Just Mobile Alupen stylus for the Apple iPad reviewed

Just Mobile has “just” released an iPad stylus that allows you to take control of your touchscreen iDevice without smudging up the entire display.  The chunky Alupen is a stick 4.75″ thick stick of aluminum in the shape of a pencil, it has an “Ultra-soft rubber nib” on one end which is smooth and finished in matte black.  I call it the giant crayon for Apple nerds.

Here is why you want one of these types of styluses over the typical tacky type. The AluPen uses a different type of touch mechanism that lets you slide across the screen. It’s designed for capacitive touch screens and will slide effortlessly across your display with a slight drag. Some styluses have a shiny nub on the end that will stick to your display, and usually will require you to press extra hard when tapping. The AluPen is responsive, but lacks precision. So does a big fat finger, so I wouldn’t see this device as being an item to allow for more accurate use of drawing and writing apps, but as an alternative to your finger. Why would you want an alternative to your finger? Good question, I suppose you could just pickup a sausage, but an AluPen would be a more typical solution to using a touch device in cold temperatures. The other benefit is you don’t have your entire hand blocking a part of the screen, effectively adding about 5-inches to your touch reaching capabilities. This is particularly troublesome in games like Spirit HD, where you often get killed by an object that your fat hand covered up.

I found it more useful in dragging sliding apps that didn’t require any precise movement or control. Not because it can’t be precise (as much as your finger can be) but I found myself sliding too fast for the iPad to recognize the touch. One concern was dropping it on the screen, since it is a solid metal if it were to somehow clumsily escape your grasp and hit the screen there is a possibility of damage. Although I cannot claim to have experienced this, I do suspect it would be possible. But dropping your iPad off the kitchen counter is also possible. So caution must be taken no matter what you do with your iDevice.

The Alupen stylus is an extension of Just Mobile’s Aluminum accessories for Apple products. It’s being sold for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch specifically; it does work work on any other capacitive touch display device – like the Samsung Galaxy S. However using a big crayon on a small screen seems a little less natural than on the giant iPad. The price is $19.95 and its shipping immediately.

Just Mobile Alupen [Product Page]


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5 Comments

  1. Robb says:

    Nib nibbled by teething child! The Alu Pen was a neat gift but short-lived after “the baby” picked it up and bit into it with his razor sharp little teeth. So I emailed Just Mobile who responded quickly but the price of 2 replacement nibs is US $12.95 and delivery charges are US $25.oo! (one nib is all I need)
    I live in Canada and I think they are shipping them all the way from Taiwan? Still, 2 rubber nibs in an envelope don’t cost 25 bucks to ship??? Has anyone else found this problem and if so is there a cheaper US or Canadian parts source? signed: Nibless

  2. stíobhart says:

    After ploughing through a zillion reviews for a zillion stylii, I bought two of these AluPens, about three months ago, to accompany a pair of new iPads for the missus and me. I wanted a stylus which was chunky, solid and not likely to fall apart after a couple of months –as seems to be a bit of an occupational hazard with these gadgets, judging by the reviews I read.

    Well, up ’til a couple of weeks ago, I was delighted with my purchase. The AluPen feels solid, well-made and built to last. Appearances, however, can be deceptive and, I noticed lately that my AluPen was starting to feel like it was dragging slightly on my iPad screen and was becoming less responsive. I actually mistakenly blamed a few recent apps I had downloaded, when I found gaps in what I was writing or drawing were suddenly appearing. But on swapping my AluPen for the missus’s one, I found that it was in fact the stylus that was at fault, not the apps. I should point out that the AluPen has been well looked after: always kept in its pouch when not in use and there is no visible damage to the tip. It’s just not working properly any more.

    Anyway, I sent the manufacturers a polite email, to the support address given on their website, asking if they could give me an address to send the stylus back for repair or replacement. A fortnight later, I hadn’t even received the courtesy of a reply. I sent a follow-up email, a week after that and that one was completely ignored also.

    So, although I can’t say that the AluPen is complete rubbish –the missus’s one continues to work perfectly– I do think a failure rate of 50% is pretty poor for what is quite an expensive item, when you consider these things must cost pennies to manufacture [The AluPen was £18 when I bought mine]. My main gripe though is with their non-existent Customer Service. A company which completely ignores customers who have a problem with their product certainly will not be getting my repeat business. You’ll have to decide whether it’s worth the risk to give them your custom, in the first place.

  3. Liam Purnell says:

    I bought an Alu pen stylus a few weeks back and was very impressed with it. But I used the leather pouch it comes with to protect It when it’s in my work bag and with the rubber nib inside the pouch you have to pinch the nib to get the pen out of the pouch. This seemed fine until last week when the rubber end popped off while I was pinching it to get it out the pouch. It doesn’t go back into place properly so I tried glueing it back on but it seemed to change the way it works (then it stopped working completely) and now I have to buy another one! Am I the only person who has experienced this problem?
    The Alu pen seems so solid and well made that I was very surprised when the tip just popped off like that, and especially when it could not be put back into place.
    Maybe it’s the one thing that they can improve on…

    • Eb says:

      No I also had this problem & was surprised as the rest of the design is so sturdy & pleasing. The way in which the nib is held on definitely needs some tweaking. I’m looking for an alternative at the moment but can’t get away from sites & reviews recommending the alupen, so thought perhaps I just got a bad one. However after searching around it does seem to be a common fault with them.

  4. alupen says:

    The Alupen is definitely not overpriced. I have used 3 different styluses for my iPad & trust me, this is the only one which is any good. The coverage of the nib is so wide that it’s effectively “pressure sensitive” & it’s shape is so easy to hold.

    Honestly, this is a really good buy, I regret trying cheap alternatives.

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