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iPad Stylus Query

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In yesterday’s post about my 4-month experiences with the iPad I mentioned I had ordered another stylus or two (I know right, the dreaded stylus, I’m such a FAIL). GBM reader Gerardo asked in the comments which ones. I’ll list both of them below, along with the three I’ve tried and worked with.

First the three I’ve tried and worked with.

At the moment I stick mostly with the Pogo Sketch because it Inks the smoothest on the iPad. That said, it’s soft conductive foam tip makes control difficult in some instances. But given my quick and dirty note taking style the Pogo Sketch works better than the other alternative I use which is…

The Milano Stylus. I had high hopes for this stylus because of its stiffer and more pointed tip. While it works well, the pressure you need to use to lay down Ink is more than I like for quick note taking. The pointed tip is deceptive, as it makes you think you can use that pointed tip for control, but you still need to put the entire surface of the tip on the screen. I use this occasionally and the recent update to Penultimate makes it easier to do so, but I find it lacking for the reasons I’ve stated above.

The Dagi Stylus. This is a unique approach to a stylus. Instead of conductive foam, there’s a plastic sphere at the end of a metal and plastic holder. There’s a little red dot on that sphere that aims you at where you want to place your input. Sad to say, this stylus just doesn’t work in my hands. I find it awkward and cumbersome and even with Penultimate’s wrist protection it doesn’t allow me to accomplish my note taking. In the picture below you can see that I’m not good at using the Dagi Stylus to lay down Ink.

The two I’ve recently ordered are:

The Boxwave Apple iPad Capacitive Stylus and the Soft Touch Stylus. I’ll be posting my thoughts once I’ve received them and given them a shot.

If any GBM customers use other styli, let us know. They might be worth me giving them a try.

Warner Crocker is a professional theatre director, producer and playwright and also a Tablet PC enthusiast. He is also a Microsoft MVP for Tablet PCs. Send email to Warner. You can follow him on Twitter or Google+

14 Comments

  1. wraith808

    07/28/2010 at 10:50 am

    A little bit of a tangent from this- as you seem to be gravitating towards your iPad as a tablet rather than a media consumption device, what do you find compelling about the iPad over a slate tablet? I was about to buy a tablet, but then I saw a comparison of the TC1100 and the iPad. Of course it was written to troll the iPad, but that aside, I started to wonder about why I wanted the iPad, and if the TC1100 (a much less expensive alternative) would work. I decided to try it, and am chronicling that on my blog. But I wondered if you’d checked into that before.

  2. Warner Crocker

    07/28/2010 at 10:56 am

    I’m a big tc1100 fan. Used it, loved it. Don’t own one now. I wouldn’t say I’m gravitating towards the iPad over a Tablet but I’m forcing myself to see if it is doable. I still rely on my Tablet PC to do a lot of heavy lifting.

  3. Andrew Beery

    07/28/2010 at 11:01 am

    I have both a tablet and the iPad but I’m finding I use the iPad more… unless I have serious note taking to do… then I move to the Tablet (HP TX2000)… I’ve really wanted to use the iPad for inking and Penultimate comes close… wish it had character recognition. As far as pens go… why in the world do they all need to be so short? Why can’t anybody make a normal pen – length stylus for the iPad?

  4. Gerardo

    07/28/2010 at 11:30 am

    Thank you very much for sharing your findings. It seems that the Boxwave stylus is the one to get, but I’ll wait for your review before buying one.

  5. dstrauss

    07/28/2010 at 12:22 pm

    I’ve got the boxwave, and am becoming pretty adept at using the Note Taker HD app by Dan Bricklin. Comes kind of naturally for an old Graffiti hand (the writing in the box thing – not the need to form letters in an specific manner) because it is still an ink note, but the output looks like regular size notes on the page – and you can quickly email a pdf of the note to an associate or specific file. Penultimate is more natural, but I don’t like the over-sized text and notes it produces.

    I’m going to give the Pogo a try just because it looks longer and a little smaller tipped – but I guess nothing will ever replace a Wacom digitizer like my HP 2730p. All that said, however, I am gravitating more and more to my iPad as a fellow pad replacement, leaving the old 2730p in the dock for heavier tasks. I just really like the small size of the iPad during a meeting.

    • Fernando

      07/30/2010 at 6:57 am

      Hmmm, I just got the boxwave and am having a very hard time with the rubbery tip not “sliding” well over the iPad screen, making it not workable for me. I’d be curious to hear what others think about the boxwave vs. the Pogo for example (which I also have and slides much better).

      I think we are still looking for something more “pointy” and that provides a bit more accuracy in the inking. Maybe it is pie in the sky…

  6. Jim

    07/28/2010 at 2:16 pm

    Check out new app noterize– just out; best iPad replacement for tablet pc for me on marking up apps w pogo. I will post more on iPad forum soon. Smooth as penultimate with ability to write on PDFs and both up and download to dropbox

    • Warner Crocker

      07/29/2010 at 7:26 am

      Jim,

      Checking it out this morning and am preparing a post on this app.

