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View Full Version : iPad Stylus Reviews: AluPen, Boxwave, Acase [pics]




gnychis
Jan 14, 2011, 07:57 PM
Hi all,

My girlfriend and I set out on a quest to find the perfect stylus. Did we succeed? Kind of, but not really :) We got the AluPen, Boxwave, and Acase. We did not go for the Pogo Sketch because we were immediately turned off by the spongy tip that a lot of people had complained about.

Below is a review of the pens, broken down by criteria. Remember, this is all just my opinion.

Favorite Note App: Notes Plus (http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/notes-plus-handwriting-note/id374211477?mt=8)

http://www.ece.cmu.edu/~gnychis/pens.jpg

Writing Ability - (1) Boxwave, (2) Acase, (3) AluPen
The ability to write accurately, easily, and smoothly was a key criteria for a good stylus. The clear winner of this category is the Boxwave stylus. The accuracy at placing the marking where you want it is best with the Acase because its tip is the thinnest, however you must press harder with the Acase pen for it to make the marking. Significantly harder than the Boxwave or the AluPen. However, the Boxwave tip is a good compromise between the tip size of the Acase and the AluPen (largest tip). It gives it great accuracy, and writing registers very nicely. I found with the Acase that I'd often miss dotting my "i"s or crossing my "t"s because it did not accurately register my writing. The AluPen also did a great job at registering with very little force down on the tip, however it has a bit of "drag" to it that does not make writing very smooth if you do not write directly on the tip. If you write near the side of the tip on the AluPen, it kind of sticks a bit and does not lead to very smooth handwriting. I decided to rank the AluPen last because the tip is so thick that it's hard to get accurate writing at times. It feels more like you're writing with a child's sized crayon than a pen.

Weight - (1) AluPen, (2) Boxwave, (3) Acase
The weight of the AluPen is by far the best. It has a heavy, but not overly heavy, feel to it. It makes it feel more like a real writing instrument, than that you're holding a cheap piece of plastic and magically writing with it. Next in line is the Boxwave, it feels significantly lighter, but it is just a bit heavier than the Acase. However, maybe someone else feels that the lightest is the clear winner of this section. If you feel that way, Acase is for you. I like a little bit of weight in my writing utensil.

Thickness - (1) Boxwave / Acase, (2) AluPen
The Acase is clearly the thinnest, but when holding it in your hand it is not significantly different from the Boxwave, or at least does not feel that way. Holding them, they feel about the same thickness. The AluPen is massive compared to the other two pens. Again, it feels like you're holding a child's oversize crayon. It is a bit awkward to hold due to its thickness.

Length - (1) Acase, (2) AluPen, (3) Boxwave
The length of the pens actually makes a big difference to me. What we write with are typically pens and pencils that extend beyond the "crease" between your thumb and pointer finger and sort of hangs outside it. It allows the writing tool to sort of sit in your hand and not get in the way. If it sits in the "crease," it feels a bit awkward. None of these pens exactly end in this crease or sit in it, but the Boxwave is noticeably shorter and feels a bit awkward. The Acase feels perfect to me in terms of length with a normal pen. The AluPen comes close to that perfect feeling, but it's just a bit shorter.

Style - (1) Acase / Boxwave, (3) AluPen
Let's face it, the Acase and the Boxwave are very close to the same exact style. They have the "clip" and they are pretty close to the same thickness. The AluPen's hexagonal style with edges makes it a bit awkward to hold, pick up, and situate in your hand. Every way of holding it is not always the right way. You have to pick it up, then shuffle it in your hand a little bit to get your fingers to not sit on the edges which feels weird.

Accessories - (1) Acase, (2) Boxwave, (3) AluPen
I love, love, love that the Acase and Boxwave pens have little tips that you can put in the audio port to hold them with the iPad and let them dangle. It really helps not lose them. What made me rank the Acase above the Boxwave is the "clamp" to allow you to unclip it from the string, which the Boxwave does not have (pictured below). The AluPen comes with nothing to clip it anywhere, and no way to connect it to your iPad in any way. This kind of leaves me in a predicament where to put it. I've traditionally been putting it in my pocket, but it's kind of thick and heavy. I'd much prefer an accessory to connect it to something.

