Dagi stylus P501 and P101 review

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Not all capacitive styli have the iconic rubber tip on the end- in fact there are lots of materials that can be used for making a stylus, even plastic. The Dagi stylus takes advantage of this by making a stylus that aims to be more accurate by being transparent. Question is, does it work? Read on to find out.

Dagi has several models in their product lineup, and the ones I have are the P501 and P101, each $23. They all use the same basic design for the tip of the styli with a plastic disc with a red dot in the middle, rather than the typical rubber ball. Capacitive screens require a certain amount of material (be it a finger or a stylus) on the screen to register, and the device then calculates the center of the detected “mass” in order to know where you were trying to touch. This is why pen-like styli with pointed tips wouldn’t work; too little surface area in contact with the screen. By using a transparent plastic disc at the end and putting a red dot in the middle, the Dagi stylus is able to make a stylus that is in theory as accurate as a pointed stylus while still holding true to the surface area criteria. The red dot shows you the middle of the plastic disc, which is what the device will detect as the point you were trying to press. This makes it easier to be accurate compared to a rubber ball stylus or a finger where you don’t really see where the center is.

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In practice this system works. As long as the entire plastic disc is in contact with the screen, the red dot will show where the screen thinks you’re aiming with rather good precision. The issue however is getting the stylus to touch the screen correctly. The P501 and the P101, which are essentially the same styli but different sizes (P501 meant for tablets, P101 for smartphones), have a spring-loaded tip to make it easier to get the disc to stay in contact with the screen when you move it. The spring helps a bit, but it’s still a pretty difficult stylus to use as you’re very limited in the way you can hold the stylus and still have it work perfectly. If you’re off on the “entry angle” you might end up drawing unwanted dots here and there before you get full surface contact, which can be a particular problem with handwriting if you’re writing style make you lift the stylus often.

The angle in which you need to hold the stylus is way too steep for my taste, as I’m used to holding the stylus at more of a 30 degree angle to the iPad rather than the ~50-60 degree angle that the Dagi is designed for. The spring mechanism makes it adjustable to steeper degrees than that, but not shallower angles. For me this results in holding it wrong and the plastic disc not touching the screen if I hold it the way I hold my Griffin stylus. It’s just a matter of getting used to holding it the right way, I’m sure, but you might have trouble using it right out of the box.

The real issue with the Dagi is rather an issue with iOS apps and lack of proper palm ignore features. To use the full potential of the Dagi styli (for handwriting, anyways) you need to be able to rest your hand somewhere. Because of the steep angle required however this is almost always on the screen itself, and few apps have a built in palm ignore feature- and even fewer of them actually works. I know some people use a glove with no fingers and that’s one solution, though some people might find that a bit excessive. It depends on what you use your tablet for; if you draw on it a lot, using a glove isn’t an issue. After all, the stylus is a lot more accurate than the rubber tip styli, as long as you hold it the right way.

 

All in all the Dagi stylus is a great stylus as long as you need accuracy above ease of use. This stylus is awesome for anyone who do detailed drawings and such, in which case it’s like using a scalpel compared to a machete. For everyday stylus use however it’s a bit too hard to use, so it really depends on what you need it for. Personally I don’t see myself using the Dagi a lot, because of the simple fact that Notify‘s magnification mode lets you write tiny text with practically any tool, even a finger. I might try to mod the P101 (smallest one) though and see if I can make the angle you need to hold it a bit shallower.

If you think the Dagi is for you, you can use coupon code 110313101N at checkout to save 10%. Complete list of all their styli here. As for the P501 vs the P101, I would stick with the P501 as the size makes it easier to use in my opinion. The styli will work on any capacitive screen- resistive too, naturally, but that’s a moot point since anything works on a resistive touchscreen

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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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