FiftyThree Digital Stylus
If you’ve ever used the rather wonderful Paper app by FiftyThree, then you’ll know just how gorgeous and well-designed an art app can be. It should come as no surprise, then, that when the same company set out to create an accompanying stylus, it would take a similarly aesthetic approach.
The Pencil is unique in that it eschews the slim, pen-like style of many other manufacturers, and instead features a rectangular body encased in either graphite or walnut finishes. Both look very smart, and the rubber tips at either end act as an eraser and the actual stylus itself.
This isn’t a fine tip example like the Jot Script or Intuos Creative 2, both of which are intended for precision, instead the Pencil is a little on the chunky side and aimed at the artist who might use Paper. It can navigate iOS and control various apps as a straightforward stylus, but if you pull the tip out you’ll discover a slim body of electronics inside. These house special Bluetooth enabled sensors that can turn the Pencil into something a lot more impressive.
As this is a device designed to work specifically with the Paper app, you’ll find the best performance when used there. To connect the Pencil you simply hold it against the circle in the far left of the tools tray and after a couple of seconds you’re good to go. Now the app knows to ignore any random palm or finger contacts, but is clever enough to allow you to blend or smudge any ink or paint in the classic artistic technique.
Pairing the Pencil also unlocks all the in-app purchase features for Paper, which is a nice bonus. In use the stylus is comfortable and feels pleasingly accurate for its larger size. FiftyThree has also announced that other apps are now taking advantage of the Bluetooth capabilities, so users of Noteshelf, Procreate, and Sketchbook Mobile can join the fun. It’s not cheap, but it works well, looks great, and is a pleasure to use.