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Wacom Bamboo Stylus for iPad review

Andrew Williams



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Wacom Bamboo Stylus for iPad
  • Wacom Bamboo Stylus for iPad
  • Wacom Bamboo Stylus for iPad
  • Wacom Bamboo Stylus for iPad
  • Wacom Bamboo Stylus for iPad
  • Wacom Bamboo Stylus for iPad
  • Wacom Bamboo Stylus for iPad


Our Score:


User Score:


  • Great design
  • Superb build quality
  • Reasonable price


  • Cheaper rivals available

Key Features

  • Metal construction
  • User-replaceable tip
  • Optional belt clip
  • Compatible with all capacitive screens
  • Manufacturer: Wacom
  • Review Price: £24.99

Resistive touchscreens are seen as old hat nowadays thanks to the dominance of finger-friendly capacitive touchscreens. However, this has had the side effect of doing away with the good old stylus. If you miss days of writing on a screen with a pen-like prodder, the Wacom Bamboo Stylus for iPads could be £25 well spent.

Capacitive screens don't respond to standard styli, because they sense conduction rather than pressure. Our fingers conduct, but an inert piece of plastic doesn't, and so is effectively invisible to a capacitive touchscreen. This is the tricky task ahead of the Wacom Bamboo Stylus - to convince a capacitive touchscreen that it's a finger, not a stylus.

It does this with a springy rubber teat that sits at the end of a high-quality metal pen. Feeling like a cross between rubber and skin, this nipple is your writing and drawing tool, and the only part of the stylus that a capacitive touchscreen will repond to.

The pen dismantles like a high-quality fountain pen, with a screw-on nib to keep the rubber nipple in place and a screwn-in end cap to hold the belt clip. Other capacitive styli we've tested have had the air of a throwaway accessory - understandable when most people are perfectly happy using their fingers, a feature built into most humans - but this one doesn't. It's classy, extremely well-made and worthy to stand up next to Apple's iPad 2.

More importantly, it's also weighted properly. There's a slight bias towards the front of the pen and it feels great in-hand - again, like a high-quality fountain pen. If you don't mind losing some of that traditional pen look, you can leave out the shirt clip as the end cap screws in further, turning the stylus into a near-seamless cylinder. In tech terms it's as simple as they come, but its two-tone design adds beauty to this simplicity.

The capacitive nubbin is replaceable, fitting over a little metal head at the end. Wacom doesn't currently seem to sell replacements from its own webstore, but we'll imagine they'll filter through in time. As the whole pen package costs just £24.99, they won't be able to charge too much either.


July 4, 2011, 6:21 pm

How does this compare to systems such as the HTC Flyer?


July 4, 2011, 7:08 pm

The two are fundamentally different as the Flyer uses an active sensing technology that responds to pressure as well, with the result it's much more accurate. However, the Flyer is still neither pressure sensitive nor accurate enough to be a truly compelling drawing tool, and the hard plastic nib feels overly slippery on the screen. It's better but still not like using a proper professional graphics tablet.


July 5, 2011, 12:53 am

Do the TR team have any insight into why there seems to be so little interest in handwriting recognition? That seems to me to be the most obvious uses for a stylus, but HTC left it out of the Flyer (even though Vision Objects have ported their excellent Myscribe engine to Android), and now Wacom - a long-standing Vision Objects partner - have done the same.


July 5, 2011, 6:10 pm

The spare tips can be found by putting the following part number into the search field of the Wacom website: PSI-A087


July 5, 2011, 7:40 pm

I'll hazard a guess - because typing with an on-screen keyboard is faster and more accurate than handwriting recognition.


July 5, 2011, 8:09 pm

Chris: Everyone's playing up how great the stylus is for taking notes. Surely handwriting recognition is the logical extension of that? Surely searchable notes are useful in a way scrawls-as-jpegs aren't?

In any event, handwriting recognition has come a long way since the days of egg freckles. It'll never be as fast as typing, but the point is that it's useful in a different way - something these manufacturers themselves realise, since they're playing up the notetaking functions of styli.


July 6, 2011, 7:35 pm

Fair enough, I was going to mention that indexing handwritten notes might be a useful application for handwriting recognition, particularly since this doesn't require 100% accuracy.

However, that's very much a secondary application - a 'nice to have', rather than an essential. I suppose many manufacturers reckon they can do without it and not upset the majority of their users.


April 24, 2012, 11:37 pm

I just got the chance to use one today and was impressed. My friend who owns it mentioned that you can have even more control if you remove the metal piece from the tip. The pen tip doesn't fall off and it allows you the ability to hold the stylus at more of an angle.

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