The iPad, the Google Nexus 9, the Samsung Galaxy Note series and Microsoft Surface Pro are widely known for their range of mobile tools for work and play, and it doesn't matter which one you prefer, whether it's for taking notes, watching movies, or just reading the latest bestseller. These devices handle tasks in much the same way.
When you have some creative inspiration in mind, when you want to draw your latest masterpiece, when you want to map your latest strategy meeting at work, when you want to make it easier to scan a news article, then you need a stylus.
Tablet computers are characterized by a touch screen. You can do it with your fingers, but fingers are very inconvenient, they're not sensitive, and they cause a lot of problems. So a better choice is to use a digital pen or stylus.
The stylus works by touching the screen of a tablet, and the stylus moves like a mouse. You can point the pen to the screen, touch the screen and do things to manipulate the project in interesting ways that give you more help.
The stylus also allows for a greater degree of control, which is very important for artists, designers, sketchers and even doodlers. While apps can usually be used with your fingers, with big buttons and an easy-to-use interface, it's not perfect and most professionals don't work with your fingers because it's unsatisfactory, so why don't you try using a stylus to create some masterpieces?
Use the stylus by touching the surface of the screen as if you were using a finger. The use of stylus can be divided into the following aspects:
The stylus keeps your screen free of finger stains or scratches, and the stylus's touch points are thinner than those on the fingertips, providing better accuracy for the interface.
With high portability and excellent performance, tablet computers can be used for a variety of purposes and can now perform many tasks, so there is every reason for tablet computers to become more popular than traditional laptop computers.
Many types of stylus now offer a wealth of additional features that go well beyond the experience of drawing and taking notes with your fingers, and offer great accuracy, functionality, comfort, and precision. Bring great experience in all aspects.
Apple's Steve Jobs famously disliked the idea of using styluses with smartphones. But there are plenty of reasons to disregard his opinion. For one, your sausage fingers are imprecise and today's oversized phone screens make one-handed typing difficult, two problems that a stylus solves. Here are a few more reasons you should give the stylus another chance.
Once we make our case, you can pick up a stylus-equipped handset, like a member of Samsung's Galaxy Note series, or buy a cheap third-party stylus to use with your current device. Most of the latter, such as the LIBERRWAY Universal Touch Screen Capacitive Stylus ($6 for a 10-pack from Amazon) or the Friendly Swede Stylus Pen ($9 for a 3-pack from Amazon), will work with any touchscreen device—but just to be safe, make sure to double-check compatibility before you buy.
A pointy little pen makes all of your screen interactions smoother and more intuitive. Think about signing digital documents, highlighting a phrase within a larger text, selecting a group of files, or jotting down handwritten notes. You can perform these motions with a finger, but you can do them more easily with a stylus. And this makes all of your actions speedier: You should find yourself flying through menus and option screens much more quickly.
In addition, Samsung has added some exclusive stylus functions to the Note 8. For example, you can now draw your own emojis, swipe over a video to create an animated GIF, scribble notes on the lock screen, and translate text on screen, among other abilities.
Plus, there's a cold-weather bonus: A stylus lets you do all these things without removing your gloves.
Look at your index finger—it's hardly the most exact of instruments, is it? And yet so much of what we do on a smartphone, whether it's tapping out a message on the keyboard or selecting a link on a webpage, requires precision.
The stylus's smaller tip can provide the accuracy you've been missing. From selecting blocks of text in an email to aligning a row of matching crystals in a game, a dedicated pointing device will give you an edge. Once you adopt it, you should find yourself typing faster and committing fewer errors, especially if you're working with a smaller screen where items are harder to hit.
When it comes to art apps, the experience of drawing with a stylus is far superior to that of scrawling with a finger. You can exert much more control over brush strokes and fine detail—you might even uncover your hidden creative talents.
Try an app like the free Adobe Photoshop Sketch (for Android and iOS), which lets you draw with a variety of brush types and apply a host of effects. Another leading option is Autodesk SketchBook (for Android and iOS), which provides a few more sketching tools, including a ruler and a shape drawer. While unlocking the full SketchBook toolset requires a one-time payment of $5, you can still access plenty of brushes and tools for free.
