​uMake's Ultimate iPad Stylus Guide

Ever since the iPad hit the market in 2010 and creative apps started coming to it, the need for a great drawing tool has consistently been felt. This year Apple finally answered the call with the Apple Pencil for the iPad Pro and in typical Apple fashion created one of the best digital drawing experiences out there, leapfrogging other digital drawing systems in the process. While the iPad Pro and Apple Pencil combo are great to work with, there is still a need for different styli for other iPads or use cases, and choosing the right one regardless of the iPad model is not the easiest task. Even though uMake works great with just your finger, the use of a stylus allows users more precision and an overall better experience. That said, one of the most frequent questions we have received is “what stylus should I get to use uMake?” So we thought we would put a little list together of the ones we have tested and share our feedback. In addition, we want to help you choose the right styli for you as you may decide to use it with apps like Procreate, Concepts, Pixelmator and other creative apps on the iPad. To get started, it’s important to denote the difference between a passive styli and active styli. A passive stylus is essentially just an extension of your finger in the pen form. Passive styli have no special or connected functions/ features. An active or connected stylus is one that connects via bluetooth to an iPad to send information such as pressure sensitivity, tilt, or function information. We have broken he list up by these types.

Passive Styli:

Bargains Depot Stylus

If you are just getting started and not sure what stylus to get, but don’t want to spend too much money, this is a great option. For around six dollars, you can get two styli, and six extra tips. It’s really hard to go wrong with this option. In addition, this is a great addition to any other stylus if you want to throw one in a bag or keep it in a jacket pocket. It glides nicely across the screen, but with uMake sometimes takes a second to register the touch input. One great thing is that for a rubber tip, it is really narrow, which makes it easier to draw with. This is far more than a bargain, and an unbeatable value. Pros: Inexpensive, 6 extra tips, narrow tip, durable, easy to carry Cons: Plastic, not great ‘pen weight’ takes a second to register sometimes in using uMake, Tips wear out quickly (but there are extras). Where to buy: http://www.amazon.com/Bargains-0-18-inch-Rubber-De...

Elago Hexa Stylus

The Hexa is a beautifully built rubber tipped stylus made out of anodized aluminum that comes in multiple colors. It has a great weight to it, and a nice feel— it’s just like a fat pencil. It comes with one extra tip to replace the one that comes with it, and replacing tips is supper easy. I think Elago makes the nicest replacement tips out there— they are brass and rubber with an O-rigng to keep the tip screwed in tightly, but replacement the do come with a cost of about $4/ tip. The tips are a bit sticker than other styli and take some getting used to— they don’t “glide” as easily over an iPad screen as some of the other styli in this test, but are very good at transmitting the touch signal. While the stylus feels great in hand, it has some sharp edges on it that would mean you may want to keep it in a separate pocket of your bag than your iPad. Pros: Great in hand feel, good transmission on screen, beautifully built, easily replaceable tips, good value. Cons: Fat tip, higher cost replacement tips, not the best travel companion. More Info: http://www.elagostore.eu/stylus/stylus-hexa/i_548_...

Where to buy:http://www.amazon.com/elago®-Stylus-iPhones-Replac...

Elago Grip Stylus

Like the Elago Hexa, this is a beautifully built anodized aluminum stylus that you can get in multiple colors. The grip is a bit heavier than the Hexa and has a larger “grip”. It is very comfortable to hold for long periods of time and the response on the screen, like the Hexa, is great. It uses the same Elago replaceable tip as the Hexa, and thus has the same “stickier” feeling and higher cost of replacement, though it does come with one replacement. While it don’ts have the sharp edges of the Hexa, the weight concerns me if I were to let it slip out of my hand on my iPad or iPad pro screen. Overall though, this is a really nice and comfortable to use stylus. Pros: Great “grip” feel, larger grip reduces stress on hand after long working periods, good on screen transmission, easily replaceable tips. Cons: Fat tip, higher cost replacement tips, heavy. More Info:http://www.elagostore.eu/stylus/stylus-grip/i_526_...

Where to buy: http://www.amazon.com/elago-Stylus-iPhones-Replace...

Wacom Bamboo Duo Stylus

Wacom has done a great job addressing the mobile market with it’s Bamboo line of styli, and the third generation Bamboo Duo Stylus shows the expertise Wacom has in creating input devices. Of all of the styli I’ve had for the past 4 months, I keep reverting back to the Bamboo duo. It is masterfully built, has a great feel to it, and glides across the screen. The carbon fiber tips give it a feeling that is smooth but not sticky, and yet not slippery either like some other styli. The Duo (Wacom makes a Solo) also has a ball point pen on one end so if you need to do a quick sketch or carry the stylus around, it can serve multiple roles. It comes in many colors, thought he dark grey is consistently less expensive and looks great. Replacement tips are inexpensive and last a long time. Pros: Ball point pen and Stylus, great on screen feel, good transmission, long lasting tips that are easy and inexpensive to replace. Cons: Slightly narrow, colored versions are quite expensive, slight learning curve to get ti to work perfect. More Info:http://www.wacom.com/en-us/products/stylus/bamboo-...

Where to buy: http://www.amazon.com/Wacom-Bamboo-Stylus-ballpoin...

