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What's the Best iPad Stylus for Touch Screen Tablets?

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Nomad Brush Stylus Review
Several models of Nomad Brush Stylus

Nomad Brush is modeled after a real paintbrush and creates an unrivaled experience working with art apps on the iPad. Top Left: Nomad mil (short and long brush tip); Top Right: Nomad Compose (dual-tip); Bottom Left: Nomad Mini; Bottom Right: Nomad Play.

© NomadBrush LLC

Nomad Brush

Like the Brvsh stylus, the Nomad Brush stylus is a touch screen stylus with a real bristle brush tip--but that's where the similarity ends. Unlike Brvsh, the Nomad has an organic, less industrial, design--it looks like a regular paintbrush--yet it is very attractive in its simplicity.

How does it perform? From the moment I grazed my iPad screen with the Nomad Brush, I was in love! This brush--you really shouldn't call it a stylus--is a dream to paint with.

Each Nomad Brush is handcrafted, and was designed by architect and artist Don Lee. The Nomad Brush is about seven inches long with approximately 5/8-inch-long natural and synthetic fibers for the tip. The handle is made of black carbon, and a bit of natural walnut caps the end of the handle, giving it a touch of distinction. Although it is relatively inexpensive, nothing about the Nomad Brush looks cheap. It comes packaged nicely in a box along with a card containing brief care instructions.

The brush tip is soft and flexible, and rounded at the end. A rubber collar attaches the bristles to the handle and gives the handle a bit of grip, while also deterring the brush from rolling off a flat surface. The unbelievable sensitivity of this tip means there is never an inclination to jab at the screen so I'm not too worried about it becoming frayed (as the Brvsh did). However, I do wish there was a way to protect the bristle tip for travel and storage. After about a week it shows no signs of wear and I feel confident it will hold up to long term use, if treated with care.

I used the Nomad Brush in art apps, as well as for general use navigating the iPad, playing games and so on. It functioned well in all scenarios, requiring a very light touch, but it truly shined in art apps. It glides across the screen with no friction whatsoever, and is long enough that you can work without your hand getting in the way too much.

Honestly, there is little more I can say about it. If you are looking for the best experience working with creative apps on an iPad or other touch screen device, stop searching and order the Nomad Brush. I can't believe this amazing tool costs the same as so many of the rubber-tipped stylus pens on the market. If I had the artistic talent to justify it, I'd stock every room of my house with a Nomad Brush.

Update December 2011: Since my review of the original Nomad Brush stylus (mil), several new models of stylus brushes have been introduced.

  • Nomad Mini offers a shorter handle and a smaller, stiffer brush tip and is intended for smaller touch screens.
  • Nomad mil: Short Tip is the same as the original Nomad Brush described above but with the shorter stiffer tip of the Nomad Mini.
  • Nomad Compose is a dual-tip brush stylus with an aluminum handle and interchangeable tips. It is available in a long brush or short brush version and both versions also include a glide bevel tip with very short beveled bristles. The tips screw on to both ends of the handle, and an aluminum end cap is provided if you prefer to attach only one brush tip.
  • Nomad Play is a paintbrush stylus designed for kids. The maple handle is shorter and thicker than other Nomad stylus brushes and is available in four colors with a fun design for each color. Personalized engraving is also offered.
  • Introduced in late 2012, the Nomad FLeX (reviewed separately), is a 7-inch paintbrush stylus with case, which improves on the original design.
  • Introduced in late 2013, the Nomad Mini 2 (reviewed separately), is a 5-inch, dual-tip paintbrush/nib portable stylus.

Nomad Brush Pros

  • Very light touch required--zero drag and highly sensitive
  • Well-made with an attractive, organic design and artistic look and feel
  • Good length for iPad work
  • Reasonably priced
  • Lightweight (0.2 oz.)
  • Elegantly packaged; feels like something special when you open it

Nomad Brush Cons

  • Lacks protection for the bristle tip

Overall Rating: 10/10

nomadbrush.com [Check Prices on Nomad Brush]

Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.

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