Stylus or Pen Computing Was Common in Windows Phone Era, Which is Now Coming Back With Android Phones. Pen computing is using the user-interface using a pen or stylus, and it’s history dates back to 1950s. Numerous smartphone models released every month, at this moment probably having a smartphone with a stylus is practical to get advantage out of most of the mobile applications, like the handwritten note-taking applications we discussed before. With increasing size of screen, writing notes or using the stylus becoming more practical, not only just because the Android phone with stylus looks more elegant or professional look. From point of ergonomics, a phablet sized phone with stylus is difficult to use for long hours with fingers. Question arises, despite there is DIY way of creating Android Phone stylus or cheap stylus available in the market, why Android Phones with stylus became an article on this site. Answer is – to clarify the differences in technology which in-turn returns various features and stop getting ripped off by buying something wrong. Here is Details on Android Phones With Stylus and Difference in Technology in Plain English.
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Existing Android Phones With Stylus (and iOS Devices)
Previously, we discussed about capacitive display technology. That is old technology and used in almost all smartphones with touch screen except which supports active pens or other newer technologies – later group use different technologies which need specially engineered pen, commonly different type of screen than capacitive screens. The difference with DIY stylus with stylus supplied by some latest Android phone model manufacturers is in the technology inside the pen – they are active i.e. has electronic component inside, their tips are finer, together with active pen corrects any parallax error and also at the technology closer to the display screen – may be beneath screen or practically the screen as unit. At this moment, we have mainly three types of stylus or pens :
Capacitaive pen (multitouch compatible) : That is what we talked about having DIY stylus. Basically these instruments “fool” the capacitaive screen as finger touch. Finger touch has a set minimum surface area to get active, which makes these pens restricted by size of tip – you can not expect 0.5 mm tip pen. Also there is parallax error, pens need body touch. However, they are cheapest and better than having nothing. It is different topic how to try to tweak DIY pens to have thin tips. But they will lack the pressure sensing part without software augmentation. So a tail of a tick mark will not look that natural.
Active pen : Includes electronic components inside the pen whose signals are picked up by the device’s digitizer. That system converts the electronic data to pen location, pressure etc.
Positional-based pen : They are uncommon on mobile phones but common in graphics tablets.
Popular graphics tablet company Wacom uses Electro-Magnetic Resonance (EMR) technology to generate a small magnetic field which creates a resonance. Along with position, The sensor receives data of pen’s speed, angle and writing pressure. It demands a separate layer overlaying the screen. Samsung commonly uses Wacom’s technologies, so as Microsoft. Popular Samsung Note 8 uses active pen. Who are aware of Sony’s technologies heard of n-Trig, which is the actual Active Pen based on n-Trig’s DuoSense controller. Sony, HTC and now Acer have partnered with n-Trig.
Apple uses old capacitaive pen and probably Apple Inc as company is towards slow death. Although many users report Apple’s pen to be great.
Samsung actually has an optimized stylus.
Modern Android Phones is Chipset Dependent
A basic part is inside the chipset used by these mobiles which we discussed in the article on Latest Smartphone GPU Technologies. Commonly they use chipsets from Snapdragon. Nvidia does have chipsets supporting newer bluetooth stylus.
Differences in Real Life
An active stylus like in Samsung Note 8 offers several advantages compared to a passive stylus. Apart from finer size of tip, applications understand the difference between the pen and human touch. Android itself supports active pen, however the hardware and chipset needs to be present. Active pen adds a big advantage – upon accidental touch on the screen while writing with the pen will not mess up. Of course the writing, drawing is very high resolution for illustration purpose. Applications can detect the stylus only hovering over the display. And the pressure sensitivity helps in drawing and painting. Usually, any model which has stylus has a place to keep it inside the body. That is a big advantage than separately buying a stylus.
Currently Available Android Phones With Stylus
Samsung Galaxy Galaxy Note Series (Note 5, Note 8)
Samsung Galaxy Note Edge Series
LG Stylo Series
LG G Series
Sony Xperia XZ Premium
The list is not exhaustive.
When you want built-in stylus with active pen with mechanism to avoiding parallax error, pressure sensitivity like graphics tablets etc then the required hardware components like technology of pen, chipset, screen needs to be different. These factors considerably increase the price.
As like we always joke, buying interesting latest technologies need playing and winning at best online casinos or in this case, choose licking earbud DIY stylus and draw! Apple Inc probably expects casino winners to be their customers.
Not many peoples on this earth has enough spare money to digitally draw like on paper. After checking all relatively hidden specifications, you’ll agree that Samsung Galaxy Note 8 not only has best stylus technology but also has other things optimized, which includes playing games in virtual reality, listening to music. Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is not cheap option, and will become outdated just after release of Samsung Galaxy Note 9. Of course, Samsung is far better than Apple as company. Cost of spare stylus after loss is not less. Rest companies are Sony, LG. Sony mobiles are quite good specially around display and sound. Additionally, Sony’s matter is the n-Trig technology. After Sony’s quit from VAIO laptop business, it is difficult to say whether Sony has interest around computing. Sony had infamous incompatibility of n-Trig pens with VAIO and some Sony Android phones.