StylusCentral.com has acquired a growing reputation as a leading provider of not only multi-function writing tools, but a variety of other PDA-related accessories. They’re also known for impressive value, including their recently price-reduced Duo 3-in-1 stylus/pen.
Yes, I know ‘Duo’ means two, but the name refers to the writing tips, whereas the complete item packs three features into one item. Just trust me on this.
The stylus itself comes in a small metal box of the kind that you see with quality pens sold as gifts. Yes, it’s just a simple aluminium box lined with cheap foam, but for a $10 stylus it’s a very nice touch. Also included is not one but two sets of batteries for the laser pointer, another nice touch.
The stylus breaks down into three parts, with the batteries sliding in between the upper two. Inserting the batteries is a little tricky, but once you figure it out it’s simple. Three 7.9mm silver-oxide coin cells power the laser, the switch for which can be seen on the upper part of the stylus, near the clip.
The tip selector is a rotation mechanism. Twisting the writing end of the barrel clockwise extends the ballpoint pen tip, counter-clockwise reveals the stylus. Positioning the barrel halfway retracts both tips into the protective metal body.
The casing and design style are highly reminiscent of the 4-in-1 stylus pen sold by Belkin–the batteries, the switch, the twist mechanism, all the same. Virtually the only difference is that this version uses only three batteries, and lacks the LED light of the Belkin.
The stylus tip is a riotous neon yellow color, similar to the color of a highlighting pen. This could be an annoyance for some people, since the rest of the stylus has a very sedate, businesslike look, but I wouldn’t place too much emphasis on it. Even if it bothers you to no end, you can simply pull out the stylus tip and replace it with a color more to your liking.
The pen is a simple ballpoint cartridge, replacable, and comes preloaded with blue ink.
I can’t be sure if it’s just the unit I recieved or not, but the trigger for the laser pointer is somewhat finicky. It has great tactile feedback, but when it’s depressed the laser will tend to flicker and become dim. You can counter this by pressing down harder on the button, but this can become painful after a little while.
The laser itself is a fairly typical inexpensive ~670nm wavelength module, the kind you’ll find in most cheap laser pointers. It’s brightness is more than adequate for most situations, although you may have trouble tracking it in sunlit rooms. Battery life is poor, though this is typical of lasers powered by button cells. Heavy users should expect to change the batteries every week or two; more infrequent use should yield much more. The type of batteries used by the stylus can be gotten online for around $1 per refill, so this should not be a major issue. Approximate battery life is one hour ‘on’ time per set of batteries. This doesn’t sound like much, but given that the pointer will likely only be used a few minutes at a time, it’s certainly enough for most applications.
Aside from the one nagging issue with the flickering of the laser, I’ve been very satisfied with the 3-in-1 stylus. The quality is good and the value is great. It makes a great pen-type stylus even if you have no use for a laser.
Solid aluminum construction
A good quality stylus/pen combo at a great price.
The Duo is on sale for $9.99 from StylusCentral.com