Any touch screen PDA
I think that every time a new PDA is bought, the proud new owner wonders
whether it would be best to use the stock stylus, buy a replacement stylus, or
try a whole different type of writing instrument.
Some people settle – for whatever reason – on the stock stylus. I guess they
figure, “It came with my PDA, it fits, might as well use it.”
Others decide fairly quickly that they aren’t comfortable holding a lollipop
stick, like most PDA styli tend to resemble. Some even decide that the stock
stylus is actually harming their screen. For some people the replacement styli
that fit in the PDA’s silo, rank right along-side the stock styli in comfort, or
To sum it up: these people want something that fits in the
hand, that can be used on any PDA’s screen without damaging the unit, and that
doesn’t cost a fortune.
In the ongoing search for the perfect multi-pen, there is a new contender: Stylus
Central has stepped up to the plate and offered their own version for your
With minor exceptions, both multi-pens look and operate the same. Both are
5.75″ (146.06mm) long with no tips extended, and both are .386″
(9.83mm) thick on the main portion of the barrel.
These pens use a muted matte silver (almost a pewter color) for the
main portion of their barrels. They both have a plunger that sticks up
.632″ (16.06mm) from the top of the pen. Some may feel that this sticks out
a bit further than they would like.
They both have a slim pocket-clip with the Stylus Central logo in black on
To select the desired tip, you simply turn the pen until the name of the
color is facing upwards, then you press the plunger. The stylus tip uses a
floppy disk icon, so it is easy to remember.
Extracting a tip is simple – you just press the black ribbed catch on the
These two Stylus Central multi-pens have different styled grips and accents;
but as I said before – they are essentially the same multi-pen.
As the name implies, the Stylus
Central Foursome Comfort Grip comes with a “firm soft rubber” grip
near the bottom of its barrel. Personally, I would have liked it better if there
had been a little bit more padding to the grip. There is just enough for you to
feel a different texture – but that is about it. To illustrate my point: the
barrel of this pen is .386″ (9.83mm) thick. The grip measures .387″ (
9.86mm). Were talking a difference of .001″, which is obviously not
that much at all. If you don’t like a pen with a thick grip, this one will
probably suit you.
The grip itself is green (my favorite color), so you’ll get no complaints
from me about that! :0)
The Comfort Grip multi-pen also has polished chrome accents, including:
the pocket-clip, the plunger, the band separating the main barrel of the pen
from the grip, and the tip. This pen is a tiny bit flashier than the other –
mainly due to the chromed accents.
The Stylus Central
Foursome 4 Point has a more industrial cross-hatch design on its grip. Every
surface of this pen continues the industrial look, by using the matte silver
instead of any chrome accents.
This multi-pen looks good, and I found that I liked the way this multi-pen’s
grip felt even better than the Comfort Grip’s. For comparison, the 4 Point’s
barrel measures .386″ (9.83mm), and its grip is .393 (10mm).
Each multi-pen comes with Black, Red & Blue ball-point tips. I tested
each color’s ink, and found them to be smooth and non-skipping. This pen uses
standard multi-pen refills, which are also available from Stylus Central.
The Stylus Central stylus tip is white, and neither too pointy nor too
rounded. This tip has been mentioned in many of the other multi-pen reviews that
I have written and as you know, I happen to like it quite a bit. It writes
smoothly on a screen with or without protection.
Now for the $64,000 question that I know some of you are dying to ask: Does
it rattle? Well, sure it does – but not too badly. I compared it with the
Rotring Trio (since it is in the same
price range), and there was quite a bit of difference. The Rotring rattles
badly, whereas this one doesn’t rattle near as much. Perhaps the addition
of the extra ballpoint refill inside the barrel helps dampen the rattling. Of
course, with any tip extended, the rattling is almost non-existent – unless you
really shake the pen.
I never really considered the lack of a mechanical pencil to be a con in the
past. However, several engineers have taken the time to privately e-mail me, and
let me know that it is really something that they need when making a decision of
which multi-pen to purchase. So for you guys (and gals), the lack of a
mechanical pencil will probably be the only con to this multi-pen.
Both pens are easy to use, non-damaging to your PDA’s screen, and priced
reasonably. If you are looking to replace your stock stylus – you might want to
give this one a try.
Refills are available in Black, Red, Blue, & Green
Stylus Central offers a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee on all of their products
Four writing tips
No mechanical pencil for our engineer friends…