Review: PDA Panache Replacement Styli

by on April 29, 2004

Always getting bad grades on my report card for Penmanship was one memory from elementary school. It’s not that my writing was that bad – I did try, and it’s still more readable than many doctors’ prescriptions. Unfortunately, bad handwriting on a PDA causes errors in the input of characters, slowing down text entry. Poor handwriting isn’t entirely the user’s fault, either; the stylus can have a great effect on how well the PDA recognizes your handwriting. We took a look at two replacement styli from PDA Panache for the Palm V and the Palm Tungsten E handhelds.

PDA Panache Stylus
PDA Panache Styli

PDA Panache Stylus
PDA Panache Styli + Palm Vx

Since the only differences are minor, and many of the other products sold by PDA Panache are similar, most of our observations apply to all models. The only differences are the custom shapes for each handheld and the inclusion of a reset pin or ink pen (or lack thereof). The finish is elctroplated and available in either black, chrome, or gold (depending on your PDA).

Grooves on the styli allow a better grip when writing, and the Palm V stylus has an hourglass shape to provide an even better grip. Also featured is a “nail head” top to allow easy retrieval from the stylus silo. The Tungsten E model is essentially a chrome version of the original stylus, lacking the “nail head” top.

Unscrewing the stylus reveals a metal reset pin on both models. The Tungsten E model, like many other models intended for newer handhelds, includes a refillable (with the $2.49 3-pack of refills) ballpoint pen. Many newer models feature a spring-loaded tip for even smoother writing.

The styli feature an orange writing tip which is injection-molded from DuPont Delrin. Orange is used to make the tip easier to see, preventing some writing errors and in pen/pencil/stylus combo situations, reassuring you that you are using the correct tip. A black tip is available for those who want something that matches their handheld better. The Delrin provides a smoother writing experience than many original styli and prevents damage to screens.

It should be noted that many other styli are available from PDA Panache, including Cross and Mont Blanc pen refills, pen/pencil/stylus combos, and an inexpensive Stick Stylus, which looks and feels like a Bic pen. There is a 30-day money-back guarantee and a lifetime tip replacement warranty.

We also noticed that the Tungsten E model fits our Palm Vx just fine, although it doesn’t click in place (since it stays in place via friction).

The One-Sentence Verdictâ„¢

For less than $20, all models provide a high-quality replacement for the sometimes-cheap plastic stylus included with many handhelds, improving the handwriting experience.

Pros: Heavy, all-metal construction is easy to balance, high-vis orange tip, metal reset pin

Cons: On some models, pens might be tricky to access

The Facts

4/5Product: Replacement Styli
Company: PDA Panache
Platform: Palm/PocketPC
Price: $15.95-$19.95 (list)

This post has been filed in Miscellany, Reviews