Studio Neat Cosmonaut Stylus Review

Up until now, the word “Cosmonaut” has always been the proper term for a Russian astronaut, conjuring up black-and-white cold war images from the 50s and 60s. From here on though, this word may take on a completely new meaning: A big, fat, round iPad stylus. Yeah, I don’t get it either, but Cosmonaut is a cool name for a very cool stylus.

Studio Neat is a small company that makes iPhone and iPad specific products. The Cosmonaut was a Kickstarter project that was successfully funded and is now produced. The concept is so simple, it’s a “Why didn’t I think of that?” kind of idea.

The Cosmonaut is an iPad stylus, pure and simple, with an emphasis on the simple part. It’s rather fat, like a crayon made for toddlers. It also has some heft, but not too heavy and is very well balanced when held. It’s comfortable to use for long periods of time, especially when using a sketching or note-taking app.

So why would anyone want a stylus when Steve Jobs famously said that your finger is the perfect stylus? As it turns out, Steve was wrong. Yes, a finger is used on the iPad/iPhone the vast majority of time, and usually it is the perfect stylus. But something happened as the iPad matured. The apps went way beyond what Apple had ever envisioned, and they’re continuing to evolve today. Now, there are some very sophisticated writing, drawing and painting apps that practically require a stylus. And by the way, have you ever tried to swipe or tap on an iPad or iPhone while wearing gloves? Fun, huh? As you can see, sometimes it’s good to have a stylus.

Usually, I use the Wacom Bamboo stylus. However, it has its drawbacks, most notably a too-soft tip and a too-thin shape for my hand. I have always leaned towards a fatter pen or pencil when I had the choice. They always feel more natural to me. The Cosmonaut was instantly comfortable the first time I held it. Whether I am drawing or jotting notes, I can quickly switch from writing to clicking menus or buttons with ease. There is a natural, effortless flow in using the Cosmonaut. Studio Neat compares using the Cosmonaut to writing with a dry-erase marker. That’s a pretty accurate description.

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The thick, rubberized coating grips well, and the tip is just the right hardness for drawing.  It’s not replaceable (unlike the Bamboo, which is easily replaced) and only time will tell how long it lasts. I would have preferred a more pointed tip, but if the tip is too thin, the iPad won’t recognize it. This is a necessary compromise for any stylus regardless of brand or price. An inner aluminum core gives the Cosmonaut strength and rigidity. It’s well made in the good ole’ USA, so you can feel good knowing you are supporting local companies.

One issue I have with the Cosmonaut is its roundness. It will easily roll off a desk or table top. If Studio Neat could offer a Cosmonaut with a hexagonal shape – like a pencil – or just slightly oval to prevent rolling and still make it as comfortable as the current one, it could be the perfect stylus.

As it is, The Cosmonaut is really good and very fun to use.

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Product Information

Price:$25 US
Manufacturer:Studio Neat
Retailer:Studio Neat
  • Comfortable
  • Balanced
  • Well made
  • Can roll away
  • May be too fat for some users
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14 comments… add one
  • Philippe Radley June 25, 2012, 2:11 pm

    I have a fat stylus made by Just Mobile. It’s aluminum and light. Why did anyone need this one? I am stunned that the project even got funded.

  • Philippe Radley June 25, 2012, 2:17 pm

    I forgot to note that the Just Mobile stylus is shaped just like a fat pencil and thus will not roll off a table.

  • Bill Henderson June 25, 2012, 2:46 pm

    I reviewed the AluPen, which I liked quite a bit.

    The Cosmonaut is actually fatter than the AluPen!

  • Andrew Baker June 25, 2012, 4:24 pm

    LOL This image needs to be edited, it REALLY looked bad in a thumbnail on my phone. Besides the initial shock of a new line of products that The Gadgeteer might be reviewing I think it looks pretty awesome. Like a big Crayon.

    • Julie June 25, 2012, 4:54 pm

      @Andrew You’re a bad bad boy! 😉

  • Sandee Cohen June 25, 2012, 7:24 pm

    What I find ironic is when Steve Jobs first introduced the original iPhone, he made a BIG deal about how the phone wouldn’t need a stylus. That we already had the best stylus—our finger.

    Obviously people have discovered that the finger is too imprecise to use for all the cool things you can do with an iPad.

    The problem is that once Steve said that we didn’t need a stylus, Apple will never admit that we do. And it would be neat if there was a holder for a stylus.

    • Julie June 25, 2012, 9:02 pm

      @Sandee In a way Steve was right. You don’t need a stylus with the iPhone. But with an iPad and all the art / drawing programs, that’s another matter 🙂

  • Mina June 26, 2012, 8:59 am

    I find styluses (styli?) are more comfortable for long periods of tablet use. Having my index finger outstretched all the time really tires out my hand, especially since I have repetitive stress injuries already from keyboarding and mousing. Without a stylus, I switch to swiping and tapping with my thumb to give my finger a break, but it is definitely NOT intuitive to use the thumb as the main interface to the tablet.

    Keep the stylus reviews coming! I am still searching for the perfect one.

  • Philippe Radley June 26, 2012, 10:34 am

    Bill Henderson, I now remember your review, since unsurprisingly it is the reason I bought the AluPen. For writing, I now actually prefer the Bamboo stylus, whose tip (replaceable, BTW) is also soft. In any case, i see no reason for the Cosmonaut.

  • Bill Henderson June 26, 2012, 12:57 pm

    Thanks for the comments.
    Phillippe, If you own (and like) the Bamboo or the Alupen, then yes, there is little reason for buying a Cosmonaut. However, I try to approach each review as someone who does not own that type of product yet and/or is in need of replacing or updating one. To me, the main pluses for the Cosmonaut are a firmer tip and the fat size.

  • Philippe Radley June 27, 2012, 1:44 pm

    I find that the firmer tips are harder to write with, as they stick on the screen in a way that those on Bamboo and the AluPen do not. I own another stylus, made by the pen company Monteverde, which also includes a rollerball: the tip is much harder and sticks on the screen much of the time.

  • Andrew Baker June 27, 2012, 6:16 pm

    Me Bad? Never. Yes A stylus has always been part of my touch screen devices. I love the targus case I have with the STylus pocket

  • Curt Rostenbach June 29, 2012, 1:04 pm

    Taking guess as to the name “Cosmonaut”.
    The story is that NASA spent time trying to get a pen that the American Astronauts could use to write in zero gravity. The Russian Cosmonauts got around the problem by using a pencil.

  • Bill Henderson June 29, 2012, 1:07 pm

    I like that explanation! Makes sense to me.

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