When it comes to styluses, I’ve been a big fan of them, whether it’s the S-Pen with the Galaxy Note8, the Apple Pencil with the iPad Pro, the Surface Pen with the Surface Pro or even the Pixelbook Pen with Google Pixelbook. But if you don’t own of those devices (partially because they’re a bit pricey), you may be in the market for a device like the Wacom Bamboo Tip.
I’ve been using the Bamboo Tip for a few weeks now and it’s a good option for those wanting stylus for their smartphone or tablet without the high cost of some.
Design & Hardware
The Bamboo Tip is well-made, it has an aluminum body in a dark blue with black accents with a small clip, so you can attach the stylus to your notebook or your pocket. The stylus feels good in the hand, it’s not too thin and not too thick, it’s the perfect thickness. The tip on the stylus is 1.9mm thin which is close to the tip on Samsung’s S-Pen.
The Bamboo Tip is something called an “active capacitive” stylus, meaning you won’t have to pair it to your device via Bluetooth but the stylus is powered and will require charging. The good thing is that you don’t have to worry about if your device is compatible since you won’t need to pair the Bamboo Tip to your smartphone.
The middle of the device is where you’ll find the button to turn on or off the device. You’ll see a green light when it’s turning on and an orange light when it’s turning off. The Bamboo Tip will automatically turn off if you don’t use it for a few minutes.
Near the top of the device, you’ll find a little switch that will help you optimize the performance of the stylus for your Android or iOS device. Wacom says that upper position of the switch is for most tablets and the lower is for the iPad Pro. While using the device with my Pixel 2 XL, I didn’t notice any difference between the two modes.
The battery life on the Bamboo Tip lasts about a day, depending on usage. The top of the device is where you’ll find the microUSB port that has a little cover over it. It would have been nice if the Bamboo Tip had a USB Type-C port instead but I can understand that Wacom wanted to keep costs down by using microUSB. Because the Bamboo Tip don’t connect to your device, there’s no real way to tell how much battery life is left, you’ll just have to guesstimate. I frequently had issues when drawing with the stylus and the input would not register or was delayed, it’s possible that the battery on the Bamboo Tip was running low but there was no way to me to check.
The thin tip of the Bamboo Tip works well (when it wants to) but there’s no pressure sensitivity like you get with the S-Pen or Apple Pencil. The stylus can be quite noisy when using it, which can be distracting.
The Bamboo Tip is available now from Wacom’s website for $49.95 USD or from Amazon.ca for $69.95 CAD. That may seem a bit pricey but considering that Apple Pencil costs $129 CAD plus the cost of an iPad Pro, the Bamboo Tip is still cheaper, especially considering that the stylus works with Android and iOS devices and does not need to pair. One thing to note is that the Bamboo Tip does not come with a couple of replacement tips either or any sort of codes for stuff like full access to their Bamboo Paper app.
I tested the Bamboo Tip with a variety of apps including Wacom’s own Bamboo Paper. The app did work well and there are a few different pen and paper types to choose from within the app along with some in-app purchases to buy some more which don’t cost a lot. The most expensive in-app purchase is around $6.50 CAD and that’s called the Pro pack and that gets you all the paper types and pen options in the app.
As I mentioned earlier, I had some trouble using the Bamboo Tip with my Pixel 2 XL, there was a lot of lag when writing notes or drawing with the stylus. When I tested it with an iPhone 8, there was zero to no lag, and I was just using Apple’s Notes app.
The Bamboo Tip should work with most sketch apps including apps like Google Keep.
Overall, the Bamboo Tip is a good fine-tip stylus but I think it could be even better if it supported pressure sensitivity but that would mean that the stylus would need to be paired via Bluetooth. Sure you don’t have to worry about making sure it’s paired to your device, but what’s the point, if you can’t check the battery life on the Bamboo Tip and it frequently lags.
However, since the Bamboo Tip frequently lagged on my Android device, I can’t really recommend the Bamboo Tip for Android users. But the stylus did work well on the iPhone 8.
The Bamboo Tip is still quite pricey, compared to standard capacity styluses. At $70 CAD ($50 USD), it’s hard to recommend a stylus at that price, if it was around $40-50 CAD (about $35 USD), then the Bamboo Tip might be a better value.
- Feels great in the hand
- Works with both Android and iOS
- The fine tip offers precision (when it works)
- No pairing required
- Battery life is good
- No palm rejection or pressure sensitivity
- The stylus makes a sound when its use
- $70 CAD is a lot for a stylus, especially one that isn’t Bluetooth
- Lags frequently on Android devices
- No way to check battery life