iFaraday stylus review: for those who dislike foam or rubber tipped styluses

Discussion in 'iPad Accessories' started by oakie, Jun 26, 2011.

  1. oakie, Jun 26, 2011
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2011

    macrumors 6502

    oakie

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2008
    Location:
    seattle
    #1
    edit: this will be the last product review i post on the macrumors forums. hopefully someone, somewhere found something useful.

    until I bought my iPad, I had little use for a stylus. for emergencies, I bought a cheap, rubber tipped, compact stylus for us with my iPhone a few years ago for use in the cold before finally obtaining a pair of E-Tip gloves from The North Face last season. once I bought the iPad and began to encounter note-taking and drawing apps for it, I have been in the hunt for a great stylus. as you may know, there are a number of apps that claim to function like the Livescribe digital pen and paper sets, but are essentially useless without a proper stylus.

    the stylus I used had a nice, compact aluminum body and featured a fine, 6mm rubber tip. however, the tip obviously didn’t glide smoothly against the screen. it also required a decent amount of pressure to register, further exacerbating the glide issue and was literally like trying to write with a pencil eraser. it was fine only for very occasional use. after installing the Paper Desk app, I followed their recommendation and quickly ordered a Pogo Sketch. Ten-One Designs’ Pogo series of styluses use a foam tip, which would solve my issue with glide.

    unfortunately, the Pogo Sketch’s foam tip has issues with sensitivity. while it would glide well across the screen, you had to completely compress the tip to get it to register in most cases. for wiring this wasn’t too much an issue but it was nearly impossible for the way I illustrate. plus, the aluminum body would come dangerously close to scratching the screen during normal use.

    since I was still in the hunt for a stylus, I figured a screen protector would be wise since all capacitive styluses require a metal body for conduction. I settled on the ever reliable PowerSupport and their crystal protection film for iPad. protection was solved, but it also exacerbated the previous issues with sensitivity and glide, if only slightly, but is infinitely better than products like Zagg’s InvisibleShield and similar products due to their high friction compound.

    through a friend of mine who makes a living in graphic design, illustration, and photography, I was able to get my hands on an early sample of the now shipping Wacom Bamboo capacitive stylus. with their experience in the field, I wrongly assumed their product would be superior despite the use of a rubber tip. granted, their stylus has a great feel to it, but all of the caveats of a rubber tip were unavoidable and thus no better in performance over my original $1 special.

    I then thought back to my E-Tip gloves and their use of silver cloth and began to search for solutions using a similar conduction technique. that’s how I discovered the iFaraday stylus at http://ifaraday.com. unlike every single other capacitive stylus currently sold, the iFaraday stylus uses conductive cloth wrapped around open-cell foam. available in 3 different tip shapes and 2 levels of hardness, I sprung for a hard, domed tip from their Artist’s Collection in black.

    about their website: it looks like a one-man operation with a small explanation of who Faraday is and why the name was chosen for the product, product descriptions, and a link to their store. about the product store: you have a choice of domed, bullet, or pool cue shaped tips. the basic stylus sells for $10 and comes only with the soft, pool cue tip. the Artist’s Series styluses sell for $15 and offer a choice of tips, and an Artist’s Pack gives you all three tips in your choice of hardness for $40. a limited selection of anodized colors is also available. payments are processed exclusively through PayPal.

    the stylus arrived quickly after ordering; about 4 days for me via USPS first class in a full sized manila envelope folded over and sealed with the shipping label. inside, the stylus was well protected in an acrylic cigar tube. a nice touch that shows just how much he cares about the product and further evidence of it’s handmade design from a small scale operation. I quickly grabbed my iPad, opened up the Wacom Bamboo app (currently free on the AppStore), and began my handwriting tests.

    simply put, the experience was amazing. the stylus glides smoothly across the screen with friction very similar to a cheap, ballpoint pen, maybe a bit less. the stylus itself is very light, being an anodized aluminum tube with a clip, housing a tip made of a conductive silver cloth and a plastic end cap. the domed tip worked from all angles, including in my normal hand position; which is admittedly at a very acute angle to the writing plane. it does require a bit of pressure to be at it’s most accurate but never significantly affects the glide; again, very much like your standard Bic ballpoint pen on a legal pad. the diameter of the tip is equal to that of the body and is about 8mm; just about the standard in capacitive tip diameter.

