The TruGlide Apex stylus is the second iPad stylus I have tried that features a fine point tip. The other was the Jot Script by Adonit. Unlike most fat-tipped tablet styluses you'll find on the market, the TruGlide stylus has a tiny 2.3 mm tip that makes it feel more like a regular pen.
The technology that makes this possible is a powered electrical signal that detects the pen tip on the iPad screen. That means the pen needs a battery, and you have to turn it on for it to work. For the most part, the TruGlide worked well, but there were a few bugs. Read on for the full review!
First, let's be clear.
I want to point out first that the TruGlide Apex is not a pressure sensitive stylus. It requires battery power in order to work, but otherwise it works just like any other "dumb" stylus.
Version: First generation, "Kickstarter" edition
Release date: January 2014, wide release expected March 2014
Notable features: fine-point tip
Current price: $59.95
In the box:
TruGlide Apex stylus
AAAA battery (in the pen)
Kickstarter-exclusive carrying case
The tip on the Apex is made of rubber and is 2.3mm. For comparison, the tip on the Jot Script is 1.9 mm and made of metal. The smallest tips on other styluses are around 5 mm. It's about the same size as and feels like a dull pencil.
I enjoy the tip on the Apex better than the Jot Script because it is made of rubber. Even though I've had no specific problems with scratching with the Script tip, the rubber feels more safe on the Apex. It also gives the tip a more natural feel on the slick iPad glass.
Based on the website, it looks like the tip is replaceable, which is nice because I'm sure the rubber tip is less durable than a metal one.
The Apex has a metal body and seems sturdy. It feels heavy and is slightly thicker than a typical pen. There is a blue light near the tip that indicates that the pen is on and functional.
There are no buttons on the pen. The back side twists off for battery replacement. One problem I had was that once I put the battery in, I didn't know how to turn it off. When I went to take the battery out to save power, I realized that if I just twist the body, it loosened the battery connection and the pen turned off without me having to remove it completely. I am not sure if this was intentional or not because the pen came with no instructions. Anyway, I wish that was more clear. This solution is also a bit buggy, because when I went to use my pen after light use, the battery was already dead. I am not sure if this was due to not turning it off correctly or just a weak battery.
Once the pen is on, it works immediately. There is no special connection process to go through and doesn't require Bluetooth. It just works like a normal stylus.
Writing and drawing
The Apex is pretty accurate, but not 100% perfect. As is typical with any drawing tablet, there is a slight parallax between the tip and the screen. However, it is not too significant and you should adjust to it easily if you are used to digital drawing. It is not quite up to par with the accuracy you will find on a professional Wacom tablet, but it is a big improvement over typical fat iPad styluses.
The functionality is not perfect. It does not read all drawing/writing movement 100% correctly, resulting in jagged lines or skips. It is very subtle and does not hinder your ability to draw. It is a minor annoyance at worst. Unfortunately, this means it's nearly impossible to draw smooth lines and large curves with the pen. It's better for rough sketching and painting.
The Apex requires no special software integration, so it is compatible with any app. It works just like any other regular stylus, once you turn it on.
The Apex uses one AAAA battery. Like I mentioned earlier, my battery died pretty quickly, but I think that was due to either me not turning off the pen correctly or having a weak battery in the first place.
Compared to other styluses
For those of you who have been waiting for an iPad stylus with a fine point tip, this is a good option. It is fairly accurate and is certainly better than the fat tipped styluses. Besides minor accuracy issues, I enjoyed drawing with it.
Compared to the Jot Script
I like the rubber tip on the Apex more than the metal tip on the Script, but the Script worked better overall in terms of functionality. The Jot Script also has other extras like palm rejection and software support that the Apex currently lacks (but to be fair, the palm rejection doesn't work well on the Script anyway, so that equals them out a bit). I would give the edge to the Script, but the Apex is a solid, slightly cheaper alternative.
Overall grade: B