Now is the time on my blog where I out myself as a bit of a pen nerd. I know it might sound strange coming from a person who values digital over analog in many venues (I’ll take eBooks forever, please). When it comes to keeping a journal or writing notes, I prefer the feel of pen on paper. And I’m quite specific about my pens. I prefer gel ink, 0.7mm, in a medium-sized barrel. I only recently tried fountain pens again and found that I enjoy using them as well. Fountain and gel pens glide across paper with a smoothness that doesn’t hinder a fast writer, so all I need to do is to concentrate on the words and pen strokes. I will travel a long way to find (or replace) the right pen.
For those times I need to use a tablet that doesn’t come with its own pen, I often turn to a capacitive stylus. The experience is different, obviously, and I used to settle for whatever random one I had lying around. Then I discovered that all styli are not made the same. Some can glide across the screen almost as well as a fountain pen glides across paper. Who knew? And that brings me to my latest gadget worth geeking out over: the iWalk Amphibian.
The combo pen/stylus isn’t a new thing, and when I first saw this I nearly strolled on by without giving it a second glance. Then the manufacturer told me that the barrel fits Parker gel refills and so I had to try it. The man did not lie, they do fit perfectly. And lo my pen moved smoothly across the page and all was well. Imagine my happy surprise when I turned the pen over to use the rubber tip and discovered that it offered a great writing experience there, too. I tested it on the iPad and the Galaxy Tab 3 and in both cases the tip offered no resistance and allowed me to hold it at any angle I wanted. A squishy tip like this might not work as well for artists as for writers since my strokes don’t need flourish, they just need consistency. I also like that the cap fits on either end.
Since I received this from iWalk for review it has not left my side and now has a permanent place in my pen case. It’s by far my current favorite pen.
The Amphibian’s awesomeness came as a bit of a surprise since my last pen/stylus combo was partially disappointing. The Monteverde Invincia Stylus fountain pen is full of gorgeousness. The all-black brushed metal is hefty enough to feel substantial without being too heavy to use. It balances well in my hand with the cap on the opposite end or without it. The cap is where the rubber tip for tablets lives and it could not be more different from the Amphibian’s. It’s wide instead of long, firm, and drags just enough on the screen that it’s hard to write. Since the tip’s rise is so shallow you have to hold it at specific angles for the stylus to work. My fountain pen nib is medium yet doesn’t flow as well as other medium nibs I’ve used. It’s better now that I’ve used it more, but I am going to try switching it for a broad tip in the future.
The iWalk Amphibian costs around $30, the Invincia Stylus costs around $90. Awkward.