A few years back, every self-respecting touchscreen smartphone sported a stylus – that is a pen-like device used for selecting and tapping on the devices’

What is wrong with using a stylus?

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A few years back, every self-respecting touchscreen smartphone sported a stylus – that is a pen-like device used for selecting and tapping on the devices’ displays.

We remember the Sony Ericsson P800, the for-runner of sorts to the modern touchscreen smartphone. We remember the excellent P1i and those from other manufacturers such as HTC.


Then came along the iPhone and touchscreen smartphones never remained the same. For the first time, here was a deviuce that did not necesarilly require a stylus for usage. A finger was sufficient.

Of course, that came at a price. We lost handwriting recognition when we threw away the stylus. We lost some measure of accuracy once the onscreen item is small in size.

But it felt great to do away with that ugly, wieldy stylus! And every touchscreen manufacturer seemed to join the bandwagon to get rid of the stylus on their devices.

But is the idea of using a stylus on a smartphone without any merits whatsoever? Is the stylus really that bad – afterall we are used to using pens in everyday scenarios. Even some iPhone users have had to purchase a stylus eventually for use (God forbid!) with their Cuppertino toys. Perhaps the sylus is not such a black sheep?

  1. Tell us if you have ever used any stylus-based device
  2. Tell us if you have used any of the newer no-stylus device
  3. Tell us what you think are the pros and cons of both sides
  4. Then tell us what (or what combination, if possible) you would prefer


  1. I think the stylus is outdated. The SOnyericsson p900 never really lived its hype when it first came out and positioned as a business phone.

    It was virtually over-priced with such mediocre features. One of my colleagues regretted buying it!

  2. I see nothing wrong using it. . . Without using a stylus on my p1i,the phone looks useless to me.

  3. that’s technology for you. soon you would be able to control your phone with your thoughts.

  4. @COMPUTER. I understand what you mean. But i would have to ask you that in these days of multi-touch input on phones and a superb fluidity in the UI of phones, Does Stylus use not seem significantly anachronistic? Perhaps it is like taking me back. Using a Nokia 3300 isn’t bad in a anyway at all. It is a user’s preference. But if you ask me, I think stylus use on a touchscreean and anything short of multi-touch is an outdated technology!

  5. I used a HTC Mogul with a stylus for a couple of months. It was quite cool taking it along for site inspections and using the handwriting recognition to jot down notes. And on impromptu visits where there was no paper and pen, it was way faster to do so than typing. Even using character recognition was way faster than typing especially on non-qwerty phones. Then came along the touch type phones. Woe betide you if u were a fat block with thick fingers. All of a sudden quick and fast jots were impossible without annoying misspells.

    I think stylus’ were good for inputing data. The only disadvantage i can think of is the fact that u need two fingers to gain the most potential speed wise, but hey, what of qwerty phones.

    Disadvantages are quite more. (i) Its easy to misplace the stylus and since there no industry wide standards for these things, you have got just one more chance with a spare. (2) Repeated use may cause some damage/scratches on the fragile plastic coating of the phone screen surface. I have suffered this on my phone and so have my friends (3)Since the stylus is so small and sharp, I fear for the safety children who are so very easily attracted to mobile phones using them as play things. I have seen a few accidents and believe me they were nasty. And just for another angle…(4)people are so tempted to use them to evacuate waste from their ears, nails, nose and give themselves a nice scratch in those hard to reach spots etc…. Disgusting, I know.

    Given my kind of job, I wouldnt mind a stylus phone like the HTC Mogul. It gave me a touch screen phone, a stylus and a hardware qwerty all rolled in one

  6. I pitch my tent with archie. Stylus is a great little piece of material that you need for all the reasons mentioned in previous posts. Handwritting recognition is super when you want to jut down some note on the fly. The only disadvantages I see are:

    1. You can easily lose your stylus.
    2. You can easily damage your screen.

    But with the arrival of capacitive screens, most people feel carrying a stylus is out of fashion. They have to think twice. Stylus will be hard to do away with. Even those using the ‘king of capasitive’ iphone now look for and obtain styluses made for their phone.

    Has anyone ever used samsung corby or samsung b3410? Those are capacitive screen phones that would need a stylus or two to bring out the beauty in them. You can’t do any decent work on those phones with your fingers. the screens and characters are just too small for you to work with fingers. Am sure an unbiased iphone user working with opera mini will wish for a stylus cos I know how difficult it is working with opera mini on a touchscreen phone with only your fingers.

    Finally, I submit that for a touchscreen (capacitive or not) to effectively ditch the stylus, it must have a screen size of 4 inch diagonal or higher and the screen sensitivity, if capacitive, should not be too high. Otherwise one will end up with typo errors and unconfortable use.


  7. Who needs a stylus when I can do all my typing, pinching, zooming etc with my fingers. It comes in handy for me only when what is on the screen is too tiny for my fingers.

  8. @Azeez,

    Most often than not, what’s on the screen is too small for your fingers and you have to use a stylus. God helps you in such situation if you use a capacitive screen with no ability for stylus imput.

    Can you see why iphone users now crave a stylus after initially claiming they don’t need it?

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