Wednesday, June 12, 2024

These are the stylus you need to elevate your Chromebook experience


Almost all of the best Chromebooks these days have touchscreens, and while just using your finger to swipe and tap your way through tabs and Android apps is fine, your fingers are nasty. Even went they’re not dirty or covered in crumbs from your latest snack, fingers are greasy, flabby, and not all that precise, which is why having a great stylus can make all the difference. Whether your Chromebook can use the fancy new USI styli or just the old-fashioned capacitive kind, these are the best Chromebook stylus models you can find.

The future is USI

iPlume USI Stylus

Staff Pick


USI styli are supported by the newest Chromebooks, and this is the only third-party USI stylus I’m confident recommending right now. It’s comfortable to hold and it doesn’t have the useless eraser button other models do.

$49 at Amazon (Silver) $49 at Amazon (Maroon)

Name brand quality

Adonit Mini 4


Adonit has been at the forefront of stylus innovation for years, and while most of its models focus on iPad, the Mini 4 is a precision capacitive stylus that will work on every touchscreen Chromebook, and its design makes it hard to lose.

$17 at Amazon

Powered by USB-C

HP Rechargable USI Pen


A USI stylus needs to be powered somehow, and while other pens are still opting for AAAA batteries that you never have on hand, HP’s pen charges over USB-C and lasts weeks at a time. It comes with two additional tips.

$56 at HP $56 at Walmart

Best for Duet

Lenovo USI Pen


This is the other manufacturer-made USI stylus, and while it’s not as easy to power as the HP, it should last months on a single battery before it needs replacing. It features a pen clip to help you secure the stylus in your backpack.

$38 at Lenovo

Fat and thin

MEKO Universal Stylus (2-Pack)


This adaptable stylus has two stylus tip types: hybrid mesh tips for more casual swiping through games and apps and precision tips for sketching, handwriting, and accuracy. This kit comes with two pens and six spare tips.

From $13 at Amazon

Best for kids

Ciscle Youth Series Kids Stylus Pen (2-Pack)


Kids tend to be extra-hard on stylus, applying too much pressure, and unfamiliar with proper grip. These highlighter-sized styli are easier to hold and they come with two replacement tips so you’re not hunting for spares immediately.

$13 at Amazon

Hidden spares

Digiroot Magnetic Disc Stylus Pen


This stylus pen lets you keep a spare tip inside the cap so that you can swap out while on the go, and there’s a magnetic cap to keep your precision tip viable for as long as possible. There are four color options, but I dig the blue.

$12 at Amazon

Widest point

Cosmonaut Wide Grip Stylus


Like the Ciscle, the Cosmonaut adopts a wider diameter that makes it ideal for younger children and older users with arthritis. That said, it’s much harder to find replacement tips for this version since it covers the entire head.

$25 at Amazon

Tapered and curved

ELZO Tapered Capacitive Stylus Pen (4-Pack)


Rather than being a straight cylindrical stylus, ELZO curves and tapers its styli for a better grip. There’s also a hole at the base of each pen to attach a strap or a charm, should you keep losing track of your stylus.

$12 at Amazon

The best stylus for Chromebooks without USI support


Most Chromebooks still use good old-fashioned capacitive styli, which means that there there are quite literally millions of stylus tips, shapes, and sizes to choose from, but I’m a fan of the Adonit Mini 4 for three reasons: you can’t lose the cap because you unscrew the entire bottom of the pen to reveal the precision tip. The color selection here is subdued, but colorful and diverse; the Royal Blue has just the right amount of pop and the Olive Green looks exceptional, too. Thirdly, Adonit knows how to make a darn good stylus, but the Mini 4 allows you to get that experience without dropping a week’s worth of grocery money on it.

If you’re looking for a stylus that your child could use on a student-friendly Chromebook, there are a few extra things to be mindful of: you’ll want a more durable stylus with a wider grip like the Ciscle Youth Series or the Cosmonaut, but be mindful that wider-tipped stylus can be harder to find replacement tips for — and kids will break the tips far more often.

What is USI and does my Chromebook support it?

stylus-pack-on-chromebook-duet-alt.jpg The Lenovo Chromebook Duet is one of many USI-supported Chromebooks.

The Universal Stylus Initiative is a collaboration to standardize styli the same way that groups like the USB-IF and the Wireless Power Consortium have done with USB-C and Qi wireless charging. This is a process that invariably takes time, and so while we have several USI-supported Chromebooks at the moment, there aren’t that many USI pens available. The HP Rechargeable USI Stylus is a better pen than Lenovo’s in terms of shape and power since it recharges over USB-C, but some users have reported it feeling cheap to them. On the other hand, Lenovo’s pens sell out even more frequently than HP’s, but they use batteries and there have been some quality control issues.

That’s why the iPlume USI Stylus leads our roundup. It feels good, looks good, and so far we’ve seen few complaints of compatibility issues. It still uses an AAAA battery rather than being rechargeable, but it also has a tall, dark, and handsome version rather than leaving you with so many shades of grey like Lenovo and HP.

Of course, USI pens don’t matter if your Chromebook doesn’t support USI input, and right now that list is somewhat small, but it’s growing every year. A couple of the Chromebooks on this list have been announced but not released yet, but if you’re in the market for a new Chromebook and want the best stylus experience, this is the list to start with.

  • Acer Chromebook Spin 713
  • Acer Chromebook Spin 514
  • ASUS Chromebook Flip C436
  • ASUS Chromebook Flip C536
  • ASUS Chromebook Flip CX5
  • ASUS Chromebook Flip CM5
  • HP Chromebook x360 14c
  • HP Chromebook x360 12b
  • HP Chromebook x360 11 G4 EE (Optional USI pen built-in)
  • HP Elite c1030 Chromebook
  • Lenovo Chromebook Flex 5
  • Lenovo Chromebook Duet
  • Lenovo 10e Chromebook Tablet
  • Lenovo ThinkPad C13 Yoga Chromebook (Optional USI pen built-in)
  • Samsung Galaxy Chromebook 2

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