Product Review: Griffin Stylus For iPad

by Randy Murray on November 29, 2010

Something unusual happened the other day: I actually won a contest. This being the age of instant micro-celebrity, I first learned about it when I received cryptic congratulations messages via Twitter. What had I won? A Griffin Stylus and a copy of 37Signals’ Draft iPad app (I’ll review this app next week).

I think of myself as an iPad superuser and, at first, a stylus seemed superfluous. I can do everything with touch, or at least almost everything that I need to do. But there are two things that an iPad user can do better with a stylus: drawing and signing.

It is important to note that iOS devices like the iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch require more than just a poke to operate. You can’t use plastic or metal points. These devices require a slight electrical charge,  like the one the human body generates. My first PDA, an honest to goodness Palm Pilot from U.S. Robotics, had a little nylon stick that you had to use. My iPhone and iPad seem like devices from the far future compared to that little gray plastic square. The touch interface is truly amazing and natural.

So I looked at the new stylus with interest, but was not really sure how useful it would be for me, personally.

Griffin Stylus For iPad

This stylus is well made. It feels solid with a good heft, but not too heavy. It has a pocket clip and as a nice additional design element, at the top where the click button would be on a ballpoint pen, it has a nub with a drilled hole. You could easily attach it to a keychain or tether. The body is smooth and comfortable to hold. Nothing feels cheap or loose.

The magic is in the tip. I’ve examined other iPad styli and many of them have a tip that is essentially a foam disk. Griffin’s has a rubber tip. It’s soft and conforms to light pressure, making it possible to use at any desired angle. I found that it moves across the iPad screen easily and without catching or scratching.

How does it perform? Very well. For normal tasks, it seemed a bit odd to use a stylus, but it worked well. I found that I automatically resorted to the writer’s habit of holding the stylus like a pen at the ready, tucked up, out of the way in the fold of my thumb and forefinger while still using my fingers to navigate the iPad. It was comfortable and comforting - a worry stone, something to hold, but not necessarily to use.

But where the Griffin Stylus really works is for signing. When I showed it to my wife, the first thing she did was write her name with it. It is much easier to print or write with a stylus - that’s one area that using a finger is unnatural and awkward. For taking notes, this might be faster and superior, for some, than typing.

And for drawing it really excels. I’m not an artist, but for sketching out simple wireframe ideas, for a web site or book cover, for example, using the stylus was perfect. It provided greater control than the finger tip and offered a very natural experience. The combination of an iPad and stylus for drawing or sketching is remarkably freeing. My daughter, who is an artist, sat down and for the first time showed interest in the drawing and painting apps I have installed on my iPad. She quickly approved of it and noted that my case needed a pocket or loop to store the stylus in. That makes it a winner.

The Griffin Stylus for iPad sells for an MSRP of $19.99. I recommend it as a quality tool and if you need to sign or draw, this could serve you well. Works equally well for the iPhone and iPod Touch.

Product Review: Griffin Stylus For iPad by Randy Murray, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Dave Delaney November 29, 2010 at 11:35 am

Thanks for the great review Randy. I’m glad you’re enjoying your prize. Congratulations!
How old is your daughter? She may be interested in checking out LightBoard:



Randy Murray November 29, 2010 at 2:02 pm

My daughter will be 18 in a few weeks, but the Lightboard looks like fun.



Dave Delaney November 29, 2010 at 2:07 pm

Ah well, that’s a tad higher than the age group for LightBoard :)
Have a very happy birthday though!


Randy Murray November 29, 2010 at 3:00 pm


She’s applying to art schools and getting her portfolio together. Who knows, she might get a kick out of tracing photos. And she will be taking an new iPad with her to school next fall!


Dave Delaney November 29, 2010 at 3:03 pm

Great! Well if she uses it in an interesting way, please have her share her story and the image. It may make for a great post on our blog.



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