Adonit Jot Pro

How do you get fine tuned precision without a rubber tip? How about a clear disc! This was Adonit’s solution. The Adonit Jot Pro is a very unique stylus in that it does away with the rubber tip and uses clear plastic disc mounted on a ball to transmit the capacitive touch signal. The result is actually quite impressive and accurate. The Jot Pro feels good in the hand and like other metal styli, has a good weight to it. A nice screw on cap protects the delicate tip, and crews onto the back end while in use. While in use, the Jot Pro can make a “tick tick tick” sound as you lift and settle the stylus on the screen. If you are alone or have headphones this is not a big deal, but this is not the quietest styli around. Despite this, the accuracy is very nice and it is a different experience compared to other styli in the lineup. Pros: Accurate and nice experience. Good pen weight and feel, nice design and well built. Cons: Tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick tick… tickety tick. tick tick. More Info: http://www.adonit.net/jot/pro/

Where to buy: http://www.amazon.com/Adonit-Precision-Android-Sam...

Adonit Jot Dash

Adonit’s latest addition to it’s lineup is the Jot Dash, which uses Pixelpoint technology to enable a tiny 1.9mm tip that never needs to be replaced. While the Jot Dash is not an active styli (it has no bluetooth and doesn’t connect to the iPad) it does have a battery and needs to be charged to enable the pixel point technology. The accuracy of the Dash is impressive, and the build quality and feel of this styli is superb, but then again, for $49.99 that is to be expected. Turning on the Dash is easy as is charging it with the included usb charger. While accurate, like the Jot Pro, there is still some noise created when using the dash, albeit much less noticeable. The on screen feeling though seems “slippery” compared to other styli, and getting used to such a fine tip takes some getting used to. In uMake the accuracy actually creates some interesting curves at first, but once one gets used to the dash, it becomes apparent this is a great tool. Pros: Tiny 1.9mm Pexelpoint Tip, great build quality and easy to charge/ use. Incredibly accurate. Cons: Needs to be charged, slippery feeling on screen that takes some getting used to. More Info: http://www.adonit.net/jot/dash/

Where to buy: http://www.amazon.com/Adonit-Jot-Dash-Precision-To...

Active Styli:

Wacom Intuos Creative Stylus (the original)

When Wacom first released the Intuos Creative Stylus for the iPad it was a big deal. Finally a pressure sensitive stylus for the iPad, and from Wacom no less. At $75-100 it was expensive, but two yeas later this stylus is selling around $25, making it a great buy. Wacom has since updated to the Wacom Intuos Creative Stylus 2 which works great with older iPads, but has struggled to be compatible with the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini4. The Wacom Intuos Creative Stylus once again shows Wacoms expertise in the field of digitized pens and capitalizes on the ergonomics from its line of styli for Inutos and Citniq tablets making it feel great in the hand. Bluetooth is easy to setup and the Bamboo app is a great companion app on the iPad. While uMake doesn’t support pressure sensitivity I really like this stylus simply for how nice it feels in use, and for how the tip feels on screen even though it is a fat tip. In addition, the Intuos creative stylus comes with a nice travel case complete with two extra nibs, a battery holder and a place for the stylus. If you want to try a pressure sensitive stylus but don’t want to pay a lot, grab one of these soon. Pros: Wacom ergonomics and great build quality, cool travel case, long lasting nibs, easy to connect, works nicely with other apps. Cons: Fat tip, goes through batteries quickly. Where to buy: http://www.amazon.com/Wacom-Intuos-Creative-Stylus...

Pencil by 53

If you have not tried the Pencil by 53, you should. It is a fantastic piece of design, and a wonderful little stylus. For $50 it is easily worth it’s weight in wood or aluminum. 53 Got so much of this right, and it works absolutely wonderful with their companion app, Paper by 53. Built out of sustainably sourced walnut or extruded aluminum, the Pencil takes its design from flat carpenter pencils and feels great in the hands. 53 was quite clever and put a magnet in its body so that the Pencil will stick to a smart cover of your iPad for easy carrying. The tips last a long time, and are inexpensive and easy to replace. The Pencil works great with uMake, glides across the screen with a smooth feel that despite a big rubber tip, is not too sticky. If you are looking for a great stylus that works well in uMake, and great with other apps, you really should check out the Pencil by 53. Pros: Great in hand feel, easy to travel with, brilliant classic design, inexpensive easily replaceable tips, great to use with other apps. Cons: Fat tip. Where to buy:http://www.amazon.com/Pencil-FiftyThree-Digital-St...

More Info: http://www.fiftythree.com/pencil

Adonit Jot Touch

The Adonit Jot touch doesn’t work so well with uMake, however it is on this list as several uMake users have asked about a good pressure sensitive stylus to use in apps like Procreate, and the Jot Touch is just that stylus. As one of the smartest styli out there, once the Jot touch has been paired with a device in an app like Procreate, it turns on when the compatible app is launched and saves power by turning off when not in use or the app has been closed. The Jot touch was not compatible with the iPad Air 2 for a very long time, but through some amazing wizardry from Adonit, they were able to create a fix and now the stylus works well well with the iPad Air 2. It is well built, and feels nice in the hand, and the battery lasts a long time. The Pixelpoint technology means that the Jot Touch has a tip that is only 1.9mm thick, making it very accurate and easy to use. One of the best options for current iPad owners who are seeking an advanced stylus with a great team behind it. Pros: Well built, accurate pressure sensitivity, fine point tip with Pixelpoint technology, great with many drawing apps. Cons: Doesn’t work well with uMake (needs to connect to an app that supports it first) can sometimes disconnect mid drawing. More Info: http://www.adonit.net/jot/touch/

Where to buy: http://www.amazon.com/Adonit-Pixelpoint-Pressure-S...

Posted on

November 17, 2015

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