Using a stylus for taking down notes and quick sketches on your mobile device have now become a norm, thanks to the mind-numbing advancements made every day in the world of technology.
But, we use a tablet for such purposes mostly. What about scribbling and sketching on a smartphone using a stylus?
Well, you are in luck my friend, because you can do just that, especially with the latest Pro Max model of the Apple iPhone.
But which one to choose among the slew of compatible devices out there? In this article, we will be addressing this very confusion and help you choose the best stylus for iPhone 13 Pro Max.
The best stylus pens for the iPhone 13 Pro Max available right now are the Adonit Pixel, FiftyThree Digital Stylus Pencil, Moko Universal Active Stylus, and the Meko 2 in 1 Universal Stylus. These four devices made it to the list after undergoing rigorous testing on the basis of several criteria unique to their use cases.
Adonit, a stalwart in the world of Stylus, shows its dominance in the market with its Pixel pen. And what a mark Adonit leaves, setting the standard with this "Apple Pencil alternative" pen.
The Pixel pen is an active pen meaning it operates on a battery and requires pairing with the iPhone. And with that encumbrance comes several exclusive features.
For starters, you will get about 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity which will help you make lifelike lines and curves.
The palm rejection feature is another useful feature with which no other input, like smudges from your palm, will be registered while using the pen.
The 1.9mm Pixel point tip provides unparalleled precision and smoothness in your writing/drawing endeavors.
The tip has a rubber covering that protects the screen from the metal tip. It also gives another level of naturality while drawing/writing by providing extra drag with the screen.
The pen has a pair of programmable shortcut buttons that you can configure to perform your preferred functions, like erase, copy, or even launch a custom template.
One of the unique features of this pen is its absence of a power button. Now you may ask, how is that a feature? Well, that's because it uses the inbuilt grip sensors to power ON or OFF.
Simply clutch the pen with your fingers, and it will automatically power ON and pair with your device. You can pair your pen with your iPhone using Bluetooth.
The pen is made entirely of brushed aluminum, and it comes with a wireless USB charging dock. Connect the USB dock to a PC or even a charging brick. Then, attach the tail-end of the pen to the charging dock.
And talking about charging, the pen has a claimed battery life of about 11 hours per charge. But in our testing, it lasted for about 10 hours. The charging time is about 1.5 hours.
Adonit recommends several apps that will suit the pen properly. Some of them are Photoshop sketch, Goodnotes 4, Illustrator Draw, and Autodesk SketchBook.
And that's where the merits end. One of the major gripes with this pen is its price.
It's priced fairly high, almost Apple Pencil territory, in comparison to others on this list. But, are you getting enough for this price? Of course, you are.
While testing, I was also frequently haunted by connectivity and latency issues while using the recommended apps.
The most serious issue surrounding the pen is with its tip. The rubber coating wears out pretty quickly, leaving the metal tip beneath it exposed. If you use the pen with such a worn-out tip, expect a fair bit of damage on the display.
Here is another active stylus that is one of the best styluses in the market. It is evident pretty much from the first time you set your eyes on the pen.
The unique design of the pencil sets it apart from the rest of the pens on this list. It comes in different finishes, like aluminum, graphite, or even a walnut wood finish.
FiftyThree decided to provide this pen with a broad rubber tip that slants and blends well with the grip. It also has a rubber tail-end, with which you can erase your "happy accidents" made on the screen.
Even though FiftyThree recommends a list of apps compatible with this stylus, you can get the most out of the pen by pairing it with FiftyThree's own Paper app.
While using the pen with the Paper app, you can employ the palm rejection feature, thus negating any additional touches while working with the pen.
A unique feature of this app is the blend feature. This feature allows you to smooth out any rough edges using your finger. Pretty nifty, right?
The pen has a standby time of, wait for it, about a month on a single charge. The charging time is about an hour and a half.
But the pen won't withstand such standbys and usually runs out of juice much faster than the claimed time.
Its unique design can also be a double-edged weapon because you won't be able to wield the pen for long durations. It is also known to be a bit buggy with certain apps.
The blend feature can also be erroneous at times. The app may mistake the finger inputs as inputs from the rubber tip of the pencil, causing a whole lot of turmoil.
A great find nonetheless.
A cost-effective stylus that is compatible with an iPhone, that's all the Moko Stylus claims to be. Nothing complicated here, just a plain old stylus that does its job diligently.
The pen, even though it is labeled as an active pen, doesn't require any active connection. It also does not offer any "active pen" features. The pen does require active power to work. Hence making the cut as an active pen, I guess.
The pen is a 2 in 1 device, meaning both the ends come with a tip. The main tip is a 1.5 mm fine metal tip coated with a layer of rubber. The tail-end comes attached with a broad, eraser-type bubble tip.
If rubber tips are your thing, Best Rubber tips styluses can help you find other great styluses at an affordable price point.
The writing is accurate and precise to some extent, though expect frequent latency issues and cutoffs.
