Fisher Bullet Pen-Stylus Review

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Product Requirements:
Any touch screen device

I like gadgets just as much as the next guy, but I only buy one if it really helps me. I thought I had found the nicest pen/stylus combo when I bought a
Retro 51 Tornado Data Pen; that is until a few weeks ago. The Fisher Bullet Space Pen (Model #400CL-S) with the clip and stylus point can be purchased
from StylusCentral. I’ve always been curious about those little silver bullet-shaped pens that go up in space with the astronauts but had never actually used one or owned one. The Bullet has that nice hefty, smooth slick feel that makes you want to flip it around in your fingers straight away. In case you were wondering, the quality of a Fisher pen is right up there with the best of pen manufacturers.

Currently they only offer the Bullet stylus pen in chrome and black; both with
and without the pocket clip. I’m sure once demand starts to climb for these
wonderfully utilitarian pens they will begin to offer the model in their black
or gold Titanium Nitride versions…the ultimate in high-tech looks.

As far as a stylus is concerned, it is nicely balanced and easy to use. It’s
comparable to the stock Palm styli on how it feels on the Palm’s writing surface.
If you use Scotch Magic “Removable” tape on the Graffiti area, it
feels really nice. As a pen, it is second to none. It writes remarkably smooth.
The pen can be heated to 400 degrees, frozen to -50 degrees and it will still
write. The space pen will write over grease, oil, water, upside down and on
most surfaces due to the pressurized ink cartridge and the “viscoelastic
” ink.

Many of you may say, I don’t need a pen that does all of that. Well, how many
of you would like a pen that you can carry in your pocket or in a briefcase
in a hot car and have 100% confidence that it will not leak…and will write
every time? Have you ever tried to write a phone number in an awkward position
in an airport while on the phone, only to get frustrated because, well, the
darn pen won’t write sideways? Fisher has solved that problem with the nitrogen-pressurized
special ink cartridge ($4.00 for a refill).

One nice “Bonus” is that it clips verrrry nicely onto the side of
a Vaja Fliptop Case. Once the case lid is closed, the pen won’t fall out; and
the whole ensemble can be carried with confidence in your back pocket. The pen
will probably clip to any number of Palm cases as well. Handy, eh?

As I said before, I don’t buy gadgetry just to “Have it”. I only buy
something if it makes my life easier or more convenient. At $22.00 the Fisher
Bullet Space Pen is a real bargain for what it delivers. I already bought a
second bullet to keep in my car. The inside temperature of my car soars to over
130 degrees in the summer time here in the South. Unless the temperature goes
up “significantly”, the Bullet will always write and never leak.

Price: $22.00

High quality and great design at a very reasonable price
Pen will write upside down, on wet and/or greasy surfaces
Stylus tip has nice feel on Palm
Will clip to a Vaja Fliptop case very nicely

None really except that you may need to make a call or two to
find a cartridge (IF you run one out of ink)


Product Information

Manufacturer:Fisher Space Pen
  • High quality and great design at a very reasonable price
  • Pen will write upside down, on wet and/or greasy surfaces
  • Stylus tip has nice feel on Palm
  • Will clip to a Vaja Fliptop case very nicely
  • None really except that you may need to make a call or two to
  • find a cartridge (IF you run one out of ink)

16 thoughts on “Fisher Bullet Pen-Stylus Review”

  1. Gadgeteer Comment Policy - Please read before commenting
  2. Having looked at the QUE PDA you mentioned in your Journal I wouldn’t recommend it. Too big and too slow.

    I caved in and gave up my IPAQ 3600 which has served me quite well for the past 3 years to purchase the Toshiba e750. In a word Wow (only one cap). The screen is actually brighter than the Ipaq and it screams. I’m also glad that I can download an entire Audiobook to a CF card without the extra bulk of a sleeve. The wireless internet is neat…a bit too slow and too small but it does the job while sitting at Starbucks…and I enjoy sniffing out wireless networks as I walk to and from work using ministumbler (

    As for the perfect PDA…you may want to look at Genio e550c which was released in Japan ( Built in 128MB ram along with Intel’s P400MHz PXA 255 chip (same as e750). The built in camera is a bit much for me though.

    HP is releasing a new Ipaq ( which has all the features of the E750 (except the CF slot) AND you can keep all those neat peripherals and cases you’ve purchased over the years for your old Ipaq (unlike me who is giving it all away).

