What Is a Stylus and How Does It Work?

May 3, 2022

holding a digital tablet with a blank screen

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Whether you’re scrolling through your email on your phone or watching a show on your tablet, you’re using your fingertips to click on, zoom out of and swipe left on your screen. Even the smallest and most delicate of fingertips is still prone to slipping from time to time. Few things are as accurate as the refined touch of a screen pen.

If you’ve never used a stylus pen or aren’t sure how useful they are, keep reading to learn more about stylus and touch screen pens and how they work.

The History of Touch Screen Pens

When you think of a stylus, you’ll probably think about the stylus that goes along with your Samsung Galaxy or the old PalmPilot. The history of the stylus actually goes back to around 3,000 BC when the Sumerians used to use reed styluses to write on wet clay tablets. Since then, stylus materials have included wood, quills, ivory and even bone.

What Are the Different Types of Stylus Pens?

Today’s stylus pens are either active or passive, also known as capacitive. They’re either made from conductive foam or rubber. An active stylus’s features include pressure sensitivity to allow you to draw heavier or lighter lines depending on how much pressure you use. It has built-in electronic erasers for you to erase your writing or sketch, just like you would with a physical pencil on paper.

Compare that to the passive stylus that does NOT have electronic components or touch sensitivity. There’s no direct communication between the device and the stylus. Instead, the passive stylus conducts an electrical charge from your finger to the screen, acting like your finger would on a touch screen.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra Android smartphone

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Benefits of a Stylus Pen

It’s not always comfortable using your hands to type long texts or emails on your phone. Sometimes, you want to take notes but don’t want to trouble yourself with carrying a notebook. A stylus pen gives you the look and feel of taking notes or handwriting, which is much more comfortable than typing out an essay with your fingers all cramped on your phone. With a stylus, you’re also less likely to have butterfingers when typing. No more messy typos when you have the precise stylus tool to pick the exact letter you want.

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What to Look for with Stylus Pens 

One thing to consider when getting stylus pens is the power supply. Do you really want a stylus pen that has batteries you’ll need to replace time and time again? Many users opt for a rechargeable stylus pen instead that just needs to be charged every now and then. You’ll also want to look to see if your stylus pen offers certain features like palm rejection so you can rest your hand on your device.

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The Samsung Galaxy S22’s Stylus

According to Samsung, the latest Galaxy S22 Ultra S Pen really levels up its stylus game. The S Pen features a slim 0.7mm pen tip designed to feel as natural and accurate as putting pen to paper. Use the S Pen with built-in Bluetooth capacity to do things like play music, pause a video, switch between cameras and take photos. To access your stylus, click your S pen button and you can pull up the Air Command menu. You’ll be able to use features like Live Message, Screen Write and Smart Select.

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Stylus Pens for Other Smartphones

You can also use a stylus with the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE. While you’re at it, be sure to get a Samsung Galaxy S20 FE case to keep your phone protected. If you’re an Apple user, do some research on styluses that are compatible with the iPhone and iPad. For example, the 2nd Generation Apple Pencil is compatible with the 6th Generation iPad Mini and the 4th and 5th Generation iPad Air. Take a look at some digital pens that are compatible not only with iPads but also with iPhones.

Whether you use the stylus that goes with your S22 Ultra or you get a stylus to be more hands-free with your iPhone, stay covered with a high-quality, sustainable phone case from Pela. Check out our stylish Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra cases today.

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