I've used and reviewed a larger number of styluses over the years, but this is the first time that I have reviewed a stylus since I started using the Apple Pencil with an iPad Pro. As I noted in my review, the Apple Pencil is far superior to any other stylus that I have tried, and while you could use another brand of stylus with the iPad Pro, I don't recommend doing so. The iPad Pro and the Pencil are made to work together, and they work together incredibly well. But if you don't have an iPad Pro and you want to use a stylus, then you still have lots of options. A few weeks ago, the developer of the Stilo stylus sent me a free review unit for me to check out, and I have been testing it for the last few weeks. It's a very good stylus.
If you don't use an iPad Pro and you are looking for a stylus, you'll have to decide if you want a traditional stylus that doesn't require power, or if you want an active stylus which uses power to send radio waves around its small tip to trick the iPad into thinking that something larger, the size of a fingertip, is touching the screen. I usually prefer a traditional stylus because it works 100% of the time; active styluses (other than the Apple Pencil) can have hiccups, and many models have trouble drawing diagonal lines. There are lots of great non-active styluses, but some of my favorites include the Adonit Jot Pro and the Wacom Bamboo Stylus duo. But active styluses have a lot going for them too, including incredibly small tips. If you are looking for an active stylus, then there is a lot to like about the Stilo. It has a fantastic tip, and it works pretty well — not perfect, but good enough, and it has fewer problems with diagonal lines than other active styluses do.
The Stilo has an interesting design. The barrel of the stylus is somewhat thick. It has to be to accommodate the single AAA battery inside. A button on the side turns the stylus on or off.
It comes in two colors: white and black. The developer first sent me a free review unit of the white model, but it didn't work correctly. The developer than quickly sent me a black model, and it has been working great.
What makes this stylus stand out is its tip, which is long and thin. I've never used another stylus with this long, thin design, and I really like it. It makes it very easy to see the tip of the stylus as you are using it.
Maybe it was just an illusion, but that long tip made me feel like the Stilo was much more precise than other active styluses. It's a nice feature.
The Stilo comes with a cap, to give additional protection to the tip of the stylus when you are not using it.
The tip of the stylus is 1.9 mm, which is very small enough to seem similar to a pen tip. I tested it with an iPad 3, iPad Air and iPad Air 2 and the performance was good, certainly as good as any other active stylus that I have tested. In other words, most of the time it worked great, but sometimes I would make a stroke and the iPad would miss it, so I'd have to make it again. It is also worth mentioning that many active styluses have problems drawing diagonal lines on an iPad Air or iPad Air 2. The Stilo wasn't perfect, but it did better with diagonal lines than many of active styluses — especially on the iPad Air, where it worked particularly well. There was a little more waviness in diagonal lines on the iPad Air 2, but it wasn't that bad.
One feature that I had not seen before on another stylus is that you can twist the tip to make it longer or shorter, the idea being that you can find the optimal distance from the stylus to the screen to get the best radio wave connection. In my tests, twisting the tip didn't change the performance very much, but I suppose it is nice that you have the ability to fine tune the performance if you need to do so.
The developer encourages using the Stilo with another product that it sells called PrecisionFilm (sold separately). The developer says that using this film on the screen of your iPad with the Stilo makes it feel more like writing on paper. The developer sent me a free review sample of this clear film so I tried it. It does add a little more friction, which I suppose makes it feel more like paper, but frankly I thought that the Stilo worked just fine without the film. If yo don't normally use a screen protector film, I wouldn't get one just because you have a Stilo.
One feature lacking on the Stilo that exists on some other styluses is a physical button that you can press and which uses Bluetooth to communicate commands to specially-designed apps, such as a command to switch between a pencil and an eraser. I don't consider this a major omission, but look elsewhere if that feature is important to you. [UPDATE 1/25/16: For what it is worth, here is what the developer told me about the lack of Bluetooth: "Stilo wanted to make as accurate a fine-tip, active stylus as possible without requiring the hassle of Bluetooth pairing, as it's sometimes inconsistent and a pain to connect/keep connected. Many styli use Bluetooth to offset imprecision as well as to add button functionality, but Stilo was designed to be as precise as a Bluetooth-connected stylus without requiring the connection."]
I still have mixed feelings about active styluses because they don't work 100% of the time; sometimes the iPad just doesn't register a stroke. (A notable exception is the Apple Pencil, which does work 100% of the time with the iPad Pro.) It is nice that active styluses have such small tips, but it is frustrating whenever they don't work well. That's why my top stylus recommendation for the iPad Air and iPad Air 2 remains the 2015 model of the Adonit Jot Pro. But if you do want to use an active stylus, the Stilo is a very good one. It's long, thin tip makes the stylus especially nice to use, and sets it apart from other active styluses.
Click here to get Stilo from Amazon ($69.99).