Accessory review: Arctic Emote stylus
Arctic Accessories first popped up on our radar last year, with the Architect stylus. Now the company is back with a new stylus, this time combining a rubber nib stylus with a ballpoint pen.
Unlike the recently reviewed Jot Classic, the Emote comes in something a bit more bio degradable. It might not look as good, but it works, and you don’t feel bad about throwing it away afterwards. It’s a simple cardboard box that holds the stylus in a fold in the middle, and a fold-out compartment for the spare rubber nib. That’s right, a spare one! Why it has taken this long for a stylus manufacturer to include a spare tip I don’t know, but it’s a nice addition. I’ve had a Wacom Bamboo stylus tip rupture on me, and it’s not fun to have a $30 stylus become useless due to a tiny rubber nib.
Speaking of the Wacom Bamboo, it’s hard (or impossible) too look at the Emote and not see where the design came from. It’s almost identical to the dual ended Bamboo Duo, to such a degree that I’m wondering if the parts are interchangeable. You have a thin rubber nib stylus in one end, and a ballpoint pen in the other. The two ends share a single cap between them that works on both and has a traditional pen clip. In other words, just like the Bamboo.
The biggest difference between the two is the graphics on the outside. The Emote is available with various graphical patterns, and unfortunately not in a more neutral design. Like with the colors for the Jot Classic, I’m not a fan, but that’s very subjective.
While it might not stricly be Arctic’s invention, the design works. It’s the size of a pen, with one of the thinnest rubber nibs out there, and it contains a pen for good measure. Below is a comparison between the Emote, Architect, and Jot Classic.
Both the original Architect stylus (from the same company) and the Wacom Bamboo are great styli, and this is essentially the same basic design. It works. I’ve been using this daily for taking notes, and I don’t really have anything bad to say about the stylus itself. It’s a very decent stylus, never fails to be registered by the screen, and all in all exactly what you would expect.
I do have to mention a small issue I discovered with my particular Emote. The rubber nib that came installed was extremely soft, too soft to really work well, as I barely even noticed any push back at all when touching the screen. This made me jam the nib far too hard into the screen every time I put it to the screen, making the stylus less accurate because it was dragging the tip around. I tried the spare nib that came with the stylus, and that one didn’t have this problem, so I assume that this is an issue with that one particular nib. Neither of my two Architect styli have this issue either, just that one nib for that one stylus.
As for the pen, it’s a ballpoint pen. It works as you would expect, and it’s nice to have a analog pen available for interacting with the yet-to-be-digitalized part of the world. I don’t use such a tool often, but it’s great to have it easily available for when I do. For others though, this feature might just be the most important aspect of the stylus, as many prefer to use paper in conjunction with a digital device.
I do want to add a note about the cap. To me, it’s extremely unnatural to have a “pen” with two ends and one cap. I constantly find myself detaching the cap from the pen end to put on the stylus end, only to remember that there’s a pen hiding underneath the cap. One of the biggest selling points of the original Architect is the cap for the stylus end, and this doesn’t have that in practice, as it’s the ballpoint end you’re going to end up covering up. Arctic tells me that this is a design decision, but I don’t think design should come before functionality. If nothing else, offering spare caps in the store so that one could choose to have a cap on either end seems like a no brainer to me – and I would certainly jump on that opportunity. Unfortunately, that’s not being offered. I get the feeling that the spare rubber nib is a quick fix for ommitting the second cap, and that doesn’t sit well with me. Then again, Wacom sells almost the exact same stylus for twice as much, without offering either.
Bottom line, the Emote is a copy of the Wacom Bamboo, just with a more colorful design. It is, however, a copy that sells for $24 directly from Arctic, far less than the Wacom’s $40. It’s also a copy that comes with a spare rubber nib, something the Wacom doesn’t do. Aside from me personally being a bigger fan of plain designs, this particular “copy” seems superior to the original, and since it being first is hardly a reason to buy something, I would recommend this one before the Wacom.