Styluses for iPads & iPhones: Summary of Reviews

Over the last few years, The Mac Observer has reviewed many different styluses for Apple's iDevices -- or any capacitive touch screen, in fact. Here’s a summary of those reviews, the ratings and prices, all in one spot for handy references. We’ll update this summary as new stylus reviews are published. Each summary, in order of date published, starts with a link to the full review at TMO, and the manufacturer’s or reviewer's photo is below it.

1. Pogo Sketch Stylus [Updated], 5 May 2010, rated 3.5/5 (Solid), $14.95. One of the first styluses designed for the iPad era, it has a tip material that looks like sponge. The sponge tip offers some resistance on the iPad’s display, so it takes a little bit of time to get used to since it doesn’t feel the same as tapping and swiping with your finger. Occasionally, movement would not register. The reviewer was was concerned that the tip, glued on, might fail. All in all, as an alternative to finger-based navigation, the reviewer felt that the Pogo Sketch falls short.

2. For The Multitasker: Griffin’s Stylus + Pen + Laser Pointer, 20 September 2011, rated 4/5 (Great), $49.99. A combination red laser, ballpoint pen and stylus, all put together very cleverly. It's just slightly more than 5-inches long, has a pocket clip, has a nice heft as well as a great satin feel. It's attractive and professional looking and makes a great gift. Battery included. Highly recommended.

3. Mediadevil's Magicwand Stylus Has A Twist, 24 January 2012, rated 4/5 (Great), $12.73. The reviewer, a woman, liked this somewhat short 4.5-inch stylus whose tip glides smoothly across the display. Includes a pocket clip and a removable lanyard that can be plugged into the earphone socket to keep the stylus both secure and handy. But that feature wasn't particularly convenient for an iPhone. It's well crafted and inexpensive.

Rocketfish Stylus for iPad: The Long and Short, 13 April 2012, rated 3/5 (Solid), US$16.99. The Rockefish Stylus appears perfect, but it wasn't for the reviewer. At 4.5-inches, it was just too short, and that missing length made all the difference in the world. It might be perfect for a child, but the reviewer's opinion was is that an adult male will find it just a bit frustrating compared to a well balanced, right-sized ballpoint pen-like stylus in the 5-inch or greater range. Recommended with reservations.

6. Kuel H10 Stylus for iPad: Not so Cool as a Pen, 16 April 2012, rated 3/5 (Solid), $12.99. This stylus continues the unfortunate tradition of not being like a well balanced ballpoint pen. When the extension is deployed, it’s even shorter than the Rocketfish stylus (4-inches). Positives: the grip is nicely textured, not too grippy, and there are many attractive colors. Finally, this is not a very expensive stylus, as things go, so one might very well use this compact stylus on travel to conserve space or minimize the worry-factor.

7. Bamboo Stylus Solo for iPad: Almost Perfect, 7 May 2012, rated 4.5/5 (Great), $29.99. Thus stylus features high quality construction, a great feel, and is almost 5 inches long. It also has good heft and feel. The pocket clip is well engineered and removable, a feature not seen on most if not all other styluses. It's worth the extra cost and has consistently set the bar for rubber nib styluses. Highly recommended.

8. Kuel H12 Stylus for iPad: Almost Perfect, 23 May 2012, rated 4/5 (Great), $19.99. This stylus is five inches long and looks more like a quality ballpoint pen and features a retractable nib. It's 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. That detracts from the nice feel of heft. The pocket clip doesn't have the same build quality as the Bamboo, but then it's $10 less expensive.

9. Kensington Virtuoso Stylus & Pen: a 2-in-1 Solution, 1 June 2012, rated 3.5/5 (Solid), $29.99. This hybrid product comes in a glossy black or silver. The ballpoint extends with a rotation of the top, and the nib is where would find an eraser if it were a mechanical pencil. The clip is embedded into the cap, a cheaper design than the elegant Bamboo. Features a replaceable ball point cartridge, but the nib is not. A decent choice for a business person who doesn’t use a stylus very often, but wants one handy just in case.

10. Targus Stylus: Inexpensive, No-frills & Colorful, 9 July 2012, rated 3/5 (Solid) $14.95. A no-frills, basic stylus for a no-frills price. The perfect cylinder feels good and the finish is nice, but the clip is cheap and the nib is not replaceable. Decent as a backup stylus that can be used for travel. No pain if lost or broken. Similar to #3 & #5 above.

11. GoSmart Stylus Duo: a Technical Leap Forward, 31 July 2012, rated 4.5/5 (Great), $24.95. This new family of styluses advances the state of the art in stylus tips (nibs) by using a stainless steel filament as the tip assembly. The steel is impregnated with Teflon all the way through, so it’s not a surface treatment that will eventually wear away. Plus, in terms of hardness, the steel that’s used is not as hard as the Gorilla glass, so it can't scratch. Comes in several versions, plain and rocket style with or without magnets to hold to the iPad. It's a fabulous technology, but a bit unnerving to use compared to a rubber or microfiber nib.

12. TruGlide Duo Stylus: Microfiber, Megafabulous, 21 Aug 2012, rated 4.5/5 (Great), $39.95. This stylus comes in carbon (the color) or platinum. Its principle features are a microfiber nib instead of a rubber nib and a replaceable ballpoint pen on the other. LYNKtec claims that microfiber provides 10 times the durability of rubber, and the strongly woven microfibers eliminate dragging or skiping. Comes in a handsome gift box. It's 5.5-inches long and the heft and texture are superb as is the build quality. Highly recommended.

13. LYNKtec TruGlide Stylus: Perfect for iPad mini, 8 November 2012, rated 4.5/5 (Great), $15.95. The smaller sibling of the TruGlide Duo Stylus from LYNKtec. It doesn't have a ballpoint pen, and it's only 4.6-inches long. But the built quality is decent, and it's a perfect companion stylus for the iPad mini or an iPhone. It's almost the same weight and size as the Bamboo, but doesn't have as nice a pocket clip. But the microfiber tip is a serious plus. In any case, it's inexpensive enough to have as a second stylus -- a better choice than other styluses at the same price.

14. NewerTech NuScribe Stylus: Slim, Elegant & Low Price, 19 February 2013, rated 4/5 (Great), $9.00. A slender 2-in-1 ballpoint pen plus rubber nib stylus. Has a replaceable (Cross refill) pen. Well crafted, but some may not care for the stylus part to be on the top, next to the pocket clip. Made of copper, comes in aluminum or pink color.  Temporary price reduction makes it an excellent value.


15. TruGlide Pro Stylus: Smaller Microfiber, Magafabulous, 30 April 2013, rated 4.5/5 (Great), $29.99. With a great feel and balance in the hand, a 5 mm microfiber tip that's replaceable, available in two color schemes, and some high quality construction, this stylus is hard to beat. The only drawback, according to the reviewer:  it's only 4.5 inches long. However, that may be long enough for many. "The TruGlide Pro is not inexpensive -- priced the same as the Wacom Bamboo Solo. However, if you want a quality instrument to pair with your prized iPad or iPad mini, and you don't need lasers and ballpoints, this stylus is a great choice... It exudes quality."

16. LYNKtec TruGlide Paintbrush Tip. 4 September 2013, rated 4.5/5 (Great), $14.95.  This is a replaceable tip for the original Pro stylus barrel. It's not pressure sensitive, and it doesn't afford finer lines when drawing. Instead, it simulates the traditional soft brush experience that artists appreciate.