After several years of virtual stagnation in iOS stylus development — companies releasing aesthetically different but functionally identical variations on the “rubber-tipped tube” concept – the last three years have seen the release of numerous electronic styli: Bluetooth models, vibrating tip versions, and even some with (flaky) optical sensors. One thing all of these options have had in common is higher price tags, with $50 serving as a floor and $100 as a ceiling, leaving plenty of room for lower-tech options in the $15 to $30 range. To that end, Logiix has released two new writing utensils in the Stylus Aluminum series: Stylus Aluminum Mini ($13) is a basic but attractive entry-level model, with Stylus Aluminum Pro ($30) offering a few deluxe features that may appeal to some users.
The designs have several things in common. Least obvious from the photographs is the atypically small size of their rubber dome tips — 5mm — which is nearly as tiny as a tip can currently get without needing electronic assistance to be detected by iPad touch sensors. On Stylus Aluminum Mini, the tip is fixed in place, but on Stylus Aluminum Pro, you can twist a nicely textured rubber grip near the top to retract the tip inside. Logiix includes two extra replacement tips in the package, and enables you to unscrew a metal housing to easily swap tips as necessary. Unlike budget styluses, which are effectively meant to be tossed away when you’re done using them, Pro is meant to be kept around for a while.
Neither of the styluses feels disposable, though. They’re both made from matte-finished aluminum tubes that alternate between black and silver, the most common colors we’ve seen for budget styluses for years, though Mini also comes in five bright colors. Just under 4.8” in length, Mini feels hollow — not cheap, just hollow — but Pro has a more substantial weight despite its nearly identical length of roughly 5.1” long at full extension. That’s partially attributable to a magnetic core inside, which enables Pro to attach to the right side of most iPad screens should you want to keep the stylus and iPad together.
Pro’s diameter is also just a hint larger than Mini’s, and its metal back end features a diamond-cut pattern. Both feature shirt clips, but Pro’s is a little longer. Mini’s tube body has an oddly flattened surface alongside its shirt clip, which makes it a little easier to grip when you’re grabbing it, without helping at all during typical writing.
On that note, there aren’t any huge surprises when writing with either of these styluses. They both work as expected with the iPad, enabling you to take notes, draw, and interact with UI elements just as you would with a finger — except, of course, for the somewhat higher precision you can get from a 5mm rubber tip. Given the last few years of advancement in hard plastic and digital stylus tips, the Stylus Aluminum designs aren’t cutting edge in enabling you to see the maximum amount of screen area while writing, but they’re fine for most purposes.
As contrasted with Ten One Design’s recently-rereleased Pogo Stylus, Aluminum Stylus Mini is pretty close to a peer. Pogo’s use of similarly small and replaceable tips alongside a detachable shirt clip contribute to its versatility and longevity, while its weight is just a bit more pleasing than the less expensive mini. On balance, we’d call them equally worthwhile options for their respective prices; for only $13, mini is a very good basic stylus, and worthy of our B+ rating. That said, while we liked Pro, it’s not clearly worth a $10 premium over Pogo, as it doesn’t add enough to justify the price bump. For $30, it merits our flat B rating and general recommendation.
Aluminum Stylus Mini
Aluminum Stylus Pro
Company and Price
Compatible: All iPads