Final Verdict - (1) Boxwave, (2) Acase, (3) AluPen
In the end, I would recommend the Boxwave over the other pens. It is accurate, does not require a lot of push to "register" on the iPad, and still feels good in your hand. I would have picked the Acase in a heartbeat if it registered touches as nicely as the Boxwave or AluPen does. The AluPen just feels a bit awkward, bulky, and "drags" a bit when trying to right on the edge of it. Again, this is all just my opinion, but hopefully it helps everyone. Did we find the perfect pen? Not really... the perfect pen to me would have been the weight of the AluPen, the length of the Acase, the tip size of the Acase, but the accuracy of registering "touches" of the Boxwave ;)

- George

http://www.ece.cmu.edu/~gnychis/clip.jpg



Higgs1
Jan 15, 2011, 07:50 AM
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Great write up! Thanks for your hard work, appreciated!

deaddog
Jan 15, 2011, 05:40 PM
Very nice, I've been looking for some comparisons like this. I was originally leaning toward the acase because of the small tip but your reviews have me considering the boxwave now.

Have you tried the elago stylus? It's the only other one that has favorable reviews. I would be curious to see how it compares to these as well.

Thanks for the write-up.

Leedsboy
Jan 16, 2011, 02:03 PM
I bought the boxwave stylus a couple of months ago having tried and given up on both the pogo and dagi. It was initially great, gliding smoothly across the iPad screen.
More recently, though, it now seems to be sticking on the screen rather than sliding, making it almost impossible to form any letters at all. I have tried cleaning the screen, but no improvement.
Anyone else had similar issues, and found a solution?

Cra1g
Jan 22, 2011, 08:12 AM
Does anyone have any tips for actually writing with the stylus. I have the boxwave and I'm using it with the penultimate app.

I can't write very neatly if I do not rest my hand on the iPad as I would do on paper. This results in marks created lower down the page when I am writing at the top, so i find myself always switching to eraser to tidy this up. When I write in the middle of the page my hand is over the bottom icons, so flips the page etc. Writing at the bottom of the page is ok as I rest my hand on the iPad/case.

Any tips for better writing, or is it just a case of practicing with my hand not touching?

Leedsboy
Jan 22, 2011, 10:07 AM
In my experience, this is a weakness of penultimate. The wrist guard feature doesn't work well. I use NoteTaker HD which uses a separate text entry box and works much better.

xraytech
Jan 22, 2011, 10:34 AM
Does anyone have any tips for actually writing with the stylus. I have the boxwave and I'm using it with the penultimate app.

I can't write very neatly if I do not rest my hand on the iPad as I would do on paper. This results in marks created lower down the page when I am writing at the top, so i find myself always switching to eraser to tidy this up. When I write in the middle of the page my hand is over the bottom icons, so flips the page etc. Writing at the bottom of the page is ok as I rest my hand on the iPad/case.

Any tips for better writing, or is it just a case of practicing with my hand not touching?

The key is to make contact with the screen with your stylus first.

Cra1g
Jan 22, 2011, 10:34 AM
In my experience, this is a weakness of penultimate. The wrist guard feature doesn't work well. I use NoteTaker HD which uses a separate text entry box and works much better.

Thanks for that, just had a look at note taker in the app store and it sounds good. Think I will purchase that and have a go.

TITNTUFF
Jan 22, 2011, 07:47 PM
Thanks.

gnychis
Jan 25, 2011, 04:07 PM
thanks for the positive feedback about the reviews! I still have all of the pens, and I still prefer the boxwave hands down.

BTW, I added to the top of the review my favorite note taking App. Notes Plus, IMO, crushes PenUltimate and any other note taking app I've tried. The zoom and auto-scrolling box for writing in Notes Plus is awesome. (PS. It's only sale today for $1.99 - I paid $5.99 for it)

gnychis
Jan 25, 2011, 04:59 PM
I bought the boxwave stylus a couple of months ago having tried and given up on both the pogo and dagi. It was initially great, gliding smoothly across the iPad screen.
More recently, though, it now seems to be sticking on the screen rather than sliding, making it almost impossible to form any letters at all. I have tried cleaning the screen, but no improvement.
Anyone else had similar issues, and found a solution?

this might sound weird, but rub the tip of the stylus on your forehead to get some grease on it... will help it slide easier

h00ligan
Jan 29, 2011, 08:33 PM
Btw, the targus can be had locally for $10 at sears - check online for availability, it's been great so far. I need to really get busy training writepad though, cuz so far I think it isn't so great.

notes hd is a pile of junk so far.

