Happy New Year to all!
As far back as I can remember I’ve had a pen fetish – I’ve love pens that feel good in my hand, write nicely, need tinkering with (fountain pens!). Nothing too fancy, just well engineered.
I’m not an artist so I don’t use the fancy brush-tip styluses, or really even use a stylus much at all. I like having one around for the occasional sketch and also to give to clients when they sign on my iOS device for a credit card payment.
Since the advent of the iPad my fetish as grown to include styli (or styluses). I’ve purchased a few on Kickstarter.com that seem promising. The first stylus I ever used was the Pogo by TenOneDesign.com – it seemed to work the best out of the several stylus pioneers out there. It’s foam tip was functional but not ‘pretty’ or very precise. I was always afraid it would get ripped off in my computer bag (never happened!). Still a reliable go-to to this day. One of the most popular is the Jot line by Adonit ($15-$99). I got one of the first batch, then later purchased the Jot Mini at Macworld|iWorld. It promised precision with it’s pointy metal tip, covered by a clear plastic disc. Sadly in real life it just doesn’t cut it for me. It’s particular about what angle you hold the pen, the plastic disc has fallen off many times, and the cap unscrews regularly in my bag. I just noticed that they also have a bluetooth enabled stylus for a pressure-sensitivity feature.
Not that long ago I saw the Lunatik online ($20 in plastic) and was intrigued by it’s retractable ball point pen/rubber tip combo. Still a good one that often finds it’s way in my bag but I’m always afraid the pen tip will accidentally poke out when using it with the iPad.
Cosmonaut ($25) was another Kickstarter.com stylus that I bought at yet another Macworld|iWorld and it’s probably my favorite so far. It’s wide/thick like a toddlers crayon and simply a smooth rubber tip at the end. The shaft of the stylus is grippy while the tip is not at all. The tip is blunt but it’s very effective.
I recently purchased the Pogo Connect by TenOneDesign.com – recently released, this stylus is unique in that it connects (to and within certain apps) via bluetooth in order to add stroke width sensitivity via pressure. The harder your press down, the wider your ‘pen’ stroke. While the pen works great with any app, the special pressure sensitive feature is particular to a handful of apps including; Paper by 53, SketchClub, SketchBook Pro, Procreate, PDFPen for iPad, Zen Brush, Noteshelf, and FlipBook HD.
There is a free Pogo Connect app that adds another very cool feature – it will help you find your Pogo Connect stylus if you lose it! It provides an approximate distance with a sonar-like interface. It’s not precise but at least you’ll know if you’re getting warmer! Additionally the app provides a (presumably) up-to-date list of apps that will pair with the Pogo Connect.
Physically this pen feels great in my (small) hands – It’s now competing for the top spot with the Cosmonaut. It has the same smooth rubber tip as the Cosmonaut – held in place by a magnet and easy to replace. The body is a smooth aluminum but not too slippery with a small cap at the end that unscrews to insert the single AAA battery needed to power the pen. Not the cheapest at around $70 retail.
So to wrap it up, the stylus attributes that I like the best include the soft rubber tip, an overall size that is larger in diameter than a pen, and not too slippery.
From top to bottom: Lunatik, Adonit Jot Pro, Pogo Connect, Cosmonaut, Pogo Sketch, Adonit Jot Mini.
It’s taken a few years since the release of the first iPad in April of 2010 but I think I’ve finally found a stylus (or two) that I can enjoy using and I will always carry with me!