Warner shared with you his delight over The Cosmonaut, a new capacitive stylus from StudioNeat, the Kickstarter company that made the great iPhone tripod mount known as The Glif. To review, the stylus resembles a big black crayon. The designers believe that inking on an iPad, or similar capacitive touch screen, feels more like using a big Sharpie marker or a large crayon, so the tool should feel similar. Warner loved his, but I had a far different experience.
First, the thing required a great deal of pressure to get it to register a “touch” on all of my devices. This can be annoying when you’re writing notes or trying to draw. My youngest son has really taken to using my iPad as an art tool with the many drawing apps. He became quite frustrated using the Cosmonaut because of the pressure you had to use to get it to work.
The good news for others who experience the same thing I did, this is not the norm but an anomaly. StudioNeat sent out an email explaining that users who had the same problem could get a replacement tip for their Cosmonaut if they send the company an email. The message reads as follows:
Unfortunately, it’s not all roses. We have discovered that a batch of Cosmonauts were shipped out in which the tips did not meet our quality level. Essentially, the tips were not conductive enough, so you would need to press quite hard for them to register. In practice, using the Cosmonaut should be quite effortless, so this is not good. Fortunately, we think this only affected a small number of people, and we can easily correct the problem by sending a replacement tip. So, if you feel you were one of the unlucky few that received a dud tip, please send us a Kickstarter message or an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll make it right. We want you to love your Cosmonaut. We’re really sorry this happened, but feel it’s about par for the course considering all the hiccups we’ve experienced in this project. And, just to be clear (and to save us from getting some email), the gap of air in-between the tip and core is by design, this is so the tip is able to compress slightly and register on the screen properly.
The bad tip wasn’t the only problem. The material used to make the Cosmonaut picks up dirt like a magnet. It feels like a rough rubbery material. I’ve only dropped my Cosmonaut once on a floor that looked clean, but obviously wasn’t. Now I can’t get the hundreds of particles of dirt off the thing. Some smeared to make an ugly mess after only a few uses. The above picture was taken after I tried to rub off the grime to no avail.
While Warner liked the inventive packaging that makes the stylus look like a missile while in the box (see the picture he took), my first thought when I opened it was, “What chintzy packaging.” We all have our own preferences and I didn’t expect it to be packaged in gold, but I do have to admit that I am spoiled by products that do pay attention to the quality of the packaging like the great out-of-the-box experience of Apple products. Cheaper packaging cuts down on price, which can be a good thing, but I wanted to share my alternative reaction.
With the new tip I requested in place I might like this stylus more, but I still do not see myself using it much. Without a clip anywhere on it, I know that I will lose it if I carry it around with me frequently. I like to clip my iPad stylus to my leather case to hold it in place.
I love the idea of the Cosmonaut. I just don’t think the execution measured up to my expectations.