Monday, August 27, 2012

W. A. Stark Touch Stylus Review

"The W. A. Stark Touch Stylus is a sturdy and very well crafted all-round stylus, especially for mobile artists and designers."

W. A. Stark is a new startup company that makes fine, handcrafted writing instruments. They have a relatively new touchscreen stylus that they simply call the W. A. Stark Touch Stylus. So I happened to win one of these styluses in a giveaway in the iPad subreddit at and I just received it. I decided to give it a spin and put down my impressions on RNIT.

Notes: I used this product on an iPad 2. The only other capacitive screen stylus that I have experience with at this time is the Adonit Jot Mini that I reviewed here. The Jot series styluses are quite unique and very different from most capacitive styluses available right now, and hence I may mention some very obvious and dumb-sounding things about the W. A. Stark product in this review.

I will refer to the stylus as the Touch Stylus from here on.

Overall quality and finish

The Touch Stylus is well worth its price mainly because of the quality of crafting that's done to make one for you.

When you add the Touch Stylus to your cart from the W. A. Stark website (where it is exclusively available as of now), you are asked to select from a selection of different woods and a couple of metals for the clip (including 24k gold). I had mine customized to be built using Cocobolo wood and Gun Metal hardware finish.

The stylus looks really cool. It's not too heavy and not very light. It feels rich and expensive when you hold it. The amount of bulk is just right.

The Touch Stylus stylus is slightly over 4 inches long. I was expecting it to be a bit longer and bulkier when I saw photos, but I like this size more than what I expected.


The Touch Stylus has a stiff and stable rubber tip. Even running a nail very lightly on it makes a slight squeaking noise. Pressing it reveals that it hides a stiff tip underneath that keeps it stable. It’s not completely squishy. I would say (after a couple of days of trying it around for various kinds of uses) it feels really durable and won't wear out quickly.

However, the touch is not as sensitive as some other styluses, namely Targus's Stylus for iPad and the AmazonBasics stylus. Occasionally, you may notice some skips, which are noticeably not existent on the other two styluses.

Unlike the Adonit Jot styluses, this stylus does not glide effortlessly on the tablet screen. The rubber has an ever-so-slight resistance when you write on the screen. It makes you feel that you’re writing on a material that is closer in consistency to paper. While some may prefer this, I think it may cause wrist-ache after very large amounts of writing notes.

If you're looking for a stylus to write a lot of notes fast with or to draw technical diagrams with, I strongly recommend the Adonit Jot styluses rather than one with a rubber tip. Touch Stylus is still fine, but it's a bit harder to write in tiny handwriting with it. Labeling circuits in Physics or small drawings without zoom features in an app will be a bit difficult, but manageable.

The rubber tip also ensures that unlike an Adonit product, it will never scratch your screen even when you have dust on it. You don't need a scratch protector to go with this stylus.

I even encountered a major problem with the Touch Stylus after using it for a couple of days. I don't know if this was a flaw in the unit I received or not. The rubber tip on this product is covered in a thin plastic membrane. After some use, the membrane peeled off on its own. Now, the tip is not as smooth as it used to be and really sticks on the screen. It's barely usable for writing, although it can still be used for drawing.

UPDATE: I was impatient and didn't realize that I contacted the company during the weekend. My fault. They did reply and they have remarkable customer support.

Derick Davis of W. A. Stark says "Of the dozens we have sold, we have had no same or similar reports." He himself uses the first stylus they ever made and there is no wear. They will send me a replacement nub free of cost. The nub can be unscrewed and replaced easily. Replacement nubs will soon be available for sale on their website.

Is it good for you?

I would recommend this stylus if you want to play Draw Something with it, doodle, paint and design. It’s okay for taking notes. But if your notes need to have a lot of tiny scribbling, small writing, intricate and complex sketches, look for another stylus that has a thinner tip (again, Adonit styluses recommended).

The craftsmanship alone is well worth the price too. Compared to a lot of other capacitive styluses, the W.A. Stark Touch Stylus is quite cheap at $24.99 and you get a lot for the price. Nevertheless, the tip wearing out was a letdown for me. The nub issue has been noticed on my unit exclusively and W. A. Stark will replace it at no cost (for me).

I highly recommend this product.

You can purchase a custom W. A. Stark Touch Stylus here.