chrisonly
Feb 14, 2011, 05:58 AM
Pretty nice information thread. I was looking for the best ipad stylus reviews and made a post on it if you like to read http://www.techduplex.com/best-ipad-stylus-reviews/


P.S I am new to this forum and will visit it now in regular basis because I am use of iPad now :D

Mac Berry
Mar 3, 2011, 10:20 AM
I bought the boxwave stylus a couple of months ago having tried and given up on both the pogo and dagi. It was initially great, gliding smoothly across the iPad screen.
More recently, though, it now seems to be sticking on the screen rather than sliding, making it almost impossible to form any letters at all. I have tried cleaning the screen, but no improvement.
Anyone else had similar issues, and found a solution?

I had the same issue. Here's my solution, which has worked flawlessly for 2 months now:

http://gallery.me.com/mark.berry/100516/IMG_0219/web.jpg?ver=12991691020001

Its basically stocking nylon stretched over the tip and held in place with thread soaked in super glue.

Shouldn't be necessary though :(

gatech2
Mar 19, 2011, 08:57 PM
Good write up, Very helpful.

whiskeyred
Mar 19, 2011, 09:20 PM
I currently have the black AluPen and really like it and the thickness. It isn't perfect but I dig it. Notetaker HD by far the best note app I've used. I have a box wave coming in the mail excited to try it as well.

DS3
Mar 19, 2011, 10:17 PM
I have two, a griffin one that I'm pretty sure is the exact same thing as the boxwave under a different label (even the clip looks the same) and the pogo sketch.

I agree that the boxwave style one is quality, it works very well and feels pretty good to hold. It feels smooth going across the screen, though I see someone saying theirs changed over time.

The pogo sketch was disappointing, its a not long enough, I don't like the foam tip, and after just a little use it started to "catch" the screen and didnt feel smooth, plus you have to use more pressure for it to register.

I only use it if I momentarily displace my griffin/boxwave one.

----

By the way if anyone is looking into stylus's to draw.. I bought a half dozen art apps and tried another half dozen free ones. All the major apps (sketchbook pro, brushes, art studio, etc.) have their strengths and weakness, none of them stand out as clearly the best... but there is an under the radar app I like a lot for simple black and white pencil style sketching.... Its called "ASKetch", and uses procedural shading while still allowing you full control. Have to read the manual online though because the controls arnt shown in the app properly.

AnotherScott
Apr 9, 2011, 11:46 AM
Very nice review, thanks.

Some other info that may be helpful... It looks like you reviewed the "2nd generation" Acase model. The earlier model is also available, and appears to be the same as the Boxwave, and at least on Amazon, sells for a bit less. There's also an even less expensive one there from Roocase that also appears to be identical, as well as possibly one from Targus.

whiskeyred
Apr 9, 2011, 01:17 PM
I would add the Nataal to this list, I find it superior to the boxwave.

Diveflo
Apr 10, 2011, 06:12 AM
I bought the boxwave stylus a couple of months ago having tried and given up on both the pogo and dagi. It was initially great, gliding smoothly across the iPad screen.
More recently, though, it now seems to be sticking on the screen rather than sliding, making it almost impossible to form any letters at all. I have tried cleaning the screen, but no improvement.
Anyone else had similar issues, and found a solution?

I have the same problem. No solution on my part though :(

Pballer110
Apr 10, 2011, 09:36 AM
I would add the Nataal to this list, I find it superior to the boxwave.

The nataal is exactly the same as the acase

mlumb
Apr 11, 2011, 01:02 PM
I too originally purchased the POGO and found it too thin and way to floppy of a tip. I then purchased a Boxwave and have LOVED IT. Until recently where I also have had issues with it not gliding but sticking on the screen. Nothing I have tried really works to alleviate the no glide issue.....

JSchroeder80
Apr 11, 2011, 02:11 PM
Anyone use one of these?

SDub90
Apr 11, 2011, 02:34 PM
Anyone try any of the following?

Elago
Acase (2nd generation)
Griffin

Thanks for the reviews - very helpful, but a few things have changed in the past couple of months.

M-5
Apr 11, 2011, 03:08 PM
I almost lost my Nataal stylus today (which is virtually the same as the Acase). I accidentally left it on the table in one of my classes, but when I went back 2 hours later I found it waiting for me on the table. I would have been so upset if I had had to spend another $15 for a replacement stylus.

