AluPen Digital Review

Just Mobile has been working on phone and tablet styluses for several years. Their AluPen line has consistently delivered attractive and high-quality products. With the release of the company’s AluPen Digital, does that expectation-setting trend continue? Read on to find out.

AluPen Digital

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The AluPen Digital ($49.95) is unlike most other styluses on the market. Rather than relying on a large, spongy rubberized surface to interact with the phone or tablet’s glass surface, the AluPen Digital uses a charged hard tip to deliver a much finer, pen-like writing and drawing experience. The tip is activated by twisting the barrel of the pen. This not only exposes the tip but also switches it on, powered by the AAA battery housed within the barrel itself. The electronics in the pen are also smart enough to turn off the current flow if the pen is idle for more than a couple minutes.

Holding the pen feels perfectly weighted and the smooth aluminum body gives the tactile sensation of high quality. Unfortunately, I found the fine writing and drawing control to be hit or miss. When it works, it transforms the scribbles and blotches typically created by styli with large rubbery tips into a true pen-like experience. However, whether it was the angle at which I held the pen or the fact that the sampling rate of an iPad is designed for a blobby finger versus a precise point of contact, I found lines that I drew with the AluPen to be slightly off or inconsistent, as if the contact point briefly lost its place and found it again. This didn’t happen often, but it was mildly annoying. Another much smaller issue was that the height between the edge of the tip and the barrel was not high enough to accommodate the case I had surrounding the edge of my iPad’s screen, so when I drew close to the edge of the screen, the tip would lose contact as a result of being bumped upward.

AluPen Digital

These two annoyances aside, the AluPen Digital brings the iPad as close to a premium digitizing tablet as any stylus I’ve used previously. However, by pushing the tablet well beyond Apple’s intention to put fingers first, AluPen Digital is also coming close to exceeding the fine digitizing capabilities of what the current generation of touch screen tablets are capable of detecting. I would suggest trying out the AluPen Digital yourself before buying to see if it meets your needs. If you can’t try before you buy, purchase it from a reputable dealer that allows returns in case the mild annoyances that I encountered manifest themselves with your use of the stylus.

Product: AluPen Digital

Manufacturer: Just Mobile

Price: $49.95

iPhone Life rating: 3 out of 5 stars

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Mike Riley is a frequent contributor to several technical publications and specializes in emerging technologies and new development trends. Mike was previously employed by RR Donnelley as the company’s Chief Scientist, responsible for determining innovative technical approaches to improve the company’s internal and external content services. Mike also co-hosted Computer Connection, a technology enthusiast show broadcast on Tribune Media's CLTV.