All iPads Stylus line-up: Architect, Bamboo, Maglus, TruGlide Pro

Discussion in 'iPad Accessories' started by GerritV, Jul 19, 2013.

  1. GerritV macrumors 65816

    May 11, 2012
    Like many of you, I'm always chasing after the best possible stylus for working on the iPad. During my queest, I love to read and watch as many reviews as possible. So I found it about time to try and contribute my 5 cents worth of thoughts.

    Let's start with my gear overview:

    - iPad 3rd gen, 64 GB, iOS 6.1.3
    - apps often used: Numbers, Noteshelf, Paper
    - no screen protector
    - stylus’es, in order of purchasing:

    Arctic Architect ($ 22,95 = € 17,50)
    Wacom Bamboo Solo ($ 29,95 = € 29.90)
    Applydea Maglus ($ 32,83 = € 24,99)
    Lynktec TruGlide Pro ($ 29,95 = € 22,82)

    Prices are taken from the manufacturer's websites, shipping and handling not included.
    I'm in no way affiliated with either of these products nor their makers.

    You can find numerous reviews on these tools, and I invite you to read them. Simply because what I'm about to offer doesn’t qualify as a complete product review - rather a collection of musings on my everyday use in a production work environment.

    Here’s a few links that were helpfull to me:

    All models:

    Arctic Architect:

    Wacom Bamboo:

    Applydea Maglus:

    Lynktec TruGlide Pro

    So here they are, again in chronological order...

    1- the Architect

    I'm an architect, no wonder I wanted to draw on my iPad - right?
    I'm an architect, so I care about design - right?
    These two points of interest soon brought me to purchase my first iPad stylus from Arctic. The Architect is eye catching, unique, very Apple (aluminium) and until today the most stylish euhm... stylus that I know off. Taste, evidently, being a personal matter.
    Aside from the looks, the ergonomics are well done. The Architect feels like a writing instrument, having the right dimensions and proportions.

    Of course, being on my first stylus, I had no point of comparison. After working it for a while I started to discover a few of it's weaker points:

    The tip is narrower than the stylus shaft. While drawing, and looking from above, it's somewhat difficult to see where exactly the nib is going to touch the screen. In the picture below you see the Architect on the left and, as a reference, the Bamboo on the right. While the latter looks more like a pointing device, the view on the Architect tip is a bit misleading, making it harder to work on p.e. detailed drawings.


    - The minimalistic cilinder looks really sleek. But as soon as I put it on the table next to my iPad, it will roll away most of the time and eventually drop on the floor. Lamy has a solution for this, check out their Pico.
    - I have relatively dry hands. The aluminium, although slightly brushed, is not providing the grip I was expecting. So prior to working, I do need a little handcreme treatment, silly as that may sound.
    - I soon got tired of screwing/unscrewing the cap and finally left the tip unprotected all the time. But wait... there's no way to replace the rubber thingie - now that’s a bit scary (remember, it likes to roll away).

    2- the Bamboo

    Based upon my issues above, I went on a search for another stylus. And I discovered the Wacom package:

    - Bamboo Paper. This app is beautiful, stylish, minimalistic in the best way possible, direct and responsive and free! I can imagine it covering the needs of a vast majority of note-taking doodlers.
    - Bamboo stylus. There is a reason why I couldn't find a negative comment about this stylus: it's a superb tool. From a design point of view, it's not exceptional - but that is not a necessity, is it? The Bamboo is, at the same time, a classic and classy looking writing device. The shape is right, so is the weight, the balance, the thickness, just everything about it.

    I soon came to feel the difference with my Architect: the Bamboo tip is a lot softer. That means smoother movement, strokes being registered much faster, less pressure needed, better confort all together, lighter to handle.


    One day I started hearing little ticks while working with my Bamboo. As it turns out, the tip is so soft and mushy, that sometimes the metal tapered cilinder just above it touches the glass screen - given the right angle and pressure.
    I've tried to capture two specific cases in the pictures below:

    Paper by 53 not offering wrist protection, I often find myself resting my hand on the edge of my iPad for stability, and at the same time sticking out my stylus to draw something in the center of my screen. Well, this angle plus the amount of pressure needed, will cause the metal nib holder to touch the screen. Ready to draw a line? Hm, guess not.


    Noteshelf is my allround favorite app that I use the most. Here you see me using the zoom box in the bottom area of the screen in what I would call a normal writing position. I made some dots when taking the photo, each time causing a light tick.


    As you may have noticed, my review doesn't hold Adonit Jot, Jaja nor GoSmart stylus’es. Why? I'm still not convinced these tips won't scratch my screen. I’ll admit I may be wrong about this, but I can't help fearing the day I draw a strong stroke with a 45° tilted Bamboo stylus, let alone the ones mentioned above. In brief: I want a soft touch at all times.

    In the meantime, I found out that Wacom offers firm replacement tips as an alternative for the defaults. Perhaps I need to test those, in order to remove my one and only minus point on the Bamboo stylus so far.

