The Tablet Stylus Shootout

Tech Test Lab Review

Being the type of person who likes to "paint" and "sketch" on my tablet I knew that the right stylus would make all the difference. After a bit of research I gathered together 7 stylus options and compared them side-by-side. Here are my findings and my two-cents on which stylus is right for each task.

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Maglus: This stylus from Applydea was the one I was the most eager to get my hands on after reading a review on it from The Verge. Shaped like a carpenter's pencil and magnetic, it stays flush against the Apple SmartCase, SmartCover and the Moshi Versa.

While the tip is a bit softer than I like, I loved holding the stylus, it has just the right amount of weight and it feels like a real, well crafted tool. The stylus has a replaceable tip and after using it heavily for some time I am in no danger of needing to replace the tip anytime soon. Longer than most styli, it's a solid choice for those who want to sketch and write. This is the stylus I recommend the most for those who want to use it with Paper to take notes and it's the one I find myself using almost every day. $32.41

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Cosmonaut: Although not as thin as some other stylus options, I continue to return time after time to this stylus from Studio Neat. The weight is perfect and the stylus is one solid unit, no little tip to smoosh or break. Because of the design of the stylus I find it very easy to use and it's one I recommend to parents of young children who want them to practice handwriting on the iPad. It's roughly the same shape as a dry erase board marker, or a chunky crayon, which makes it's easier for young children to transition from this to a tool for paper and it's much hardier than many of the other options out there. $25

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SuperStylus: After falling in love with the Cosmonaut, I wanted to compare it to other wider styli out there to see if what I loved about the Cosmonaut was the width. This stylus from M-Edge has a similar girth to the Cosmonaut and was created specifically for the younger set. It's a nice long stylus that boast a rubber grip making it easy for tiny fingers to hold onto. It was not right for me as I did not like the tip, so I gave it to some young friends to try. They preferred the Cosmonaut as it was "not kiddie-ish," "looked cooler," and "felt real." My testers were aged 4, 6, and 10. $19.99

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Sensū: As someone with a huge amount of love for the Fresh Paint app on Windows 8 touchscreen devices, I knew I had to try a stylus that had a brush. The Sensū was the most appealing of the options and when not using it as a brush you can flip the brush portion over and use it as a traditional stylus giving you the best of both worlds. Because I love to "paint" on both the Windows 8 Slate and the iPad, this is a stylus you'll almost always find with me if I have one of those devices on hand. If you're looking for a stylus that's also a brush, I highly recommend the Sensū. $39.99

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Emote: Another double duty stylus, the Emote from Arctic is one part stylus, one part pen. Thankfully the stylus portion is replaceable as the tip does not seem to be as heavy duty as the TruGlide or Maglus. I prefer a stiffer stylus point and so the Emote does not receive top marks from me although the pen element is convenient. The 4 design options are also quite fun and I wish that I liked drawing and writing with this stylus more. $21.95

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TruGlide: Unlike many of the other styli listed here, this stylus from Lynktec has a microfibre tip. The tip makes the stylus an easy one to glide with and while I do prefer a stiffer point, I found the stylus quite easy to use especially when sketching. The design of the tip also means that it is quite hardy and will not need to be replaced as frequently as the malleable rubber tips. Clocking in as the most inexpensive stylus I tried, it's a great value and is a solid call for those looking for a quality stylus on a budget. $15.95

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Architect: This stylus from Arctic originally caught my eye due to its length. With the cap screwed on this stylus is only slightly shorter than the average pen which makes it quite a bit longer than the typical stylus that many tote. The aluminium body is also quite nice and having a cap is good for preventing the tip to get damaged when you toss it in your bag. Sadly though while I quite liked the way that the stylus looked, I did not enjoy writing or drawing with it as the tip was too malleable for my preferences. Everyone's taste is different, but I find that the more malleable a stylus tip is the less accurate I am able to write or draw. In my book, malleability is a plus when it comes to painting but not drawing or writing. $22.95

Final Thoughts:

Finding the right stylus really depends on how you want to use it. While there are many inferior options out there, there are also some excellent ones and a quality, well-matched to what you're working on, stylus makes a huge difference. I had thought for years that using a stylus was a bit ridiculous but after trying several and falling head over heels for a few, I have done a complete 180 and am almost never without one.

Pick for Writing: Maglus
Pick for Sketching: Tie between TruGlide or Cosmonaut
Pick for Painting: Sensū
Pick for Kids: Cosmonaut

(Images: Joelle Alcaidinho)

Apartment Therapy Media makes every effort to test and review products fairly and transparently. The views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and this particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf. These specific products were provided by the manufacturer for testing and review purposes.

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Main, Tech, Peripherals, Tablets

Joelle loves technology and making things and is in an almost perpetual state of problem solving. She's quite fond of airplanes and coffee and is pretty sure she will eventually read all of the books in her library.

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