    So in my humble opinion. If you want something now, the E750 is the way to go. If you can wait…get the Ipaq. And yes…I’m a PocketPC bigot…for the simple reason that in my previous life, I worked in IT, and I still have nightmares of people losing data on their Palm. So my rule of thumb has become…Microsoft stuff works best with Microsoft’s stuff. And I’m happy to report I haven’t lost any data since (although the nigthmares remain).

    Enjoy the rest of your trip.


  3. My perfect PDA would:

    1) Sync like a Palm with Outlook (Zaurus doesn’t)

    2) Recognize handwriting like a Newton (nothing does)

    3) Have the form factor and screen of a Sharp C700 (not released in the states)

    4) Have 802.11b, USB, and Bluetooth built-in plus an RS-232 adaptor for serial connection (Cisco console)

    5) Run both Palm and Linux

    6) Take Compact Flash only

    I think a US version of the C700 with more memory(RAM), battery life, 802.11, and some decent PIM software could get me to upgrade from my Vx (workpad C3). I really like the Tungsten T but the reports on battery life have kept me away. I know that the C700 and TT are vastly different form factors but I think the C700 could get me to ditch both the Vx and Franklin binder I carry.

  4. My perfect PDA,

    shove all E750 features into h1910, give it option of battery sleeve. ahh.. nirvana.

    I would even go for half nirvana of dropping CF and put it as sleeve in that imaginary machine. mmm…

  5. Here we go:

    1. Form factor of the C700, or a NX70 that opens like a C700 (like a book, not a notepad)

    2. Run the next generation of either Palm or Pocket PC OS with a soft/disappearing graffiti area

    3. Both SD and PCMCIA slots (I’m dreaming, right?)

    4. Built in 2MP camera with a rotating lens and zoom

    5. Removable, swappable, and upgradable battery starting with a base model of at least 1800 mAh

    6. Light but strong metal or alloy case

    That’s just off the top of my head…there are so many more features I would like to have. I do know that I really like the clamshell form-factor, though. No case needed!

    Judie :0)

  6. Ok, I’ll get in on this too…

    1. 1910 form factor and display.
    2. 128mb of ram built-in.
    3. CF and SD (probably not physically possible, but hey!
    4. Bluetooth and WiFi built-in.
    5. 24hr battery life.
    6. Bootable to Palm or Pocket PC OS.

    Yeah, I’m dreaming…. 😮

  7. Hmm… probably will never be a “perfect PDA”, but some of the things I’d love to see right now are:

    • iPaq 1900 or 2200 form factor, with virtually all of it being screen (jog dial, anyone?)
    • a higher-resolution color screen (at least 320×480) with full rotation in either direction
    • 400 MHz PXA255 CPU (or whatever Intel comes up with as its replacement)
    • minimum 128 MB user-upgradeable RAM, 64-96 MB ROM (does anyone actually think Microsoft code actually decreases in size?)
    • dual SDIO (Newton MP2x00 had it right with dual slots) for simultaneous additional connectivity and storage; 3 would be even better, but then I’d be dreaming
    • superset of TI’s WANDA, with 802.11g, Bluetooth and GSM/GPRS (GSM voice supported via Bluetooth headset)
    • user-replaceable batteries
    • the Newton’s cursive and print recognizers, with a “write anywhere” capability that the Newton had
    • a flip-top hard cover like the Newton MP130

    I work in a Microsoft-centric world so PPC 200x would probably be a requirement. It’s too bad that they won’t be improving the UI or the onboard apps with the upcoming 2003, but that’s what 3rd-party development is supposed to be for.

  8. When are you going to get the IQUE?
    I am very interested in it. I would like to know if it supports SDIO. I want to put a SD Bluetooth card in it and use it to connect to my t68i, which is connected through gprs (~56k) to the internet. I am using a handspring visor this way. I can’t wait to see the Garmin.

    To the other guy who said the Garmin was too slow – how do you know? Have you already used it?


  9. To the other guy who said the Garmin was too slow – how do you know? Have you already used it?

    The reason behind my comment was the fact that the unit has a 200mhz processor. I realize now that I based that comment on an assumption that it was running a Windows OS and not a Palm OS. As most current Palm device use much slower processors and are plenty fast…I see this is a huge improvement and will likely be blazing fast.

    So my PocketPC bias has shown through…and has exposed the PPC2002 OS as the bloatware that it is. However…my personal preference remains the PocketPC device…:rolleyes:

  10. mgrab,

    I should have a Garmin review unit sometime in May. The sooner, the better – I can’t wait to test it out!

