Last year, Lynktec improved on its original battery powered electronic stylus by including a rechargeable battery. TMO gave it a 5 out of 5 rating (in the old review rating system), and you should check out that review for all the technical details.
On Aug 13, Lynktec relased an improved version that's lighter, has a new nib material for a better feel and is optimized for the iPad Air 2 display, all the while retaining its compatibility with all other iOS devices.
In the previous, exhaustive review, I covered all the basics of this handsome and technically superior stylus. To recap, the fine 2 mm tip of this stylus is designed for high accuracy and precise feel on, say, an iPad's surface. However, that fine a tip doesn't register on an iOS-device display, so an electronic circuit energizes a conductive polymer nib that, in turn, generates an electric field that the capacitive display recognizes. For more details, see the original review of the battery powered model from early 2014.
New in this second generation version are the following features
- A new nib material has been introduced (proprietary design) that has a better feel on the display. I can confirm that.
- The redesigned circuitry allows for a lighter design. The weight is 21.5 grams vs. the 28.3 grams of the rechargeable model original. The balance in the hand feels better as a result.
- Raised rubber grip rings provide a more comfortable hold according to Lynktec, but I disagree. The rings feel odd to me, and I prefer the recessed rubber rings of the original rechargeable model.
- No Bluetooth connection is required. (See below.)
- The price is reduced from US$69.99 to $59.99.
Detailed Q & A
After receiving one for review, I had some additional questions, and Lynktec responded quickly and with great technical detail. It's best handled as an FAQ.
Q: In what way is the new Apex “optimized” for the iPad Air 2? What won’t I get on an iPad Air? Or older iPad model?
A: When Apple released the iPad Air 2, we found that the touch screen circuitry was much different than previous iPad models. This impacted the entire active stylus industry, as previous active stylus models were not working properly with Apple’s new touch screen. We have since been working to change the circuitry in our Apex Stylus so that it will work equally across all Apple devices including the new iPad Air 2. So, we are not losing any stylus features with previous iPad models, but rather gaining compatibility with the new iOS devices.
Q: What is the new nib material? Still a conductive polymer? I want to explain why it feels better on the display surface.
A: The new nib material is a proprietary polymer fiber blend that is smoother and more durable than the previous nibs. This new material gives a natural writing experience that feels like a real pen on paper.
Q: The raised rubber grip rings look like something that will wear out sooner (or the rings will tear), ruining the aesthetics of the stylus. Is a broken rubber ring in the grip covered under warranty?
A: The rubberized grip rings are the same type of o-rings that are used in other industrial products and should not tear easily. If they do tear for any reason, they will of course be covered in our one year warranty. They can also be removed, if the user desires. We are planning to offer replacement rings on our website as well.
Q: Isn’t the claim that the Apex doesn’t use Bluetooth just another way of saying that it doesn’t have pressure sensitive capability?
A: Bluetooth can be added to an active stylus for a number of reasons. One of those reasons is to incorporate pressure sensing, another is to activate palm rejection, or it can simply be added so that it can connect to an SDK within a specific app for increased precision and accuracy.
While these features are great, many of them are already in-app features in leading note taking applications. So, with this particular model of the Apex Stylus, our goal has been to make it as user friendly as possible and eliminate the need to connect to Bluetooth. All the user has to do is pick it up, turn it on, and start using it.
Q: Did you ever add the leather holder option, promised in the previous review? I don’t see one on the accessory page.
A: We do offer the leather holder for the Apex Stylus line We are also looking into some new carrying case designs for this new model!
The new nib feels more natural, requires less pressure.
For more details about the warranty, packaging, operation, power saving mode, accessories, extra nibs, battery charging details, and use with note taking apps, see the previous review. There is, as mentioned, a one year warranty that includes the nib and grip rings. An extra nib is included inside the cap that unscrews to access the microUSB port.
I do want to emphasize this section from the small Quick Start guide.
While the Apex will work with any app, there are many factors within an app that can affect how it works with a stylus. We've narrowed down the best note taking apps so you can get the absolute best out of your Apex.
Listed are: INKredible, GoodNotes, Notes Plus and Noteshelf.
I've been using this new stylus quite a bit for a few days, and the thing that stands out the most to me is the improved feel of the nib on the glass of my iPad Air. The previous design was good but less natural, requiring more pressure. I also appreciate the better balance; the previous model was a just a bit too tail heavy. All in all, this new version is a joy to use, and I give it my highest recommendation.