Hex3, the company behind a successfully Kickstarted pressure-sensitive stylus called JaJa, and a follow-up stylus for tablets, called Nota, which had a (relatively) fine 3.7mm tip to make scribbling on a slate more precise, is expanding its line-up with three new stylus products — under a new brand name, YuFu.
Once again, the startup has taken to Kickstarter to get the required minimum orders to fire up production of the YuFu, YuFu Pro and YuFu Focus. It’s seeking to raise $25,000, and is more than half way there with 30 days left on its campaign. If successful it’s aiming to ship to backers next April.
It’s a couple of years since pressure sensitive styluses arrived so the YuFu is definitely facing more competition than Hex3’s earlier JaJa. Which presumably is why it’s spreading its bets with multiple models, as well as focusing on a premium, hardwearing build, with the YuFu rocking a slim, metal-case design that resembles a mechanical pencil.
The YuFu Pro — aimed at “serious artists” — has 4,048 levels of pressure sensitivity, with the function built into the pen, rather than the tip so you vary how much you squeeze it, rather than how hard you press it against the glass (to limit fatigue). It also has tilt sensors for shading and calligraphy, optional gestures such as tap and shake to erase, plus an ultrafine tip (1.9mm). This model is $65 for Kickstarter backers, but will retail for $99 in future.
The mid-range YuFu Focus has 64 levels of pressure sensitivity and the same ultrafine 1.9mm tip. Hex3 says this model is for “creative business and art school use”. It’s $49 for Kickstarter early birds, rising to $79 retail post-Kickstarter.
While the basic YuFu — aimed at “anyone who uses a tablet for notes or drawing” but doesn’t need pressure sensitivity to vary the flow of digital ink or an ultrafine tip — offers the same hardwearing metal construction and interchangeable tips (with brush, teflon or rubber tips) that all the models have but is designed for less precise scribbling. This model is up for grabs at an early bird Kickstarter price of $25, rising to $39 retail post-Kickstarter.
The YuFu styli are powered by 1x AAAA battery apiece. They use Bluetooth Low Energy to connect to the tablet, so are compatible with the iPad 3 and above, and the iPad mini. They will also work with other tablets that have support for BLE, according to Hex3 — so some Android tabs might also work.
What apps can you use YuFu with? Hex3 hasn’t listed compatible apps by name, rather it says it will support “all of the Apps you could need”. And includes the below graphic depicting currently supported apps. It’s worth noting that functions such as the YuFu Pro’s Gyro sensor (to support shading) will only work with “integrated apps”.
So if your art app of choice doesn’t appear below you may want to ask if they’re planning to support it before pledging any cash.