Ever since the iPad’s launch in 2010, companies have been releasing styluses on a regular basis. You might argue that they are utterly pointless – as Steve Jobs said, “Who wants a stylus?” But what he didn’t realize when he said that in 2007 was that many future painting apps and note taking apps would simply feel more natural to use with a stylus. iOS Monster’s forthcoming iPen (£12 [$18], link), which comes out on December 5th, does the job in an efficient and straightforward manner.
One of the best things about the design is its simplicity. No complicated gimmicks, just the pen. That’s it. It’s 120mm long and has a diameter of 9.5mm, which makes it comfortable to hold. It also has small 5mm rubber tip, and this means greater accuracy, as well as a really good feel when you tap something.
For me though, the best part of this stylus is its build quality. It’s made entirely from metal, and that gives it a really good weight. I haven’t used such a well-built tech product since the first iPod came out in 2001. It just feels right. Somebody has put a lot of care into making this, and that’s pretty rare nowadays. Apart from Apple, not many do.
Having said that, if I were to criticise it would be that it is almost too simple. A really nice feature would a been a clip, so you could attach it to your shirt or bag. But a part from that, the design is faultless.
Does the iPen’s usability live to up to its design? Unfortunately not – the rubber tip is accurate, but sometimes not very responsive. You have to press down quite hard to get it work, and this can be quite frustrating, especially in painting applications and while browsing through apps.
However, it does still work and it does feel much more natural when painting with the iPen. You can also use it to take notes, not only by using the keyboard but also with third party applications where you can just write with the pen (that would be its main use). I’ve also found that it’s effective for swiping, so if you are browsing the web, reading a book or going through your application pages, the iPen does a great job.
The iPen is a great product, and quite solid with regards to build quality, and it makes things like painting on the iPad much easier (even though at times it can be unresponsive if you don’t press hard enough). It’s also very comfortable and easy to use.
You could also argue that it’s too simple. Many other styluses have clips so you can attach them to shirts and bags, but this one lacks that. But I love simple products, so it depends on what kind of person you are.
The build quality is phenomenal, and it’s very comfortable to use, but I feel that it’s usability and possible over-simplicity restrict it from getting a full five stars.
For more info, you can check out their website here.
- Superb build quality, best I’ve seen in a long time
- Comfortable to use
- Perfect for writing notes and painting
- A bargain at only £12 ($18)
- Sometimes unresponsive, you need to press quite hard to get it to work
- Lacks a clip to attach it to clothing