oStylus

Frequently Asked Questions

We have summarized some of your questions and answers here for the original oStylus and added some details about the new oStylus DOT.

  • How much does it cost?
    $28 for the oStylus DOT. $29 for the Original model. Discounts for two or more. To order one, go to the order page. We also have some one-of-kind special editions. Email us for details.

  • Where can I buy them?
    The only place is through this web site, via the order page.

  • What does it feel like to hold?
    We have tried to make it feel as much like a pencil as possible. It is the same size and a little bit heavier. It's long enough so that on an iPad or other large tablets you can reach across the screen easily, but short enough that it's easy to carry.

  • Is it smooth against the screen or does it drag like the foam styluses?
    It's smooth. Almost no resistance. This is the result of the vinyl film applied to the contact area.

  • Can I use them for everything on my iPad?
    • The oStylus was designed for drawing, painting and graphics apps where more accuracy is desired, although it works fine for keyboarding or choosing apps. We see it mainly being used by artists, graphic designers, architects, etc. for quick sketches. For comments on handwriting with the stylus, see the UserGuide page.
    • The new oStylus DOT was designed primarily for note-taking and handwriting, although it works well for drawing and painting apps.

  • How can I decide which model to buy?
    We recently made the new DOT available to purchasers of the original oStylus and the feedback we got was interesting. Some said the new oStylus DOT is way better, others said they like it but will stick with the original. Our conclusion:
    • If you are mainly interested in accuracy and painting and drawing apps, then the original oStylus might be your choice.
    • If you are primarily interested in handwriting and note-taking, then the new oStylus DOT would be it.
    • The oStylus DOT is perhaps more intuitive to use, more like a pen, but may be harder to keep flat against the screen until you get used to it; the original oStylus is easier to lay flat against the screen and feels more brush-like. The oStylus DOT is 1" (2.5 cm) shorter, easier to carry in your pocket. Check out some of the reviews to help you decide.

  • Other than the iPad, what else does it work on?
    The oStylus was designed primarily for the iPad. Because the oStylus imitates the finger it should work on most touchscreen devices, but some screens have different sensitivities. We have had very positive reports of it working on the Xoom tablet -- one customer reports: "It's a definite thumbs up... the product is exceeding my expectations." Another uses it with a 23" HP2310ti touchscreen monitor with Photoshop, Sketchbook Pro and Illustrator and reports that "the stylus works amazingly well" and "being able to see the cursor is very good for precision drawing." This report is so complete we have included it on another page.
    Notes: the DOT model does not work on the Blackberry Playbook. Choose the original oStylus. We have had positive reports with the Asus Transformer tablet, but that their Infinity does not work with the DOT. The Acer tablet designed for Windows is not compatible with the original oStylus. The DOT works fine. The Samsung Galaxy is not compatible, and there are reports of problems with other styluses not working with it as well. This is not a complete listing. Again we stress that the two oStylus models were designed for the iPad.

  • What's on the surface of the metal O?
    There is a thin vinyl film on the surface of the O. It is not thick enough to interfere with the electrostatic conductivity, but thick enough to give a smooth surface to protect the screen and give a smooth glide. Think of it as a screen protector on the stylus.

  • Can it mark the screen in any way?
    It leaves no greasy finger marks. And it will not scratch the screen because of the thin vinyl layer on the O, unless you decide for some strange reason to use it on its edge or upside down. Our instruction sheet suggests you don't do that, even though the glass on an iPad or iPhone is harder than the metal O. It's also important, as with any stylus (or your finger), to keep the screen free of dust and grit which can get caught between the screen and the stylus.

  • What about screen protectors?
    Screen protectors mean that the contact pad will be further away from the touchscreen surface, but we have only one report of lost sensitivity when using one with our styluses on an iPad. This was with an Otterbox with its protective cover on an iPad Mini. Zagg's InvisibleShield is also a problem not from the sensitivity issue but because it is so glossy that the oStylus feels "sticky" on the surface, so writing or drawing is difficult. Other glossy screen protectors may have the same problem. Other matte screen protectors we have tested are fine, and drawing with an oStylus on them feels very much like drawing on paper. With a good screen protector in place you can also remove the vinyl film on the oStylus' contact pad, as long as you don't intend to use your stylus on an unprotected glass screen. The oStylus with the vinyl contact in place was designed to be used directly on the glass surface.

  • Why not make the contact part smaller? It would be more accurate.
    It seems like it would be more accurate but with the "O" design it won't work. We have made a lot of prototypes in a lot of sizes, different diameters, different hole openings, and ended up with what we think is the optimum. You can go smaller if you have no hole and this is what we did with the new oStylus DOT design. But with a hole big enough to fulfill the function of being able to see clearly through you need that outside diameter.
    The problem with going smaller is that the touchscreen doesn't recognize the stylus as a finger tip, or it recognizes it some of the time and you get a broken line when drawing. The touchscreen engineers have programmed the screen to be ideally suited for a finger, not a piece of metal or foam. In a sense all the capacitive styluses out there are "cheating" or pretending to be a finger.

  • How accurate is the original oStylus?
    The drawing point appears in the circle, but not always in the precise centre of that opening. Touchscreens compute the drawing point where you would think the point is under a fingertip. This point moves relative to where you are on the screen. In the middle of the screen the point is very close to the middle of the oStylus O. But at the edges of some touchscreens (like the iPad) the drawing point shifts a bit. The oStylus's unique design aims to improve your interaction with this screen technology.
    Some software (e.g. Clibe) has been modified with an SDK to correct this.

  • How accurate is the new oStylus DOT?
    The drawing point appears under the dot which is only 6 mm or 1/4", but you have more visibility of the screen than with your finger or many other styluses where the handle blocks the view.

  • Does the line being drawn lag behind the stylus?
    There is a delay in most touchscreen systems of about 100 milliseconds. If you are sketching quickly, particularly with a curvy or zigzag line, you may notice the line appearing slightly behind the track of the stylus. This happens with any stylus and even the finger. There is an interesting Microsoft Research video about this: http://youtu.be/vOvQCPLkPt4. They claim that the delay is noticeable until technology reduces it to about 1 ms, and that we may not see this for 10 years.

  • Is there a magnet involved, or batteries?
    No. It's all metal, except for the thin vinyl film on the contact area. Your body's electrostatic field is conducted through the metal to the surface of the touchscreen.

  • How "green" is the oStylus ?
    We're doing pretty well. All materials used in the stylus - aluminum, titanium and stainless steel - can be recycled. The thin vinyl film cannot. We ship the stylus out in a cardboard box (recyclable), using recycled bubble-pack, in a recycled padded paper envelope. Even the sandblasting beads used on the aluminum handle are recycled glass.

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Contact: ANDREW GOSS
oStylus Design Studio
agoss@oStylus.com
781 Second Avenue West Owen Sound ON N4K4M2 Canada
519-371-1857

oStylus preview oStylus DOT