Metal Styli Ltd.\’s Bolt Stylus for the Tapwave Zodiac Updated

Product Requirements:
Tapwave Zodiac

Updated on March 8, 2004 – all new comments
are in red.

Not long after I received my Tapwave
Zodiac2, I started looking for custom accessories to use with it. While I
still haven’t found a single case in which I would want to keep the Zod’s curvy
shape hidden, I have found a quality replacement for the stock stylus.

You may recall my previous review for the iPAQ 3800
Antenna Stylus, and how impressed I was
with that product. I am pleased to tell you that Mark Hammill, the creator and
driving force behind Metal Styli Ltd.
has expanded his line to include my Daily Driver, the Zodiac.

   
Photo courtesy of Mark Hammill and Metal Styli Ltd.

Called the
Bolt,
because its design "reflects a combination of a dart and an arrow," this
stylus is a work of art composed of stainless steel. Measuring 4.4" (10.8cm)
long and weighing 0.3 ounces (9g), the Bolt is a sleek little flash of silver
that you can keep in the rubber grips on the back of your Zodiac, in place of
the stock stylus. It adds a bit of flair to an otherwise staid device.

   

The Bolt features a black nylon tip that glides on the surface of the PDA’s
screen, either with or without protection.


Photo courtesy of Mark Hammill and Metal Styli Ltd.

As you probably noticed, the metal end also has a bit of a point on it. Due
to nature of the original Zodiac stylus design,  it seemed like I was often
trying to write on the screen with the "wrong end" of the original stylus.
Perhaps because the Bolt has a more defined shape, I have no longer noticed
making that mistake. For fun, I gave writing with the metal tip a try (on a
protected screen, of course) and was pleased that it was actually feasible. For
those of you that have been wanting a double-tipped stylus, this is as close as
it gets right now. Just be sure to err on the side of caution and always use
screen protection.

I was a little bit concerned when I first received my Bolt, because I was not
able to perform a soft reset with the stylus tip any longer. In theory, this is
probably an advantageous thing, since resets can’t be good for any
stylus’s tip, but it sure isn’t convenient. I figured that I might need to start
carrying a paperclip around, like I used to in my early Palm days. However, I
found that the Bolt’s metal tip was just pointy enough to fit in the reset hole
perfect!

As is always the case when dealing with a stock silo, due to size constraints
the replacement stylus can’t be much thicker than the original. The replacement
stylus can however, look better and feel much more substantial than the
original, which is definitely true in this instance. The original Zod stylus
weighs in at 0.1ounces, merely a third of what the Bolt weighs. There is also no
doubt as to which stylus looks better.


Original stylus on left

For those of you that aren’t satisfied with a run of the mill stainless steel
replacement stylus, Metal Styli Ltd. also offers custom styli in precious
metals. I have purchased a

Sterling Silver Bolt
and will update this review with photos and impressions
once it’s received.

I have been using the Bolt since December, and there is no way that I would
go back to the original. Mark has designed a beautiful and functional
alternative to the stock stylus that will be especially pleasing to those who
appreciate bright shiny objects – such as myself. For those that won’t admit
wanting it merely because of its visual appeal, the purchase can be justified by
calling this stylus an object for personal defense.

Mark Hammill’s metal styli can only be purchased from one of
these sources.

Those of you that want something a bit more ritzy
than stainless steel might be interested in the

precious metal
custom styli that Mark offers. Since the gold and platinum
versions are not in my price range, I ordered a sterling silver high-luster bolt
stylus-  which at $145 isn’t cheap, but in the grand scheme of things is
relatively inexpensive.

Compared to the stainless version, the high luster
sterling appears to be a slightly lighter shade of silver. It has a slightly
chunkier appearance and weighs a bit more more – which is a good thing. The
sterling version is the exact same length as the stainless, but weighs 0.4
ounces (12g) versus the stainless version’s 0.3 ounces (9g). The proper British
precious metal hallmarks appear on the side, which adds to the luxurious overall
feel of the stylus.

I don’t know how to properly explain the feeling that
using a precious metal stylus imparts, but it is almost like indulging in a
guilty pleasure. It’s an extravagant thing that you can do for yourself that no
one else will likely ever notice.

   

Sterling Silver Bolt stylus (front) and the
stainless version (rear); note the three separate hallmarks on the Sterling
version

The sterling version is not going to suddenly make you
a successful businessman or woman, it will not make your smile brighter nor will
it make your hair grow back if you are balding. It will however, give you a
private thrill every time you use it.

I can’t speak for the yellow gold version, but using
the sterling silver is one of those subtle things that others "in the know"
might recognize, but its use will not earn the owner dirty looks from other more
frugal acquaintances and co-workers. As a personal extravagance, I just can’t
think of another item that might accomplish the same deed…well, except for an
Hermes Birkin Bag, but I digress…

Price: $25.50 for the stylus + $4.95 for the user
replaceable tip
Precious metal styli start at $145 for the silver versions
and travel upwards from there. Complete price list can be found

here
.

Pros:
Substantially heavier than original stylus
Much more stylish
PDA can be reset with pointed metal end

Cons:
None

15 thoughts on “Metal Styli Ltd.\’s Bolt Stylus for the Tapwave Zodiac Updated”

  1. I love the Zod’s look! I would really like to have one, but I can’t forsake my iPaq after just over a month of use (Christmas gift). I admit moving to PPC was a mistake. When the rumored Tungsten TE2 comes out, I’ll get it, and put linux on my ipaq…

  2. Still using the Zod2 as your daily driver, then? I am still tempted. I have my Treo 600, which has been a great return to the Palm OS world, but its entertainment value is… lacking. I have to admit I get jealous when I see Bejeweled on my wife’s Tungsten E. (Then again, I bought her the app and the PDA, hoping she’d be hooked – and it worked.)

