Thursday, October 4, 2012

Wacom's Bamboo Solo Stylus

Wacom's Bamboo series of styluses
Wacom has been the leader in pen-based computer input devices for years, so naturally they have introduced a stylus for capacitive touchscreens, like the iPad's. They've named the line after their smallest drawing tablet, the Bamboo. I'm evaluating the Bamboo Solo, MSRP $29.95.

I received the Bamboo Solo stylus gratis from Wacom for the purpose of evaluating it for use by children, particularly special needs children. I evaluated it concurrently with the Studio Neat Cosmonaut (which you can read about in it's own post).

With other, cheaper styluses I've let the kids use in the past (the next post will be about those), the rubber tip always comes off and is ruined. Typically within a couple of days. The Bamboo's rubber tip cap is secured by a cone that screws on the end, just like on a pen. When you remove it, rubber tip is exposed. It seems quite secure. To replace, you pull the old one off and push the new one on. Replacement "nibs" are $4.95 for a pack of three. In addition to the "soft" nib that is included with the Bamboo stylus, you can also purchase "firm" nibs. They sent me a replacement pack of the standard nibs, but not the firm ones so I'm unable to describe them.

My initial impression is that it's very pen-like, which is what you would expect, but you would be surprised at how little like a pen many cheaper styluses feel. It's a little shorter than a standard pen, 120.8mm. The barrel's diameter measures 9mm. According to Wikipedia, the standard pencil diameter is 6mm-7mm and it's length is 190mm. It looks like a pen, it feels like a pen. That's good because our kiddos are practicing to be able to write, draw and color with real pens and pencils.

The outside of tip of the stylus is rubber, which I am not usually a fan of. I've been looking for a good stylus that uses something other than rubber for a tip. I don't like when a stylus has that rubbery feeling when dragging a rubber tip across an iPad screen, like it's gripping the glass. However, I was pleasantly surprised by how smoothly the Bamboo glided. There is, however, a caution in the very brief  "Quick start guide" included in the package that notes, "Choking hazard, keep away from children." So I would exercise caution if your kid is a chewer (which Joseph certainly is).

Heft: Great. It doesn't feel like you're holding a toy. It has the weight and balance of a nice pen.

Chewability: Low. It's almost all metal, except for the tip. If the tip was chewed upon it probably would come off. The first tip was chewed upon and came off quickly. Not so good for oral stimmers. The non-writing end also has a little metal cap that twists off so you can remove the pocket clip. This can get lost of swallowed if fidgeted with.

Adaptability: Good. It's close enough to the standard diameter of a writing tool that adaptive devices can be used with it.

In a Nutshell: Great design, very much like a traditional writing tool. A good pick when working on more fine pen and pencil skills. I'd choose this one for handwriting practice in particular. An excellent choice as long as your child is not a chewer like mine is. :)

1 comment:

  1. Hi, I am Anupama from India. I have a kid 5 yr old with autism diagnosis. Very refreshing attitude of yours. After struggling with difficulties with my kid for two years, and learning a lot in the limited environment of India, have now started a blog on my own journey.

    Would you be kind enough to have a look and give your opinion.

    thnx and warm regards,