iPad Stylus Reviews: AluPen, Boxwave, Acase [pics]

Discussion in 'iPad Accessories' started by gnychis, Jan 14, 2011.

  1. gnychis, Jan 14, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2011

    gnychis macrumors 6502

    May 24, 2009
    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


    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

  2. Higgs1 macrumors 6502


    Jun 6, 2009
    Brooklyn, NY
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_2_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8C148 Safari/6533.18.5)

    Great write up! Thanks for your hard work, appreciated!
  3. deaddog macrumors member

    Aug 20, 2010
    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.
  4. Leedsboy, Jan 16, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2011

    Leedsboy macrumors newbie

    Jan 16, 2011
    Longer term with the Boxwave?

    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?
  5. Cra1g macrumors newbie

    Jan 22, 2011
    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?
  6. Leedsboy macrumors newbie

    Jan 16, 2011
    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.
  7. xraytech macrumors 68030

    Mar 24, 2010
    The key is to make contact with the screen with your stylus first.
  8. Cra1g macrumors newbie

    Jan 22, 2011
    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.
  9. TITNTUFF macrumors regular


    Aug 9, 2010
    West Louisiana
  10. gnychis thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 24, 2009
    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)
  11. gnychis thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 24, 2009
    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
  12. h00ligan, Jan 29, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2011

    h00ligan macrumors 68030

    Apr 10, 2003
    A hot desert
    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.
  13. chrisonly macrumors newbie

    Feb 14, 2011
    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
  14. Mac Berry macrumors newbie

    Mar 3, 2011
    I had the same issue. Here's my solution, which has worked flawlessly for 2 months now:


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

    Shouldn't be necessary though :(
  15. gatech2, Mar 19, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2011

    gatech2 macrumors member

    Mar 7, 2011
  16. whiskeyred macrumors regular

    Jun 25, 2009
    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.
  17. DS3, Mar 19, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2011

    DS3 macrumors 6502a

    Mar 7, 2011
    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.
  18. AnotherScott, Apr 9, 2011
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2011

    AnotherScott macrumors newbie

    Jun 18, 2006
    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.
  19. whiskeyred macrumors regular

    Jun 25, 2009
    I would add the Nataal to this list, I find it superior to the boxwave.
  20. Diveflo macrumors regular

    Mar 12, 2008
    I have the same problem. No solution on my part though :(
  21. Pballer110 macrumors 6502

    Nov 3, 2010
    The nataal is exactly the same as the acase
  22. mlumb macrumors newbie

    Dec 18, 2008
    I agree....

    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.....
  23. JSchroeder80 macrumors member

    Apr 5, 2011
  24. SDub90 macrumors 6502a

    Nov 9, 2009
    Long Island
    Anyone try any of the following?

    Acase (2nd generation)

    Thanks for the reviews - very helpful, but a few things have changed in the past couple of months.
  25. M-5 macrumors 65816


    Jan 4, 2008
    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.

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