Beyond drawing, if you edit any photos or videos on your phone, a stylus lets you select pixels with greater precision. This makes it much easier to select exactly the right color or cleanly cut out a background.
Clean smartphones don't take long to morph into smeared, fingerprint-covered messes. That grime can obscure what you're trying to view on the screen: Watching movies on your big handset isn't as much fun when you have to peer at the action through the layer of grit left by your hands. You can avoid this look if you stick to your stylus.
This isn't only about looks. Almost every smartphone carries a host of germs, but touching it with a stylus instead of your grubby fingers will prevent you from constantly contaminating it with bacteria.
Beyond smudges, your fingers not only smear up the screen, but also obscure what you're looking at as you interact with your apps. For example, pulling up subtitles on Netflix with your fingers can make you miss a lot of the action as you tap around the screen. A stylus covers far less.
While a stylus can give you more accuracy on a smaller screen, it can also help you navigate a bigger screen—particularly if you have smaller hands.
With smartphones continuing to grow in size, and front-facing bezels now shrinking away into nothing, your fingers have to perform all kinds of gymnastics to stretch from one side of the display to the other. But a stylus can reach farther, allowing you to easily type and swipe no matter how small your hands are.
Of course, to operate a large handset, you'll still need to employ two hands. But when it comes to tasks like scrolling down webpages or tapping icons at opposite ends of the display, a stylus makes life much easier.
If you have an ipad pro or the new 2018 edition of the 9.7in iPad then there's one obvious choice, and that's the Apple Pencil, by Apple itself.
It's a solid hunk of white plastic that fits neatly in the hand and oozes quality. Apple built it, so it offers features other stylus makers can't match, such as a screen response rate that doubles when you bring the stylus close to the display (making the ink appear to flow from the nib).
Another unique feature is the nib, which you can use on its side to shade, like you would with a pencil.
It's also easier to set up than other styluses: plug the Lightning connector into your iPad and the wireless connection will be established automatically and instantly. It's not cheap, but this is an essential accessory for iPad Pro owners.
The Apple Pencil doesn't work with any other model of iPad (or iPhone), so if you own a pre-2018 iPad, iPad Air or iPad mini you'll need to read on for your stylus needs.
The Ciscle Disc Stylus is similar to the Adonit Jot Pro, but at a fraction of the cost. Like the Adonit, the Ciscle Disc has a clear, circular nib which is also replaceable.
The body of the stylus is made of anodised aluminum, making it corrosion-resistant and strong, but not weighty. A useful feature of the pivoting tip is that the nib's barrel slides well into and locks within the pen, protecting the nib from falling out.
This stylus is compatible with any touchscreen device, and even comes with a storage bag.
The Apple Pencil can only be used with the iPad Pro, so if you have a different iPad, Adonit Jot Pro is a great alternative. The build quality is great, and it has a nice textured grip making it feel solid in the hand.
The cushioned tip is interesting, and it has a see-through plastic circle on the nib, which enables you to see exactly where you're drawing. It's great for graphic designers, although those looking for a handwriting tool may prefer something chunkier.
The fact you can use it on most iPads, as well as iPhone 4s and later with the free app makes it good value for money.
Also referred to as a touch pen, a stylus is a stick-shaped device used in operating touch screens. This could range from the touch screens for laptop to hand-held gadgets like PDAs, tablets and obviously, smartphones.
Styli feature soft, plastic-made cores with the outer shells made of tough materials so that they’re easy to hold. At the end of the soft core is a uniquely designed tip, which has to be placed on the touch screen so as to operate. The tip is also soft, a factor that prevents the stylus from damaging your screen. Put simply; a stylus serves as a substitute for your fingers. You can input commands or text without necessary using your fingers.
A majority of individuals navigate their gadgets using finger gestures. This group of people consider using their fingers a highly intuitive process. However, using a stylus is a better choice in some instances.
For starters, using a stylus provides a high level of accuracy and precision. Sure, you can use your fingers, but they often touch too wide an area on the screen. In contrast, the fine tip of a stylus touches a very precise and small section. This way, you’re able to navigate your device with ease, especially when it comes to selecting the small-sized symbols on your screen. The precision that comes with using a stylus is particularly handy for artists and graphic designers who use sophisticated editing programs. Styli make it incredibly easy to move brushes among other tools, which would otherwise be difficult to navigate using an ordinary mouse.
