Wayne Thorp will speak at the 2015 AAII Investor Conference this fall; go to www.aaii.com/conference for more details.
I believe I have mentioned before that a “gadget” doesn’t have to be bristling with bells and whistles to still be extremely useful. Such is the case of the Griffin Stylus + Pen + Laser Pointer that was recently given to me by the company’s PR firm. Some may think that the stylus went the way of the Palm Pilot, but they are starting to make a comeback as more and more devices have touch screens. Prior to getting the Griffin, I used a stylus occasionally with my iPad, mainly to avoid getting fingerprints all over the screen. The Griffin has the added benefits of both an above-average roller-ball pen and a laser pointer, which, for someone like me who gives presentations, is especially useful.
The first thing I noticed about the Griffin Stylus + Pen + Laser Pointer was its weight. It is definitely heavier than just about any other pen I have ever used. This isn’t surprising, since inside are also the components and battery for the laser pointer. The biggest drawback of the added weight is that it does lead to some writing fatigue after prolonged use. For me, this isn’t a deal-breaker, since I am more interested in the tool’s functions as a stylus and laser pointer.
The Griffin Stylus + Pen + Laser Pointer is a solid instrument. The clip is strong, meaning it won’t easily slide around in a pocket or inside a bag. However, it may be a little too heavy to be comfortably worn in a pocket.
When you look at the Griffin Stylus + Pen + Laser Pointer, you may mistake it for just a stylus. On the business end is a soft rubber tip intended to mimic a human finger, but without the annoying smudges and fingerprints.
Give the stylus end a pull and it detaches to reveal the pen. To keep everything together when using the pen, you can flip the stylus end around and slide the tip into the cavity where the pen was. It then locks in place to give you a standard-sized writing instrument. I am rather finicky when it comes to pens, and I like the pen portion of the Griffin Stylus + Pen + Laser Pointer. The writing is smooth, and the ink doesn’t smear. Furthermore, you can replace the ink by unscrewing the stylus tip.
If I had one thing to gripe about, it would be the Griffin logo emblazoned on the side of the stylus. That small bit of advertising, in my opinion, cheapens what is otherwise a very professional-looking utensil, with a matte black exterior and silver details.
The laser pointer works just as you would expect it to: Press the button near the end opposite the stylus, and out comes a red laser beam. I have become a bit partial to the green lasers that are starting to crop up, but that option doesn’t appear to be available. Replacing the three LR41 watch batteries is easy as well—just unscrew the top portion of the stylus, and out fall the batteries. The stylus even comes in handy here, as using it as a ramrod makes it much easier to put the batteries back in.
While I admit there isn’t much to get excited about when it comes to a stylus, if I had to choose one, it would probably be the Griffin Stylus + Pen + Laser Pointer. Its multi-functionality means you don’t necessarily have to carry around a pen (or a laser pointer) along with a stylus. Many people can probably do without the laser, but as I said I give presentations where a laser pointer is necessary. Having all three combined in a $50 package makes a lot of sense, even if you are only looking for a stylus/pen combination.
Griffin Stylus + Pen + Laser Pointer
$49.99 (currently $37.99 from Amazon.com)
Wayne A. Thorp, CFA, is the author of "Gadget Corner." All reviews are based on firsthand experience of the product or service. No third-party compensation is received for opinions on products, services, websites or topics. However, sometimes the author is not required by the manufacturer or their PR firm to return the product under review. In such instances, it is our policy to convey this within the review. The views and opinions expressed in these reviews are strictly those of the author. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider.