Bamboo Stylus Solo for iPad: Almost Perfect

| In-Depth Review

There are two products in the Wacom Bamboo Stylus family, the solo and the duo. The duo comes apart to also function as a ballpoint pen. This review is of the solo model that serves only as a stylus.

Overview

The solo comes in six colors: charcoal, white and pastel colors of blue, green, pink and orange. The tip is 6 mm in diameter and the pen is 121 mm long, about 4-3/4 -inches. I like the pens with the smaller tip, although I’ve found that the software seems to control the width of pen strokes. I surmise that a smaller tip is capable of finer lines in principle, but I don’t have technical proof yet.

Bamboo -1

The Bamboo solo is about 4-3/4 inches long.

The Bamboo is the best constructed stylus I’ve looked at, and it has the best feel. It’s longer than the Rocketfish stylus (by 0.25 in) and the Kuel H10 (by 0.75 in), and that made a big difference for me. I just don’t like short styluses, and I would actually prefer that the Bamboo were a little longer to balance better in my hand, much like a hefty and well balanced metal fountain pen.

I asked Wacom about that, and my technical representative mentioned that in one sense, it’s a concession to mobility.  But there may certainly be people like me who use the stylus around the office and would gladly trade travel economy for the feel of a finely crafted pen, perhaps 130 mm long.

My favorite so far, in terms length is the Griffin Stylus + Laser, which I received for Christmas, based on Nancy Gravely’s recommendation. However, because it has a laser, battery, and a ballpoint pen, it’s also a bit on the heavy side (1.65 oz. 46 grams). Plus it has the larger 8 mm tip. So I’ve found myself using the Bamboo almost exclusively which weighs in at just under 0.66 oz., 19 grams.  Important to note is that the nib is replaceable — a 3-pack is about US$5. Because of the craftmanship, this stylus virtually invites me to enjoy using it, much more so than other styluses which, while fine products, left me feeling cold to them.

Packaging

This stylus comes in very handsome packaging, designed to protect and present in the store. I like the thinking that if the product is well made and exhibits quality, the packaging should make the same statement. Inside is a small booklet written in many languages. The information provided is sparse, but it does give the developer a chance to point out issues related to the feel on protective screens as well as provide some specifications.

Bamboo-2

The packaging befits the product.

The booklet also reminds the user that the clip is removable. Note that there is a small notch that keeps the clip from falling off after the cap is removed. That’s a nice touch, so be aware of that, and make sure the notch is aligned before you try to remove the clip. I think the mechanics and threading there are superb.

Bamboo -3Clip disassembly. Note the notch mentioned in the text.

Testing

What distinguishes this stylus from others is the length and feel, the two-tone design, the beautiful, multiple pastel colors, the industrial focus (no fussing with lanyards), the removable clip, the quality of the machining and the packaging.

I spent a lot of time with this stylus as I reviewed Noteshelf for iPad, and it always felt natural. In fact, I hate to say this, and Steve Jobs, if he were with us, would roll his eyes, but once you start using a finely crafted stylus as a tool with the iPad, it’s rather addictive.

Of course, if I were on travel, I’d probably take a less expensive stylus or none at all. But around my office or sitting in my recliner, without concern over losing it*, I tend to gravitate towards using this stylus in preference to my finger. And it keeps the display cleaner.

Do I Recommend it?

I do and whole-heartedly. The higher cost compared to the other styluses I reviewed seems justified. So when a stylus feels this good and is this well made, it has the effect of inviting you to use it more often. That’s exactly what I plan to do. But if it were 25 mm longer, I personally wouldn’t mind.

_______________

* It’s too big for our cats to steal.

Product: Stylus solo

Company: Wacom

List Price: US$29.99

Pros:

Good length and feel, two-tone design, beautiful, multiple pastel colors, good industrial focus (no fussing with lanyards), well machined, a removable clip, nice packaging, replaceable nib.

Cons:

Note noted.

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Comments

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

I went to order a few of these on Amazon for Mother’s Day giftlets. In the search results, I found an Amazon Basics stylus for $12.88. Then in related products for that, I found a box of 14 in varying colors and sized for $16, with Amazon Prime shipping and 5 stars on 112 reviews. At $30, the Wacom better be really damned good.

John Martellaro

That Amazon stylus is only 4.1 inches long. Too short for me. And 2.4 oz??

barryotoole

I agree with you, John. The Bamboo Solo is the best stylus I have, and is a joy to use. Like you, I do wish it was an inch longer, the tip a bit smaller , and have a little more weight, say 25g, like a solid, high quality pen.

I backed two projects on Kickstarter, the Adonit Jot Pro and Cosmonaut. The jot pro is about 1.5cm longer when you screw the protective cap on the other end. It is equally well constructed. What I don’t like about it is that it has no pocket clip - which makes it roll easily as well, and the nib is a small circular plastic disc.

The Cosmonaut is also made well, and is intended to look and feel like a fat crayon. However, the response on the touchscreen is not very good. In addition, both these styli are easy to lose, because they cannot be clipped on to a pocket.

What the Wacom rep told you is a bunch of horseradish. There is now way a slightly heavier and longer stylus would hinder mobility.

Winski

There’s kinda a gotcha with this stylus… The ‘nib’ is replaceable and WILL wear out before the one-year warranty. WACOM has added a new classification to their ‘nib’... It’s considered ‘replaceable’, and is NOT covered by that warranty. BUT, you can buy a package of 3 (THREE) off their web-store for $4.95 plus shipping.

Not bad if you consider other Styli DO NOT have replaceable nibs…

serandip

I have used three different styluses (Bamboo, Pogo, and Griffin).  I have taken over 200 pages of notes, during the past year, (NoteShelf) during my teaching activities.  The Bamboo is by far the best.  Very nice smooth writing.  However, the nib tends to wear off rather quickly.  My Bamboo nib broke (started tearing from one side) after 3 months and had to go back to the Pogo since I have not had the time to order the replacement nibs yet.  Time to get some nibs.

vpndev

Note that there is a small notch that keeps the clip from falling off after the cap is removed.

The purpose of the notch is actually to stop the clip from turning. If it were able to turn it would, sooner or later, cause the cap to unscrew and fall off.

Careful attention to detail.

shelltops

you should consider spellchecking your articles for professional integrity

‘enjoy’ only has one “j”

Jason

I purchased the Adonit Jot Pro and have to say was very impressed for the first week.  Since then, the performance has dropped considerably to the point that it makes note taking impossible.  The like skips every time you lift and place the stylus back on the glass. I am very disappointed.

I have moved back to my $2 Chinese stylus that performs consistenly better than the Jot Pro.

Can anyone compare the Jot Pro with the Bamboo?

Thanks!


Jason

barryotoole

@Jason: see my comments above. I’ve used both, and Bamboo is much better.

Jason

Thanks - did you have problems with your Jot skipping too?

I’m working with their support team now - they seem to point the problem to the stylus not being optimized for the 3G iPad.

I do want to give the Bamboo a go.

Thanks!


Jason

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Not being optimized for the 3g iPad? That is corporate support speak. Get a refund. If the $2 model that sells like Chiclets on Amazon does the job, why on earth would you use a $30 model that doesn’t?

Dendronotus

I had the same problem with the Jot Pro. Then I heard it helps to remove the disc, blow out the socket, then reattach by placing it on a flat surface and pushing the ball back in. Also a small dab of conductive grease may help. Both methods worked great for me. Haven’t had an issue for the last few months with daily use.

Dimi Pernalonga

i just received the wacom bamboo solo and i m really dissapointed as needs much pressure to write or draw and the bic crystal stylus is much better with only 2€...

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