By Luke Anderson
Remember late last year when I told you guys about the Pogo Sketch Stylus? It was that cheap stylus that not only worked for the iPhone, but also on Multi-Touch MacBook trackpads. I figured that since I have both a unibody MacBook Pro and an iPhone, I should check it out. The guys over at TenOne were kind enough to send one over for me to check out. I’ve spent some time using it with both devices, so hit the jump for my full review.
I’m something of an amateur artist, so the first thing I did was open up Photoshop to see how it would work for doodling. I have a Wacom Intuos that I generally use, and wasn’t really expecting the Pogo Sketch to replace it by any means. Unfortunately I didn’t get very far with it. It worked really well with the trackpad, however, to draw in Photoshop, you need to click and hold the mouse button. If I set the trackpad for “tap to click” the most I could do was have it make a small dot. No drawing lines. The only way I could get around this was to physically hold down the trackpad while drawing with the stylus. That wasn’t really something that I found comfortable to do.
So with drawing out, I decided to use the stylus in place of my finger for navigating via the trackpad. You have to put just a little more pressure than I’d like when using it, but you get used to it pretty quick. When I’m at home I have a Logitech Alto that holds my MacBook up at an angle, which felt pretty good with the stylus. Personally, I’ll stick to just using my finger (or a mouse when one is available), however, I can certainly see where someone would want to use the Pogo Sketch instead of their fingers all the time.
Next I moved onto my iPhone. I was surprised to find that it took far less pressure for the iPhone to recognize the inputs than my MacBook. This felt far more natural, and thus more comfortable to use. Since the stylus is more accurate than my finger, I had a bit more fun playing some of the games I had downloaded. Then I turned to the App Store in search of some drawing applications.
I tried several out, my favorite being Scribble, mostly because it lets you draw on pictures that you’ve taken with your iPhone’s camera. This of course kept me entertained for far longer than it should. I found that drawing in these programs to be very smooth, though in almost all that I tried, the curved lines weren’t the smoothest (I’m going to guess that this has to do with the software, not the stylus). When I tried to draw with my finger, it rarely turned out very well. After all, you can barely see what you’re doing with a fat finger in the way. I took a couple of shots where I wrote text both with the stylus and my finger. Granted, my handwriting is sloppy, but it’s still a nice comparison.
The stylus really became useful when I went to New York for a few days last week. In case you weren’t aware, it’s really cold in NYC this time of year. Since it was my first time there, I spent a lot of time walking around taking in the sights. This also meant that I was wearing gloves everywhere, which caused me to take off a glove every time I wanted to look something up. After my first trip out, I quickly remembered the Pogo Sketch packed away in my bag, which I then kept with me throughout the rest of the trip. It fit perfectly clipped on the inside of my jeans pocket, and made it so that I didn’t need to take off my gloves every time I wanted to use my phone.
While I was a bit disappointed that it didn’t function with Photoshop in the way I’d like (not the fault of the stylus really, that’s just the way the software works) I would still recommend this to anyone with a multi-touch device. If you live somewhere where it is cold, or have long fingernails and you use an iPhone, this is a lifesaver. For $15 you really can’t go wrong. If you’re worried about losing it, TenOne even makes an iPhone case with a special holder just for the Pogo Sketch.
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