Essential TPE Glatt Magnetic Smart Stylus
While it's unanimously agreed that Apple made the right choice by shifting the touchscreen paradigm away from styluses and towards finger-based input, it's equally understood that fingers -- particularly big ones -- are less than ideal tools for writing and drawing with precision. As iPads continue to grow in popularity and capabilities, the demand for styluses and similar tools has similarly increased, so we've seen a wide variety of new options appear in recent months from different developers. Today, we're looking at seven new styluses, none of which demands a full-length review, but each has one or two interesting features that distinguish it from versions we've previously covered. Though we do have one or two picks that are higher-rated than others, it needs to be said up front that there's no single "winner" in this particular collection, since this latest crop of styluses have substantially different shapes and thus will feel "right" in various hands and situations. If you're looking for a precise writing tool, several of the options are better than others, but if you want a way to play a virtual guitar in GarageBand, you'll want a totally different stylus that is commensurately poor for writing.
A stylus we really liked was Essential TPE’s Glatt ($23), billed by its Taiwanese developer as a Magnetic Smart Stylus. While there’s nothing particularly distinctive about Glatt’s performance when paired with the original iPad, Essential TPE designed it to be a particularly good companion for the iPad 2, building magnets into its back so that it can easily attach and detach from the second-generation tablet’s body. Made from rounded aluminum, Glatt automatically gravitates towards the left or right side of the iPad 2’s bezel, using a shape that fits completely within the bezel and doesn’t come off until it’s needed. It does not attach in any way to the original iPad, but works identically as a writing tool.
Because Glatt is unusually shaped—like three typical tube-shaped and -sized styluses stuck together in a line—we weren’t expecting to love its results, but we found the design unusually comfortable to hold, with its thickness making up for its short, slightly-over-4” length. Writing tests yielded clearer results than with common styluses, and we enjoyed playing with the magnets, besides. While there are certainly less expensive styluses out there, Glatt’s magnets and hand feel are unique; particularly for iPad 2 owners, this stylus is worthy of a flat B rating and general recommendation.