23 June 2013

REVIEW: STM Tracer Deluxe Stylus Pen

The pen is mightier...

There was once a time when the most sophisticated and technological thing one could do to make the humble Biro interesting was to put a digital clock in it. Of course we've all seen that episode of Friends when Joey gets a clock pen for his girlfriend's birthday, but girlfriends these days are far more demanding. They want more from a pen. And so do we, God damn it!

Fortunately STM have been listening and have taken into account what we, modern consumers, actually need from a pen these days. Enter the Tracer Deluxe Stylus Pen.

STM specialise in things that help make our digital lives more portable. We reviewed one of their great laptop bags a few weeks back and were impressed - but we were a little bit surprised to be sent a pen from them. But this, dear technophiles, is no ordinary pen.

As the name suggests the Tracer Deluxe is both ballpoint pen and stylus; effortlessly filling the void between scribbling in your notebook and jabbing away at a touch-screen. Certainty we've all felt at some point that our fingers just don't cut the mustard sometimes when typing on our iPad or playing Angry Birds on our smartphone. Whether it's failings in accuracy or just annoyance at thumb cramp, a stylus can be a real help from time to time. But what a waste most other styluses are; a length of plastic with a rubber tip.

The Tracer Deluxe uses that space and then some. Not only is there a soft stylus point at one end, but there are not one but two ink ballpoint pen cartridges inside. Just twist the Tracer to choose between red and black and the nib will appear. Twist it all the way back and both pens slide away, stopping you getting ink on your hand when using the stylus. Nobody needs that hassle.

So far so good you say... but the Tracer doesn't stop there. STM have delved even further into the question of 'what we all need' and come up with two more answers. Simply twist off the stylus end and you'll be greeted with the sight of both a small Phillips screwdriver (that also flips to be a five pointed pentalobe screwdriver) and also a short stubby tool we are reliably informed is a sim card ejector, for those that require such accessories (namely iPhoners). The are nice little additions that go a long way to adding both value and pure usefulness.

In actual use the Tracer Deluxe is a very good pen; high quality inkwells and a comfortable grip. As a stylus... mmm, jury out on this one. We found that the rubber tip was a tad too flexible and slightly too wide making it not the best tool for precision work like drawing and writing, but fine for gaming and general navigation around both iOS and Android.

Despite that the Tracer Deluxe really is something we should all own. Its an extremely logical thought process that puts the traditional - yet vital - pen together with the much needed but often overlooked stylus. With the added tools bundled in the Tracer really is a very stylish (and highly specialised) multi-tool that will find a home in any gadget fan's bag.


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