Use Pix & Stix To Really Rock Out In GarageBand On Your iPad [Review]


If you play a lot of GarageBand, you should own Pix & Stix.
If you play a lot of GarageBand, you should own Pix & Stix.

We covered Pix & Stix back in May, when they were just a Kickstarter project looking for funding. A year on, they’re now in full production.

The rubberized drumsticks and guitar pick are designed to make iPad apps like GarageBand a much more enjoyable experience, allowing you to rock out on the drums or on guitar just like you would in real life, without brusing your finger tips. But are they any good?

The Good:

The first thing you’ll notice about Pix & Stix is that they’re really well made, yet very lightweight. The rubber is nice and strong and ready to take a good battering from your kids, while being soft enough to bang against your iPad’s display without doing any damage.

It was the idea of beating my display that initially made me believe Pix & Stix weren’t such a great idea. But unless you actually try to do damage with them, they’re certainly not going to harm your iPad through normal use. You do need to tap your iPad’s display slightly harder than you normlly would with your fingertips to ensure each tap is recognized, but you certainly don’t need to be brutal with them.

The best thing about Pix & Stix is that they’re a whole lot of fun — much more fun than using your fingers. And it’s worth remembering that’s what they’re designed to be. You’re never going to make real music with them, but you’ll have a great time trying.

I also found that the Stix (the drumsticks) in particular worked really well as a stylus. Although they won’t be replacing my Bamboo, they do work well for sketching in Draw Something, or jotting down quick notes in Penultimate.

The Bad:

Unfortunately, the Pix (the guitar pick) isn’t quite as responsive or as fun as the Stix, and it takes a little more patience. In fact, I actually found it was just easier to use my fingers to control the guitars in GarageBand.

The Pix needs more force to be recognized by your iPad’s display, and it’s not as easy to quickly switch between notes as it is with your hands. The Pix just can’t keep up.

With that said, the Pix is more of a novelty that quickly wears off. It’s fun for a while, but you’re like to get frustrated with it. Unlike the Stix, which are a lot of fun no matter how much you use them.

The Verdict:

I really enjoyed testing the Pix & Stix, and so did my kids. Even after many months of use, the Stix still get a lot of attention today. Again, they’re never going to turn you into a superstar musician or replace your real drum kit, but they’re better than using your fingers, and at $30 AUD, they’re a wonderful gift for anyone who uses GarageBand on the iPad.

And despite what you may think at first glance, they’re surprisingly kind to your iPad’s precious display.

[xrr rating = 80%]