There are many different styluses out there, many of which are pretty good. The quality and function seem to be getting better and better. The Jot stylus seems to have raised the bar when it comes to precision and responsiveness but can it be raised even more?
Let me introduce you to the Zeppelin Stylus. This one is currently just a dream, a dream stylus being dreamed of by many artists and note takers who are hungry for a pen input device which would let them use their iPad the way we’ve all been imagining, hoping… dreaming. The Zeppelin is a Kickstarter project, just like the Jot, which is now a very successful and workable stylus for touch screen devices. The Jot does have its problems though and there is definitely room for improvement. The Zeppelin really does appear to have a very solid design.
There is a week left for the Zeppelin to meet its funding goals. This dream stylus needs backers to become a reality… otherwise it remains a dream.
Head over to the Zeppelin’s Kickstarter page and check it out. If you like what you see and want to be a part of something cool and very potentially rewarding join me and become a backer!
The Jot from Adonit is a great stylus. Fresh out of the gate Adonit are still making good with their Kickstarter backer’s orders before attending to normal buyers.
I’ve heard a couple skeptical opinions on the clear disc and agree that at first it is a little odd. When you think of a pen, you think of a point or something as close to that as possible. This design is far from it- or is it?
As a working, professional (whatever that really means) storyboard and concept artist, the thing I’m looking for, ideally, is a mobile Cintiq. I want to know that I can work at the airport, on a set, in a tree, on a train, in my bed, on the pot… With a Cintiq from Wacom you can do some pretty amazing work but you can’t just pick it up and take it with you.
Until now, I’ve been using various, normal stubby, rubber-tipped capacitive styluses with my iPad. Honestly, I haven’t been drawing or painting on it much at all in that I’ve been working so much but when I have, it’s really been sort of a faking my way with it. It’s not to easy or fun to do any kind of precision work with what boils down to a dull crayon.
Enter the Adonit Jot stylus. Now, let me show you two photographs. I took these at work while on my lunch break.
On the left is a Wacom pen on a Cintiq. On the right is the Adonit Jot on the iPad. If you think about the Jot as not having a disc as a tip but rather a small, metal tip- then the disc just becomes the brush cursor. It’s a fine tip stylus with a brush cursor built around the tip.
With regards to styluses for the iPad and capacitive screens in general- the bar has been raised.
The Jot Stylus by Adonit was not only a successful Kickstarter project, it was a majorly successful one pulling in droves of excited would be customers, I was among those droves.
The stylus looks very similar to diagrams submitted by her majesty Apple herself.
These guys at Adonit, really took the time to do it right. The stylus works very well and makes sketching, painting and writing on the iPad very easy and brings a more effortless and natural feel.
The tip is not your normal rubber or foam, instead it employs a clear plastic disk which pivots on a small metal ball which is the actual tip of the pen.
The sensitivity is fantastic and the small, clear disk seems to vanish while you’re using it. Provided that the app’s input point doesn’t have an offset, the lines you create seem to come right from the point of the stylus.
There are other stylus which work well- the best of them is the 3M Smart Pen. It’s tip is extremely sensitive and I highly recommend it for effortless iDoodling, but when it comes to fine line work, accurate detail, nothing on the market can compete with the Jot. Illustration, concept art and storyboards are now actually possible to do on a mobile platform such as the iPad using a precision stylus such as the Jot and a terrific digital art application such as Procreate from Savage Interactive.
The Jot brings a true Wacom Cintiq feel to the iPad. You can see where you’re marking and can draw without those creativity hindering little blind spots.
The Jot is very well made, this is no cheaply thrown together product. The body is made from aluminum and steel. Available in two models- the standard Jot and the Jot Pro.
The Pro model has a rubber grip and is available in a dark gunmetal gray, a sliver color and a blue. It also has magnetic innards which allow you to attach your stylus to your iPad 2, or your fridge. I wouldn’t recommend trusting the magnetic hold to your iPad too far though, it’s good but not great.