    I’m a gadget hound, so having two PDAs would not bug me. I tried out the HP4355, and it’s also a sweet gadget…. but now I want higher rez in any PDA I buy.

  3. Yes – I am still hooked on the Zod. I’ll admit that the new CLIE TH55 has me tempted – mainly because I have a 1GB memory stick already, but the 128MB internal RAM on the Zod coupled with its other features makes it hard to seriously want something new. Maybe after OS6 comes out…

    Good job on getting your wife hooked – sometimes a fun game and a beautiful screen are all it takes to get the interest going!

    Judie :0)

  4. the review of the Zodiac2 was great.I have been trying to figure out what to buy a Zodiac 0r pocket pc.Iam a gamer at heart but $400 is alot to spend without researching!! I picked the Zodiac2 because EVEN if it fails to gain support as a game console I’ll have one heck of a pda.thanks:D

  5. T-Bone,

    The Zodiac2 is a great PDA. It takes a little while to get used to the landscape orientation, but once you do its speed and features make it the “PDA to beat” in many ways.

    Judie :0)

  6. I have a Treo 600 Smartphone and just picked up a Zod2. I love the Treos smartphone features but being limited to a 160×160 screen really hinders its potential as a gaming platform.

    The zod2 screen is gorgeous although not as bright as the Treos and the zod enhanced games that I’ve tried so far are the best that I’ve seen on either platform (ppc/palm). It is also a very capable PDA with a fast arm processor, 3d graphics chip as well as dual SD, SD/SDIO slots.

    My only complaint so far are problems that I have experienced and confirmed by others with the version of the Palm Desktop software that is included with the zod.

    The current version has problems with some palm applications that install conduits to sync data or have windows desktop components. For Example Avantgo, and Pocket TV Browser are two that I have confirmed that have installation problems.

    The install problems are at least partly due to the Tapwave version of the Palm Desktop not properly passing the path of the UserData.dll file to the install file.

    Part of the problem can be resolved by manually changing the enviromental variable to include ‘c:\Program Files\Tapwave’
    by following these instructions for Windows XP:

    To view or change environment variables:
    Right-click My Computer, and then click Properties.
    Click the Advanced tab.
    Click Environment variables.
    Click one the following options, for either a user or a system variable:
    Click New to add a new variable name and value.
    Click an existing variable, and then click Edit to change its name or value.
    Click an existing variable, and then click Delete to remove it.

    Other palm programs programs that include conduits may also require you to manually add entries to the registry to properly install due to problems outlined above with the Tapwave Desktop.

    There are also battery issues on early models that was handled partly in a rom update and calibration issues with the analog joystick that is being addressed in the next rom update that is due out shortly.

    I’m sure that these problems will be resolved and can be chalked to being an early adopter.

    But besides all the positives I did want to mention these problems as I did not see anything mentioned about this in Julie & Judies review.

    Still overall my impression is very positive………….

    Originally posted by ExtremeSIMS
    [B]Still using the Zod2 as your daily driver, then? I am still tempted. I have my Treo 600, which has been a great return to the Palm OS world, but its entertainment value is… lacking. I have to admit I get jealous when I see Bejeweled on my wife’s Tungsten E. (Then again, I bought her the app and the PDA, hoping she’d be hooked – and it worked.)

    I’m a gadget hound, so having two PDAs would not bug me. I tried out the HP4355, and it’s also a sweet gadget…. but now I want higher rez in any PDA I buy. [/B]

  7. Well, I just got the gold-plated bolt, one of the reasons was because of your review which said you could still reset with the metal tip of the bolt. Well, I don’t know if the gold one has a different design, but I am *really* disappointed to find that I can’t get my tip into that hole! I hate having to carry a paperclip around for this function, I’m seriously thinking of sending it back, much as I like the stylus (and the flashy gold color!) otherwise.

  8. Mary Jo,

    I wonder if the gold plating process added extra thickness to the already tight fit of the tip? That may be what happened, which is too bad because the gold plated version looks lovely.

    Judie :0/

  9. MaryJoS wrote:

    Well, I just got the gold-plated bolt, one of the reasons was because of your review which said you could still reset with the metal tip of the bolt. Well, I don’t know if the gold one has a different design, but I am *really* disappointed to find that I can’t get my tip into that hole! I hate having to carry a paperclip around for this function, I’m seriously thinking of sending it back, much as I like the stylus (and the flashy gold color!) otherwise.

    Sorry I didn’t update this thread sooner.

    The new stock has a revised tip that fits the reset button perfectly.

    It is fitted in bother the standard and the gold plated Bolt stylus.

    If anyone hasn’t bought one yet we are currently closing down and the styli are £4 and £8 respectively.

  10. Will you be open until after Christmas? I will hopefully be getting a Zodiac for Christmas, and I want your stylus for it–but I want to wait until after Christmas before I order the stylus to be sure I have a Zodiac to use it with!

  11. I don’t think we will be but there is so much stock it will have to go somewhere. I would have thought you would be able to find a few even after the shop has closed down.

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