after a few frustrating moments and smacking my head on my learning curve, I’m feeling like my E2 and I have a future!
So here are a few things to keep in mind if you are either a) deciding whether or not to make the investment in the E2 or b) haven’t taken it out of the box- because you are intimidated like I was.
- It’s pre-loaded with 4 cartridges straight outta the box. To be honest, I only really like the artwork in two of them (you can guess which ones I like- I’ll never tell)- but free fonts/images are great. And you don’t get the physical cartridge or the overlay- it’s just IN THERE…but you do get the book with all of the images so you can see what you’ve got.
- There is no DVD on how to use your E2 included. Unlike the other Cricut machines, you must go online to watch the demo videos. Which I certainly recommend….because….
- Not all of the icons on your touchscreen are intuitive. I’m so used to seeing words- like “Fit to page” or “Quantity.” The touchscreen has a menu of icons, and I couldn’t immediately figure out what they were. I had to watch the video TWICE to remember where the “size” buttons are. It was at this point I REALLY missed my size wheel….sigh! Which leads me to..
- Everything you need to do is done via the touch screen. There is a stylus and holder built into the cover and I almost missed it!To edit your image- like to change the size of the image you want to cut- you tap the image and that puts you into an “edit” mode. In this mode, your stylus is a lifesaver- it’s way easier to use a stylus than your fingers. Or maybe my fingers are just pudgy. You only have to do a 2-step calibration to use it the first time. This is really easy and after that, you are good to go!
- To actually cut, you have to press the “cut” icon multiple times. This was frustrating for me- it felt like it really slowed me down. But after you select “cut” the first time, it’ll take you to the screen where you’ll set the image size, the weight of the paper, the speed, the depth, etc.. all of the functions that used to be done by wheel on the old models. There are 3 defaults- light weight paper, medium weight paper,& heavy weight paper. If you select one of these, the E2 will automatically select the right depth, speed, and pressure for you. So it’s a wash between things that take MORE time and things that are pre-set for you.
- You can save custom cut settings. Now this is a real time-saver and no-brainer. Â Later, you’ll see that I needed to customize my settings, and the E2 noticed that it was custom & offered to save them for me for the next time. So I can now select “Veneer” or “Vinyl” and the E2 will remember the settings for me. No more “cheat-sheet” Post-it’s stuck to my Cricut!
- The E2 starts cutting on the upper right portion of the mat. Now I’ve spent years telling folks that it starts cutting on the upper LEFT, so this is taking some getting used to!!
- The E2 doesn’t automatically power off after 2 minutes like my Expression. I left it on, went down to dinner, and it was STILL on with the cutting light on after an hour. I may need to figure out how to tweak that!
So here’s my photo-by-photo journey of cutting some wood veneer:
I hope you feel a little more familiar with the E2 now, or at least I gave you some good info to help your decision-making process. I’m looking forward to more Expression 2 creative adventures!
Disclosure: I received the Cricut Expression 2 as a promotional item, and was not obligated to write a review at all, let alone a favorable one. Like always, I just want to bring you the crafty scoop.
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