While styluses are one of the most straightforward types of iOS accessories, there are quite a few options in the field, some offering unique designs, features, or both. Today we’re looking at three recent models, each of which stands apart from the crowd of generic OEM pens for a different reason. There’s the chunky Cosmonaut from Studio Neat ($25), Just Mobile’s new AluPen Pro ($40), and Nomad Brush’s Compose, available in two different sets for $39 each. Even though they all do generally the same thing, each has a unique design characteristic that will appeal to a different audience.
Based on the company’s successful AluPen stylus, Just Mobile’s brand new AluPen Pro represents a more major upgrade than photos might suggest, and won our 2012 Best of Show Award for its excellent design. The aluminum stylus is similar in shape to the original model, but thinner—now like a real pencil—and houses a high quality, German-made Pelikan ballpoint pen. Both the simple twist-retracting pen insert and the opposing side’s rubber stylus tip can be replaced if and when they wear down. A leather carrying case and one spare stylus tip are included in the package, and AluPen Pro is available in silver and black versions.
The key asset AluPen Pro brings to the table is smoothness. In our testing, we found both the stylus and pen tips both glided across their respective writing surfaces effortlessly; the pen is particularly impressive in precision and ink flow relative to many we’ve seen. The smaller width of the new body certainly makes AluPen Pro feel more natural in the hand, although it’s no more precise when it comes to writing and drawing on the iPad’s screen. We found the results to be acceptable, but not incredible, particularly by reference to Adonit’s recently-released Jot series of styluses. You can’t write as precisely as Jot when writing with AluPen Pro on an iPad; on the other hand, AluPen Pro does a great job on paper.
Just Mobile’s original stylus earned a strong general recommendation, and its sequel merits a higher rating: though AluPen Pro is just a little on the expensive side by stylus standards, you’d be hard-pressed to find a Pelikan pen for much less than this unit’s $40 asking price. If you liked AluPen, you can expect a very similar experience on the stylus side with the added benefits of a high-quality pen and extra comfort. Users looking for an all-in-one solution will find this option to be one of the best models currently on the market, brought to professional standards by its sharp leather sleeve, replaceable tips, and overall convenience.
Company and Price
Company: Just Mobile
Model: AluPen Pro
Compatible: iPad, iPhone, iPod touch