    One more thing I notice is that the screwed on tip sometimes gets a little loose, probably from the movements. Sometimes, I need to tighten it up.

    After I made the switch to the Bamboo, my wife started to use the Architect. Precision work left aside, the Architect is a perfect tool to do the usual surfing, e-mailing etc. Like I do myself, my wife types with her left index finger combined with the stylus in her right hand. This may sound silly, but it's a very handy technique in case you occasionally need to tap a small button that your index finger might miss.

    On rare occasions when I go back to the Architect, it sure proves to be a rather sticky fellow compared to the Bamboo. Seems like soft nibs equal smooth movements and firm nibs equal more dragging?

    3- the Maglus

    Although I didn't really need another stylus at this point, I couldn't help but notice many positive comments about the Maglus, especially it’s tip being soft enough and yet smooth at the same time.

    Because I did a lot of reading and viewing, my expectations were peeked like they hadn't been before. And during the first months of use, I was quite happy with this specific stylus.

    Inspite of the awkward shape, I got a good grip on it early on. The higher weight meant I had to put in less effort (pressure) while writing. "Writing" being the keyword here indeed - because it didn't seem to do that well in trying to draw. Depending on what you do and how you do it, pencil sketching may need a somewhat subtle touch. And there's nothing subtle about the Maglus, is there?

    I used to compare it with my all time favorite Lamy Scribble, but neh... there seems to be a difference between the physical and digital world of drawing. And this is where the Maglus came to bite me in the butt. I ended up still writing with the Maglus but drawing with the Bamboo. Not yet a perfect solution...

    And then recently, my Maglus began to show some shortcomings:

    - The tip began to need a lot more pressure to register at all. While writing in Noteshelf, at least 50% of my strokes were left unregistered. Very frustrating and time consuming, not to mention the crappy looking notes.
    - The rubber flaps that cover the shaft magnets started to slide up and down, causing the glue underneath to cover the whole shaft. Also, they get caught by other stuff on my desk (like sheets of paper).

    Since I didn't have much to lose, I pulled off the rubber protections and cleaned both the shaft and the rubber tip with White Spirit and Cillit Bang. Writing became marginally better for a short period of time, but now I'm afraid my rubber tip needs replacing - much sooner than I expected. My Bamboo sure did a lot more work and is still going like a whistle.
    I contacted Applydea, and they proved to be quite helpfull. In fact, I'm promised a set of replacement rubber covers (self-adhesive) because they seem to have had some glue problems. They also provided me with two extra replacement tips.
    And for now, I work a naked Maglus - not too bad since I never keep it hanging on my iPad anyway.


    But in the end of the day, I still haven't got used to the rather bulky, edged shape and the heavy weight of the Applydea stylus. I may hold on to it as a writing stylus in emergency cases. But I'm afraid it will never qualify as "my stylus" like the Lamy Scribble is and always will be "my pencil".

    Things however can change... Applydea is close to releasing a microfiber tip.
    Find out more here: The Applydea Maglus stylus | an extended review. | Louis Dyer

    4- the TruGlide Pro

    So far with the rubber tips. What else is new?
    Wait, I already told you about my phobias for the Adonit Jot, Jaja, GoSmart. Sexy as they all may look, I'm still to be convinced of their scratch free behaviour.

    Time to go through some stylus reviews again! Strange how, only now and after so long, I finally payed attention to this exceptional alternative: the microfiber tip. The Lynktec description as well as some user reviews seemed to sum up all of the issues I had in the past year or so, going through using my stylus’es. Since I was still hunting for my one-and-only, I saw no other way than to take the plunge and order the TruGlide Pro at Lynktec’s.

    Again, expectations were high. And the stylus arrived, sooner than expected!

    Style-wise, I think it's fair to compare it to the Bamboo: classic and classy at the same time (I went with the matte black with silver tip).
    Perhaps a little thin and too light to feel like a real writing instrument. On the other hand, for drawing I do prefer this more subtle feel of the tool. Either way, it won't take much time to get used to this stylus, it feels very natural and smooth in my hand.

    I do need to comment about the clip: Lynktec has given this part a lot of thought. As a result, it's a perfect solution - that makes the TruGlide score even a tad better than the Bamboo, at least in my book of good design.

    So, the tip that isn't rubber

    The microfiber tip glides like no other, that much became clear from the first stroke onward. It performs as advertised. The TruGlide surely needs a certain amount of pressure before it’s strokes are registered, but there’s no resistance at all while working. Therefor, the overall effort isn’t noticeable.
    I'll need to wait so see just how long this tip holds on to it's smooth feel. They say it's many times better than the rubber ones?

    The actual shape of the tip is different from the average rubber one.
    While the Maglus tip (among others) is shaped as an extension of the shaft / tip holder, the TruGlide tip is looking more like a little round ball that has been mounted at the end of a stick. Actually, it's less streamlined and not a thing of beauty if I may say so.


