This is quite possibly the most extensive review I have ever done. I am doing four, I repeat, FOUR products in one. There is a common theme across all of these products though: they are all by Scott Wilson. I'm sure that most people that read this blog know who he is. He's the founder of Minimal and the creator of LunaTik, the iPod nano watchband that gained tremendous support on Kickstarter. I must be honest and say that these products have been received as review units. Like before, I'll be completely honest, and promise that MM will always stay that way.
What sets apart the Touch Pens from other styli is that it functions as both a pen on paper and a stylus on tablets. Really great because I carry both my Lamy and Bamboo at all times.
Left to right: Wacom Bamboo, Touch Pen Alloy, Touchpen Polymer, Lamy Noto, and Lamy Safari.
The Touch Pens are quite big compared to other styli and even pens. I like this size though. It's large enough to be comfortable without looking "silly" like the Cosmonaut.
The Alloy pen is $40 and the Polymer just half the price at $20. The difference in quality is huge though. The Alloy has a confident heft and feels great in the hand. Polymer on the other hand feels light and not too different from a Sharpie.
There are also some small cosmetic differences.
The Touch Pens have the firmest and most sensitive tips I have ever used. It requires less pressure than even the mighty Bamboo and it feels almost like you're using a marker. I've never tried the Cosmonaut but I'm guessing that this has a similar feel to it.
The Touch Pen quickly became my favorite stylus. Super accurate, sensitive and comfortable to use. I've always recommended the Wacom Bamboo to people but I may have to change my pick now. I do wish that the tip could have been thinner but I haven't seen anyone successfully do that.
Though the styli feel identical on the Alloy and Polymer, the pens are slightly different. The Alloy is a tiny bit smoother to write and has a thinner line. This might be a psychological difference.
They come with different barrels too, though they are interchangeable. They both have Japanese rollerballs.
So, which one should you get, and more importantly, should you get one at all? I would spend the extra $20 and get the Touch Pen Alloy. It is significantly better built and more handsome than the Polymer. The use of aluminum just makes a radical difference in the perception of how valuable this product is. If you're in the market for a stylus, this is my first pick. The sensitivity and firm tip makes it even better than my previous favorite, the Bamboo. Comparing these two products have been a lesson on the importance of materials. Aluminum is more recyclable too.
Next, the LYNK and AnTik. The LYNK is the iPod nano watch "conversion kit" and AnTik is the watch face you see in this photo. LYNK in this black finish goes for $140 and AnTik for $80. It's interesting to note that LunaTik decided to put the part line right on the front of the watch. It's almost like it's showing off; "Hey, we have the manufacturing skills for tight tolerances. Take a look!"
The butterfly latch mechanism. It unlocks with the two switches on the sides. The whole band is really well made. The only thing is that the black color led some of my friends to initially think that it was made of plastic. I would personally go with the silver model with the pure aluminum finish. It's also $10 cheaper which is a plus.
The aluminum band is held together with these silicone links. Makes it comfortable to wear and also adds a small amount of flexibility. Adding and removing links is done with a single paper clip. You don't need crazy watch tools which is appreciated.
Let's take the watch apart. The LYNK comes with two allen wrenches, one straight and one L-shaped. I think they should have included two L-shaped ones, I had to bring out my pliers as I couldn't get enough torque to remove the hardware right out of the box. Might be a way to prevent people from over-tightening the screws though.
Here is the AnTik module removed from LYNK. It's well made and they have some handsome colors available, particularly the completely black one.
It's like an iPod nano from an alternate reality.
The attraction of LunaTik has always been the fact that it works with the iPod though.
This is the first I've ever owned a new nano. It's absolutely tiny and breathtakingly well put together. Apple's skills in miniaturization and accuracy are hard to compete with.
nano has a polished aluminum finish. I'm not a fan of this look because it's so shiny and almost gaudy. It works well on the silver model though. I love the fact that the radii on the nano's corners are identical to the headphone jack on Apple's headphones.
Totally broken down. The quality of machining is top notch. There is a utilitarian, almost militaristic aesthetic that's working really well here. Someone told me this on Twitter yesterday though:
I love their watch band. But it's too fat for my wrists - it's not very feminine. - Sulgi
It's true. But the dimensions of the Lunatik products are dictated by the iPod nano. Probably why LunaTik is smart about presenting itself in a certain aesthetic.
With the nano. It offers full access to the controls.
Full port access too. Too bad the nano doesn't yet offer bluetooth.
What makes the meeting of LYNK + iPod nano really interesting is that the watch face becomes dynamic depending on the occasion. From casual to formal, a display can work in any situation. I'm in love with the LYNK. It's hard to make a justification for spending $130 on a nano and another $140 on the band (less if you get one with cheaper materials). Despite this, there is something about it that satisfies my desire to live in the future. It's impossible to quantify but understandable if you're anything like me.