My Cool 3-in-1 PDA Stylus

Reviewed by: Howard Carson, send e-mail
Supplier:, go to the web site
Requires: Compaq iPaq, other versions available for most PDAs
MSRP: $15.99

When will the PDA makers decide to supply a stylus which is a useful writing/printing instrument? Probably never - which is great news for all the aftermarket product makers and companies such as StylusCentral. The fact is, the iPaq 1910, Palm Zire 71 and a host of other PDA models are supplied with really terrible styluses (styli?). The sticks are too skinny to grip easily or too smooth for secure printing and tapping and don't even have a built-in reset pin.

StylusCentral offers a wide range of stylus models (we counted about 70 on the web site), from the sublime, simple and elegant to the bulkiest multi-function multiple pen/stylus/light combinations. We tested the 3-in-1 model which fits the HP iPaq 1910. The stylus has an integrated ball point pen cartridge built into the top, and a composite PDA tip incorporating a hidden reset pin.

An 'A' rating for any replacement stylus depends entirely on comfort. If you are constantly fumbling with the thing, shifting its position in your hand, struggling to grip it securely, or constantly adjusting the tip angle because you're tapping inaccurately, the stylus is no good. Any one of those things is enough to tick us off - seriously. When you spend an hour or more per day, every day, printing and tapping on your PDA, any minor inconvenience can quickly turn into a repetitive nightmare. Suffice it to say the styli supplied with new iPaq 1910 and Zire 71 PDAs deserve a resounding 'F'.

So the other valuable quality in any replacement stylus has to be how well it overcomes the shortcomings of the original. And that's what this review is about.

Although a replacement model for the iPaq 1910 has to be the same skinny diameter in order to fit the storage slot, the My Cool version has a matte finish aluminum shaft which provides a vastly better grip that the original.

Although a replacement stylus for the iPaq 1910 has to be the exact same overall dimensions as the original, the My Cool version incorporates a reset pin in its screw-on tip and a ball point pen (useful for short quick notes) in a pull off cap on the top. Why HP doesn't supply an identical My Cool 3-in1 Stylus with all its iPaqs (instead of the current toothpick) is a mystery.

The My Cool model for the Zire 71 is even better than the iPaq model. The reason is mainly that the basic diameter of the Zire stylus is 33% larger than the iPaq stylus. The Zire stylus feels much more pen-like in the first place, and when you replace the smooth, gripless Zire black plastic shaft with the very grippy aluminum of the My Cool, well, the Zire becomes even more of a pleasure to use.

That's what it's really all about too - providing a writing and tapping instrument which doesn't interfere with or detract from the use of your PDA. It's really simple stuff!

Cons: When will the PDA manufacturers realize that the majority of their customers are men and women with hands and fingers larger than those of an 8 year old child! While the My Cool iPaq stylus is perfectly good, we have to say that the iPaq 1910 designers sure didn't provide for anything which can be gripped securely and used confidently by people with normal sized hands. The diameter of the iPaq 1910 stylus is an emaciated 3.6mm. Compare that to the 4.8mm of the Palm Zire 71 stylus and the Compaq iPaq 3950's 5mm stylus and you may decide that the basic design of the iPaq 1910 stylus almost useless.

Pros: The composite stylus tips on the My Cool 3-in-1 models are very kind to your precious PDA screen. If you find the original iPaq stylus too scrawny or the Zire's too slippery, the offerings from cover an enormous range including great big fat ones, pen/pencil sized ones to fit a jacket or shirt pocket, lighted ones, 3, 4 & 5-in-1 combinations and, well, you name it. This would be a blatant pitch for StylusCentral's offerings but for the fact that the styli supplied with many PDA models are notably sub-standard. Recommended.

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