Tag Archives: Stylus

Adonit Pro 3 Precision Stylus Review



Geeks over a certain age will recall that smartphones and PDAs didn’t originally have finger touch interfaces and instead of using a digit to control the device, a stylus was used to tap and poke the buttons on the screen. Partly this was a limitation of the screen size – the original Palm Pilot 1000 only had 160 x 160 pixels – and the touchscreen technology, which was resistive and needed pressure to register a touch. The stylus was perfect for this kind of interface as the narrow point could accurately and forcefully tap an individual pixel. Today’s smartphones use a capacitive technology which senses electrostatic fields and the need for a pointy objected has faded in favour of fat fingers.

This doesn’t mean that the stylus has gone away but they certainly are a rarer. On my desk today is the Adonit Pro 3 precision stylus, which is the first quality capacitive stylus I’ve ever used. Yes, I’ve had a couple of those ones with the squidgy rubber tops, typically given away as freebies, but that’s like comparing a ballpoint with a fountain pen. The Pro 3 is a quality instrument. Let’s take a closer look.

The Adonit Pro 3 comes in a simple card box and the stylus itself is a dark grey cylinder with a chunky cut-out for the pocket clip. Adonit call it black, but it’s definitely dark grey, but for something brighter, the stylus is available in silver, dark blue and rose gold. The body is all metal (aluminium) and weighs in at 18g. It’s pen size at 126 mm long and 8 mm diameter. There’s a little light texturing on the barrel where fingers rest. It’s stylish in an industrial kind of way. I like it.

To protect the tip, there’s a stylus cap which is kept in place with magnets and when removed can be stored on the bottom of the pen. The cap can be a little wobbly but it never came off accidentally. Returning to the stylus, it’s a little different from styluses of the noughties. Instead of a point, there’s a pivoting small circular disk which flattens onto the surface of the tablet and smoothly glides over the glass.

The Adonit web site and apps are very Apple-centric and I’m going to guess that you’ll probably need an iPad to get the most out of the Pro 3. I used the Pro 3 on a selection of Android and Windows touchscreen devices with a spectrum of success which varied from device to device. For me, the Pro 3 was most successful on a Pixel C, with the tablet responding positively to the vast majority of taps and draws. On a Nexus 9, it wasn’t quite as responsive, with the tablet sometimes failing to pick up the first touch in drawing apps. It worked surprisingly well with a Windows 8.1 laptop.

What lets the Pro 3 down is nothing to do with the Pro 3, but rather the lack of palm rejection on most Android and Windows apps. Simply, you can’t rest your hand on the tablet without disrupting the pen’s touch. As a result you have to hold your hand clear of the tablet screen. Apps on the iPad seem to have got this (more) sussed out.

Regardless, a clear benefit of the Pro 3 is the precision provided by the tip and the clear disk. It becomes possible to draw two lines with a millimetre between them. That’s simply impossible with a finger no matter how dainty your digits. A soft-tip stylus would be no better. I’m no artist but here’s a little doodle to show what’s possible.

If this looks like a nice stocking filler, the Adonit Pro 3 is currently GB£25.99 from Amazon.co.uk. US price is $29.99.

Thanks to Adonit for providing the Pro 3 for review.


Huion Digital Artist’s Glove



Huion Digital Artist GloveI recently purchased a Huion brand Digital Artist Glove for Drawing Tablet via Amazon for use when drawing and painting with my Surface Pro 3 using the Microsoft Pen digital stylus. The idea of a digital artist’s glove is to electrically isolate the parts of one’s hand that would normally rest on the surface of a glass capacitive touchscreen when drawing or painting. This allows the same relaxed natural hand posture that is used when writing or drawing directly on paper, allowing the side of the hand to rest directly on the surface of the glass without interfering at all with the drawing or painting process with the digital stylus.

I find that the Huion Artist Glove for Drawing Tablet works perfectly to isolate the side of my hand from a glass capacitive touchscreen such as on my Surface Pro 3 and also my iPad Air. It provides a very natural, relaxed drawing experience. Normally one must hold one’s hand in a rather unnatural hovering position when drawing or writing with a stylus on a touchscreen surface. An artist’s glove neatly solves this problem. The Huion Artist Glove for Drawing Tablet seems to be made of some sort of stretchy, smooth lycra material.

However, trying the same glove on my Lenovo C40 all-in-one touchscreen computer, curiously the glove does not work at all to isolate. I don’t know this to be a fact, however I suspect that the Lenovo C40 touchscreen is made out of some sort of plastic conductive material and not true glass. Tapping lightly on the Lenovo C40 touchscreen to my ears sounds more like tapping on a plastic material than it does tapping on true glass. If you decide to get one of these artist’s gloves, make sure that the capacitive touchscreen you intend to use it on is made out of glass and not a form of plastic material.