The basic model is currently only available in three bright, colorful colors- green, red and a purplish blue. I’m not crazy about the rubber grip though most people will probably love it. I’m also not a fan at all of the three colors that the basic Jot comes in. I’m currently nudging them to make standard Jots in silver and black. We’ll see.
All models of the Jot will perform equally well. The only difference is the magnetics, the rubber grip and the color options. They all come with a screw on cap to protect the disk tip. Once removed, the cap can be screwed onto the back of the stylus- extending the length of the stylus to an even more comfortable size.
The basic model will cost you $20.00 while the Pro model comes in ten dollars more at $30.00. Both models are under priced and well worth the money. If you want a seriously serious stylus, with quality design, construction and performance- seriously consider looking at getting yourself a Jot.
The Adonit Jot can be purchased from their website:
If you’ve used the Jot let us know what you think of it. If you haven’t used one and have any questions- just ask because we have.
Disk Problems Update:
The Jot has proven to have a very nice and responsive tip when it is new but after just a couple of weeks of use it can start to feel jiggly, loose and less responsive.
Here is a very quick, cheap and effective fix to a Jot Stylus tip which has become limp feeling and which has lost its responsiveness:
1. Simply disconnect the disc from the ball point.
2. Take a 3″ x 3″ piece of aluminum foil and consecutively fold it 3 times to create 8 stacked layers. (You may want to try fewer layers, depending)
3. Place the folded foil on top of the disc hub that the ball point belongs in.
4. Place (do not snap in yet) the ball point gently on top of the foil directly above the hub opening which will gently conform the foil into a bowl shape in the hub (do not break yet).
5. One the foil is gently conformed in place of the hub opening, increase the pressure of the ball point until it snaps in the hub. (Do this with the disc placed flush on a hard, flat surface so that the clean flatness of the disc is not dented by the stylus tip popping back into the disc.) The desired aluminum bowl in the hub will detach from the rest of the surrounding foil and just simply tear off the remains around the hub. Your stylus will become drastically more sensitive as there is now much more conductive surface area between the disc and the ball point.
Note you will not physically see any difference in your stylus but will notice the disc movement will feel snug as the disc is no longer loosely attached to the ball point. I find this more than tolerable and actually prefer the sturdy feel of quality while maintaining complete 45 degrees of movement. Even with my screen protecter, I can barely hover over the screen and the stylus will register…amazing improvement! I have fallen in live with my stylus all over again.
The Smart Pen from 3M is a very nice stylus. Well worth the asking price which I believe is about $30.00.
The Smart Pen is constructed from a light weight metal and has a clip and a rubber tip which is slightly smaller than the Boxwave for example, but is just a bit bigger than the Bamboo from Wacom and the Kuel from SGP.
The tip glides nicely over the screen and is quite smushy, making it require very little pressure to interact with your device. It is just a hair shorter than the Wacom Bamboo and a good bit longer than the Boxwave, Acase and so on. It is available in 4 different colors: black, steel, aluminum (pictured) as well as hot pink, if you’re into that kind of thing…
I highly recommend this stylus for artists and note takers who are using the iPad.
Wacom’s much anticipated stylus for the iPad arrived a couple of days ago and I’ve had that time to test it out. I had been waiting for this one for a while, when it finally came available it sold out, leaving me checking the site regularly for a refreshed availability.
I use Wacom products daily. I have two Cintiq’s. I have the older 21 at my office and the newer one at my home office. I have also owned and worn through several of their tablets. That being said, my expectations for an iPad product were quite high.
First off, the Wacom Bamboo stylus for iPad and other capacitive screens is a very well made product. It is beautiful to look at and beautiful to hold. It is put together very nicely and and has a clip which you can remove if you prefer- this is a huge plus for me.
It is constructed with aesthetics in mind and is built to last. Mine? Mine should last for ever. Why? Because I don’t plan on using it.
I’ll tell you why.
