Review: Studio Neat Cosmonaut
The old story goes that the United States spent tons of money to develop a pen that worked in space (ballpoints did not), and despite all this effort, the Russians used a pencil. What better reason to call a new and unique attempt at an iPad (and other capacitive screens) stylus “The Cosmonaut”, a $25 Kickstarter-project-turned-hit from Studio Neat.
Generally, the iPad is the kid of device that is best used with your fingers. Even during the early days of the iPad, Apple’s then-CEO Steve Jobs proclaimed of other tablets, “If you see a stylus, they blew it.” Still, there are some things where a stylus makes for a better experience on the iPad, such as drawing diagrams, non-typed notes, and just a bit more precision. Due to the nature of the iPad’s touchscreen sensors, it is a relatively low-fidelity operation, as compared to pressure-sensitive devices of the past. Because of this, the Cosmonaut is not merely a pen with a conductive tip. It’s more like a marker with a conductive tip, and was even designed to feel like a dry-erase marker on a whiteboard.
Originally available in two versions, aluminum-cored or wood-cored, the Cosmonaut is now only available in the metal variety for $25. While this may seem a bit much for a mix of metal and rubber, it is in line with many other styli. The build quality is excellent and we we amused with the packaging—it has both a vintage feel and also adds to the whole Cold War-era motif. It’s even made in America.
Matching the intentional design and the creative packaging, the Cosmonaut works as expected and feels comfortable after long periods of use. Due to its thickness, it feels more like using a marker than a pen or pencil. Smartly so, as the actual feel of the iPad’s screen when writing is closer to a dry-erase board than paper, but not exactly the same. It has a nice weight and its rubbery exterior makes for a good grip.
Although a stylus isn’t for everyone nor for every task on an iPad, it is a handy accessory in certain circumstances. The Cosmonaut is a pretty good option, especially if you’re not a fan of the thin, foam-tipped products that line the shelves of retail stores.
The One-Sentence Verdict™
Although iOS devices work just fine without a stylus, the Cosmonaut is one of the best on the market for drawing apps.
Pros: Comfortable, well-designed, designed specifically for capacitive screens
Cons: None significant