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Pilot Pentopia Chameleon One Universal Stylus Review

on October 29, 2002 12:00 am

Product Requirements:
Device:
Many PDAs.

The Chameleon line of styli from Pilot
Pentopia
have been popular with PDA owners for quite awhile now. In the
past, we’ve taken a look at several of versions, including ones for the
Sony CLIÉ n700
series
,
Palm m100 series
, and

Palm III series
. Pilot Pentopia now have a brand new version of their stylus
that is called the Chameleon One Universal Stylus.

The difference with this new stylus is that it hasn’t been created for any
one specific PDA. Instead it can fit in a wide variety of PDA silos. Some of the
devices that are listed as being compatible with this stylus are:

Palm III series, V series, VII series, m100 series, m500 series, i705 and
Zire
Handspring Visor, Prism, Deluxe, Platinum, Pro and Neo
Sony CLIÉ S300, S360C, S760C and N700C
HP Jornada
Toshiba e570
Sharp Zaurus

I personally tested the Universal stylus with the following PDAs (some of
which were not included in the listing of compatible PDAs on Pilot’s site):

Palm III, Palm V, Palm m100, Palm m505
Handspring Visor, Prism
Sony CLIÉ T615C, NR70V
Toshiba e570
HP Jornada 565
Compaq iPAQ 3600, 3800
Zayo
Zaurus SL5000D

More about how the stylus worked out with my PDAs in a sec…

The stylus is a combination of metal and plastic. The entire .183in (4.67mm)
diameter barrel is made of a silver metal with the Pilot Pentopia name
silk-screened in thin red letters along the side. The barrel is smooth and
straight while the finger grip area is slightly molded with ridges. The stylus
has a nice weight and good balance.

The stylus tip is red in color and smooth in feel on all PDA screens I tested
it with. The only disappointing fact about the stylus tip is the fact that it is
NOT the typical Chameleon spring-action tip. Instead, it is a stationary tip.
I’ll admit that I was bummed with this revelation. I was also not too happy to
find out that a reset pin was also not included.



The top of the stylus has a grey plastic cap. The cap has a soft plastic bulb
at the top which can be used to press the application buttons on your PDA.
Removing the cap reveals a black ballpoint pen tip. I found the pen to write
smoothly without any skipping or ink blobs.

The cap is actually the most important feature of this whole stylus. It is
what gives the stylus its universal capability. Two small spring loaded metal
buttons protrude out of opposite sides of the plastic cap. These buttons enable
the stylus to fit into stylus silos that would otherwise be too large for it.

I tested the Universal with a pretty good selection of PDAs to get an idea of
just how ‘universal’ it really is. Here are my results…

Palm III – Fits but can be shook out with medium force. Not long enough to
fit properly in silo. Looks too small.
Palm V – Good fit. Slightly short.
Palm m505 – Best fit of all the PDAs I tested.
Palm m100 – Wouldn’t use with this PDA. Doesn’t fit as intended. Wants to twist
in silo so that only one button is holding it in place.
Handspring Visor, Prism – Fits very well, but short in the silo.
Sony CLIÉ T615C, NR70V – Didn’t fit at all. Too large.
Toshiba e570 – Loose fit and rattles.
HP Jornada 565 – Fits but is slightly difficult to remove.
Compaq iPAQ 3600, 3800 – Loose fit, rattles and sticks out of the top of the PDA
too far.
Zayo – Fits, but is too short in the silo.
Zaurus SL5000D – Fits, but sticks too far out of the silo.


Palm m505

Handspring Visor Prism

Sharp Zaurus

Palm III

After all those tests, I came to the opinion that this stylus is best suited
for the Palm m500 series. It works with most of the others, but doesn’t REALLY
look stock enough to appeal to me. Maybe if it had the spring-action tip, I’d
overlook the fact that it is too short in most PDA silos. But as is, I’d pass if
you’re not a Palm m500 series owner.

Available at StylusCentral and
other retailers.

Price: $12.95

Pros:
Compatible with a wide variety of PDAs
Ballpoint pen included

Cons:
Doesn’t have the famous spring-action stylus tip
No reset tip
Too short for most PDA silos

 

Product Information

Price:12.95
Manufacturer:Pilot Pentopia
Pros:
  • Compatible with a wide variety of PDAs
  • Ballpoint pen included
Cons:
  • Doesn't have the famous spring-action stylus tip
  • No reset tip
  • Too short for most PDA silos

Comments

  1. 1
    ChrisSpera says:

    I for one will be very interested in what you two think of the new Zodiac units. I have recently sold a number of different devices and gadgets on eBay and have a little bit of $$ to spend on a new device. I am going back and forth between a Tungsten|T3 an an iPAQ 4155.

