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.
The single most useful stylus we tested this time was Ten One Design’s Pogo Sketch Pro ($25), a more sophisticated sequel to the company’s nearly three-year-old Pogo Sketch. While the Pro version sells for a $10 premium over its predecessor, it uses a more sophisticated design, comes with two different tips—a simple rubber tip that’s quite like the dome-styled tips of rival styluses, as well as a stubbly tip which has more of a rough texture—and comes with a soft travel bag that has a drawstring closure at the top. You can screw and unscrew the tips as needed, tossing the unused one in the bag along with the assembled stylus.
Pogo Sketch Pro’s biggest advantage over rivals is its wand-like shape and length, which is longer than any other stylus we’ve tested save for the paintbrush-like NomadBrush. Made from silver aluminum with a long black rubber jacket, Pogo Sketch Pro felt great in our hands and led to relatively precise writing and drawing—when used with the dome tip. Switching to the rough tip requires you to apply greater pressure to write or draw, leading to even greater precision accompanied by somewhat increased hand fatigue. While this stylus’s price is higher than most of its rivals, it’s easier to recommend on the basis of its comparatively impressive results and comfort, as well as on the diversity of results that its tips can achieve. It merits a B+ rating and our strong general recommendation. (* Updated 4/10/12 to rephrase references to different tips.)
Company and Price
Company: Ten One Design
Model: Pogo Sketch Pro
Compatible: iPad, iPad 2