Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Tech Tips Tuesday

Comparing Styluses

A couple of years ago I bought myself a 10-pack of cheap, colourful styluses to use with my iPad. I think that so far my little boy and I have used three.  One lost its stylus tip. One got bent at some point, and the clip snapped, but the stylus still works. And the third is still going strong. I bought myself a set for my class this year and labelled them with student names so each is responsible for their own. We had one go missing in the first week, and a couple are looking a little sad, but they have been the best solution for cheap simple styluses for kids.

I, however, a great lover of all things stationery, would like something that does a little more. So Mobile Zap sent me a couple to review. The beauty of both of these is that they are both pen and stylus - a very handy tool for a teacher who wants to mark student work whilst recording notes on an iPad. I decided to give each a week in the classroom.

Olixar Laserlight Stylus Pen
I didn't spend much time determining which to test out first, and in fact, the first got tested out at home before I even had a chance to take it to school!

The Olixar Laserlight Stylus Pen is the fun choice. With a laser pointer on one end, it's hard to go past! I had my little guy in stitches at bedtime as I pointed the laser around his room using a very authoritative teacher voice to explain the posters on his wall. I also used the laser to point out features (albeit tongue-in-cheek) as we read Flat Stanley on the IWB. My students loved it! 

Also included in this stylus is an LCD torch (which I didn't have much use for in my week with it in the classroom) and a black ballpoint pen.

The stylus itself works fairly well and while the tip was wider than others I have used, it didn't seem to have a noticeable impact on my handwriting. It also felt like it stuck or gripped a little on the glass when I wrote, making it harder to write with for longer periods of time.

The frame of the pen/stylus is thicker, or wider than other styluses I've used, which may have greater appeal to some users. The stylus tip is on the cap of the pen, which also has a clip. It has a pleasing appearance and looks like a normal pen at a quick glance. It comes in a little black box making it an easy gift for a teacher.

Note: When using this pen for the first time you need to remove a little plastic tab from the battery capsule in order for the torch and laser pointer to work.

Week 2: Elago Stylus Ball and Pen
Elago Stylus Ball and Pen
This sturdy stylus has a sleek and stylish design and comes with a spare stylus tip. I tested the stylus with both writing and drawing on the iPad and found that the tip was very precise. In particular, it worked well when using the paint fill tool in small spaces - accurately filling the selected area. It moved smoothly across the iPad screen with no gripping.

The black roller ball pen is also of high quality, and handy to have on the other end of your stylus. This pen would make a great gift given the sleek design and dual functionality. It is the ideal pen for the minimalist and is unassuming in its simplicity.

The Verdict
I enjoyed using both of these pens, and found it hard to make a clear decision on which I would prefer. I love the multi-functionality of the Olixar, and thus would choose it based on these features, however the stylus tip itself is not as easy to use as the Elago. Given that, I find myself leaning toward the Elago Stylus Ball and Pen which gets the most important features right.