  7. MarceloR

    07/28/2010 at 8:56 pm

    Folks, El Presidente Jobso has declared that “If you see a stylus, they blew it” and “ln addition to that, all citizens will be required to change their underwear every half hour. Underwear will be worn on the outside so we can check.”

    No amount of Pogo, not an ounce of Milano nor a few drops of Dagi will give us our stylus back.

    Not on the iPad in its current state. I see only two ways to reconcile the stylus problem. One way is for Apple ( or the Jalibraking community) offering tailored APIs for alternative input — a mostly-software solution. The other way is a mostly-hardware solution utilizing the dock connector port.

    On the latter option, we could go back to the optical stylus ( light pen) which was popular some decades ago. The app generates a spot on the screen ( that can be made very small) at known positions and the pen will say “yes, it’s here” and we get (some form of) ink. Alternatively, the display could be made to display static dots as in the Anoto system and an appropriate stylus will turn that to some semblance of ink. We already know that Livescribe is releasing a USB pen with an option to connect directly to a computer and act as a tablet. So, ditch the ball-pen cartridge for a nylon point and use dots on the display directly.

    • dstrauss

      07/29/2010 at 5:36 am

      Ouch – I used my 2730p last night for some OneNote updates, and I had to marvel at how well Win7 does ink. My point being is that any work-around to make the iPad a real inking solution is going to be a FAIL because the capacitive screen just isn’t up to it. So for me (like many other causal/semi-casual users) it is coming down to convenience vs power (isn’t that always the case). It’s the form factor of the iPad that keep luring me in (it really is smaller than the screen portion only of my 2730p), while that 2730p, a real light weight by industry standards, feels like a cinder block by comparison.

      What to do, what to do? For now I’m going to keep “Pogoing” away on the iPad, and see if HP or someone else brings us the same Wacom experience on an iPad size slate. Perhaps that would be the best compromise device – use whatever power (processor and battery) you have to make a long-lived tablet that is a Wacom OneNote device as an adjunct to your real desktop or notebook. Then I can ditch the inferior stylus experience.

      I’ve been a pretty big iPad defender around here, but even with the setup I have now, I will be the first to admit that NOTHING on the iPad even comes in second place to OneNote and a Wacom digitizer. If I could rip the screen off my 2730p and have a digital notepad that would ONE BUTTON sync my notes A(as PDFs?) to my main computer, I’d be on it like a duck on a bug. Maybe, just maybe, that’s where HP will head with its Win7 enterprise slate.

      Until then, it’s iPad-Pogo/Boxwave-and Note Taker HD.

    • dstrauss

      07/29/2010 at 5:36 am

      Ouch – I used my 2730p last night for some OneNote updates, and I had to marvel at how well Win7 does ink. My point being is that any work-around to make the iPad a real inking solution is going to be a FAIL because the capacitive screen just isn’t up to it. So for me (like many other causal/semi-casual users) it is coming down to convenience vs power (isn’t that always the case). It’s the form factor of the iPad that keep luring me in (it really is smaller than the screen portion only of my 2730p), while that 2730p, a real light weight by industry standards, feels like a cinder block by comparison.

      What to do, what to do? For now I’m going to keep “Pogoing” away on the iPad, and see if HP or someone else brings us the same Wacom experience on an iPad size slate. Perhaps that would be the best compromise device – use whatever power (processor and battery) you have to make a long-lived tablet that is a Wacom OneNote device as an adjunct to your real desktop or notebook. Then I can ditch the inferior stylus experience.

      I’ve been a pretty big iPad defender around here, but even with the setup I have now, I will be the first to admit that NOTHING on the iPad even comes in second place to OneNote and a Wacom digitizer. If I could rip the screen off my 2730p and have a digital notepad that would ONE BUTTON sync my notes A(as PDFs?) to my main computer, I’d be on it like a duck on a bug. Maybe, just maybe, that’s where HP will head with its Win7 enterprise slate.

      Until then, it’s iPad-Pogo/Boxwave-and Note Taker HD.

  8. Warner Crocker

    07/30/2010 at 11:22 am

  9. PB

    08/08/2010 at 8:15 pm

    Hi Warner,

    I’ve been looking for a stylus for the iPad and was wondering if any of the stylus’s you mentioned would allow me to replace paper and pen? I’m looking to be able to take quick notes and drawings like one would on paper.

    Do the stylus’s allow one to rest their hands on the screen and write finely i.e. I don’t want the page filling up fast because the tip/text is very thick.

    I’d love to hear your feedback.

    Thanks.
    PB

  10. Anonymous

    09/10/2011 at 7:03 am

    ghkg

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