    for actions not requiring much accuracy like home screen gestures or webpage navigation, it’s nearly flawless with the absolute minimum pressure required to scroll pages or select apps. it simply feels very natural, almost like using your fingers, and completely unlike the Pogo Sketch, which requires full compression of the foam tip just to register home screen gestures.

    at the risk of releasing the magic sealed within the aluminum body, I pulled the cloth tip out to see what truly made it tick. there I found a bundle of silver cloth, wrapped around a wad of open-cell foam and bound by a rubber o-ring. the o-ring also served to hold the tip in place inside the body with it’s friction fit. one could possibly modify the tip to their liking by using a denser, closed-cell foam earplug or maybe even a pencil eraser. i will probably try this myself at some point to further adjust the already great tip to better suit my tastes.

    weirdly enough, after further research I have not been able to find any other styluses using a silver cloth tip like the iFaraday stylus. I find this quite surprising, considering how well the iFaraday design works and feels. this design simply and ingeniously solves all of the previous complaints that normally accompany the standard foam or rubber tipped designs currently in use. it is also a steal at both the entry level price of $10 and their Artist Series for $15, especially when compared to the fact that the average selling price for a name brand stylus is around $20.

    bottom line: if you have been unsatisfied with capacitive styluses in the past, give the iFaraday a shot. it is by far the most pen-like in accuracy and smoothness compared to the rest of the market with a reasonable price to boot. once they’re finally discovered, it’s silver cloth tip will very likely displace both rubber and foam as the preferred conductive material for styluses.

    Virtues:

    extremely sensitive, accurate tip that rivals the input sensitivity of your own digits.
    low friction for smooth, effortless screen interaction even when tip is fully compressed.
    very durable compared to the conductive foams or thin rubber tip compounds used in all other stylus designs.
    low, low price compared to the competition.
    Caveats:

    the tip is 8mm, which can cause accuracy issues for some.
    limited selection of colors.
    not weighted: this can annoy some artists used to working with heavier instruments, like inkers.

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  2. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2011
    #2
    Thanks Oakie very good review.

    It there any branding on the stylus itself. Can't stop wondering why there are so, "competitive" on price.
     
  3. macrumors 6502a

    Btrthnezr3

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    Location:
    Texas
    #3
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_3_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8G4 Safari/6533.18.5)

    Awesome review. Need to pick one of these up.
     
  4. macrumors member

    AztecKing

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2007
    Location:
    Southern Oregon
    #4
    Love them

    I just received the Artist Series set and like all three. They are so much better than the rubber tipped stylus out there. Worth every penny.

    Jeff
     
  5. macrumors regular

    Firen

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2009
    Location:
    Vienna, Austria
    #5
    Hm.. I wish there were more companies that made those. Nice review, thank you! :)
     
  6. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2002
    #6
    Thanks for the review. I have the Targus one but am not happy with the rubber tip. Will give iFaraday a shot.
     
  7. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2011
    Location:
    Atlanta
    #7
    Why?
     
  8. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2011
    Location:
    Atlanta
    #8
    The iFaraday RX seems interesting. My main use beyond general navigation would be for writing/note-taking. Anyone have it already and care to comment?
     
  9. macrumors demi-god

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2009
    Location:
    NY
    #9
    Oh wow, last review?? That's a shame. :confused:

    Someone must have complained that it looked like Spam. :mad:

    Excellent job and an interesting product. Thanks.
     
  10. macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2010
    Location:
    Ft Lauderdale
    #10
    I have two faradays and they are good styluses. However, the only stylus that is long like a std pen and feels right for me is the Nataal. I also have a boxwave and a few other ones - they are all about an inch short vs the nataal.

    I'm not taking notes or drawing, just "selecting things" to keep the screen clean so the Nataal is fine.
     
  11. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2009
    #11
    I ordered the RX yesterday? I'll report later.
     
  12. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2010
    Location:
    Gatineau, Qc, Canada
    #12
    Please don't let this be your last review :(

    As everyone else here, I thought your review was most excellent. I like the idea of a silver tip. However, never having purchased a stylus for a device before, there are a few things that catch my eye. It may be to keep prices low and I know people like thin and long styluses but it looks a little like a cylinder with a nub at the end. I really wish I could find an ergonomic stylus with cussions for your resting areas on it while keeping the stylus thin and to have the stylus have a very thin yet capacitive and durable tip.

