Gadget Review: The Stilo Universal Fine-Point Stylus

An unassuming writing instrument that writes well across the board.

By , Columnist

Images are courtesy of Stilo

Finding a general purpose fine-point stylus that feels like a real pen can be a challenge. Some great styluses work only with iPads or Surface tablets, which means you're out of luck if you need something for an Android device. Many universally compatible styluses, meanwhile, work well only on screens with a resolution that is full HD or higher or they have nibs that are too thick to feel like a real pen.

That's where the Stilo comes in. Spare but stylish in appearance, this fine-point stylus has no bells and whistles. Everything about the Stilo is designed to be simple, even down to getting it out of the box. Printed on the packaging is a set of instructions that are designed to help you remove the device without having to fight with flaps or cut anything open.

Black_crop.pngThe Stilo itself comes in four colors - black, rose, white or gold. Regardless of which color you prefer, what you get is essentially a rubber-coated cylinder that is the length and thickness of a typical fountain pen. It has to be just a bit bigger in diameter than a AAA battery because that is the Stilo's the power source. You insert the battery by unscrewing an inconspicuous cover on the Stilo's base. To turn on the Stilo you press a discreet button on the side, which illuminates a tiny green light.

At the top of the body of the Stilo is the nib, which is about as thick as a matchstick except at the tip. The makers of Stilo say this is 1.9mm at its point. The length of the nib can be adjusted a few millimeters by essentially unscrewing it slightly. When the Stilo is not in use, the tip can be protected by a small plastic cap. This tends to fall off easily, though, so it's best not to carry the Stilo in a bag that's full of other things.

DSC_2788 (Custom).JPGContact between the Stilo's nib and the glass screen of a tablet or smartphone seems solid rather than spongy. This is fine if you like to be sure you are touching the screen but it feels harsh and not at all like writing on paper. Still, that's a function of the screen surface rather than the stylus and is true of most fine-point styluses except Samsung's S-Pen.

To test the Stilo's versatility I tried it with Autodesk Sketchbook, which includes various virtual writing and drawing tools, on a Galaxy Note 7, an iPad and an iPod. The Stilo produced good results with fine writing on the iPad even with small print. It also did a decent job of sketching on all three devices. My lack of artistic ability meant that I couldn't test how effective it is at creating highly detailed artwork. Even so, it felt secure in my hand thanks to its soft surface and the evenly distributed weight.

DSC_2429 (Custom).JPGThe latest model, the Stilo 2A, is reasonably priced at around $35 but you might not find it in your local big box electronics stores such as Staples or Best Buy. It is available from Amazon, however, and comes highly recommended for anyone looking for a universal stylus that feels right and fulfils the need for a fine writing and sketching instrument.

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Michael Simpson is a freelance writer, editor, presenter, researcher, instructor, gadget freak and sci-tech consultant based in British Columbia’s beautiful Okanagan Valley. Formerly from the UK, he’s converted from tea to coffee and written and presented on film, TV, science, nature, technology,…

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