The Huion Artist Glove for Drawing Tablet seems to be sized a bit small. Reading the Amazon reviews ahead of time, I ordered the large size. I’m glad I did. The glove fits my hand just fine, but it is certainly not what I would in any way consider a loose fit.

The Huion Artist Glove for Drawing Tablet is constructed in such a way that it can fit either the right or the left hand. It completely covers the wrist, the little finger and the figner next to it; leaving the middle finger, index finger and thumb completely exposed since those are the fingers we typically use to hold a pen or pencil.

Even though my Surface Pro 3 has great palm rejection with included Microsoft applications such as OneNote, the palm rejection feature does not function in every application, especially third party drawing and painting applications such as Adobe Photoshop Elements. Using the digital artist’s glove gives me complete freedom to rest my hand on the screen as much as I want, especially useful when making delicate interactions with the stylus on the screen.

I suspect one using an iPad Pro with the Apple Pencil stylus would enjoy similar benefits.

The Huion Artist Glove for Drawing Tablet sells for $17.99 and is an Amazon Prime item. I highly recommend it to anyone that draws even casually on a glass capacitive touchscreen device. I would suggest going ahead and ordering the large size.

 


Ever Want To Learn How To Draw?



Digital Art

Have you ever wanted to be able to draw decent-looking artwork for your website? One of the things I’ve had a fledgling lifelong desire to do is learn to draw. However, I never took the desire seriously. Somehow I’ve always been convinced that in order to be able to draw well you have to be born with some mysterious “drawing talent” which I somehow never had much of.

I recently purchased a Microsoft Surface Pro 3, which comes with a high resolution touchscreen and a precision stylus called the Microsoft Pen. I was drawn to the Surface Pro 3 strictly by the ability to run a full version of Windows 10 on an ultra-portable touchscreen tablet equipped with a powerful processor that doubles as a laptop running full Windows 10. The Microsoft Pen stylus was a curious extra packed in the box. The first couple of weeks I left the stylus in the box because initially I didn’t have any secure place to put it. Once I purchased a protective case from Amazon that has a loop to securely stick the stylus in, I finally dug the stylus out of the box. Only then did I start to play with it a bit, initially looking at it the same way I look at the stylus that came with my Note 4 – potentially useful on occasions, but parked in the holder the vast majority of the time.

Curious about how other people were using their Surface Pro’s, I watched a bunch of Surface Pro YouTube videos. I ended up running across a very detailed video by an artist named Riven Phoenix reviewing the drawing capabilities of his Surface Pro 3. As often happens when watching interesting videos on YouTube, I ended up watching some of his other videos, and I quickly discovered he is a veteran 20-year art teacher and has quite a few art training videos posted to YouTube. After following along with several of his videos, I was quickly convinced that his teaching methods could teach me the skill of drawing. I had always assumed that drawing was a mysterious ability you had to be born with, but in fact the ability to draw is a skill to be learned if one is able to supply the motivation and is provided with the proper instruction. Riven Phoenix teaches with the powerful approach of inventing concepts and then constructing sentences with those concepts.

After watching several of Riven Phoenix’s videos, I went to his website www.alienthink.com and ended up purchasing full access to all of his instructional videos. He gives free access to the first 19 videos of his 225 video course on how to draw the human figure. He currently has full access to his entire website priced at $45 dollars, which includes 77 hours’ worth of video lessons. The first free 19 videos posted to YouTube contain a lot of material and completely convinced me I CAN learn the skill of drawing whatever I want.

His teaching skills come across very well in the videos. He breaks the task of learning to draw realistic-looking human figures down in a very formulaic way so that virtually anyone motivated and following along with his instructions in the videos will successfully learn how to draw realistic-looking human figures.

I am absolutely convinced that anyone with the motivation can use these videos and begin to learn how to draw. To my complete surprise, I’m now finding myself spending an hour or more each day practicing with the videos. I had no idea that purchasing the Surface Pro 3 would end up leading me in this new and fun direction.

Though devices such as the iPad Pro and Surface Pro 3 have something called “palm rejection” that enables you to rest your hand against the screen as you draw or write with the stylus, there are products for sale called “digital artist gloves” that cover the part of the hand that naturally rests against the writing or drawing surface. They are designed to electrically insulate the part of the hand resting on the capacitive touchscreen. I ordered the Huion Artist Glove for Drawing Tablet priced at $17.99 on Amazon. I have yet to receive these and will write a future article once I’ve used them for a while.

With the popularity of the Surface Pro and Apple’s newly-released iPad Pro, here is an opportunity to learn the skill of drawing and put that new equipment to work.