    Probably the #1 thoughts on everyone interested in a stylus's mind I guess :)
     
  13. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2011
    #13
    Glen E

    Just curious what other styluses you have and your thoughts on them. I am personally interested in something that I can write with that is more or less of a pens length.
     
  14. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2011
    #14
    As others have said, hopefully this won't actually be your last review. I ordered one (Artist Firm) the other day because of this review. As someone that hasn't been completely satisfied with the other options (Targus, aCase, Wacom Bamboo), you opened up a new option that appears to be getting stellar reviews from everyone that's used one.
     
  15. macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2011
    #15
    Oakie,

    I, too, appreciated your comprehensive review. Based on it and other reviews, I ordered the same "Artist" model with the extra firm dome tip. My experience mirrors yours. Recieved the stylus in about four days. I appreciated the vendor's email and tracking information.

    Like you, I find the tip to be a revelation compared to the Targus I've been using. It requires so little pressure, in fact, that I've had to adjust my use when writing or sketching with it. It glides so easily that I've had to consciously reduce the pressure with which I "push" it.

    My only "complaints" (and they're very minor) is that I'd prefer a bit "fatter" style, more like a pen and a bit more "heft." The stylus is, I'm guessing, about half the weight of my targus (but the latter includes a ball point pen, adding to the weight.) It appears that the vendor plans to introduce a version that meets those complaints.

    From what I've seen on another forum, by the way, the vendor/manufacturer is HIGHLY responsive and supports his product very, very well.

    All in all, I'd recommend the iFaraday stylus very highly. Even if you're satisfied with your current stylus (as I was), you'll find the iFaraday to be a revelation.
     
  16. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2011
    Location:
    Greensboro, NC
    #16
    I ordered the RX. Got the shipping notification yesterday. :)
     
  17. macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2006
    #17
    I am very interested in the RX for college note taking. If you RX-ers will be so kind to write up a review, I'd greatly appreciate it!
     
  18. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2007
    #18
    Just ordered one — thanks for the review!
     
  19. macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2007
    #19
    Great review. Exactly what I was looking for. Going to order one today. Just need to figure out if i should go for Rx version. Anybody have any comments about RX version? is it worth the extra $13
     
  20. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2011
    Location:
    Atlanta
    #20
    I just received my RX today, so I will do a quick comparison with the acase 2nd generation stylus that I have been using for about 2 months. FYI--I have been satisfied with the acase. It does require a little pressure to work, but I got used to the right amount of pressure to exert long ago.

    The two big differences between the RX and the acase are

    1. The RX takes just about zero pressure to write while the acase takes a little. The difference is noticeable. This may reduce writing fatigue or be helpful to those with physical issues in the arm or hand.

    2. Size. The RX is fatter and shorter and lighter, but it has a plastic screw-on cap for the tip that fits nicely on the non-writing end when in use. The RX without the cap is about a 1/2 inch shorter than the acase, but it's about an inch and a quarter longer with the cap on when writing. Without the cap on, it feels too short to write with. With the cap on, it has a slightly better pen-like feel to it than the acase. The RX is probably better suited to those with bigger hands than the acase.

    I tested writing in a couple of apps. I did not see any noticeable difference in my handwriting between the two styli.
     
  21. macrumors 68020

    srl7741

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2008
    Location:
    In my world
    #21
    Nice review, thanks for taking the time to write it. The Salt model looks interesting and I think I'm going to try it when available.
     
  22. macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2007
    #22
    Thanks for the feedback
     
  23. macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2006
    #23
    MathRulz, thanks so much. I am expecting to receive mine soon.

    I'm planning to use the RX for college note-taking. Do you think it's a keeper?
     
  24. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2011
    Location:
    Atlanta
    #24
    Definitely a keeper.
     
  25. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 19, 2008
    #25
    I saw a friends stylus the other day and the tip felt like it was made of some sort of Nylon. It was a hard surface but smooth. This tip wont wear out and makes a fairly sharp line. He said that it is a Griffin. I thought that the Griffin stylus pens were rubber tipped. I like the hard Nylon tip. Any suggestions. I dont like squishy tips at all.
     

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