I remember the day I eagerly unpacked my first Nintendo DS. At the time it was revolutionary–a touch screen gaming platform. I inserted my first game (Nintendogs!) and picked up the stylus for the very first time. It was then that I noticed said stylus had apparently been sized for a toddler instead of an adult. Thus began my issues with gamer’s claw–grasping a teeny tiny stylus for so long your hand cramps up in a claw shape. I thought I had made that affliction up, but the good folks at GreenBulb luckily suffered from the same problem and set out to fix it.
The XStylus Crayon began its route to my DS as a funding campaign on IndieGoGo (similar premise to Kickstarter). 300 gamers saw a need for the innovative stylus and chipped in, allowing it to go into production.
So what is it?
Out of the package, the XStylus Crayon is a bit smaller than the Nintendo stylus. However, once it’s flipped open and locked into place, it widens and becomes the comfortable to use XStylus. The Crayon is meant to simply give a gamer a wider grip at its base, thus preventing any cramping (or Gamer’s Claw). It’s also intended to fit on board the DS in place of the Nintendo stylus. At its sweet spot it’s roughly the same width as a Bic pen.
So I mentioned that sweet spot–there is really only one way to hold the XStylus, which is with the index finger across the top of the widest spot and the bottom resting against the first joint of the middle finger. Nothing should be blocking or touching that middle gap. It’s a bit like trying to master chopsticks, but once you find the spot, the hand cramps just melt away.
When it’s in the closed position, the stylus does slide and snap in to the stylus slot in the DS fairly seamlessly.
The XStylus is pretty successful in accomplishing what it’s meant to do. It’s both comfortable to hold and convenient to store. However I found the top half above the base a bit flimsy. It easily bends and didn’t feel as solid in my hand as the base. Depending on the game I’d be playing, and the death grip I’d have as a result, the bending was sometimes a bit of an issue and I did manage to accidentally snap one of the crayons during play.
The other weird thing is that it’s called the Crayon and is packaged to look like a Crayon–but that paper sleeve must be destroyed to actually use the stylus. There is no other crayon-type branding anywhere on it. I was kinda bummed about that.
Each pack of XStylus Crayons come with one each of white, red, black, and blue plastic styli. It is compatible with all existing versions of the Nintendo DS and 3DS. The XStylus Crayon 4-pack for DS can be purchased through GreenBulb for $19.99 shipped worldwide.