Manufacturer
Applydea Ltd
Product Website
URL Screenshot of http://maglusstylus.com/
Price
£27.99
Pros
Perfect weight and balance, looks to die for matched by functionality that brings your tablet alive, replaceable tips, neodymium magnets, screams quality in both design and build
Cons
More than you will want to pay for a stylus (the 'con' being that this may put you off buying the best tablet accessory on the market, which would be a shame)
Summary
Why spend more than £30 buying a stylus and a couple of replacement silicone tips for it when, to be frank, you can use your finger? That's the question most people ask after I tell them the price, when they see me using the Maglus out and about. My answer is an easy one: it's simply the best thing for the job, bar none. Fingers are dirty, greasy, inaccurate and leave smears on the tablet screen. The Maglus is hugely accurate and leaves no marks. Sure, you could buy a cheap stylus from the 'Pound Shop' but you would be an idiot if you did (the tip WILL break soon enough and won't be replaceable, and the stylus WILL NOT feel so natural in your hand). Believe me, the Maglus is not a triumph of style over substance, hype over reality; the Maglus is form and function in perfect harmony.
Rating
10/10
1

So you've got a tablet, be that an Android, iPad or Windows powered device. Maybe you've got a phablet or just a bog-standard smartphone. Whatever you have, the chances are that it will have a capacitive touch screen. Most people, however, won't have got a stylus. The reasons are straightforward enough: 'I come equipped with a finger, thank you' and, well, that's it actually. For those people who have experienced stylus enlightenment, there's no turning back. A stylus brings more precise input to your device, be that just launching apps, using the on-screen keyboard or maybe getting a little more adventurous than playing Angry Birds by drawing friendly ones with an art app. Not only does a stylus bring precision, it removes an awful lot of dirt. Fingers, well mine at least, are not the cleanest of things and come complete with sweat and oils which leave a residue on your device screen. Indeed, there's a whole industry out there which revolves around the cleaning of fingerprints from screens.

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Let's assume you have found stylus religion and decided to join the ever-growing army of pointy-feely recruits; the big question that emerges at this point is 'which one should I buy?' and the answer is usually lost in a sea of claims to be the best, the cheapest, the longest lasting. Having bought and tried pretty much every different kind of stylus over the last few years, if you factor in the word 'cheapest' then you can factor out 'longest lasting' as a result. Truth be told, and here's the real problem, even premium products suffer from the same lack of tip longevity. Which reduces the sensible choice to those items which come with replaceable tips, and thankfully there are a good many to choose from. Nearly all of which feel very much like the thin bit of metal or plastic in your hand that they are. They do not, with one exception, feel like they will last forever. That exception is the Maglus.

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From the moment this beauty arrives through the letterbox, you know you have invested rather a lot of money (for a pointy stick) rather wisely. The unboxing is almost as exciting as unboxing a new iPhone. Indeed, the attention to design detail extends to the packaging in a similar way that Apple achieves. The outer slip cover removes to reveal a simple black cardboard box with a magnetic flap along one edge; open this and the chunk of precision-hewn aluminium that is the Maglus is front and centre with what looks like a bullet underneath and nameplate for good measure.

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The bullet is actually a storage capsule for the replacement tips, it comes with one but you buy more for £5.99 a pair, that attaches to your key fob. I was a little wary of this at first, as I've had some bad experiences of screw-to-close devices opening up in my pocket or out and about, usually involving the loss of the contents. However, after a few weeks the screw-seal is as tight as ever and is testament to the attention to detail of the folk over at Applydea, even the tip holder has premium build quality.

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The nameplate turns out to be a metal strip, engraved discretely with the Maglus branding but not so that it shouts it out to everyone, which can be attached to a tablet case or anywhere you like really for storage of the stylus assuming you don't want to, or cannot, just stick the stylus on the side of your tablet or phone. Ah yes, you see the Maglus is magnetic. Not just any cheap old magnetic either, destined to fall off in your bag or in the coffee shop, but premium quality and super-strong neodymium magnets. These things are truly strong, yet take the form of a couple of black rubberized rubbing strips along the side of the stylus itself. Combine these with your tablet itself (it was originally designed for an iPad and sticks to them like glue) or the attached metal plate (mine is on my favourite Moko case) wherever it is attached, and your stylus is going nowhere. I carry my Nexus 7 2013 around with me in a messenger bag where it is thrown in with some other stuff, and the Maglus has never once come free. I am, if I am honest, amazed at this. Some say that little things please small minds, in which case I have a very small mind as this little touch has pleased me greatly.

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Which just leaves us to consider the whole point of this review, the Maglus stylus itself. The almost crayon shaped stylus is hewn from a solid piece of aircraft grade aluminium and designed with flat sides so that it lays flat against your tablet for a tighter magnetic seal. Which is nice, but nicer is that this also makes it sit in your hand so naturally as to almost defy description. Of all the stylus types I have tried, from pen-alike to stubby fat crayons and thin Japanese writing brushes, the Maglus is far and away the most comfortable to hold and use. It's almost like waking up to find you have had Robocop's finger grafted onto your hand. The 139mm x 9mm x 13mm dimensions are just right, not too long or short, while the weight of 35g is enough to feel substantial without causing finger fatigue in use. At 7mm, the ultra conductive silicone tip is a good compromise size that will suit most needs from icon stabbing through to keyboard typing and even fine art creation. I own an Amazon 'executive' stylus with three different size tips, all slightly smaller which you might think would be more precise and therefore productive, but actually the Maglus does not suffer in either regard. Quite the opposite in fact, it's a very firm feeling tip that is coupled with high sensitivity. In use this translates to only requiring the lightest of taps and touches to result in very accurate input indeed.

