Rocketfish Stylus for iPad: The Long and Short

| Quick Look Review

One would think that a stylus would be a simple thing to create for the iPad. Companies have been making fountain pens and ballpoint pens for over a hundred years. The ideas related to weight, balance, heft (or density), and tactile feel have been worked to perfection. And yet, when it comes to styluses, all bets are off. We seem to be starting from ground zero.

The first stylus I’m looking at is the Rocketfish Stylus. It’s a slender piece of aluminum 4-1/2 inches long (114 mm) and about 5/16 inch (8 mm) in diameter. Of course, it has a capacitive tip, required for use with an iPad or iPhone.

Here’s a photo, compared to the Griffin Stylus + Pen + Laser Pointer that Nancy Gravely reviewed back in September. The Griffin pen is on the heavy side, about the size of a nice fountain pen, but it’s just the right length and feel. It has a pleasing heft, like a quality pen, but some may not care for the weight. My wife certainly does not.

Rocketfish-1

Rocketfsh Stylus, compared to Griffin Stylus + Laser *

Using the Stylus

Accordingly, one would think that the Rockefish Stylus would be perfect, but it isn’t. It’s just too short, and that missing inch makes all the difference in the world. It might be perfect for a child, but my feeling is that an adult male will find it just a bit frustrating compared to a well balanced, right-sized ballpoint pen. (My wife who has smaller hands is okay with it.)

On the plus side, the aluminum is smooth and has a great feel. The 8 mm tip provides good accuracy on the iPad display, especially when you’re trying to, say, highlight a section of text in the Kindle Reader app for the iPad. I do that a lot for technical and history books. That tiny blue handle of the text selector is much easier to grab. There’s also a handy pocket clip, which not all styluses have.

One oddity is the button on the top that has a very small hole for a lanyard, yet no lanyard is supplied. One would be hard pressed to find a piece of sturdy string that would fit in that hole for a home-made lanyard. You’d almost have to use a needle and thread. It’s a mystery.

Rocketfish-5

Hole for lanyard— but no lanyard supplied **

Do I Recommend it?

With reservations, yes. As far as iPad styluses go, it’s fairly inexpensive. Yet these styluses are somehow much more expensive than even high-end, expensive ballpoints, but I understand.  The sales volume is lower, and the capacitive tip is higher tech.

I liked the feel and the fit and finish. I just wish it were an inch (25 mm) longer.

_________

* Apparent curvature of the stylus is an optical effect. The Rocketfish Stylus is perfectly straight.

** Photo taken with Olloclip Macro for iPhone.

Product: Rocketfish Stylus

Company: Rocketfish

List Price: US$16.99

Pros:

Slender, solid piece of aluminum with nice finish.  Pocket clip. Not terribly expensive for a stylus.

Cons:

Too short for some adults, lanyard hole but no lanyard supplied.

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Comments

Statistically Insignificant

I picked up a pack of 3 very similar stylus (stylusii?) by CCM from Amazon for $15;  attached through the hole in the “button” is a short loop with a bit of plastic designed to fit into the iPad’s headphone jack, serving as a way to carry the stylus around.  They’re also short, but do the trick, and a pack of 3 means being able to leave them around at places I usually sit and use the ‘pad.

This isn’t an endorsement, per se, but it seems there are a lot of choices around but nobody has gotten it just right yet.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004HEBXFQ/ref=oh_o00_s00_i00_details

Lee Dronick

I have Targus stylus that is 1/2 longer than this Rocketfish and it just long enough for my use. A bit more would make for better balance.

I also have a very short one from Brookstone that telescopes from 2 to 3 inches. It would be even more uncomfortable to use for long periods than the Rocketfish, but it is handy for light use when out and about while wearing gloves. I carry it and my my earbuds in small leather coin purse that is tucked into my pocket.

Cue the jokes.

furbies

Is there a “stylus” for the iPad that doesn’t have a “rubber” tip ?

None of the ones I’ve tried are comfortable to use.
I find the friction generated by having to press down too much of a drag (Pun intended ?)

John Martellaro

furbies:  Yes. And I’m going to review one.

http://adonit.net/product/jot/

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