Review: Ten One Pogo Stylus (2013)
The stylus world has changed a lot since Ten One Design released the original Pogo back in 2009, roughly a year before the iPad was announced. Fuzzy-tipped, hollow-bodied metal tubes were all the rage back then for iPhones, but began to give way to rubber-domed and subsequently Bluetooth-based alternatives as Ten One and other developers started to optimize their styli for tablets. So it's no surprise that the latest version of Pogo Stylus ($20) applies lessons from the last several years to improve upon its entry-level predecessor. It's $5 more expensive than before, but certainly better-built and nicer-looking, resembling a thinner version of Pogo Connect at 1/4 the price.
Like both Pogo Connect and the company’s 2011 model Pogo Sketch Pro, Pogo consists of silver aluminum with a matte black plastic head and rubber dome tip. Measuring roughly 4.9” long, it’s around a quarter of an inch shorter than Pogo Connect — and most traditional pens — while falling 0.6” shy of the paintbrush-like Pogo Sketch Pro. Pogo’s length is comfortable, and unlike the others includes a black metal shirt clip that you can easily remove if you don’t need that functionality. From our perspective, it’s a better and more practical replacement for the iPhone 3G/3GS-fitting plastic clip included with the original Pogo. The only thing that detracted a little from its appearance was a tiny bit of roughly-applied glue right at the intersection of the metal body and black plastic.
While there’s nothing particularly special about the way this version of Pogo writes on an iPad’s screen, it feels more substantial than the original model, and is as comfortable to hold in your hand as anything lacking a rubberized top grip. The tip’s pretty nice, too. Unlike Pogo Sketch Pro, there aren’t any holes or other oddities in the tip’s rubber, and the dome design makes writing feel closer to a pen than the prior eraser-like design. Borrowing a feature from Pogo Connect, the new Pogo has a magnetically attached, replaceable tip so that you needn’t toss the entire stylus away if the rubber wears down. Sets of two extra tips are sold for $8.
As solid as Pogo is for $20, it needs to be said that Ten One and others have recently made considerable strides in developing finer-point stylus tips with pressure sensitivity and palm rejection features — enabled by both Bluetooth hardware and new software. These features aren’t found in Pogo. So if you’re expecting major improvements in your writing over common styluses, don’t get your hopes up here: this is a basic stylus with atypically nice quality.
Overall, the new version of Pogo isn’t groundbreaking, but it is a very good entry-level stylus — reasonably comfortable, fine for typical writing, and attractively designed. Few $15-$20 styluses have Pogo’s build quality, looks, or thoughtful removable components. Given the price, it merits our B+ rating and strong general recommendation.