Back in the good old days of PDAs, fine tipped styluses were everywhere. When PDAs were replaced by smartphones and tablets, styluses went on the endangered gadgets list . However, it didn’t take too long for them to start appearing again, but they all had wide tips that made writing with them feel more like you were using a thick piece of chalk instead of a pen. Only in the last year or two have we started to see fine tipped capacitive styluses come on the market. But 99.9% of them require special apps, Bluetooth and an iOS device to work. The LYNKtec Apex Fine Point active stylus doesn’t need any of those requirements. It will work with almost any device, any app and doesn’t need a Bluetooth connection. The word that comes to mind is finally!
The LYNKtec Apex Fine Point active stylus (let’s just call it Apex) is pictured above in the center, between a generic Targus stylus and the Adonit Jot Script stylus. The 2.3mm tip on the Apex is made of a firm black rubber-like material which is obviously smaller than the Targus tip, but is slightly larger than the Adonit tip. I prefer the feel of the Apex tip over the smaller Adonit because the Adonit tip has no give or flex. It’s very hard and solid.
The Apex is powered by one AAAA battery. One battery comes installed in the stylus and an extra battery is included in the packaging. Replacing the battery is as simple as unscrewing the cap and dropping a new one in. One battery should provide between 16 – 20 hours of use.
The stylus comes in the chrome version you see above and also a brushed silver version. The barrel is metal and has a nice heft to it. Ridges near the tip provide grip while writing.
The top of the Apex, or as LYNKtec calls it, the fin, twists like a flashlight to power the stylus on and off.
You’ll know when the stylus is on, by the bright blue LED. Note that this model does not have an auto off feature, so it is easy to forget that you left it turned on and end up with a drained battery. I am saying this from experience… I am already using the second battery.
The faux leather carrying case that is included with the Apex has been designed to prevent you from accidentally leaving the stylus powered on. If you notice, there is a hole near the bottom of the case which is positioned right over the LED of the stylus when it is inserted into the case in the “on” position. This way, you can see if you accidentally left the stylus turned on. When the stylus is off, the hole will not align with the LED.
As mentioned earlier, the best thing about the Apex is that it doesn’t require a Bluetooth connection, works with iOS, Android, and any app. Just turn it on and start tapping and writing. Easy!
I tested this stylus with my Samsung Galaxy Note 2, Nexus 7 2013, iPad mini, iPad 3rd gen and a Nokia Lumia 2520 Windows RT tablet. I used different apps on each platform and here are some screenshots showing basic shapes drawn with the TruGlide.
First up is the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 using the stock S Note app. Writing with the Apex felt almost identical to writing with the S Pen. I was able to draw and write very naturally.
The next test was with my Nexus 7 2013 using Autodesk’s Sketchbook Pro drawing app. No complaints here either.
When I switched to the iPad mini 1st gen, I started noticing some odd behavior, which you should notice from the screenshot above. See the diagonal lines? The squiggliness is not intentional. I had no problem drawing horizontal or vertical lines, but diagonal lines were a different story. I did notice that if I drew diagonal lines very quickly, that they would be straight(er). But if I drew them slower, the stair step issue became obvious. At first I thought it was me, so I used a straight edge just to make sure that I wasn’t introducing the squiggle. It wasn’t me. 🙂
With the Nokia Lumia 2520 tablet, it was even worse. I couldn’t even draw a circle without it looking more like an octagon.
The diagonal line problem is going to be more of an issue for artists than note takers. If you’re using the Apex for writing and taking notes, it shouldn’t really be a problem.
Although this stylus has a few issues (no auto power off, diagonal lines), I’m excited about the LYNKtec Apex Fine Point active stylus and hope to start seeing even more fine tipped styluses that don’t require special applications and are device agnostic. LYNKtec is definitely on the right track with the TruGlide. It’s my new favorite electronic stylus.
Update from LYNKtec:
Fantastic review! Thanks so much!
I did notice your comment about the “squiggly line effect” and wanted to let you know what that’s about.
Actually, this is not a malfunction of the stylus. This happens to be a case where the hardware (stylus) has evolved further than the software (application). The jagged line that occurs when slowly drawing diagonal lines on touchscreens is common in all active styluses currently on the market. This is because touchscreens are laid out in a grid, and since our fine point is smaller than the grid squares, the software needs to calculate the position of the stylus correctly.
When writing straight lines up, down, and across, the software correctly displays the position of the stylus. When making diagonal lines at normal drawing speeds, the software calculates the position and “smooths” the movement of the stylus along the jagged diagonal of the grid into a smooth line. However, if you draw very slow diagonal lines across the grid, the software traces along the boxy grid lines and delivers a jagged line as the output.
Some note-taking applications have already started integration of smoothing algorithms that are designed to straighten the diagonal lines when drawing slowly. As the hardware and software continue to mature, this will not be an issue at all anymore.
Also, I noticed you tested out the Apex on many different tablets which is great! I did want to clarify that the Apex was specifically designed to work with the touchscreen interfaces on iPads and is not tuned to work with the different touchscreen interfaces one would find on other touchscreen tablets. This is why the Apex did not work as well with the Nokia Lumia tablet.
If you could add these explanations into your review, it would be much appreciated!