Monday, May 1, 2000

Stylus Plus: a stylish stylus at an affordable price


By Denise Watkins

I am a pen snob, and I freely admit it. Long before I became a willing member of the cult of Palm, I haunted the better pen counters of office supply superstores. You'll never find me using your basic 99-cent disposable stick pen.

The same goes for my choice of stylus. From a purely aesthetic point of view, I agree with the descriptive term Dan Velasco gave to the basic Palm stylus in his article, "Become a Graffiti master," available at "The twig" is what he called it, and anyone who's tried manipulating that little plastic sliver with a normal, adult-sized hand would have to concur.

Not to mention the fact that the basic Palm stylus just looks cheap. Come on, you've spent, at the very least, $150 for your Palm device, so not getting a decent stylus is tantamount to buying an expensive new car and then being too cheap to spring for air conditioning.

A stylish alternative

If you're a heavy Palm computer user, you'll want a stylus that's practical and comfortable. The Stylus Plus, pictured in Figure A, could be for you.


The Stylus Plus is a stylish alternative to "the twig". (click for larger image)

The Stylus Plus, at $19.99, is quite a bargain. It's available at It has four points: a ballpoint, a stylus tip, a pencil point, and a highlighter. What makes the Stylus Plus so different from other multi-purpose styli is the fact that you have the ability to customize it. You can choose the color of the pen ink, the stylus tip color, and the color of the highlighter.

Selecting the appropriate tip

The Stylus Plus has four indicators, one for each of its various points. If you hold it directly in front of yourself while facing the clip, you can press the cap to make the ballpoint pen appear. Then, when you rotate the pen to the right, the blue dot faces you, and pushing the cap down will now give you the orange stylus tip.

Rotating a quarter turn to the right gives you the 0.5 pencil point. The removable end cap holds an eraser and extra lead. For me, the pencil was the least useful point. I can't remember the last time I used a pencil, and as I'm the type of person who holds my writing utensil in a death grip, mechanical pencil leads are too weak for me. However, as I was completing this review, I learned the Stylus Plus is now available with a second ballpoint in place of the pencil option.

A final turn to the right gives you the highlighter. In truth, though, it's actually more suited for underlining.