With a stylus, you can perform a ton of functions on your screen including painting and drawing. In fact, it’s even possible to trace a paper directly onto your smartphone’s display. And if you’re using the stylus in conjunction with a graphics tablet, you’re free to adjust the size of your brush by altering the amount of pressure you exert with the stylus.
Another plus of a stylus is the fact that it will never leave the unsightly fingerprints that are left on your screen when you navigate using your fingers. Without a stylus, the display becomes covered in fingerprints so quickly that it becomes difficult to read. This is an important feature, particularly for persons who use their smart devices outdoors.
Also, fingerprints make it harder to view text and graphics in bright daylight. With a stylus, the screen will always be sparkling, allowing you to navigate your device at any time; be it in the wee hours of the night or daytime.
If you have tried to shop for a stylus, it’s likely that you came across hundreds of them. However, all these styli can be classified into two main types: the active and capacitive styli. For your investment to last a long time, you should be cautious when choosing between these two models.
If you’re looking for flexibility and versatility, a capacitive stylus, which can work any type of touchscreen is the best choice. It works efficiently whether you have an android, iOS or windows system. In contrast, no active stylus can work with an iPad.
Another advantage that capacity styli have over the active models is that they’re economical. Capacitive styli are not equipped with any sophisticated technologies that warrant high pricing.
Also, these styli don’t use any batteries. Ideally, your capacitive stylus can function as a digital stylus. A digital stylus uses its battery power to generate capacitance using the soft tip of your stylus. Digital styli can only connect to your device through Bluetooth, especially if you want additional features such as the ability to use shortcut buttons found on the side of your stylus.
On the flipside, the tip of a capacitive stylus is often too big; hence, blocking off the lines found beneath. Also, the tip of a capacitive stylus does not offer the precision you get with an active stylus. The problem of having such a big tip is that it makes it difficult to see the line of sight due to the lines produced. If you want to avoid this, you can for advanced styli like the Adonit Jot Pro, which is equipped with a plastic disc, allowing you to see through the line.
If you’re looking for a stylus with palm rejection, the capacitive type is not your best bet. Put simply; this means that your tablet will have a hard time differentiating the stylus tip from your fingertips. It also implies that your smart device will not have any capability to execute palm rejection. So far, the only stylus equipped with palm rejection capability is the Apple pencil. However, this capacitive stylus is not entirely perfect. For drawing purposes, you’ll be forced to raise your hand from the display so as to avoid stray strokes.
Another drawback of using capacitive stylus is that it does not have pressure sensitivity. Typically, it does not have digitizer technology, which helps in detecting the amount of pressure you exert with your stylus.
Many users have also complained of parallax error when using their capacitive styli. The position of where the lines appear below the tip depends heavily on the angle at which you hold your stylus. It explains why a couple of drawing apps have a feature that lets you pick your preferred hand posture. Occasionally, parallax may be seen, especially if your display is set in portrait mode.
Jitter problem is pretty common among capacitive styli. The major drawback of using digital capacitive styli occurs when you’re drawing diagonal lines. These lines are affected by jitter causing them to appear wavy. This jitter problem may be more common in some styli than others. Considering the level of accuracy required by some professionals such as graphic artists, this jitter problem is often a deal breaker. On the bright side, you can only encounter this problem if you’re using a digital stylus, and it’s usually designed for select devices.
Unlike capacitive styli, active styli will give you that accuracy that you need in your drawings sketches and writings. With an active stylus, you’re guaranteed that the cursor is always below the tip, and this helps to prevent parallax error. Nonetheless, the accuracy of an active stylus can be compromised by the diagonal-jitter-line problem that plagues digital capacitive styli.
Another benefit of using an active stylus is the fact that it has pressure sensitivity levels. Thanks to the digitizer technology, your touchscreen is able to determine just how much pressure you’re exerting with your stylus; hence, generate the exact thickness for the stroke.
Active styluses have excellent palm rejection. One thing you’ll note when using an active stylus is the hover mode whenever your pen is on the screen, which prompts a cursor to pop up. This way, your device can determine that a stylus has been placed on the screen; hence, treat any other contact as foreign and unwanted. This process guarantees flawless palm rejection. But for this to work without any hitch, the stylus should always be in close proximity to the touch screen.