    Judie :0)

  11. I have owned many a PDA since the very first USR Pilot, and I’ve gone through multiple phases with it, from using it heavily to rarely looking at it. These days, my perfect PDA would replace my iPod or replace my cell phone. I’ve got way too many electronic devices, and of those, the PDA is the least used.

    Not that I don’t use my PDA, but 5 minutes a day, mostly using the datebook, isn’t enough to justify a seperate device anymore. Not when compared to the 2 hours I listen to my iPod (while driving/walking/etc) or the 30 minutes/day I spend on my cell phone.

    Because of that, the PDA I see in my near future is the Samsung SPH-i500, which is a Palm OS flip top cell phone for Sprint measuring 3.4×2.1×0.85 inches, rumored to be coming this May. That’s about the size of last year’s cell phones; not quite as small as this year’s phones, but almost half the size of a Treo.

    Pros: same size as my current cell phone, replaces two of my everyday electronic devices.
    Cons: old OS (4.1), not expandable.

    Even better is the Samsung SGH-i500, which is nearly identical except for being GSM, having an external caller id display, and running OS 5.2. No word on availability and GSM are deal killers for me though.

  12. I would have to say that the perfect PDA depends on what you want to do. You might want to do ‘everything.’ You might want to do 1 thing very well, plus do everything else. You might want to optimize 1 aspect of the system in a tradeoff making something else not as easy.

    The system that I am about to describe would need to be thin, but I think it’s perfectly do-able. Even if it incorporates a CF slot and a SD slot, which it should.

    Companies need to start experimenting with form factors. Nokia has some great ideas in form factors. There is the new phone which looks like a regular phone, but folds open to have a qwerty keypad split in half w/ the screen in the middle. And they have the ngage type form factor as well.

    For my purposes, I want 3 things, mobility, visualization, and internet. That means I want the smallest amount of space that has the largest amount of screen.
    Psion had a prototype of this PDA back a few years ago. Basically it was a 3×3″ square. It had 3 screens that fanned out from the unit one at a time. In it’s full size, it was a 6×6″ square. Pretty novel concept.

    The other idea that hasn’t been explored too much is the book PDA. Why people think that an ebook should be a tablet is beyond me. A simple idea would look like your typical everyday dayplanner. There could be various sizes, but I envision small, medium, and large. Small being 2×3.5″, medium being 3×4.5″, and large being 3.5×5.5″. That would be the size when closed. It would fold open in the middle. Just like a daytimer. Then it would have screens on both sides, for a total screen size of say 4×3.5″, 6×4.5″, or 7×5.5″.

    What this means for me is all screen, and no keyboard.
    A keyboard is nice, but in order to get it as small as possible, and to maximize the sreen, I have opted to minimize the keyboard. I am fully comfortable using graffiti to write on my PDA. I notice some people say they don’t want to learn a new way to write to use their PDA. But most people have to do that anyway. Not if they get a PDA that has standard handwriting recognition.

    Yes they do. Have you looked at the handwriting of 90% of the people you meet? Half the time a human can’t read it. How do you expect a computer to understand it? So they have to practice what they may already know – how to write letters correctly. Regular letters are harder to write than Graffiti, if you have to practice something, why not practice something that’s a shortcut? Graffiti is a quicker physical action to complete, and it’s a quicker computational operation to recognize. I still hope Palm wins the lawsuit and sticks with Graffiti 1.0.

    One requirement for this PDA is increased horsepower. It needs either a dedicated screen chip or a quick processor to be able to handle the high-res display. 33mhz just won’t cut it, but that’s okay, our new technology is now up to the task.

    I need the PDA to be connected at all times. I tend to have my PDA with me 99% of the time, and my cell phone with me 99.9% of the time. I still am debating whether I should have my phone built in to the pda. If I do, I would have to suffer for that .9% of the time when I would have been able to just have my phone with me.
    Let’s face it, if you need or want a PDA, you probably need or want a cell phone. It’s hard to describe the perfect PDA w/o talking about the cell phone.
    One scenario I can see is a separate PDA and cell phone, with a bluetooth earpiece. I have been using a BT headset, and it works extremely well. At one time I said I would never go back to the old way of handsets. I’m wearing my earpiece right now. It’s a jabra freespeak, and it is very comfortable. It’s not perfect yet though, because the audio quality is poor, the range is very limited (think 1 meter sometimes), and the battery life is only 2-3 hours talk time.

