The iFaraday Stylus---A Review

Discussion in 'iPad Accessories for iPAD 1, 2 and 3' started by Heaviside, May 30, 2011.

  1. Heaviside
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    Heaviside iPad Enthusiast

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    I recently bought an "artist's pack" of three iFaraday styli and thought I would report on my findings. First, I will say that I have previously purchased and tested the Targus, the Roger iWand from Stylus-R-Us, and the Alupen. I also manufactured my own from conductive foam and a metal mechanical pencil holder. Ignoring several "cheapos" that I picked up for a couple of bucks that were worthless, I think the iFaraday tops them all.

    I immediately will note that I am assessing a stylus for its comfort and useability in handwriting applications. I do a lot of mathematical work with hand notes, and prefer the Notetaker HD far and away for this work. I hold a stylus between my index finger and thumb, with my pointer finger lying along the top of the barrel. Thus, I need a stylus that will work from a somewhat slanted position. This has been a bit critical for most of the styli I have tested.

    Most are too short, the Roger iWand and the iFaraday being exceptions. I found the iWand to really be too long, though I think shorter lengths are available.

    The iWand has a tip that tends to compress and thus "run out of gas," requiring rejuvenation via a small piece of velcro that the mfr includes for the purpose. But to avoid having to rejuvenate too often requires such a light touch that it hampers my free writing style. That said, if you naturally have a light touch, the Stylus-R-Us wands will probably be good for you.

    For me, I have found the following ranking: Best is iFaraday, followed by either the Alupen or the Targus (virtually a tie with the nod going to the more expensive Alupen because it has a larger diameter and is heavier, though both are too short), and finally the iWand.

    Here is a picture of the iFaraday styli in the "Artist's Pack":
    [​IMG][/URL]

    The copper colored one has a larger barrel, which I like, though even a bit larger would be nice, and a fairly conventional rounded tip. The gold one has a somewhat flattened tip. Both of these wands have pretty soft tips. The gray one has a tip that is even more flattened and harder than the other two. It is my favorite. All glide across the screen easily and you don't have to be gentle with them. (I will find out eventually how they wear, but I don't see any degeneration of performance because of use.) Each of these three wands is about six inches long---just right for handwriting in my opinion.

    Now for some negatives: on the softer tipped versions, you occasionally get a click when you compress the tip and the metal barrel contacts the glass screen. (Probably wouldn't happen if you hold it more vertically or have a softer touch.) I have found the barrel finishes to be a bit to slick and the barrels somewhat too small for "grippability."

    I have communicated my feedback to the mfr, and he has kindly offered to make up a model for me that will seek to remedy these defects. I look forward to trying it out when it arrives and will post my reactions when it does.

    I have had no previous contact with iFaraday and have no connections with the mfr other than the aforementioned contact, so have no personal stake in this other than to make others aware of my findings in the hope that they will do the same with their experiences. I think specific reactions are always the best, as a simple "I like it" or "I hate it" doesn't tell me what my reactions will be.

    Of course, as usual, your mileage might be different from mine!

    Thanks for reading.

    Oh, by the way---my homemade stylus worked fine for a while, but gradually ran out of gas as the point foam compressed, just like the iWand!
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  2. sjleworthy
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    sjleworthy Super Moderator Staff Member

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    How about a purchase link and cost analyses? ;)
  3. Heaviside
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    Heaviside iPad Enthusiast

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    Well, I haven't kept detailed records, but you can dig up the links with a quick web search.

    As I recall, the Targus was twelve bucks or so and was perhaps the cheapest of the bunch, whereas the Alupen was most expensive at around thirty. The others were all somewhere in the vicinity of twenty, though the pack of three from iFaraday was fortu-five, I think, so about fifteen bucks each.

    I forgot to mention that I also tested the Dagi, which was completely forgettable for my purposes---though I know that some others have posted more positive reactions here. It has a clear, flattish but contoured plastic tip with a "targeting dot" in the center that seems like a good idea until you try it out. Then it proves to be unwieldy: too short, clicks against the screen, and has to be held at an awkward angle. About twenty bucks, you see.

    So, if you add them all up, I've spent quite a few bucks in my on-going quest for the perfect stylus! Hope it saves others some pain and expense.
  4. iLuvMyMac
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    iLuvMyMac iPF Novice

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  5. Heaviside
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    Heaviside iPad Enthusiast

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    The mfr took me to task via e-mail for saying that the small barrels and clicks caused by metal contacting the screen were "defects," because they were caused by my own writing proclivities and that I am "outside the bell curve."

    He could be correct about that, though I was careful to point out my writing style and suggested that they might not be true for everyone. So, they were not manufacturing defects, but negatives from my point of view.

    However, here is what is---for me---A FATAL FLAW---THE TIPS LEAVE GREASY-LOOKING SMUDGES ON THE SCREEN!

    Apparently there is some sort of substance impregnating the tip material to make it conductive. I only noticed it because all of a sudden I needed to constantly clean the screen. So I turned it off and used the stylus. It left pretty bad greasy looking streaks.

    Oh, well. Back to the drawing board. Sorry I didn't discover the problem before I started this thread.
  6. iFaraday
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    iFaraday iPF Noob

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    Please return the styluses for correction.

    Please return the items. It's possible that one of the elements was not cleaned properly or you picked up oil somewhere and it's tracking around. This has nothing to do with the conducivity of the stylus. I will replace the set and examine the problem.

    I will pay for shipping both ways.

    If you prefer you can return all the items for a full refund.

    -Rustle Laidman
  7. Heaviside
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    Heaviside iPad Enthusiast

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    Thanks for posting Rustle.

