Just Mobile’s AluPen Digital is the stylus I’ve been waiting for since I first touched nib to screen on my first stylus review.
The problem with other styli is that the rubber tips required for input are almost as wide as my fingertip itself. They still provide a more natural writing motion than using my fingertip, they get my hand out of the way, and whereas they’re more precise than my fingertip, it’s still difficult to get the kind of control you would from a pen or pencil. The AluPen Digital alleviates this problem by basically becoming a pencil for your touchscreen.
As you can see from the photo below, it’s a somewhat thick (1.25cm…about the same as a Sharpie) pen-shaped device constructed of aluminum and black plastic for the type of Apple design synergy you expect from Just Mobile. The width makes it quite comfortable to hold, although I could actually do without the pen clip getting in the way of my grip. That’s the price you pay for the lack of a removable cap, which of course the AluPen Digital doesn’t need; you reveal the 1.8mm tip by simply twisting the cap.
There is no Bluetooth pairing required, so once you’ve turned on the AluPen Digital, you’re ready to go (once you’ve got the included AAA battery in place, of course). A tiny green LED indicates that the power is on, and this will turn red when the battery level gets low. The pen will go into auto sleep if not used for three minutes, helping to preserve battery life.
The connection with your iPhone or iPad is handled by “charge amplifying circuitry”, as Just Mobile calls it, and it’s pretty slick. You will get much more precise writing/drawing with it and the thin tip than you would with regular stylus, but the lack of Bluetooth hurts it in a couple ways. You won’t get pressure sensitivity, for example, nor will you get palm rejection, which some writing apps feature so that resting your palm on the screen doesn’t count as input. As such, the writing experience isn’t 100% intuitive; this is why I like it more for drawing games than for extensive writing or detailed artwork.
Thankfully, at $49.95, the AluPen Digital is priced accordingly—midway between a standard stylus and a more feature-rich Bluetooth option. Another feature in its favor is its extensive compatibility list, which you can see at just-mobile.com. To save Apple-users the click through, it’ll work with any iPad or iPod touch, and any iPhone from the iPhone 3 on up. We tested it with an iPad Air, iPad mini with Retina display, iPhone 5 and iPhone 5c, and had no problem beyond some minimal delay.
If you’re still attempting to play Draw Something or a similar game with your finger, you really do need the Just Mobile AluPen Digital. And come this holiday season, you’ll want to seriously consider this as a gift option for those with whom you’re playing it. If your stylus needs are more just for selecting touchscreen options—while using an external keyboard, for example—the less expensive standard AluPen is still the way to go.
Buy the Just Mobile AluPen Digital