Griffin Stylus Review

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For the last 15 years we’ve been stuck with resistive touch screens that more or less required a stylus to operate properly. Now that we have finally rid ourselves of that technology (mostly), what do we do? Bring back the stylus of course! Seriously though, a stylus is a very nice thing to have if you want to draw or write on a tablet, as we’re used to using pens and not fingers to write (at least anyone older than 3). The release of the iPad made the capacitive stylus market shoot ahead at full speed and there are dozens of different ones on the market. I bought one for use with smartNote, and the choice fell on the Griffin Stylus.

Capacitive touchscreens won’t react to just anything like resistive touchscreens will, as they are designed to react to the electric impulses in our skin. That’s why you need to use special materials for creating a compatible stylus, and the result is that capacitive styli have rubber pads on the end. I did a little bit of research before ordering the Griffin Stylus and it seems that the “original” capacitive stylus, the Pogo, is being reported by many to disintegrate after a few months use. In other words, the rubber tip falls apart. The Griffin Stylus got good reviews, so I ordered one off eBay.

This isn’t a terribly complicated device so as far as a review goes there isn’t an awful lot to say about it. It’s shaped like a pen, though smaller than a normal ballpoint, and it even has a lanyard hole and a pocket clip. The body seems to be made of anodized aluminum, which means it should be quite sturdy (not that a stylus is something that normally takes a lot of beatings anyways).  It’s not trying to be revolutionary ergonomic, but it’s quite comfortable to use, and a big step up from most resistive touchscreen styli which are (were) often much thinner in order to fit inside the devices they came with. The tip is obviously not as pointed as resistive touchscreen styli are, but still quite easy to use. You just need to gently touch the screen and the device will react. The same can’t be said for many Chinese knockoff styli which often hardly works or don’t work at all. In other words, don’t cheap out when it comes to buying a capacitive stylus.

I bought this primarily to use with smartNote which I reviewed earlier today, and it works perfectly for writing notes directly on the screen without using a keyboard. Unlike with resistive screens you don’t have to apply any pressure and so the experience of “inking” as it’s often called is generally a lot smoother. Griffin actually markets this as an iPad stylus, but a capacitive screen is a capacitive screen so you can just as easily use this on a Galaxy Tab or any other tablet or cell phone that has a capacitive touch screen.

As for durability, it will take months before I can tell for sure if this one will integrate like the Pogo styli are reported to do, but hopefully it will endure for longer than that. At $18 from Amazon it’s certainly more expensive than a resistive stylus would have been, but it’s still worth it if you need to write or draw. There are some quite impressive drawing applications at least on the iPad and I know that many people use styli like this one for those apps as well.

All in all a simple product that does what it promises. A stylus is the kind of accessory that some people would never find a need for on a capacitive device while others would never leave home without it, so it’s up to you to know if you should pick one up or not. If you do, the Griffin Stylus is a good choice.

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Andreas Ødegård

Andreas Ødegård is more interested in aftermarket (and user created) software and hardware than chasing the latest gadgets. His day job as a teacher keeps him interested in education tech and takes up most of his time.

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