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Stylus Comparison

JotPro+
JotPro

JotPro

Krista Blazier

Krista Blazier

JotPro

Krista Blazier, Features Editor

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You have such pretty handwriting in all of your notebooks, but for some odd reason, it looks like you let a 2-year-old scribble in Notability whenever you try form letters on your iPad. Sound familiar? For some, the transition from pen and paper to iPad is still a bit challenging, especially in the note-taking department. However, with the right stylus, maybe you can get your legibility back.

From using your fingertips to more “high-end” styluses, usability varies. User-friendly instruments enable the transition from traditional note-taking to be a bit more
comfortable, and allow handwriting to appear as legible as on paper.

If you have ever used your fingers to do more than simply tap and scroll on a touch screen, you have most likely noticed that precision is difficult to obtain; there is a slight discomfort in the position required to write and hands eventually begin to cramp if writing for too long. Not to mention an inevitable, uncomfortable drag. But on the bright side, if you do lose or forget to bring your stylus someday, you have an easy, available and free tool to utilize that will, in the end, work out just fine.

But, perhaps you would rather use something a little more advanced and easier on your hands. Starting with the most basic type of stylus available for purchase, simple plastic “pens” with round silicone tips are available almost everywhere (like here), some even selling for less than $1. In terms of usability, they are definitely a step up from using only your finger, but not a big one. Writing feels a bit more natural as though you are using a pen, but with a soft tip.

While being accessible and affordable, inexpensive silicone-tipped styluses also have some considerable disadvantages. Due to their affordability, they do not always last long. Plastic breaks fairly easily and the tips tend to fall off. Depending on the size of the tip, accuracy varies. Since the tip is not fine, words may seem spaced out due to difficult navigation. Drag is still quite noticeable, so if fluidity is something you really want in a stylus, you may not want to buy one so basic.

An example of a popular, and a bit more expensive stylus, similar to the basic silicon-tipped one is the Maglus (original) stylus by Applydea (available here). This stylus also uses a silicone tip, but provides the option to swap these out for separately purchased tips such as the microfibre tip and paintbrush tip. The stylus sells for $35.99 with various, interchangeable tips ranging in price from around $8-$12, also available for purchase on the Maglus website.

Maglus Tips

Photo by Krista Blazier
Maglus Tips

The body of the stylus is metal rather than plastic, and flat and wide, as opposed to the typical round form of the stylus. This helps the stylus to sit still on your desk rather than annoyingly roll around. It also features magnets on both of the wider sides of it so that it can stick to the front of an iPad for safekeeping.

When I put the different tips to the test, I found the silicone tip on this stylus to be better than that of the generic, inexpensive kind, but it still caused drag and limited precision. Though it was not incredibly accurate, it was a pretty decent stylus and writing with it was fairly manageable.

Maglus

Photo by Krista Blazier
Maglus

The paintbrush tip was difficult to write letters with, as it had to be held at an angle in order to create precise lines. If you are looking to use a stylus for tapping and writing purposes, this tip is not the best option. For the tasks of scrolling and drawing horizontal lines, this tip had great fluidity and no drag. It is definitely targeted more for artistic uses, though it is still fairly difficult to use to paint or doodle with complete fluidity (without any practice). This tip proved to be the most difficult to master.

The microfibre tip was quite accurate; there was very little drag and delay time, and it was very sensitive to touch. However, if you are not used to a very fluid stylus, this tip might take some getting used to. In addition, it requires a little stronger pressing-down in order to write. The issue of spacing is still prevalent due to the wide tip. However, in my case, this tip made my writing the most legible, like it would be with pen and paper.

If you prefer a more precise, pen-like stylus, the Adonit Jot Pro is probably one of your better options. It sells for $29.99 (available here) and resembles a ballpoint pen with a plastic disk at the tip. The small tip really helps to improve precision and spacing issues, but, like a pen, requires that you push down on the screen pretty forcefully. In addition, this stylus is pretty sensitive to touch, which can prove to be both a benefit and a drawback. When I testing it, I found that it is also a bit noisier due to its plastic tip, and it tends to skip over a few letters if you write too quickly. It definitely takes some getting used to writing with. However, in terms of being most pen-like, this stylus wins.

JotPro

Photo by Krista Blazier
JotPro

“It’s the best for quick note-taking thanks to its precision tip, which allows for quick and small writing. Instead of the slightly unnatural feeling of a rubber tip on glass, the Jot Pro is akin to a pen on paper. It also feels good in the hand, even after extended use,” says a review from The Wirecutter, a technology review website. The Jot Pro seemingly tackles many of the problems addressed by consumers.

Hopefully, finding a stylus that suits your needs will improve your electronic penmanship. Or maybe you didn’t have good handwriting to begin with. Either way, the right stylus can truly ease the transition from the world of hard to electronic copies, so make an informed choice.

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Stylus Comparison