Was it John Keats or Jony Ive who said, “A thing of beauty is a joy forever”? O.K., I know those words belonged to Keats, but Ive (and maybe even Keats, were he able to comprehend the idea of a capacitive stylus in the nineteenth century) would certainly appreciate that GreenBulb’s XStylus Touch is a thing of beauty.
As we reported last fall, the XStylus Touch earned its funding through a successful crowd-sourced campaign at IndieGoGo. After testing the stylus on my iPad, I’m happy to report that it is a pleasure to use.
Several factors separate the XStylus from the rest of the the styli available to iPad users. First, rather than the unibody construction found in most styli, the XStylus is composed of two main parts, the metal handle and the plastic housing that includes the capacitive tip, which are joined by a small screw. The arrangement is similar to popping a pen knife out of its sheath. The metal handle folds out (briefly demonstrating the “X” shape from which it takes its name) to offer the user a more comfortable grip as it tucks into the plastic sheath, widening the sheath slightly to make it easier to hold. The manufacturer recommends returning the stylus to its original form when not in use to avoid
Secondly, the XStylus Touch is weighty. Its heft feels good in the writer’s hand. Because it is more substantial than most styli, the XStylus is harder to lose in a purse or backpack. To borrow another line from Keats, it will be less likely to “pass into nothingness” than the other styli I own, and am chronically misplacing.
Finally, the manufacturer added a magnetic clip that should snap in to the iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch’s 30-pin dock connector. While the stylus fits well into the clip thanks to a small notch that extends from the side of the metal handle, I was not able to get the plastic adaptor to fit into any of the 30-pin docks on my iDevices. I was reluctant to force the plastic inside, as I imagined it might necessitate a trip to the Genius Bar where I would have to sheepishly explain how that broken piece of plastic got stuck in my iPad.
The manufacturer claims the metal handle will adhere to the magnets inside the iPad screen. I found this connection too weak to be reliable, probably because the stylus is so heavy. The XStylus did cling to the Smart Cover’s hinge, but not strongly enough that it wouldn’t be knocked free when stored inside a bag or briefcase.
I don’t see the XStylus’ failure to deliver storage as a major drawback to its purchase and use, mainly because it will be harder to lose than smaller, lighter aluminum styli, so it doesn’t need to be physically attached to the iDevice to keep it handy.
I test drove the XStylus using Noteshelf for iPad (highly recommended, especially at its current 80% discount), and found the stylus was comfortable to hold. The stylus glided smoothly along the screen, and rendered my handwriting clearly.
Purchase the XStylus Touch in black or white from the GreenBulb website for $39.00.
What I liked: The XStylus Touch was comfortable to hold, and its extra weight felt good in my hand.
What I didn’t like: The included magnetic pen holder is not easy to use, and risks breaking off inside the iPad 30-pin dock connecto.
To buy or not to buy: The XStylus Touch is an excellent choice for any iPad owner who wants a good looking capacitive stylus.
- App Name: XStylus Touch
- Manufacturer: GreenBulb
- Price: $39.00