Marquis by Waterford Claria Twin Pen for all PDAs

Reviewed by: Jack Reikel, December 2004, send e-mail
Manufactured by: Waterford Wedgewood, go to the web site
Requires: N/A
Available from: StylusCentral, go to the web site
MSRP: US$34.99

If you noticed that this stylus/pen combo carries the same name as that of the venerable maker of Waterford crystal, you win the Kewpie doll. It's the same company. Waterford believes it is not be outdone by anyone when it comes to designing and producing classy products, so in addition to its fine crystal and china, the company has been designing and crafting fine writing instruments for many years. The Marquis Claria line is Waterford's latest foray into the stylus/pen market. When reviewing something with the Waterford name, it's logical to expect a certain level of elegance. We weren't disappointed.

The Claria is a twist-action stylus/ballpoint combo which we feel is designed for light to medium-duty use. The pen construction is first rate, with lacquer front and rear barrels, polished steel band engraved with the Marquis logotype, polished rigid steel pocket clip, and a twist action mechanism which can be operated with one hand. The interior of the pen consists of brass front and rear tubes with very clean threading to accept the band and both halves of the pen. The twist action mechanism appears to be a combination of brass refill receivers, steel upper mount and nylon bushings. The outer lacquer treatment is absolutely first rate, with a perfect finish which provides a great grip even with damp hands or in cold weather. Lacquer on top of good quality brass tubes turned in a sensible geometry provides a moderately weighted hand and good control in a variety of situations. Most important, this model is not too heavy for extended use with your handheld. The twist action is absolutely silent with a satisfyingly positive feel to the lockup for either tip.

We used the Claria for less than an hour in the office before someone approached and asked "Hey, can I borrow your pen for a moment?" We answered in the negative. This pen is a somewhat plain traditional design and shape, but the beautifully clean lacquered barrels and heavy clip attract attention. The moment someone realizes it's a Waterford, additional comments such as "Ooh my, aren't we just so class-aay!" come fast and furious. In such a situation it's somewhat irritating to find out that several of your co-workers are goofballs who act silly the moment they run into something as nice as a Waterford stylus/pen. In any event, don't loan the pen to anyone—you'll have a hard time getting it back.

After a week of light duty use (signing checks, writing purchase orders, lots of daily entries in my Palm Zire 71), using the Claria had become second nature. Every new stylus/pen we review requires some period of adjustment during the time we're using the device in our actual workday, and this one required only a day of full use before we became comfortable with it. The ballpoint refill has a very good tip, which writes very smoothly, with reliable ink flow in 32F (0C) temperatures. I managed to drop the pen onto my desk, stylus tip first, several times, but the stylus tip, mechanism and pen body suffered no damage at all. The synthetic lacquer material of the barrels is very tough stuff and appears to have resisted much of the scratching and abrasions which typically happen to anything which rides in my briefcase.

Cons: We could wish for a polished steel reinforcing tip instead of the plain lacquered tip of the front barrel. The stylus tip extends cleanly, but at a very slight angle which occasionally makes you unconsciously adjust the rotational position of the pen barrel in your hand. The pocket clip is very strong—too strong perhaps— and stiff enough to prevent you from using it on anything thicker than shirting material even though the rise of the clip appears large enough to accommodate much thicker pockets. Do not leave this one lying around in plain view in an unoccupied office because it will be 'borrowed' or stolen in short order.

Pros: The stylus taps very accurately, with quick hits in DateBk5 and game play tap accuracy ranked near the top, all of which means that the pen body sits very naturally in most hands with the stylus tip extending cleanly down the natural axis of the barrel. The stylus tip is finished cleanly and tracks nicely on a variety of screen protector materials. The pen writes beautifully, with a solid, well controlled feel, competent balance and an easy stroke on everything except newsprint. The barrel geometry looks and feels substantial, but provides a surprising (and gratifying) smaller feel in the hand. Taking notes is pleasant, but writing Graffiti and using cursive in BugMe Notepad is even better. We recommend the Claria for occasional home and office use (as opposed to rigorous daily use) mainly because it's a great looking stylus/pen and we'd hate to see it eventually get nicked up by the trials and tribulations, bangs and knocks from briefcases, desk drawers, desktops and so on. This is a stylus/pen that should be used for important things. Or you can be a Philistine and use it every day. Either way, we think the Marquis by Waterford Claria is very nice indeed. It makes a terrific gift or personal purchase. Recommended.

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