    The greasy smudges only happen with the soft tips. I will return those two and leave it to you to decide whether to replace, repair, or refund

    The hard tipped model does not have the problem of metal contact either, though---again, for me---the barrel is a bit too small.
  8. iLuvMyMac
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    iLuvMyMac iPF Novice

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    Why was my post removed???

    As I mentioned in the removed post I have the same set and none of the stylus' leave greasy marks. There is no substance impregnated in them.
  9. iFaraday
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    iFaraday iPF Noob

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    OK, I know what the problem is.

    OK, I know what the problem is, since you mentioned it only happens with the soft tips. That is my fault. The substrate material for the soft tips was not prepared properly. Send them back and I will replace them and reimburse you for shipping. Sorry about that.
  10. Heaviside
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    Heaviside iPad Enthusiast

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    Will do. Thanks. I was going to try to clean them with alcohol and a microfiber cloth before returning them, but if it is a substrate issue, that clearly wouldn't work.

    I am enjoying my firm tip version, so am very glad to learn that the problem isn't inherent. And the softer tips have their uses.
  11. Meowzart
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    Meowzart iPF Novice

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    I've just ordered the ifaraday. Looking forward to trying it. I am female with small hands so I think the size of the barrel is going to be perfect. I'm just hoping Canada post is not going on strike or it could be a while!
    susan
  12. Somerled
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    Somerled iPad Junkie

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    I forwarded the info to a friend of mine who is looking for a stylus for working with certain apps.

    I do like seeing the vendor in here working to correct issues.
  13. info
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    info iPad Junkie

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    Thanks for taking the time to write such a detailed review.
  14. jnewell
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    jnewell iPad Fan

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    Totally agree - very impressive.
  15. atalay
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    atalay iPF Noob

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    Amazing review thanks! Just ordered the pack.
  16. Heaviside
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    Heaviside iPad Enthusiast

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    Just an update:

    Rustle just sent me a stylus which he fabricated to my specs---and, in short, it is marvelous! Here are a couple of shots (click to enlarge):

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]


    He has increased the barrel size a bit to accomodate my wishes and wrapped it in some sort of plastic like tubing to help my grip.

    If there is a perfect stylus, this seems to be it! I will report more later after using it a bit.

    Aside to Rustle: I will take the softer tipped originals apart and use the barrels for my own experiments, though I doubt that I can come up with anything better than the one shown in the above photos!
  17. Heaviside
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    Heaviside iPad Enthusiast

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    Just an update: The special stylus that Rustle put together for me is absolutely great! If your handwriting style is anything like mine, you can't go wrong with one just like it.

    The plastic-like tubing around it provides a very comfortable grip. (With those shiny metallic barrels, I keep losing my grip. Of course, I might not have a solid grip on anything!) And the slightly larger barrel size helps in this regard also.

    The firmer tip is just great for writing and pressing virtual keys on the keyboard. It serves both functions without any obvious deterioration such as that of the Stylus-R-Us styli.

    I would suppose that the softer tips are great for the artists among us, but I think that writers should request the firm tip.

    Just my opinion---!
  18. jc0045
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    jc0045 iPF Novice

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    Heaviside, I have a question about the ifaraday stylus I wanted to ask you since you seem to have done a lot of testing. I use my ipad solely as a work and school tool. No silly games or crap like that. I write (script) about 4 hours a day between process documentation review for my company and also lots of notes as a grad student.

    I have several stylus-r-us styli which I find extremely comfortable and VERY smooth to write with (I use note taker HD), but like you, I have a really hard time using no pressure and tend to crush the tips after a few minutes of straight writing, it becomes difficult to maintain that zero pressure.

    I also find that stylus-r-us are too wide of a tip for detailed handwriting without making the letters look huge and awkward.

    It seems like the ifaraday took care of the issue of crushing the tip, but how about the responsiveness for quick fluid writing and comfort for lots of notes? How is the width of the tip?

    Thanks for any info!
  19. iFaraday
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    iFaraday iPF Noob

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    My recommendation.

    Best thing to do is try it, and return it if you don't like it. It's very difficult to describe the way something 'feels'. Add to that, each person has different writing styles. I understand this which is why I offer a money-back guarantee.

    Try the Art Dome - Firm. This is good for people who press hard.

    -Rustle Laidman (sales@Ifaraday.com)
  20. Heaviside
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    Heaviside iPad Enthusiast

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    You are asking great questions, and clearly you do a lot of handwriting.

    As I understand things, the somewhat large tip on iPad styli (styluses?) is necessary because of the way the touch screen functions:it uses the capacitance between the screen and stylus tip to sense the point being touched. Capacitance is proportional to area, and at least so much is required to work. I have tried making my own stylus and have tried hard to get the smallest tip. In my opinion, the iFaraday tip is about the smallest that will work reliably. It is about the same size as the Targus and others.

    The responsiveness of the virtual ink is, I believe, a function of the software rather than the stylus. Note Taker HD and some others allow you to control this to some degree, but they could all be faster with profit.

    The softer versions of the iFaraday feel good for writing, but as I noted earlier I tend to press a bit too hard and they yield under the pressure so that I get a click from the metal barrel. The firm tip does not do this, so I can write with more assurrance. It sounds like your writing style is very much like mine, so I reccomend that you give the firm tip version a try.

    I have disassembled one of the iFaraday wands, and Rustle is using an ingenious technique for fabricating the points. It seems highly flexible in the sense that it could accomodate many different user requirements.

    P.S. to iFaraday: If you would be so kind as to send me replacement substrates for those two that leave smudges, I will replace the old ones with them. I did try just rubbing the substrates on my iPad screen, and you are right---that was the problem!

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