    So a good total PDA/comm solution is a PDA w/ BT, an earpiece w/ BT, and a cell phone w/ BT. The cell phone needs a new form factor too. It’s called the hidden body-attached cell phone. It should be 2 things- radio module and battery. The radio would need to do cellular voice, gprs, and BT. It should be a little black box. Maybe it should be shaped like a pebble or a skipping-stone rock. Put a strechy strap on it. Then attach it to your ankle like an anklet, or wrap it around your bicep like some of those jogger radios. It would be small enough to go under all clothing. I mean have you seen how small they can make a cell phone cheaply nowadays? My T68 is so tiny, yet it packs a big color display and keypad. Lose the display and the keypad, and think of how small it would be. Make it a sealed module too. Now it’s water-resistant (gotta remember the charging adapter location). Now you might ask how you’re supposed to dial it. 2 answers. When you have your PDA, you use your PDA to look up the number and dial it. There’s another way too. Verizon and Sprint offer voice dialing. I have used Sprint’s. It is 100% out of this world phenomenal. You can upload all your contacts from outlook to your personal sprint website (I think it’s up to 1000 contacts). Then press *talk, and Sprint will recognize your contacts at either work or home, or mobile numbers. With this scenario, you can still change your service provider and not have to buy a new PDA.

    I am not talking about a technological revolution here. All this technology exists, and it exists in mass-market form. Nokia or Sony-Ericsson could make every one of these products today or tomorrow. The only thing preventing it from being here is us. We probably wouldn’t buy it because it’s new, or different, or weird. Maybe I shouldn’t say us, because we’re gadgeteers. I should say most people.

    I admit that I care too much about these things. 🙁
    Please accept my thoughts as just an idea, and don’t take the effort to flame me or anything. 😡

    Just my .02

  13. There are two primary reasons why I leave my PDA behind these days. Sports and fashion.

    PDAs are fragile and obviously don’t stand up to contact sports, but besides that, they serve no purpose when you’re doing something active. Quite unlike a phone, which always seems necessary (and I can personally vouch are extremely hardy), or an MP3 player, which is useful for solo sports like long runs.

    Do you carry a PDA with you when you’re going out? Sure in the winter, you can put it in your jacket, but mid spring to mid fall, when you’re leaving the jacket at home, where do you keep the PDA? My phone is small enough to live in a pocket without being noticeable. No PDA can do that, and I’m sure not going to wear it on my belt like Batman (and if you do, I’m amazed your wife/friends don’t hassle you about it). Women with purses can get away with it, if the purse is big enough.

    This pretty much means that half the year, my PDA is on me maybe 80% of the time, while the other half the year, my PDA travels to/from work/home and that’s it, for a 40% carry rate at best.

  14. I’d have to agree with the combined PDA/Cell Phone crowd. It will be a long time before that holy grail is perfected, but I think the SPH-i500 from Samsung will be a good start. Same form factor as my trusty Samsung 8500 cell phone, with a basic Palm OS PDa thrown in, all with 3g (or 2.5g depending on your viewpoint) connectivity.

    Sure, it is a step backwards as a PDA, given the serious contenders from Palm, Sony, HP and the like, but like so many others, my PDA (even the tiny HP 1910) stays behind, while my cell phone never leave my pocket. Sure, I’ll miss the great screen and MP3’s of my HP 1910, but for basic PIM functions, this looks like a winner. The already rumored successor, SPG-i500 for GSM market, with better screen, Palm OS 5, SD slot in the same form factor, may turn out to be a killer device. Unfortunately, unless Sprint switches to GSM (can you say never), I’ll have to wait for the CDMA version.

    All said, I’ve been in the PDA switching business since the 512k Palm Pilot (oops, forgot can’t use “Pilot” with “Palm”), and I really think convergence and communication will be where it’s at for the next few years. Unless Wi-Fi spreads everywhere for public access, that means telephony, hopefully faster and faster 3g type services. You can’t make a Blackberry killer until you can reach the taxi, hotel, and business office in succession without dropped communication.

  15. OK, so after playing with the Tungsten|C for a week and then going back to my Tungsten|T, I think I could be happy with the following:

    Tungsten|T form factor
    Tungsten|C Screen
    64MB RAM
    Tungsten|C processor
    Built in WiFi – instead of Bluetooth

    That should be easy to do, don’t you think?

    Judie :0)

  16. I think my perfect PDA might be the new HP iPAQ 2200. Guess we’ll find out when it’s available at the end of this next month.

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