    But on the positive side, this ball shaped tip allows the stylus to be used at almost any angle without the risk of touching the screen with the stylus metal parts (think Bamboo).
    The rounded shape garantees a maximum contact surface, which explains the relatively small diameter.
    Here’s me drawing a line in Paper, at an almost horizontal position!


    To be honest, and based upon the website pictures, I was expecting a sleek silver coloured tip - which BTW is why I went with my specific colour combination. But in reality, eew, the tip looks a bit yellowish and brassy. I’m a bit disappointed in this detail. As far as the microfiber does allow, the tip should be real shiny and real silver in my opinion.

    TruGlide Pro is a name that completely covers the product. And admitted it's now my "new kid on the block", my obvious enthousiasm isn’t solely about that I'm sure.


    For what it’s worth, I’ll throw in a little comparison table.
    On three criteria, each contestant gets a score from 1 (worst in the line-up) to 4 (best in the line-up). This means that the winner isn’t the best stylus around - only the best of this bunch of four in my opinion. And the worst stylus in the table isn’t a bad one at all, it just doesn’t live up to the other three. Hope we’re clear on that.


    Like I said at the beginning, this article wasn’t set out to be a real professional product review. I’ve done my best to give some comments on positive and negative experiences that only become clear after a certain period of use. Actually, some of this stuff can’t be found in the unpacking / reviewing phase.

    Either way, I sincerely hope you’ve found it worth reading. Please, don’t hesitate to comment and ask questions. I’ll do my best to follow up.
    Thanks for bearing with me so long.
  2. Scrub175 macrumors 6502


    Apr 25, 2012
    Port St Lucie FL
  3. ddurban macrumors newbie

    Jul 30, 2013

    I loved this review because I think it nicely sums up what I have found in my stylus hunt. Previously, I was simply comparing rubber tipped stylus to rubber tipped stlyus. I didn't know anything else out there existed. When I found the LynkTec stylus' it was amazing. I don't use other stylus' now because of the simple fact that LynkTec does everything the other stylus' do, except better and it does more. Writing, for example, was a huge reason I got a stylus. But the rubber tipped stlyus' great so much resistance I could hardly use it for that purpose. If you are wanting to write, draw, do anything creative, LynkTec is the stylus to choose. Hands down.
  4. GerritV thread starter macrumors 65816

    May 11, 2012
    Thanks for the nice feedback guys!

    Small update: like they promised, Applydea did send me self adhesive rubber covers. But... the adhesive film not being that well aligned with the rubber parts themselves, made it virtually impossible to mount them nicely into their slots. As much as I tried to make it fit, the stylus looked sloppy and amateurish afterwards. For me, the Maglus is now out of the picture. In fact I gave it away.

    The Lynktec Truglide Pro on the other hand, continues to prove itself the superior stylus in my collection. Without a doubt.
  5. kandavu macrumors member


    May 10, 2012
  6. Moecat macrumors newbie

    Aug 13, 2013
    I unscrewed the metal rim off of my Wacom stylus because of the risk of scratching. It's so much better now! The nib hasn't fallen off and honestly feels very secure.
  7. TJ61 macrumors 6502a

    Nov 16, 2011
    I don't use a stylus much, but when I do, the drag of a rubber tip is really annoying. I'm looking at the Lynktec now (thanks, OP, for your review!), and wondering if there's any appreciable difference between the Truglide ($15.95) and Truglide Pro ($29.95). So far, beyond styling, I've only seen that the Pro has a 5mm tip, compared to 6mm for the non-pro. Does anyone know of any other differences to support the higher price? Length, mass, performance, etc?

  8. GerritV thread starter macrumors 65816

    May 11, 2012
    Glad to hear you appreciate my article, TJ61!

    Both the first and last link I've provided for the TruGlide are showing the two styli next to eachother. I suggest you check out those reviews.
    For what it's worth, the Pro has a replacable tip. If Lynktec is going to offer the brush, that could be an interesting update. Od course, depending on your needs.

    Finally, the price difference isn't usually that important - 15,95 being their present "Back to School" promo.

    One can assume that the Pro is an update (therefor improved version) of the regular model, but I have no hands-on experience to make that stick.

    Best of luck, keep us posted.
  9. GerritV thread starter macrumors 65816

    May 11, 2012
    Not a bad idea - the tip is perhaps a little less stable but no more ticking.
  10. TJ61 macrumors 6502a

    Nov 16, 2011
    D'Oh! Yes, those two reviews were quite helpful. Thanks for (re)pointing them out.
  11. magU macrumors newbie

    Nov 26, 2013
    The Bamboo I found it useless with my mini so I got a refund and bought a Maglus from Appldea....except only after three months they have yet to send me the stylus or respond to any of my emails, phone calls .....:confused::mad:

    A joke of a company - who give a monkey about their customers - and funny enough have the courage to come to this site and offer more customers that they can't deliver to a 10% discount so that they can steal more money and never deliver a product.

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