In a continuing series of reviews, I’ve been looking at styluses for iOS devices, primarily an iPad, from the perspective of handling and feel. The SPIGEN Kuel H12 stylus, like the previously reviewed Wacom Bamboo, is almost perfect. But not quite.
The Kuel H12 comes in three colors: white, black and silver. The nib is 6 mm in diameter, fairly standard. By rotating the top of the pen, the nib is retracted. However, SPIGEN is not offering replacement nibs at this time.
Kuel H12 (top) compared to Wacom Bamboo
With the nib extended, the pen is almost exactly 5 inches (127 mm), which is very pleasing for me. I like a long stylus that holds like a fountain pen. The H12 weighs in at 0.65 oz. (19 grams).
This is almost exactly the same weight as the Wacom Bamboo stylus, previously reviewed, but because the H12 is slightly longer and fatter, it feels less dense. I didn’t like that and preferred the heft, the apparent feeling of density, of the Bamboo. Nevertheless, the developer noticed that I was yearning for a 130 mm stylus built like a fountain pen and eagerly sent me an H12, in each color, for review. I got my wish.
The H12 comes in a nice cardboard box with a foam insert to protect the stylus and keep it positioned in the window — so you can verify the color. There is nothing else in the package.
The packaging is smart, always a clue to the developer’s pride in product.
I’ve been using the H12 for five days now, mostly on my iPad, and I’ve grown to like it a lot. The surface is a satin finish, smooth yet not too slippery. The length, finally, is perfect for me. I’m skeptical about the need for a retractable nib, but that’s because I leave it laying around the office. If one were traveling with it, a retractable nib would provide some protection.
Rotating clockwise (from the top) extends the nib, but of you unscrew the top counter-clockwise, the pen comes apart. Since there are no replacement nibs, it wasn’t clear at first what’s going on. The developer explained:
Technically, the stylus tip is replaceable. The only issue is that we do not sell the replaceable tips separately. Just like most regular twist pens, the option to refill or replace the ink is there, but it is probably more convenient to purchase a new pen altogether.”
I’m not sure how I feel about a stylus with a contour compared to a slender cylinder, like some cheap ballpoint pens. Right now, I think I like the rounded shape of a stylus that feels like a fountain pen.
One of the things that I noticed about the H12 is that the clip just doesn’t have the same engineering quality as the Wacom Bamboo. The Bamboo has a brushed metal clip that folds around and looks very sturdy. The H12 has a shiny clip that’s been squeezed into shape. It may have the same durability, but it doesn’t appear to have the same level of quality.
As mentioned above, there are currently no replacement nibs, but the developer told me that they’re working on that. Also, unlike the Bamboo, the clip isn’t removable.
Close-up of clips, Bamboo on left, H12 on right.
Do I Recommend it?
I do. For those who want a longer stylus in the shape of a fine pen with a retractable tip, this is a good choice. I liked it a great deal more than the Kuel H10, which I admit, I now carry in my guide pack in case some restaurant hands me an iPad as a menu (yccch).
So which is my favorite? I can’t say yet. I use both as the spirit moves me. I like the features of the Bamboo, in principle, but it’s also $10 more expensive. So that plays into any recommendation. The apparent quality and additional features justify that, however. And while the Bamboo is only 6 mm shorter, it seems to make a difference. Five inches is a pen. Anything less feels odd to me. The bottom line is that I’ll be using both for awhile. So … my recommendation is, if you can afford it, why not have two styluses? One for home and one for the office.