test : affordable iPad styluses compared

Recently I came across a very interesting handwriting-note-taking app for the iPad : Notability

(after reading a lot of reviews and testing a few alternatives myself, I found this was the most useful note-taking app when wanting to use handwriting on an iPad ; the only downside I’ve found so far is it can only export to PDF)

So after I had decided on the app I wanted to use, I had to find an affordable stylus that can be used for handwriting.

The most important selection criteria I needed to test on where :

1- is the stylus responsive and accurate enough for handwriting on an iPad ?

2- does the stylus feel like an actual pen when handwriting on an iPad ?

3- is the price tag affordable, so below € 20, but preferably even below € 10 ?

The 7 styluses I selected are :

Muvit (T-Mobile) iPhone/iPad Stylus [2-pack]

AmazonBasics “Executive” Stylus

Ozaki “iStroke” Stylus+Pen

Boxwave “EverTouch” Micro-knit tip Stylus

ButterFox Micro-knit tip Stylus+Pen

TeckNet “MT-238” Micro-knit tip Stylus+Pen

NewTrent “Arcadia Clickpen” Micro-knit tip Stylus [2-pack]

The main findings of the test :

– rubber tip styluses (AmazonBasics, Ozaki) perform okay in responsiveness, but are significantly less responsive than the ones with micro-knit tips

– since the ‘capacitive touch’ screens used in iPhones and iPads were meant to be used with a finger and not with a stylus, the styluses will always need to mimic a fingertip… that makes the stylus-tip rather bulky and soft… which is a sharp contrast to what you would expect from a handwriting pen : a pointy and hard tip… so ‘actual pen-like’ responsiveness will always be a (small) bridge to far…

– for handwriting a stylus should feel like an actual pen in your hand, so not too light and with a good weight-balance

So, based on these outcomes my preference is [from BEST to WORST] :

1. TeckNet “MT-238” Micro-knit tip Stylus+Pen

2. ButterFox Micro-knit tip Stylus+Pen

3. Boxwave “EverTouch” Micro-knit tip Stylus

4. NewTrent “Arcadia Clickpen” Micro-knit tip Stylus [2-pack]

5. AmazonBasics “Executive” Stylus

6. Ozaki “iStroke” Stylus+Pen

7. Muvit (T-Mobile) iPhone/iPad Stylus [2-pack]

My ‘best buy’ is the TeckNet, with the ButterFox as a very close runner-up, with both of them priced at about € 8 max. I prefer the length of the TeckNet over the marginally better responsiveness of the ButterFox. Like the two test-winners, the Boxwave and the NewTrent both have micro-knit tips also, and even though I really like the idea of the NewTrent’s retractable tip, I would prefer the Boxwave since the NewTrent stylus feels very awkwardly unbalanced in your hand when writing… The AmazonBasics stylus is just plain okay but when handwriting not as responsive as the styluses with micro-knit tips. The Ozaki‘s performance is equal to the AmazonBasics, but the price-difference was 4 times higher, which made the Ozaki “little value for money”… The Muvit stylus is a disaster to write with, it sticks to the screen like chewing gum and it’s way too light & short to feel comfortable ; you’re better of using your index finger for writing…


Happy note-taking !

Enjoy !

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