    If I get the 4155, I am going to sell my 1945. My T|T didn’t make my auction reserve, so its still up for sale. I relisted it today. If anyone is intested, the auction can be found here.

    I checked out the Zodiac site, and this device is definitely on the unusual side. I wonder if it will be compatible with the Targus IR keyboard. Do either of you have the IR Universal Keyboard?

    I am very anxious to hear your thoughts. Give us a diary entry after you receive the devices and let us know your initial impressions!

    Kind Regards,

    Christopher Spera

  2. 2
    ChrisSpera says:

    While Judie’s unit charges, I flew over to Tapwave and checked out some of the games that are currently UNavailable. They’ve got a lot planned; but not much available at this time.

    I will be very interested to know how things work out. My guess is that due to the screen orientation, they have to come up with Zodiac specific versions of a lot of the games… I hope this isn’t true. This could be a real bummer…

    Christopher Spera

  3. 3
    ExtremeSIMS says:

    Chris:

    Check out the thread:

    http://www.emuboards.com/cgi-bin/ikonboard/ikonboard.cgi?;act=ST;f=24;t=6448;st=0

    I just got my Treo 600, but this device may get my money as well. I think gadget addiction is as expensive as a drug addiction.

  4. 4
    Julie says:

    I’m home and have the Zodiac charging up. Judie’s was fully charged upon arrival, mine wasn’t…

    I.HATE.WAITING.

    Here’s a teaser pic… (the protective screen plastic is still affixed)

  5. 5
    ChrisSpera says:

    LOL RAOF-LMAO!!!

    Wow, Julie…I can actually see you counting the flashes on the battery indicator as it charges. :D

    I needed a good chuckle today. Thanks for being so accommodating! I really appreciate it.

    PLEASE let us know what your initial impressions are. I am still trying to figure out what to do with all of my auction winnings. (Get this, I acutally MADE a few bucks on a recent sale. Imagine that! :wow: )

    I am really interested to know if this could be your daily driver for a while. I know the T3 could be for me, especially if I get that IR keyboard. It might even replace my laptop on short trips if I can get an SDIO based WLAN Card for it…BUT I want to make sure before I go and buy something.

    Let us know what you think. We’re waiting with worms on our tongues! (baited breath) :p

    Kind Regards,

    Christopher Spera

  6. 6
    Scott R says:

    Originally posted by ChrisSpera
    I checked out the Zodiac site, and this device is definitely on the unusual side. I wonder if it will be compatible with the Targus IR keyboard. Do either of you have the IR Universal Keyboard?

    Does this answer your question?
    http://www.tapwave.com/support/downloads.asp

    Scott

  7. 7
    ChrisSpera says:

    Cool! I think…. now this REALLY complicates things!

    Chris

  8. 8
    Judie says:

    By now, I think everyone knows that the Tapwave doesn’t ship with Outlook syncing software (major boner!).

    However, I was able to get it to do just that with my already installed version of Intellisync Lite (which came with my CLIE).

    My point is this: If you had a Palm or CLIE before you bought the Tapwave, you should be able to sync the Tapwave with Outlook using the same software that came with those PDAs.

    Even though all my Intellisync settings are telling me what they are doing with my “CLIE,” they are actually doing what I need with the Zodiac. ;)

    Judie :0)

  9. 9
    ExtremeSIMS says:

    Judie/Julie:

    Either of you own a Mac? (I think I recall one of you two buying one, or considering it.) If so, would you check syncability with iSync?

    I posted the same question to the Yahoo! group, but no jazz yet.

  10. 10
    Julie says:

    I used to have a Powerbook. Unfortunately, I sold it…
    Sorry :o

  11. 11
    ExtremeSIMS says:

    Originally posted by Julie
    [B]I used to have a Powerbook. Unfortunately, I sold it…
    Sorry :o [/B]

    That’s alright. Send me yours, and I’ll try. ;)

    I’ve been reading up on the Zodiac Gamer thread, and the pics are very very enticing. My wife OK’d me getting one out of our general budget…. (She has a shoe and clothes extra budget that’s all hers; mine is gadgets – though I have bought some new clothes lately. She’s rubbing off on me! Don’t need designer clothes!)

  12. 12
    ChrisSpera says:

    OKokokok..!

    We’re dyin’ already!

    Can you guys give us any initial impressions??

    Thanks for the great job you guys are doing!!!