The tip of a stylus is THE MOST IMPORTANT PART. It’s sort of like a pool cue. It the tip isn’t good, it doesn’t matter much. People always roll their cues on the table, looking for the straightest one- its not a rifle! It’s all in the tip. And, as far as Wacom’s stylus is concerned, we have a beautiful body with a worthless tip. The Bamboo stylus is a BUTTERFACE.
The tip requires too much pressure to use for extended periods of time. It also doesn’t hold it’s shape as well as others do. When using it at any kind of an angle, as humans do, as opposed to vertically, the tip can’t tend to stay lopsided, squished at a slight angle. Other styluses instantly straighten out. The main problem with this is that the metal part closest to the tip tends to start touching the screen. Not good.
If you are looking for a fine tipped stylus for your iPad or capacitive device, I would recommend the 3M Smart Pen. It’s a better bet.
Or, the SGP Kuel. This one has decent craftsmanship but is a little on the thin side. It’s is also close to being too short when not extended.
Back to the Wacom Bamboo Stylus, on the whole, I just cannot recommend this one. It is just not worth the asking price of $30.00. In my opinion, it’s not worth half that.
They will sell fine though. The name Wacom will have them flying out the door for some time to come. I only hope that next time Wacom decides to consult some serious iPad users before releasing a product. I am definitely interested in seeing how they might improve this stylus.
This quick post is influenced by a comment on a previous post on iPad styluses. This is a stylus solution we came up with a while back which uses only two parts.
The first part is a small clump of conductive foam which can be purchased at most descent electronic stores. We found it in sheets about 12″ x 12″ and then cut out smaller pieces for the tip of the stylus.
The second part is a neat little metal pencil holder, picked up from kinokuniya. They come in packs of two and are available in a chrome (pictured below), reddish-pink and blue. Other colors may be available but I cannot say for sure.
Putting the stylus itself together is simple. Take some foam, cut out a square inch or so of it and fold the corners in so that they meet. The other end will be rounded. Cram the folded corners side into the pencil holder where the pencil would normally go, then screw on and tighten the gripper. Poof- a DYI iPad stylus!
It’s been a while and quite a bit has developed since we wrote a post covering styluses for the iPad and iPhone.
At the time, the Pogo Sketch and the Dagi Stylus were both still very new to the scene. They were the best options available.
Now though, I’ll tell you sternly- don’t waste your money on these two. Apple still sells the Pogo, their employees can be found with them clipped to their uniforms. Sometimes when signing for your purchase, they will hand you one to use. All of this may feel quite official, almost an endorsement of the Pogo. I’m here to give you a few options which you can pull out and use with better results next time you’re at an Apple Store or just want to take a note or doodle a sketch.
As these things come out they generally improve. As these new and improved styluses come out, we buy and use them.
Here is an updated offering of our opinions on some of today’s more popular and best styluses. We will focus on three styluses in particular.
The JustMobile Alupen.
When we first got our hands on the Alupen from JustMobile it was love at first site. This thing has a substantial but user friendly weight to it. It is the perfect length and width and feels great in your hand. It is extremely well designed and done so to match and compliment the iPad itself. Aside from the minimalist (and appreciated) branding stamped on it, the Alupen would be the easiest stylus to pass of as an official Apple iPen.
Out of the box it works beautifully. The soft rubber tip glides of the screen and requires little pressure to interact with the device.
The problem with the Alupen is the lifespan of the tip. They seem to have the lifespan of your common goldfish when it comes to quality functionality. Our first one developed a small slit in the side of the tip which made it difficult to use. After emailing JustMobile about five times and giving ample time for them to reply, we went ahead and called Taiwan (I think it was) directly and after a language challenged phone call, a replacement was on the way.
The replacement was the same out of the box- worked great. After about a week of use tho the tip again went bad. This time it was the smoothness of it which just seemed to wear off. When new, the tips have this velvety finish to them. With a little use though, this appears to wear off and the rubber tip ends up being sticky when sliding over the screen. This makes distraction free drawing, painting and writing on the iPad more difficult than it’s worth and you’ll quickly revert back to your finger.
