Tuesday, May 07, 2013

iPad Stylus Reviews

iPad Stylus Reviews by Stefan Marjoram
iPad Stylus Reviews, a photo by Stefan Marjoram on Flickr.

A few people have asked which stylus I like to use for sketching on the iPad. Here are my thoughts...

The most common sort have a squishy rubber tip - such as the Alupen and Boxwave pictured here. The nib has to be fairly large to do the job of replicating a finger tip and therefore, they do slightly obscure the line you're drawing. They are silent and glide nicely when new but I have found they can start to stick a bit after a while. Strangely, the Alupen stopped working after I didn't use it for a long time - cleaning seems to be helping to get it to function again. Boxwaves and similar styli can be found very cheaply on Amazon. Every bit as good as the more costly models and not too upsetting if you misplace or break one. The Alupen is much more expensive and while it's nicely designed and made (apart from the weird fault mentioned above) I prefer a slimmer, lighter pen.

The next sort of stylus has a clear plastic disk or tab on the end. Mine are made by Dagi but other manufacturers make them too. Having a hard tip means they always glide effortlessly and being see-through means you can still see what you're doing when drawing very small details (which a rubber or finger tip would otherwise obscure) These are by far my favourite - I'm currently using the black one which has the tip attached by a spring. You get a faint tap when you sketch with it but it's not distracting. I bought mine off Ebay and they very kindly put a free newer model in with my order.

Lastly there's the Estylo. I bought this by supporting a kickstarter campaign and had a long wait for it to arrive. I thought it would be the perfect stylus - long, thin, light - just like a proper pencil - it's even made of wood. Indeed it is lovely to hold - perfect in fact - but unfortunately it is absolutely hideous to draw with. The tip is made of a hard material which makes a loud tap when you touch it to the glass. It has a small contact area - hold it at slightly the wrong angle and it won't register. Finally, the tip is square and quite large so it's hard to tell where the mark (if it's going to make one) will come from. It's a real pity as the design is great.

Hope that helps. There are now a few pressure sensitive styli appearing - I've heard mixed reviews and haven't had a chance to try one out yet. I'll let you know if i do. Happy sketching!