Got an iPad? Get a styIus (Part 1)

3/26/2012 5:59:01 PM

Got an iPad? Get a styIus (Part 1)

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Using a stylus with an iPad can enhance productivity and precision. We looked at nine of the best

By Nick Spence

If you do anything for any length of time on iPad, iPhone or iPod touch, you really should consider getting a stylus. The sheer numbers of styluses has increased dramatically recently, thanks to the popularity of Apple’s handheld devices, with a range of styles and prices to suit all. Those choices Fall into two categories: those that offer the look and Feel of a traditional pen. And those that aim to be something a little different.

As well as reducing the potential for repetitive strain injury (RSI), a stylus offers numerous practical, creative and Fun advantages. Work, gaming and creative activities on Apple’s IOS devices can all potentially be enhanced by the use of a stylus. The 9.7 in diagonal iPad screen particularly benefits, simply because the larger display offers greater room to work and play.

While Apple has yet to introduce the kind of pressure sensitivity found in Wacom-style graphic tablets, the iPad still makes a Fair digital easel. The Internet offers a seemingly endless gallery of great and varied artwork produced on an iPad, and we suspect much of it is created using a stylus. Here, then is a selection of styluses, primarily aimed at iPad users, that have passed through our hands in the past few months, all of which are worth a look.

iChic Gear Calligrapher

company iChic Gear   Price $25

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The iChic Gear Calligrapher pen Is one of a small number of dual-Function [Pad-compatible styluses. Available in two styles Geneva and Zemiatt- the Calligrapher is both iPad stylus and traditional pen in one.

The pen is a decent-quality device should you still have the need to write. The iPad end is il.con and springy to the touch, and looks like a traditional pencil rubber. The idea is to flip from ink o iPad and back again effortlessly, sod to some extent it works.

But the Calligrapher doesn’t perform particularly well as an iPad drawing tool especially if you include the pen cap, which makes it feel bulky and heavy when working with your iPad. We also believe calling the pen the Calligrapher is a little misleading, as anything but simple writing requires more than a ballpoint-style pen. For added value, the Calligrapher comes with two spare pen refills, although these are buried in the packaging in such a way that they could easily be missed and thrown away.

The Calligrapher is a nice idea which works well enough but Feels like a compromise between owning a pen and an IPad stylus. While it means one less accessory on your travels, only time will tell if it’s a combination of new and old that will attract users and enjoy success in an already crowded marketplace.

The Skinny

Likes: stylish, attractive traditional pen; dual purpose should appeal to multi-tasking users; pen refills supplied as standard

Dislikes: We’re unconvinced this combination Es great market; not the most responsive iPadstytus a little heavy with pen cap attached; somewhat misleadingly named.

Rating 3 stars


Ichic gear Phantomus

company iChic Gear   Price $15

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 Available in boy-friendly blue or girl-Friendly pink, iChic Gear’s Phantomus comes with a one-eyed, smiley ghost head, which is detachable and can be used to protect the soft rubberised nib when not in use. iChic claims it has the weight.  Shape and Feel of a typical Felt-tip pen, so will be Familiar to any child new to using an iPad and stylus.

The Phantomus has a smooth, straight barrel, which is quite comfortable to use despite the Lack of a padded grip. The nib, while a touch too soft for our tastes, has a nice bounce and responds pretty well-it’s a good choice for digital drawing and painting. The Phantomus also works line as a gaming stylus. The slim line design doesn’t distract from or obscure gameplay. Build is okay: the rubberised tip is secure and the slimline body fairly solid, which is important when you consider how easily children’s toys can be broken when your back turns.

The Phantomus is one novelty Pad stylus that isn’t lit for the bin after a day or two of play. While its limited to the young, the reasonably priced, Fairly solidly built Phantomus isn’t a bad choice For just about anyone.

The skinny

Likes: Performs well; reasonably priced: decent build quality: novelty design should appeal to the target audience

Dislikes:  Rubberised nib Feels a little too soft; barrel has no give or padding; looks may restrict users to just the young

Rating 3 stars


 incipio Inscribe Stylus

Company Incipio   Price $14.99

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Incipio has a decent track record for producing quality iOS accessories, and the Inscribe doesn’t disappoint. Shorter than your typical pen, this stylus is a simple and effective combination oF smooth black barrel and rubberised tip. The tip is described as “omni-directional” by the makers, which all rubberised tips appear to be. It simply means the Inscribe can be used from any position or angle to produce a consistent mark.

The stylus produced good results in a range of iPad activities, including note taking. game playing, drawing and painting. The tip, while bouncy, doesn’t have so much give that it’s unresponsive or lacks control. The tip is kept in place by a small silver ring, which adds to the solid feel. As it’s not uncommon to lose a pen or two around the home or office, the Inscribe comes with a secure but neat integrated clip for your shirt pocket, bag or iPad carry case.

It’s also worth mentioning that the Inscribe works equally well with iPhone and iPod touch, and its neat size makes for an ideal travel partner tp Apple ISO device.

This is a simple, no-nonsense iPad stylus that has a good Feel and build and produces consistent results on all Apple handheld devices. While not the most striking of iOS styluses, the Inscribe is a good an-rounder, for both work and play options.

The skinny

Likes: Good, consistent results; works well with all lOS devices; solid and compact build; nice integrated clip

Dislikes: Lack of give in stylus barrel may become an issue over extended use: riot the most stylish stylus

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