 


Cosmonaut Capacitive Stylus Review



I’m not a fan of capacitive touch screens as they are the user interface of a 5 year old, which is great for finger-painting but useless if you want to do anything precise, such as write normally or position a cursor between two letters. And multitouch is over-rated: I’d rather be able to place one point exactly than five blurry ones.

With this in mind I’m reviewing the Cosmonaut Capacitive Stylus for Touch Screens by Studio Neat. Originally a Kickstarter project, it’s now available for general sale direct from Studio Neat and Amazon for $25.

Cosmonaut Stylus in Box

The stylus is presented in small cardboard box and there’s no need to attack the packaging with scissors which is a welcome relief. On sliding open the box, the cardboard inner has rocket fins printed on it, giving the Cosmonaut a spaceship look. A nice touch.

Cosmonaut Stylus in Packaging

The Cosmonaut is a fat rubber covered pen, about the same thickness as a whiteboard marker. However, unlike a whiteboard marker, it’s got a little bit of weight to it. Feels good in the hand, though I have largish hands.

Cosmonaut Stylus

In use, the Cosmonaut takes a little bit of getting used to; the tip is a slightly squidgy and you have to press down for the Cosmonaut to register the button press or the stroke. You can’t simply flick the stylus across the screen as you might with your finger. In some ways, this is a good thing as it prevents unwanted touches.

The Cosmonaut makes drawing apps much easier to use as the stylus mimics a pen or brush quite well. It’s also pretty handy for apps that have lots of closely spaced buttons. However writing like an adult is still out of the question, but the limitation is with the capacitative screen and the necessary fatness of the tip.

Overall, the Cosmonaut is well-designed and well-built. It’s easy to hold and works as it’s supposed to. If you want a stylus for your tablet, this should be on your short-list but just don’t expect to return to the precision days of the PDA.

 


Targus Stylus for the iPad



Stylus I like to draw and doodle, so I recently brought a couple of drawing applications for my iPad including Paper by FiftyThree and Sketchbook MobileX and Draw Some. I quickly discovered that drawing with your finger maybe fun, but it is very imprecise. It is like doing finger-painting. Despite what Steve Jobs said there are times when a stylus is the right tool for the job. Sunday I went down to the local Best Buy to pick up a stylus. They had several styli available priced from below $10.00 to above $30.00 for a Wacom stylus. One of the problems I ran into was there was no way to test the stylus since they were all in packages. I ended up picking up the Stylus for the iPad by Targus for $13.77.

The Targus Stylus for the iPad is smaller and slightly thinner then a regular pen. It is about 4 3/8 inches long. It comes in black, blue and red. It was only available in black at the local Best Buy. Like a regular pen it has a clip. On the end is a small loop, where you could loop a chain on lanyard through. Unfortunately however no chain was provided. It has some weight to it so it feels you are holding a small pen. I did noticed that if I hold it the way I would a regular pen, the clasp sits in the space between my thumb and finger. After holding it for a while I noticed it started to dig in and it felt uncomfortable. Because of this I have to hold the stylus lower than I would a normal pen. The tip which you write or draw with is a small rubber nub. You don’t have to press hard for the stylus to work, but you do have to be consistent. If you are not consistent it does have the tendency to skip occasionally.  Finding a stylus you like is a very personal thing and can be a matter of trial and error. I am not sure the Targus Stylus for the iPad is the one for me because of the clip issue but it does get good reviews online by a lot of people so I do recommend trying it.  Have you found a stylus that you really like and how do you use it.


Penclic – the Pen Mouse



Penclic MouseSwedish company Penclic think that the pen is mightier than the sword mouse so Andy gets to grips with the Penclic Mouse to see if it’s true.

A picture paints a thousand words and once you’ve seen the picture to the left, you’ll pretty much have grasped (sorry) the concept. You hold the Penclic Mouse as you would hold a pen and the base moves with your hand.

The Penclic Mouse is offered in two models, a wireless R2 and a corded D2, with all the features of a standard mouse, including left & right buttons and a scroll wheel. Available now from good retail stores at around $80 for the wireless version.

Interview by Andy McCaskey of SDR News and RV News Net.

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eFun Brings the APen Stylus to the iPad



apen logoThe iPad was purposely designed to be used without a stylus, but that doesn’t stop some users from wanting one.  It’s especially handy for things like editing a document, writing notes, or for drawing apps.  Now eFun has introduced one especially made for the iPad.  The new stylus comes with a lot of options as well.  You can not only write, draw, and edit, but you can do so in multiple colors and line weights.

The stylus, which debuted last week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, is available now for $99 from APenUSA.  To see this cool new iPad pen in action you can check out the video posted below of a live demo from the CES show floor.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central for the TechPodcast Network.

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