Handwriting notes on the iPad is something I typically avoid due to the lack of fluency, accuracy and the large size writing it produces. With most fine tipped styluses costing more than $ 50, I decided I could live without trying out the fine tipped styluses to produce handwritten notes on my device. As the iPad and other mobile devices becomes more and more a part of daily life I thought I would explore styluses are currently available and how they work. Price, however continued to be a factor when trialing fine tipped styluses, at least for my type of use.
Searching for fine tipped styluses found two different kinds, the standard stylus (no batteries or Wi-Fi connectivity) and Active Styluses. The Active styluses typically have batteries or require charging and may also have Bluetooth or Wi-Fi capabilities. Active styluses are typically more expensive and used by graphic design folks. They are not reviewed in this post due to their cost.
Fine Tip Styluses
Checking out prior reviews seemed to reveal some consistent names on the “Best Stylus” lists. I was able to test some of these out from past and recent purchase. Here are those I trialed:
Adonit Jot Mini – This stylus is touch screen compatible for iPad/iPhone, Windows and Android devices (14.99-19.99). I found it slightly more responsive on my Galaxy Tab S than on my iPad. Slowing my handwriting speed aided production of the handwriting, seemingly allowing it more time to register. The faster I wrote, there appeared to be parts of letters missed. The tip is a nib, a plastic disc with metal center that attached to the stylus. Replaceable nibs are available.
The comparison was also affected by use of the pencil tool on the Galaxy Tab, making it look a little less clear than the iPad due to the choice of writing tool. Actual writing on the Galaxy Tab S was faster using the Jot Mini, perhaps because it is a touch screen and not capacitive screen as is on the iPad. The pen was comfortable to use and also could be used at a natural writing angle (approximately 30º). Like most tools, it would take a little bit of time to get used to for best results. I have no reservations using this pen for drawing or note taking on the iPad or Android tablet.
Adonit Jot Pro – similar to the Jot Mini, but larger (29.99) and uses the clear disk fine tip. It’s shaft has a magnet to secure the stylus to your device. Review and ratings from a number of websites ( Lifehacker.com ; iGeeksblog )rate is as one of the best. Reviewer on the Wirecutter.com sites the Adonit Jot Pro as the best fine tip stylus.
I did not trial this stylus, but assume that it is as good or better than the Jot Mini Stylus reviewed above.
The Friendly Swede Thin Tipped Stylus (9.99) was another stylus option reviewed on the iGeeksblog.com as a “Best Thin tip iPad Stylus” . I have used these styluses for selection and playing some games. The bonus is they have replaceable tips . I Handwriting trial with this stylus on the iPad found less than consistent production of handwriting, skipping periodically with the tip collapsing. It was better however than the trials with the TruGlide (below). This stylus did work more consistently on my Android device than iPad.
Lynktec TruGlide stylus was also reviewed as a recommended fine tip stylus on other websites. Recent purchase of this stylus for review found a different experience from those review on Lifehacker.com. I could not hold the stylus at a natural writing angle to make contact and produce writing on my iPad. Handwriting was very inconsistently produced whether writing fast or slow. Holding it vertical allow me to write on my iPad – how functional it that ? Good for pointing and activating – not for writing. I hope to return it.
The Glidex stylus (4.99 for 2) with mesh tip was not a reviewed stylus by any of the website. Trial of this stylus for comparison with the Lynktec and Friendly Swede found it requires little pressure and consistently produced handwriting on both my iPad and Galaxy using S Note and Notability apps. I was able to write holding the stylus at an angle natural for handwriting without skipping or repositioning for production. It does have a wider stylus tip, but choosing a narrow writing line helped reduce the size of the handwriting somewhat. When I used the magnified writing guide in both Notability and S Note apps, my handwriting reduced in size significantly and offered a guard when resting my hand on the screen.
More Stylus Choices
A few more styluses with fine point clear disk tips are available with price points from 9.99 – 16.99 + and good reviews. They are similar to the Jot Mini but were not trialed.
Musemee Notier Stylus – Fine tip stylus with clear disk tip (16.99). Replacement tips are available. Seems to be very similar to the Adonit Jot Mini and Jot Pro with price point slightly higher. Reviews are good and similar to the ratings of the Adonit styluses.
Emerging on the market are those with batteries. I hesitate using a stylus that requires recharging or batteries as there seems too many mobile device things that need a charge to work. The key here is mobile, when you are a practitioner that is mobile and need it to work on the spot, checking battery levels, having the right cord or specific batteries to power tools is just too much- unless you are dependent on it. This new stylus, battery operated, called the Nota Ultrafine (59.99), reports battery life for months. A lower price point and this might be worth check out !
The Verdict – My Favorites:
Of those trialed, my two favorite styluses were the Adonit Jot Mini (14.99) for very refined drawing or writing. For a less expensive stylus, the Glidex stylus ( 4.99 for 2) with standard sized tip, consistent production and little pressure required is my second choice of styluses to write with.
I would consider recommending the Glidex stylus for elementary students and older for its price, consistency with production at appropriate writing positions.
What do you use? Have any note writing styluses you recommend?