I’ve tried lots and lots and lots stylii (styluses?) over the years. From some of the original Pogo Sketch models (which I still keep as backup) to the new brush-like models like the BRVSH and I have had some favs (like the Pogo Sketch Pro, which I wore out—or my nephew chewed through), but all of them have been lacking a bit. Some don’t have the right heft, some don’t have a pen clip, others don’t have tips that aren’t precise or responsive, essentially I was still seeking the best yet. When I saw the HAND Stylus on Kickstarter I backed it right away. A retractible nib that even rotates a little bit as you retract it so the tip wears evenly. Precision-made aluminum body like a good mechanical pencil. Pen clip that works with the iPad Smart Cover. It seemed perfect. It took a long, long while to get to me, but it was certainly worth the wait.
Once I received my HAND stylus, I checked out the nice info sheet that came with it. One interesting thing was that right off the bat the makers said this stylus would take getting used to. Since it has the smallest capacitive tip around (only 4mm) it actually takes more pressure to make it “work” than regular styluses. And…
They are correct. This stylus has taken a while to get used to and I’m not sure I’m fully used to it yet. I can say, however, that holding and writing with it is amazing. Yes, more pressure is needed, but I’ve seriously looked at getting a writing app for my iPhone so I could jot notes on my phone with this stylus. Drawing (especially with my fav app Paper by Fifty-Three) is wonderful, smooth and expressive. Yes, I’d love for some sort of pressure-sensitivity, but I think we’ll get there (and I’ve read about a Bluetooth stylus that does this). Here’s another really interesting thing about this stylus—I like to just hold it because the feel of it just seems to inspire creativity. I know it sounds completely nuts (and I feel nuts writing it), but truly I sometimes read through RSS feeds or Zite holding the stylus like I can just jot a note with it (wouldn’t that be awesome!).
For the product itself, it’s all anodized aluminum, with a removable pen clip. The makers have tried to use recycled/recyclable materials as much as they can and purchase carbon credits to offset production. When I received my stylus in the mail, it came in a great aluminum box (stylus in one and extra tips in another) that looks pretty awesome. I had mine engraved with their slogan HAND – The Mind’s Cutting Edge because I like the sound of it.
Now that the Kickstarter phase is over you can buy the stylus directly from HAND for $30 (a pack of 6 extra tips is $10). While it might not be the cheapest stylus around, it also isn’t the most expensive either. My advice is if you write or draw on your iPad (or other tablet) and are looking for a great stylus, this is a solid investment. No, I don’t think it’s perfect. I wish it didn’t take so much pressure for the 4 mm tip to work, but that might not entirely be the maker’s fault—there are limitations in the technology as well. Still, this is a stylus that I keep looking for excuses to use. Yes, it’s that good.