Ah! Art, how beautiful and allegorical they are. The brush strokes, the shades, and the techniques, like the Sfumato method employed famously by Leonardo himself in Mona Lisa, are all awe-inspiring, isn't it?
But unlike the Renaissance Man himself, try dabbling your skill on a tablet, an android tablet. Now that you have the inspiration and a canvas, all you need is the tool, a paintbrush if you may.
And that's where a Stylus comes in. A Stylus, basically, imprints the stylus wielders strokes onto the screen without exhausting any palpable resources, like ink.
But which one? That's the million-dollar question. From a slew of styluses available right now, I have broken down the choices to a handful so that you can choose the right one(knock on wood!).
The best styluses for drawing on Android are made by Adonit, Meko, Staedtler, and Lynktec. With their unique designs and an unparalleled list of features, these pens distinguish themselves from the competition pretty well.
Let's get right into it, shall we?
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Adonit, launched through Kickstarter back in 2010, has become one of the world's best stylus makers.
The company has since grown to become an international leader in stylus production with a presence in over 100 countries.
Initially, their products were only limited to Apple products. But in time, support for universal touchscreens became a norm.
The DASH 3 has been a revelation for many a stylus maker because of its sturdy design and universal compatibility.
A clickable button on top is reminiscent of the traditional pen design that the product aims to mimic. It also doubles as a power button.
An LED indicator on the stem informs you of the pen's status- like blue for power, red for low battery, etc.
A new 1.9 mm Pixel Point tip renders the writing/sketching very paperlike. This tip is indeed one of the most precise and accurate tips on this list.
A magnetic charging dock with a charging time of about 45 minutes provides a battery life of about 14 hours, more than enough for a day's work.
The sturdy clip on the top just adds to the overall aesthetics of a pen. Final verdict: a smooth, sleek, and eye-catching pen that is in all its glory a mighty sword.
A newer version, the DASH 4, takes a giant leap by transforming the form-factor into an active stylus. The updated model now has support for Bluetooth connectivity and a native palm rejection feature.
As the successor to one of the most sold styluses on Amazon, the second-gen Meko Universal stylus does fare well in its wake.
The newer Meko stylus, like its predecessor, flaunts a disk-type tip which is one of the characteristic features of the device. It is a 2 in 1 device, meaning it hosts dual tips on its ends.
A broader 6.8mm tip enables you to make a wider stroke with more real estate, while the revised disk-wielded 2 mm tip carves a much finer line.
Universal support, as the name suggests, is another keyword for its popularity. And if you have not guessed it by now, the device is a capacitive stylus, meaning it doesn't require any battery or wires to operate.
A much more comfortable grip paired with an all-steel and aluminum construction answers the longevity issue.
And speaking of longevity, the deal now comes bundled with three units, unlike the previous iteration which was limited to two per box.
Six additional tips, which comprise of 3 fiber tips and 3 broad tips, further increase the value proposition.
The absence of a physical button, and a lack of pressure sensitivity functions, are justified by the cost of this product.
I'm sure you must have heard the name Staedtler before, haven't you? You are not wrong if a black and yellow striped pencil flashed on your mind.
Staedtler, the stationary mammoth, does offer a stylus device, which at first glance may look like one of its staple products, a pencil.
The Noris digital classic is a hybrid stylus, meaning it has the features of an active and a passive stylus baked into it.
Their partnership with Wacom has made the Noris digital classic support the Wacom patented EMR(Electromagnetic Resonance) feature. Only those devices that have support for EMR will be able to accommodate the Staedtler stylus.
With EMR only those inputs made with the pen are recognized by the screen, and all external inputs(like palm imprints or accidental touches) are negated.
No additional power is needed for this feature to work, hence making it a hybrid stylus.
The Hexagonal shape provides excellent ergonomics, while the 0.7 mm tip makes writing and doodling as natural as possible.
The stylus is made of the same wood-based material as their pencils, WOPEX, giving it the same pencil-like texture and feel.
Flexible to a certain degree, you won't get tired of using this device even after hours and hours of work.
Support for up to 4096 pressure levels further elevates your art game to the next level.
Wacom uses the same EMR technology on almost all of its styluses. But most of their pens are exclusively compatible with their tablets. This doesn't mean that they don't make pens that are compatible with other devices.
One fine example of a device that is compatible with devices other than their own tablets is the Bamboo ink series. But the pen does have issues from time to time with connectivity and power.
