I was using styli to write on mobile devices well before Steve Jobs deemed them uncool and Draw Something made them cool again. You didn’t have much of a choice if you wanted to use the old Palm devices, they all came with a stylus for a reason.
Now I just want a stylus that is good for the occasional sketch in Sketchbook Pro, but more importantly, feels like I’m writing with a pen when using a note taking app like Penultimate. I try to keep all of my work as digital as possible, but writing on an iPad with a fingertip feels awkward so I always found myself hunting down a sticky note to jot down something.
The first stylus I had purchased was the Targus stylus ($19.99) at my local Best Buy. I went with this model because at the time, it was one of the very few styli on the market. It functions okay, but you feel as if you’re using one of those tiny pencils they give you at a golf course since they don’t trust you with an expensive adult-sized pencil. For light use, it will operate just fine as long as you don’t rush it along. If you’re just looking for a stylus to make Draw Something easier than your finger, this will suffice. However, if you’re looking for something that you can use to easily write notes, the sluggishness of the rubber tip and the small size isn’t great.
I also received an all-in-one stylus/ink pen from Adobe while at a conference in Toronto, but it’s like using a fat pen with a car tire as a tip. Please stick to making software, Adobe.
Finally, the most recent stylus I’ve purchased is the Wacom Bamboo stylus. I was hesitant to spend $29.99 on a stylus, especially after some so-so reviews I have read on the internet. However, I’m on my 3rd and 4th Wacom drawing tablets and they just keep getting better, so I figured it was a name I could trust. It’s only about 3/4″ longer than the Targus stylus, but combine that with the Wacom being substantially heavier, and it feels like a much better experience. The rubber tip glides effortlessly across a glass tablet screen and the added weight makes it less taxing on your hand after long periods of use since you don’t have to press down nearly as hard. I tried the Bamboo in Penultimate, Draw Something, Sketchbook Pro, and Wacom’s app, Bamboo Paper, and it worked well in all of them. I would recommend this stylus to anyone who uses note taking apps on a regular basis.
Overall, the Targus stylus is good for light use and it’s $10 cheaper than the Bamboo. However, if you’re looking for a stylus that’s comfortable to hold and good for note taking and drawing, the Bamboo is worth the extra money.