I bought three el cheapo styluses (or is that styli?) from Dollarama and tried them out with 53’s amazing drawing app for iPad, Paper. Is it possible to buy a decent stylus to use with your iPad at the dollar store? Time to find out!
Stylus 1: “Tech-1 Stylus Pen”
I can hardly believe it cost $2. This thing is junk. Even for $1 I would tell you not to buy it. It doesn’t always register on the iPad screen when drawing and it manages to feel more awkward than just using your finger. Using it feels lousy, in part because it’s too light and flimsy, and in part because it’s just too damn short. If it didn’t cost me more in gas to get to the store and back than what I paid for it, I would go back and try to return it.
Verdict: you’re better off giving $2 to a homeless person than buying this. At least giving money to somebody who needs it feels good, which is more than I can say about using this piece of crap.
Stylus 2: “Tech-1 Ballpoint Stylus Pen”
For the same $2 as the Tech-1’s super crappy “Stylus Pen” you get a much nicer “pen” with some thought (however minimal) to ergonomics and a slightly more quality feel. You also get an actual pen thrown in, which is operated by a click button on the top. The pen pokes through the touch pad at the writing end, which is kind of clever. I can imagine it would be easy to accidentally leave the pen poking out when you try to use it on your tablet, though.
As a pen, it’s decent. As a stylus, I supposed I’d call it “passable”. It’s a better than the “stylus pen”, but still not good.
Verdict: if you really need a pen, and think getting a free stylus would be nifty, this might not be a total waste of your money.
Stylus 3: “Hype 2-in-1 Stylus & Ballpoint Pen”
Winner, winner, chicken dinner! I think it might have been $3, which is actually expensive in dollar store terms, but this thing is terrific!
Straight away, you notice that even the packaging is better. It actually seems like something that might be sold in a “real” store. The matte card stock packaging seemed out of place in the dollar store, but allows this to be given as a gift or used as a stocking stuffer without giving away to the receiver where you bought it. (note that in the picture, there’s no “Dollarama $2” printed on it?)
The pen itself is a classy affair. A simple black pen with twist-to-retract pen tip.
The stylus end feels funny to touch with your finger, like an empty rubber ball with a harder rubber nub inside. Whatever it is, it works great. It provides a nice resistance on the iPad screen and works 100% as you would expect. I just started using and enjoying it. Within a few seconds of getting it out of the package I had sketched the pen itself.
Verdict: it’s a keeper. If you happen to be at a Dollarama, and you find the Hype 2-in-1 Stylus & Ballpoint Pen, buy it.