The pen houses a 140mAh battery, giving a use time of about 8 hours on a single charge. The charging time is about an hour. A power button located at the stem helps turn ON and OFF the pen.
The pen also has an auto turn-OFF feature which comes into action after thirty minutes of inactivity.
The all-aluminum construction provides a sturdy grip and feel, and the tail-end can be screwed off to expose the micro-USB charging port.
The Meko Universal stylus is one of the best-selling stylus pens you can find right now.
As the title suggests, it's a bang for your buck sort of deal because you are not getting just one unit for this price, but three.
This is a passive stylus, hence the disk tip attachment. This attachment increases the area of contact the tip makes with the screen hence, making sufficient pressure to register an input.
On the other end, the broader 6.5mm tip provides an even better contact.
The pen, as mentioned earlier, is a passive stylus, hence negating the need for active power. This inherent quality also makes it universally compatible with any device with a capacitive touchscreen.
The all-steel and aluminum construction is capable of standing the test of time. Moreover, it's very nice in the hands.
The pen comes bundled with six additional tips, three of each tip. Another added bonus, IMO.
There are no shortcut buttons on the pen which can be assumed as nitpicking, considering the price. But that's the reality. And this is a passive pen, so don't expect state-of-the-art features and needle-sharp accuracies.
Buyers' Guide: A Comprehensive Guide for Choosing the Right Stylus
In this part of the article, you'll be able to analyze the products based on the most rudimentary features essential for a stylus pen.
Even if these products don't appeal to you much, you should at least try and check for these requirements while selecting a stylus.
Let's check them out.
Always check and verify the compatibility of the pen with your device. Even if a pen claims to be the best in the business, it might not necessarily be supported on your iPhone.
One great example is the Wacom Ink+ stylus. This stylus is one of the best stylus pens available in the market. But it is only supported on Windows devices, so that's that.
Almost all universal styluses, like the Meko and the MoKo styles in this list, will be compatible with your iPhone. These styluses are passive pens, hence the universal compatibility.
Active pens may not have the universal compatibility that passive ones offer. For instance, consider the case of FiftyThree. It is only compatible with an Apple device.
So always make sure to check for compatibility before even looking at the specs of the pen.
Active or Passive?
Stylus pens can be classified into two categories: Active and Passive. Most stylus pens available right now fall under these two categories.
A passive pen is as easy and simple as it gets. It doesn't require any batteries or pairing up to work. All you have to do is select the app of your choice and start writing/drawing with the pen.
But this simplicity does come at a cost. A passive pen lacks all sorts of advanced features like pressure sensitivity and palm rejection. The precision and the accuracy may also be a little janky.
An active pen, on the other hand, may have all the bells and whistles you could ever want on a stylus. But it might get a bit heavy because, you know, of the internal batteries and circuitry.
You can expect features like active palm rejection and pressure sensitivity on these pens.
These pens may also require an active connection with the host device. You will also get better accuracy and precision with these pens.
If you choose to buy an active pen, make sure to also check the battery life and the charging duration.
The type of tip used is a good indicator of the quality of the pen. Most pens vary drastically based on the type of the tip and the tip size.
Based on the size of the tip, you can find tips anywhere from very fine tips that make fine lines/curves to blunt rubber bubble tips that are extremely sensitive.
Rubber tips tend to stick to the screen and cause increased drag. This might not be desirable while making minute strokes and lines. For such purposes, you might want to look for pens with plastic, fine tips.
Plastic tips also tend to be long-lasting than a rubber tip, which wears off quite quickly. Other materials include fiber, cotton, fine brush hairs, etc.
And there you have it, a comprehensive list of four distinguished products at various price points. You are sure to find the right pen on this list unless you have other plans.
And if that's the case, make sure to check out the Buyers Guide for an easy and quick check for quality. Each criterion has been painstakingly selected to aid you best while selecting a Stylus pen.
If you happen to have an iPad Pro in your repertoire, Best Styluses for iPad Pro houses some of the best stylus options you can get right now.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do styluses work over screen protectors?
Most stylus pens do work over a screen protector, but not all of them. Some screen protectors may have anti-rubber coatings on them, making them extremely smooth. Hence, reduced friction which leads to failure to recognize input. Make sure your screen protector doesn't have such coatings to use your Stylus properly.
How long does a stylus last?
The longevity of a stylus may depend on several factors, mainly the tip longevity and the battery. A tip may hold ground anywhere from 6-12 months, depending on the usage. If you are a heavy user, expect the tip to last in the lower half of the range. Battery longevity also depends on the use. As with all lithium-ion batteries, expect the battery to last about 2-4 years max.
Is it necessary to have a Bluetooth connection on a stylus?
Not necessarily. Passive pens do not require any form of active connection to operate. But active pens, as the name suggests, do require an active pairing with the host device to work. This connection can be through Bluetooth, WiFi, or even a hardwired USB connection to the host device. This will ensure better input recognition, reduced latency, and increased precision.