You can find more about this on Wacom Bamboo ink not working.
The TruGlide Pro acts as an extension of your finger. With its broad 5 mm tip, you won't be able to make a rather fine line, but that's where the replaceable tips come into play.
With support for a wide range of drawing tips, including a conductive artist paintbrush tip, the modularity aspect of this device is commendable. BTW, these tips are sold separately.
The patented 5 mm conductive fiber tip glides are made of tightly wound microfibers that provide a smooth glide over the screen.
An unparalleled level of connectivity, even if it's a passive stylus, is another quirk of this device.
The pen is made entirely from metal, and it comes bundled with a case for easy storage.
Even though the tip does get easily worn out, it is much smoother than the rubber alternatives available for this price range.
Other nitpicks include the heft of the device. It may get a bit tiring after a few hours of use.
Buyers Guide: Things to Look Out For
Now that the recommendations are taken care of, let's take a look at the things you should consider while shopping for a new stylus.
Choosing the right stylus is paramount for your project, be it a landscape sketch or a presentation for the coming day.
Make sure to check the following essentialities before choosing one.
1. Type of Stylus
Styluses can be broadly classified into two categories: Active and Passive.
A passive stylus is a device that doesn't require any additional power or connectivity to communicate with the host device. They rely on pressure-based capacitive touch, much like how we interact with touchscreens to communicate with the screen.
And since they don't have any mode of connectivity with the device, passive styluses lack support for pressure sensitivity and tilt functions.
But on the flip side, they don't require an active power supply, making you run them for a long time until the tip wears out.
Active Styluses, on the other hand, relies on Bluetooth or any other wireless or wired connection protocols to communicate with the host device.
They also have inbuilt circuitry which requires batteries, making them a bit tail heavy.
But at that expense, they do come with features like pressure sensitivity and tilt functions. They are also far more accurate and precise than the passive ones.
For drawing purposes, an active stylus might do the trick. If pressure sensitivity and tilt functionality are not must-haves, feel free to try out a passive stylus. More on Active and passive styluses here: Active vs. Passive stylus.
2. Tip and Materials Used
The type of tip used on the stylus is another vital requirement. Usually, tips are categorized according to the diameter.
A very fine tip, say a 0.2 mm tip, produces a very fine line that may not be possible with a blunt tip of 5 mm diameter. Fine brush-type tips are also available in the market, which can simulate brush strokes.
The material with which these tips are made also affects the strokes they make. A rubber tip tends to stick to the screen but is dirt-cheap. A plastic tip is smoother and lighter than a rubber tip but is generally found on higher-end styluses.
Other materials include Fibers, metal, and alloys. Depending on the material, the longevity may also vary. Harder materials tend to be a bit long-lasting than softer ones.
For drawing purposes, the tip size may vary along with the material. A tip made of a softer material in a fine size, like a plastic 0.7mm tip, may be advised.
3. Size and Built Quality
Size plays an important role in choosing a stylus. Smaller, lighter styluses help create a finer stroke and help make swift movements across the screen.
But the lighter and smaller the stylus, the less ergonomic it gets. Sturdier, bulkier pens may not produce the fine lines of a lighter pen, but they are more ergonomic with a better grip.
The build quality depends on the materials used and the level of comfort those materials provide.
Most higher-end styluses are metal-built. This makes them sturdy and sleek but also makes them heftier.
Plastic and fiber-built styluses are not as durable as the metal ones, but they are lighter than the latter.
Other materials include wood and graphite.
Four great products, each better than the other. All you have to do is compare.
If at all you get confused while selecting, follow the comprehensive guide to ward off any doubts.
Make sure to check and compare each and every product before siding with one.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is a stylus good for drawing?
In many ways, a stylus is the best option for drawing due to its features, like pressure sensitivity and tilt recognition. These features help emulate the strokes and lines very pencil/pen-like. This is the closest you can get to a real-life drawing experience.
Are stylus pens universal?
Stylus pens labeled as universal can be used on any touchscreens, but not all of them are indeed universal. Some pens may only be supported on a specific platform, like the Apple pencil or the Samsung Note stylus. Make sure to read and check the product compatibility list before choosing a stylus.
Can you touch and interact with the display while using a Stylus?
If your display supports capacitive touch, you can interact with the display while using a stylus. If your screen/stylus supports active palm rejection, sometimes your input can be interrupted as unwanted input. Some displays, like the Wacom tablet displays, only react to stylus inputs.
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