    Kind Regards,

    Christopher Spera

  13. 13
    Judie says:

    In a nutshell:

    Built in launcher is annoying, 116MB internal is roomy, screen is great, landscape to portrait rocks, size is great, getting used to the 4 way buttons, the joystick is awesome, more later… ;)

  14. 14
    ExtremeSIMS says:

    Man, between that and the reviews over on zodiacgamer.com, I am so tempted. That means I’ll go from abandoning the Palm market years ago (IIIx) to having two.

  15. 15
    Julie says:

    To contrast Judie’s message, I’m not having as great a time so far. Although the screen is very nice, audio is great, the one game I have is fun, I’m having probs.

    1. No OUTLOOK conduit which SUCKS big time.
    2. I’m having problems syncing with my desktop. It freezes like every 2nd or 3rd time.
    3. I am also unable to register through their website which supposedly is required before purchasing software (I’ve not tried to buy anything yet).

  16. 16
    ChrisSpera says:

    Hmmmm….

    Ok. Lots to think about. Thanks both of you! :) You guys are TRULY awesome.

    I cna’t wait to read the full review.

    Kindest Regards,

    Christopher

  17. 17
    Scott R says:

    Julie, I agree about the lack of Outlook sync being a bummer. I knew about this but was shocked when I saw that the one offered on Tapwave’s web site costs $70. Someone pointed out to me that you can get xxx instead which only costs $40. But still, $40 is a significant percentage of a $300-400 PDA.

    Judie, please tell more about what you don’t like about the launcher. My main gripe with it (still don’t have mine, so speculating) is that from the perspective of a non-gamer it’s going to be less efficient to navigate around and launch apps that way instead of using a stylus. It’s also my understanding that the device always forces you into landscape mode when you hit the home button (even if you’ve turned off the Zodiac launcher and are just using the basic home screen) which, again, would be a pain if you want to use it as a traditional PDA.

    All, Peter on my forums got his and posted lots of photos showing how the Zodiac looks size-wise compared to the palmOne Tungsten T3, Tungsten C, Sony NR70, and some other PDAs, as well as some photos of the web browser in action. I’ll be creating a new front-page blurb with one of the comparison shots, but for now you can see it here:
    http://tapland.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=85

    Scott

  18. 18
    Judie says:

    My biggest gripe with the launcher, and something they could easily improve in future versions, is that you have either the choice of opening to a “all the main categories – big icons” wagon-wheel style view or to an “all items total – small icons” view. I would like to hit the home button and have the choice of at least returning to my last category, instead of one of the only two choices.

    The launcher looks cool, but in the end, it greatyly reminds me of the launcher that comes with the Sony CLIE’s, but without the ability to return to the traditional launcher – it isn’t included with the Zodiac.

    However – I do like how the launcher allows you to assign up to four apps to open with the four way button, since there isn’t a button assignment tab under preferences…

    Actually, I am now looking for a MegaLauncher style launcher to add, since ML does not have a 480×320 version. <blah>

    I am actually getting used to the launcher being in landscape, though – as well as for apps opening in this format. If you want, you can rotate just about any app after it is opened.

    I attended a lunch meeting yesterday with my ranch foreman. Even though he is used to seeing me with PDAs, I figured he might raise an eyebrow given the unconventional shape of the Zod. He didn’t even look twice. So perhaps the user is just as responsible as the watcher as to how this PDA will be percieved. If you pull it out and start taking notes on it, then it is a PDA. Period. If you pull it out and game sounds ensue…then it is a gaming device.

    Judie :0)

  19. 19
    Foo Fighter says:

    Any updates on your experiences? When can we look forward to a review? ;)

  20. 20
    Judie says:

    We are aiming for Thursday, next week…

  21. 21
    Scott R says:

    Judie, I’m not an expert on all of these 3rd party launchers, but I think I saw someone mention somewhere that they had success with ZLauncher.

    Scott

  22. 22
    tico says:

    Hello everybody, first thanks for the zodiac review, as always it was great.

    I would like to know how your zodiacs are holding up after two weeks of usage (especially to Judie, since it’s your new daily driver. right?). I bought mine yesterday, buy won’t get until next week or more since it has to go thru courrier before it arrives here in Venezuela.

    Don’t know if you seen the zodiac related sites recently, but there’s a little paric regarding the DAPS epidemic (Dying Analog Pad Syndrome). You can see more here http://www.emuboards.com/cgi-bin/ikonboard/ikonboard.cgi?act=ST&f=30&t=7399

    Any problems like this?.

    Thanks
    tico

  23. 23
    Judie says:

    Tico,

    I am still using and loving my Zod…and thankfully (knocking on wood) I haven’t had the analog pad problem…and I hope i don’t get it!

    Let us know what you think about yours as you dig into it!

    Judie :0)

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