A third Alupen was tried and again, the tip went bad. With a good tip, this would be the best stylus available. Until then, its just not worth the money.
Currently there are a few different versions of the iFaraday Stylus available on www.iFaraday.com. There is a basic stylus that comes in a few different colors.
There are also three different versions which are called the Artist Pack. The tip material used is the most capacitive material we’ve experienced yet. These are the most responsive and user friendly styluses we’ve found yet and only expect the innovation and materials to improve over time.
The bodies of the styluses are not mass-produced in a factory in China or some such place as are most others. They appear to be hand crafted, one at a time- likely out of a garage somewhere. Considering this though, they are very well made and easily worth the money.
If we could recommend one stylus for your iPad- this would be the one.
There are several different brands all selling very similar styluses right now. By all appearances, these are all manufactured by the same people- our guess, either in Taiwan or China. Then, these different American companies buy them in bulk and brand them as their own.
This stylus (regardless of what name you call it by) is actually a quite descent one. Probably our second favorite. A bubble-like, black, rubber tip that is very responsive and lasting. The tip is much like those found on the Alupen from JustMobile, with one main difference- they last longer than a week. In fact, we haven’t had one fail yet.
We prefer the Targus out of the different brands, simply because the Targus stylus is left plain. They decided against having their brand and logo printed on the body of the pen, probably to save money. If branding doesn’t bother you at all you can get whichever is cheapest or most convenient.
The Targus has a simple metal body with a matte black finish. They have a chrome, end cap with a hoop on the back end which enables the use of a small clip or lanyard. Some brands ship the pen with such an extra. We don’t care much for them though so it’s not a make or break deal whether or not they do or not.
They also come with a chrome clip for securing to a shirt pocket, pants pocket or whatever you like. We however DO NOT LIKE the clip and feel that it would be best without it. Or, having the clip be removable would be a great feature.
This stylus is a little bit on the short side. It’s just long enough to hold normally, but holding it further back to get any distance from the screen becomes more difficult. Who knows, maybe the guy who designed it was a munchkin.
They retail for about $15.00 and can be found at these sites:
The Targus can also be picked up in-store at Best Buy stores.
There is a “second generation” version of this general type of stylus, which brands are starting to sell as well. Ours just came in today and we’ve played with them a little bit.
The thickness of the stylus is the same, but the tip is significantly smaller and helps with accuracy. The smaller tip though seems to require a little bit more pressure.
This new and updated model also has a significantly longer barrel. It also has a clip, but a different (and honestly cheaper looking) type. The end cap is slightly different the same as the previous and more common versions- but seriously, who cares. This stylus looks and feels more ideal. Unfortunately though, it is slightly less responsive than its earlier incarnation.
You can find this newer version of these styluses at these sites:
Here is a very workable little setup which is what we are currently doing. We are using both the iFaraday and the Targus styluses. But we are also using a chalk holder as well. Let us explain.
The iFaraday stylus comes with a clip which can be removed quite easily.
The Targus/Boxwave stylus’ clip however is not so easy to get off. We use a Dremel!
Once your styluses are free of their stupid clips, you’ll want to have picked up a Caran d’Ache Fixpencil crayon holder for a decent art supply store or just get one online somewhere. They aren’t cheap but are very nice.
They are meant to hold crayons made by the same company, but we aren’t talking about crayons here. They also happen to hold the above two mentioned styluses perfectly.
Because you’re using an extender, you can determine how long you want your stylus to be! Have it shorter and hold it more like a pencil, or extend it out and use it more like a paintbrush.
You’ll also be holding the extender so you’ll have a thicker, hexagonal shaped form to hold in your hand. This is a plus for many people. This makes these styluses more comparable with the Alupen in size and design.
When not using it, simply slide the stylus out, turn it around and reinsert it tip-end first. The crayon holder becomes the perfect bodyguard for your stylus- holding the tip deep inside, safe from potential harm.
Comments and Recommendations.
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If you’ve found any cool styluses or stylus solutions for the iPad or digital sketching in general- tell us about it!