We also like that active styluses may have additional features. With some models, flipping the stylus prompts it to switch to eraser mode.
Given the extras that active styli offer, it’s not surprising that they’re more expensive than their capacitive counterparts. Another drawback is the fact that this stylus needs to be connected to an app so you can get fully customized features.
To have full control of the stylus features, the stylus will need support from the OS and relevant programs. For one, only the OS can provide the drivers that let you regulate the level of pressure sensitivity or to tailor the stylus shortcut buttons.
Another grand disadvantage of active styli is that they’re only compatible with the specific devices that they are designed for. Basically, you cannot use an active stylus with a gadget that it’s not meant to support. The Samsung Tab As are a perfect illustration for this. The Samsung Tab A is not compatible with the S pen while the Samsung Tab A with S Pen can work with the stylus. Even though they belong to the same series, the Samsung Tab A has no inbuilt digitizer; hence, hindering it from working well with the stylus.
If you look for active styluses on Amazon or any other retail site, you will find tons of options. This can make it difficult to decide on the particular type that meets your needs. Luckily we have narrowed down these options by recommending an active stylus for every need. More specifically, we choose these top-rated active styli based on the following factors.
Different users will have different needs when it comes to the type of comfort and grip offered by a specific stylus pen. Some individuals prefer rubberized grips while others like angled grip surfaces.
But there are a couple of pointers that can help you find the perfect stylus. For one, the stylus should not cramp your hand or dig into your skin. Also, when you’re holding your stylus, you shouldn’t have to drag your hand on the display during use. Overall, you ought to find a stylus that feels comfortable to grip.
The best stylus is one that has the correct amount of resistance. By resistance we mean the friction that occurs between the stylus tip and the tablet’s screen. If the nib is too soft, you will have a difficult time controlling how you draw lines. On the other hand, if it’s too sticky, you’re likely to make errors or end up with sore hands because of gripping your stylus too tightly.
The best stylus is one that has its weight distributed uniformly along its body. Even if it’s a regular stylus, it shouldn’t have more of its weight at the nib and less of it on the other end. It is this uneven weight distribution that makes it uncomfortable to grip for extended periods. It also makes it challenging to control the text or graphics that one is creating. This problem is particularly common among styli that don’t support palm rejection. With such a stylus, you have to keep your hand upright over the stylus.
The weight is another crucial aspect to account for. If the stylus is too bulky, it will end up cramping your hand. Similarly, a stylus that is too light will cause the same problems that would arise when using a soft nib, that is, poor control over your text.
With regards to accuracy, you should find a stylus that allows you to write consistently whenever you’re handwriting text. This means that there shouldn’t be any overlapping letters or uneven vertical spaces. On the same note, the best stylus for drawing is one that allows you to ink over the same line with precision.
The design of a stylus does not have a significant impact on how it works. The most important thing to consider is whether it can work well with your touch screen device. This is particularly so if you plan to use the stylus for office or career purposes. In such instances, you need to find a professional-looking stylus. Luckily, there are hundreds of flashy designs to choose form including office-themed styli.
As mentioned earlier, some styluses are specifically designed for particular devices. So before rushing to pay for your stylus, read the product description and determine the specific devices that it’s compatible with. If you’re buying a stylus for your Chromebook, first ensure that it can work with such devices. Also, you shouldn’t go for stylus pens advertised as universal because they don’t always work well with some gadgets.
Ideally, your stylus won’t require any advanced technology just so it can connect with your smartphone or iPad. Nonetheless, some styli are designed in such a way that they can make radio contact with your touchscreen device. Such styli utilize tiny transmitters that are directly connected to the smart gadget. There’s just one caveat with this stylus, that is, having to carry the transmitter wherever you go. On the bright side, transmitters let you use your stylus with devices that lack touchscreens.
Styluses designed for compatibility with capacitive displays require electricity. There are a couple of models that use rechargeable batteries. Others have disposable batteries, which need to be replaced once they run out. The power supply you pick will depend on your personal taste. However, it’s good to point out that an integrated power supply eliminates the need of constantly replacing or disposing of batteries.
Styli that use disposable batteries also offer one advantage, which is the fact that you can easily replace them and get your device working again even when there’s no outlet nearby.
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