Osusume! STAEDTLER Noris Digital Jumbo EMR Stylus
The Osusume! series aims to offer a short, sharp and unsponsored recommendation on all manner of things. Today, a quick appraisal of STAEDTLER's big boy, the Noris Digital Jumbo stylus.
As a largely Android-based illustrator, I'm always keen to keep abreast of the somewhat diverse stylus market. Naturally, this comes with its own caveats; one size does not fit all technology, and knowing what you're buying and what you're buying it for is an extra wrinkle our Apple friends need not consider. Luckily, as a Samsung Galaxy Tablet stan, this choice is made a lot easier, given the brand's earned bona fides as a creative competitor to the iPad Pro.
While there's exciting discussion to be had going forward in the ChromeOS space, as the Universal Stylus Initiative is hitting its 2.0 upgrade (better interoperability across manufacturers, increased fidelity and pressure sensitivity etc.), and with Wacom's Electro-Magnetic Resonance technology having climbed aboard, let me focus solely on the Samsung Galaxy corner of the market for this post.
If you're a Galaxy owner, you're already acquainted with the S-pen. In its own right, a very serviceable stylus. Modern iterations feature a chargeless, relatively ergonomic and -- most importantly -- free pack-in with most Samsung products. Coming off the back of Huawei's now-defunct MediaPad M5 Pro line, the S-pen felt a little light and anaemic when compared to Huawei's proprietary metallic M-pen. The aforementioned stylus did require charging, with a clean USB-C charging port hidden tastefully behind the pen's clip, which would account for weight differential. However, in Samsung's favour, the S-pen's EMR technology promised premium palm rejection and, as expected, delivered. Not to discount the M-pen, but there were far too many palm-related quirks that ensured that my exit from the MediaPad range.
The S-pen suffers from a similar disease to inkjet printers, in that getting reputable replacement nibs amid a sea of cheaper, low-quality alternatives (see: streaky, bargain basement inks) almost makes the act of buying an entirely new stylus feel justified. Samsung used to include replacement nibs in with their products, but this policy has fallen by the wayside, or is region-specific. The issue remains rolling the dice on cheap nibs that could snap under pressure, leaving you with a headless sliver of plastic wedged irretrievably inside the pen. Sure, buyer beware, but having surgically extracted a few near-decapitated nibs from my stylus, the mind boggles at why Samsung don't offer an official Amazon vendor for these accessories.
In short, this is why I started looking around for a larger alternative.
German stationary giant STAEDTLER produced their first EMR stylus a few years ago in the hexagonal Noris digital, a perfect recreation of their flagship pencil design. The Noris digital Jumbo is the second iteration; a beveled triangular design that includes a digital eraser (for apps that support it). As a bloke with hands described by science as 'chunkers', the Jumbo variant was snagged for a relatively affordable ¥6000, or your regional equivalent. Granted, you can get replacement S-pens for about half that price, but it's worth paying a little extra for ergonomics. And, might I add, STAEDTLER include replacement nibs.
As far as tech specs go, the Jumbo weighs in at 10 grams, is manufactured from Wopex, sports 0.7mm nibs and touts a classic 4096 levels of pressure sensitivity. The official nibs have a nice rubbery feel on raw screens, and the amount of friction would vary based on screen protector finish. Given I'm speaking purely from the Galaxy tablet position, I can't speak to any other EMR-supporting surface/hardware, so YMMV when using on other compatible hardware.
Unlike the other styli mentioned in this post, the Jumbo doesn't feature an action button, but having always found those inclusions superfluous at best or hazardous at worst, the lack thereof was a plus. And while the eraser is a nice addition, I haven't used it yet. Always just quicker to dab the eraser icon, hit a hotkey or hope your soft/hardware supports an XP-Pen AC-19 or Wacom Express Remote. No biggie.
Speaking of software, there are really no surprises here. It works, and works well, with every app I've thrown at it. Mainstay MediBang Paint Pro used to slingshot itself around the screen when the palm rejection fritzed out on the MediaPad M5 Pro, but not here. With the EMR doing all the heavy lifting, I've had no issues. There are a few hiccups with vector powerhouse Concepts, where an unintentional trail of brush flecks pepper my workflow across the infinite canvas, but I think it's more a case of not having calibrated the in-app stylus settings. However, Clip Studio Paint, Infinite Painter and Designer, Krita, Sketchbook, Nomad, Rough Animator, ArmorPaint; all and more are very nice to work with via the Jumbo.
The only legitimate downside to the Jumbo is, ironically, the size and shape. While many third-party Galaxy Tablet cases sport a snug recess for the S-pen, the Jumbo's engineering makes it a tough customer if you're out and about. The lack of magnetic surfacing means it can't even snap to any case, were one available. Owners therefore have to grapple with the perils of a loose stylus bouncing around inside a bag. This could be mitigated with a pencil case or slip, but just something to consider if you're in the market. Given the smaller and more conventional shape of the original STAEDTLER stylus, the non-Jumbo Noris Digital might be a better option.
For cost, there are a few cheaper alternatives on the market if you're an Android scribbler, or someone who uses Wacom-supported styli. However, for people who find products like the S-pen a little too cramp-inducing after extended periods, I would highly recommend the STAEDTLER Noris Digital Jumbo for the few extra dollars it commands. Can't put a price on comfort.
+ excellent ergonomics
+ EMR ensures fantastic palm-rejection
+ includes replacement nibs and tool
- triangular design can offer storage/transport issues