I like the Nataal, but as mentioned in the review, a bit of pressure has to be applied for the screen to respond to the stylus. The tip is rubbery and squishes in, and I noticed that my tip is a tad bit slanted, which a little peeve of mine.

AnthonySmith
Apr 11, 2011, 03:30 PM
I almost lost my Nataal stylus today (which is virtually the same as the Acase). I accidentally left it on the table in one of my classes, but when I went back 2 hours later I found it waiting for me on the table. I would have been so upset if I had had to spend another $15 for a replacement stylus.

I like the Nataal, but as mentioned in the review, a bit of pressure has to be applied for the screen to respond to the stylus. The tip is rubbery and squishes in, and I noticed that my tip is a tad bit slanted, which a little peeve of mine.

I bought this about a week ago, and this is what I cannot stand about it. I would much prefer a tip with a little more firmness to it.

Anyone, including the OP, who has/has tried the BoxWave, is the tip any more firm than the others?

email68
Apr 11, 2011, 09:48 PM
I bought this about a week ago, and this is what I cannot stand about it. I would much prefer a tip with a little more firmness to it.

Anyone, including the OP, who has/has tried the BoxWave, is the tip any more firm than the others?


I have both the boxwave and the nataal. The boxwave for me is better because it takes less pressure to write on the screen.

With the nataal, I can contact the screen and write w/o the ipad registering it. The boxwave is very difficult to do that.

The tips are about the same rubbery consistency, but the boxwave is a lager diameter tip. The nataal is about 3/4" longer than the boxwave.

I only own the two stylus' but I give the winning edge to boxwave.

vkuber
Apr 17, 2011, 10:48 PM
Just purchased the BoxWave Capacitive iPad Stylus (Jet Black) from Amazon. Can't wait to start using this with Notes Plus!

MrMac'n'Cheese
Apr 17, 2011, 11:01 PM
Thank you OP Georgie!

I have decided Boxwave thanks to your review.

I have one question, how do they hold up over time?

civla
Apr 17, 2011, 11:45 PM
Thanks to all the info on this thread, I went with the Boxwave stylus and have been using it all weekend. I LOVE it! I use it with Notes Plus and it really works perfectly. I do find myself using the close-up box option in Notes Plus to improve the quality of my writing and not have to use the Palm Pad. I tried the free version of Sketchbook by AutoCAD and it seemed to work great there too, though my drawing skills are terrible. The firmness is not too hard, not too soft. I have never owned another capacitive stylus so I can't compare. I even find myself using the Boxwave for general use outside of Notes Plus.

Thanks again and best of luck to everyone is their stylus shopping. I only wish the (eventual) forthcoming Portenzo Composition II I ordered had an option for a stylus holder. Guess that is what pants pockets are for. :D

vkuber
Apr 18, 2011, 02:58 PM
http://pictures.recombu.com/news/M13822/2032_w625_h_a.jpg

Wacom iPad stylus unveiled

http://recombu.com/news/ipad-wacom-bamboo-stylus-unveiled--we-get-drawing-with-it_M13822-1.html

robertk328
Apr 18, 2011, 07:09 PM
Picked up the Targus at Sears - $9.99 :-)

Fireproof!
Apr 18, 2011, 07:55 PM
http://pictures.recombu.com/news/M13822/2032_w625_h_a.jpg

Wacom iPad stylus unveiled

http://recombu.com/news/ipad-wacom-bamboo-stylus-unveiled--we-get-drawing-with-it_M13822-1.html

For $40??? :eek: Yeah - no thanks!

bloodycape
Apr 19, 2011, 04:19 AM
For $40??? :eek: Yeah - no thanks!

Except Wacom is the leader in the touch screen pen market(with both high quality and accurate screen and stylus combo). They are like the Apple of this market.

Igantius
Apr 19, 2011, 05:25 AM
I read on one site that the Wacom one costs $30, which sounds right to me if it costs 25 - the UK price would normally include VAT and we normally get charged a litte extra too!

The pen was announced several days ago, so it's nice to see first hands-on reports (thanks vkuber for the heads-up), especially as they're positive.

DanH
Oct 28, 2011, 07:46 PM
Sorry for the repost. I just put a review on my blog about this issue. You can get one on amazon for about 18 bucks and I don't think it will scratch your screen although I do have a screen protector on my Ipad so I can't be positive.

Anyways I'm using the "Flip" and its a really smooth pen!

Cheers
-Dan