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So why should you buy a £30 stylus? Well, apart from the seriously impressive build quality and eye catching design (compare both with the lack of build quality and generic, bland, OEM variants that flood the stylus market) there's the value for money equation to consider which I know seems a little counter-intuitive but bear with me. Inferior products, which is all of them in my opinion, are simply not made to last. They are disposable items from the get go. Those with non-replaceable tips make the least economic sense as they will have to be replaced within anything from a week to a few months depending upon the quality of the tip. As most of these seem to use very cheap silicones and rubbers, my experience suggests weeks rather than months. Even those that can replace the tips are no bargain as a rule, charging a slight premium to begin with and having tips that last no longer. Many of the tip holding systems are flawed, with cheap metal fixings that look positively unfriendly to any screen they may be near when the rubber rips. The pen style devices themselves, again in my experience, literally lose their shine (or matte black paintwork) after a few weeks in a bag, and the pen clips fall off or break. The Maglus is not cheap, I admit that (how could I not) but the value proposition is this: it's the last stylus you will ever need to buy. The design and build quality are such that I feel sure this thing is going to look as good in 5 years as it does now, and it looks bloody great now I can tell you. The tips are of a decent quality, no corners have been cut here, and I would expect them to last much longer (well into the months rather than weeks) than cheaper alternatives if treated properly. By which I mean don't press too hard, don't fiddle with the tips etc. Even the depth of the tip combined with the screw-in holding mechanism design fill me with confidence that when the silicone does eventually split I'm not going to be holding a tablet screen destroyer.

And before you ask, no I am not employed by Applydea nor did I get the Maglus as a review item; I paid for it out of my own pocket having heard so many word of mouth recommendations from people whose opinions I trust...

Edited by happygeek

As Editorial Director and Managing Analyst with IT Security Thing I am putting more than two decades of consulting experience into providing opinionated insight regarding the security threat landscape for IT security professionals. As an Editorial Fellow with Dennis Publishing, I bring more than two decades of writing experience across the technology industry into publications such as Alphr, IT Pro and (in good old fashioned print) PC Pro. I also write for SC Magazine UK and Infosecurity, as well as The Times and Sunday Times newspapers. Along the way I have been honoured with a Technology Journalist of the Year award, and three Information Security Journalist of the Year awards. Most humbling, though, was the Enigma Award for 'lifetime contribution to IT security journalism' bestowed on me in 2011.

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Last Post by Kelly Burby
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Now that's cool. As a result of the review, Applydea sent me a couple of 'microfibre tips' for the stylus to try. I've always liked the feel of these, although some do have a tendency to 'clog' with grease/dust etc and do the performance degrades over time. I've been using them for the best part of a week now and all seems fine. They appear as well made as I would have expected, given the rest of the product line. Now, what would be really cool, would be a range of tips in different sizes and maybe even a brush tip for art-related usage...

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Another update, as Applydea has now expanded (and shrunk) the range of Maglus styli it produces. Let me explain: the expansion is the addition of two new products, the Maglus Black and the Maglus Mini - the shrinkage is a reference to the Mini. As the name suggests, this new version of the stylus is smaller than the original and was produced with smaller tablets such as the iPad Mini and Nexus 7 in mind, as well as larger smartphones. I've got one courtesy of a review unit supplied by Applydea, and have to say that it really is exactly the same in terms of quality, finish, feel and even price - just a tad smaller. How much smaller? Well the Mini measures up to a 15% all around reduction in size, making it perfect for those smaller devices. That said, I actually prefer the slightly heavier in the hand weight of the original as the extra heft adds to the 'premium item' feel of the product in my opinion. If you have small hands, or just want a smaller stylus for a small device, then the Mini is a good choice. As for the Maglus Black, the name is a big clue there as well: it's identical to the original, same price as well, but comes in a sleek anodized black finish. Perfect for the likes of the Nexus 7 or a black iPad. If I hadn't have already invested the money in the original, this is the one that I would have purchased being something of a lover of black tech kit. All in all then, it's good to see a company which is not happy to rest on its' laurels but instead listening to what customers are saying and responding with products which meet that demand without diluting the core quality of the brand. Nice.

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Well, the tip/point still looks like a stubby finger, you can't accurately see where you'll start your doodle especially if it's a detailed one. It's akin to using a worn-out, unsharpened pencil or using your eraser to jot-down a simple line.. J.C. Where's the aesthetic sense of designers these days. I might just as well keep my organic doodler for awhile till they come up with a sharp-looking one..

..just my 2 cents ;)

Edited by ConradoBravo

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