Review: Cosmonaut pen for iPad

The Cosmonaut is a capacitive stylus that was launched to much hype last Spring on Kickstarter. Created by the same guys that made the Glif tripod adapter for the iPhone, the Cosmonaut suffered a few shipping delays before arriving in the hands of backers this winter. Its creators promised an unparalleled writing experience on the iPad, but does it live up to the hype? Let’s find out…

Who wants a stylus?

So you may be asking yourself: who wants a stylus? Fair question! But while our fingers are great for tapping objects or virtual keys, they aren’t so good at the kind of precise input you need to draw sketches or notes. And although you can type pretty quickly on the iPad keyboard, drawing quick graphs or visualizing ideas can be a lot slower than using a pen and paper.

The Cosmonaut

The Cosmonaut is essentially a thick rubber stylus with a capacitive tip and solid aluminum or wooden core. The build quality is excellent and it feels very solid and ‘weighty’ in your hand.

So that’s the build, but does it work? Yes – now it does: The first Cosmonaut pen I received had a few issues with the capacitive tip. You had to press down quite firmly to get it to work – quite an issue for ‘the perfect tablet stylus’. However, the guys at Studio Neat had already emailed purchasers to let them know they were aware of the issue and a few days later a replacement tip arrived. This one works as expected and offers a great sketching experience.

Everyday use

Ultimately an iPad stylus is only as good as the apps you use it with. I use the Cosmonaut occasionally for jotting down ideas with Penultimate and it works pretty well. If you often have to sketch out complex ideas, it can be a great alternative to pen and paper notes. It won’t however turn your iPad into a fully-fledged notepad replacement. Sometimes pen and paper still win for taking longer notes, or notes that are interspersed with text, simply because a capacitive screen isn’t really optimized for precision stylus input.

Conclusion

The Cosmonaut is the best stylus for the iPad I’ve tried so far. The build quality is amazing and I’d highly recommend it to anyone looking for this type of accessory. Oh and if anyone has other stylus-optimized iPad apps they would like to recommend, be sure to share them!

10 Comments: 

  1. I.M.O.G.'s Avatar
    Nice review Aptmunich, quick and to the point giving a good feel for what to expect. How do you like the fit in your hand? It looks as though it could feel a bit like one of those fat crayola crayons we used as kids, but hard to judge from the pictures.
  2. Aptmunich's Avatar
    Thanks!

    Yeah, it definitely has a dry-marker / crayola feel to it. I think they actually mention somewhere that they were specifically going for that type of feel.

    It feels great in the hand!
  3. monosan's Avatar
    is there any way of attaching it to say a keyring?!? (like the 'ligature' in the Glif+)
  4. CrimsonRequiem's Avatar
    Well it does look like an oversized crayon. >_>"
  5. Aptmunich's Avatar
    No, there's no way to attach anything and it's a little big for a keyring really.

  6. sewellarts's Avatar
    I've been using a Dagi stylus with great results. I've loaded several drawing apps, including iDraw, SketchbookPro, and ArtRage, and have been able to do some pretty impressive illustrations with the Dagi. I also use it for taking notes in Penultimate, and since the Dagi feels more like a "real" pen/pencil, its much more natural for writing or drawing. This stylus seems very bulky and a bit cumbersome (although that may be great for those with arthritis or other disabilities), but for my money I'd go with the Dagi stylus. thanks for a great review!
  7. safarisurfer's Avatar
    This stylus does absolutely nothing better then any other stylus other then being the size of a crayon. I cant believe this project even got funding. The tip is not that small and there are others that already have a similar size tip or smaller. this offers nothing that isnt already available.
  8. chas_m's Avatar
    Here's a good app to go with it:

    Paper by FiftyThree for iPad on the iTunes App Store

    Bear in mind that it's real cost is $8, but I have to tell you the responsiveness of the pens is just mind-blowing.
  9. Aptmunich's Avatar
    Yeah I've been playing with that app a bit as well - the clever part is that they make my dreadful handwriting look great...
  10. Stretch's Avatar
    I've been looking at the Cosmonaut pen for a while now. Finally ordered it yesterday after I found a 20% off coupon code. Looking forward to getting it.
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