A little while ago I read a review on TiltSite.com about the Krusell Touch Screen Pointer, and I was intrigued by the product. It’s a plastic pointer attached to a lanyard. Using the this pointer you’ll no langer have to take the stylus out of your device because the lanyard with the pointer is attached to your device, and always withing reach. I wondered how useful it would be for me, so I did some further investigation. The review didn’t mention the price of the product, and neither did the Krusell website (they just let you locate a store in your country). One of the few stores in my country that had the Touch Screen Pointer (Expansys) sold them for 18 euros (about $28 according to Google Conversion), so I thought: “That’s quite expensive, can’t it be any cheaper?”. Luckily, the TiltSite review mentioned that the Touch Screen Pointer was actually created by Triforce, a Swedish company. And, surprisingly enough, they sell them for just 6,95 Euros! Shipping is 2 Euros, worldwide. So no matter where you live, you’ll pay 8,95 Euros which is only half of what it would cost me to purchase it from the local Expansys store. This proves that it’s good to do some searching when you’re planning a purchase.
Anyway, read on after the break to find what this Touch Screen Pointer is all about (the name should reveal it already though), and if it can help you in your Pocket PC (or any device with a touch-screen) usage.
From my software reviews, you might know that I often do it in chronological order. So first the menu´s and settings of a game, and only then the actual gameplay. The same goes for this review, so if you just want to read about the Touch Screen Pointer feel free to skip the first two sections.
Judging from their website, Triforce seems to be a beginning company focussed solely on the Touch Screen Pointer. When I first visited their website a week ago there was less content than there is now and they’ve also added a notification on their homepage that the first 500 people who order a Touch Screen Pointer will get a second one for free. Seems like this review comes at a great time both for Triforce (publicity) and for the customers (second one for free).
The reason for writing this extra paragraph here is that I’ve had a great talk with the folks from Triforce in the last week. When I contacted them for a review sample (they actually sent 4 of them!) I got an e-mail back from two people, and we’ve been chatting a bit in the last week. Camilla Glatzl (the designer of the Touch Screen Pointer) told me about her trip this week and Sven-Olof Larsson (who actually sent me the review units) turned out to be a soccer fan. With the Euro 2008 championships this week, it was an easy topic for discussion. (He knows way more about Dutch soccer players than I do, even though he’s from Sweden and I’m from the Netherlands)
I have had more good contact with companies (IliumSoft, Astraware and SBSH are some that are known for good PR relations) but I was rather surprised with how friendly and personal this communication with Camilla and Sven-Olof was, so I thought it was worth mentioning.
Ordering is pretty standard for the most part, but there was one part that had me confused for few seconds. You can just put the item(s) in your shopping cart and proceed to checkout like you’re used to with other online shops. Normally, you’ll then get to a page with several steps in which you have to enter your address, select shipping options, and confirm your order. On the Triforce website these steps are the same, but they’re presented in a vertical way.
Just be sure to create an account and work your way from top to bottom. First enter your billing information and select if you want to use that address for shipping. If you then press Continue, it will go to the next step (depending on if you wanted to use your billing address for shipping as well). Select shipping (there’s currently only one option, worldwide shipping for 2 Euro’s), and press Continue. If the Continue button is not available, click on the “Shipping Information” header, click continue there, and then the Continue button will be available on the Shipping section as well. After confirming your order, you can proceed to process your order. It is important to do everything in the right order!
The Touch Screen Pointer
My e-mail to Triforce was sent on Friday around 5 PM and already 1 hour later I got a reply back saying that they would send out some review samples on Monday because it was a public holiday in Sweden at the time. The Touch Screen Pointers only took two days to arrive, and they came in a white envelope. There was a thank-you letter with a handwritten note, and the four Touch Screen Pointers. So the HTC TyTn II in the image below was not included! You can click on the images to enlarge them, though.
The Touch Screen Pointer originally was a lanyard with a piece of a postcard cut in a triangle. Camilla Glatzl changed the materials though, and now the piece you hold in your hand is made from very flexible plastic. It’s still attached to a lanyard that is not too long, but long enough so that you can hold the pointer in your hand and comfortably use it on the entire area of the screen. In fact, I found a second use for the lanyard that I possibly use even more than the pointer itself: in areas where there’s a risk of your device being taken or dropping out of your hand (the shopping mall, train station, in the bus, etc.) I put my left had through the lanyard and then take my device in that hand. I can then type my SMS messages with the lanyard around my wrist, serving as a security measure against theft or accidental drops. If someone would try to take my device, or if I drop it, it is still connected to the lanyard around my wrist!
So, how do you attack the lanyard? By default, the Touch Screen Pointer has a little cord at the end. Most devices have a hole (actually two) where you can attach such cords by putting the cord through the hole and then taking the Touch Screen Pointer through the loop in the cord. (You can optionally have a little keyring attached to the Touch Screen Pointer though, as can be seen in the first screenshot below. This is part of the customization options that you can contact Triforce about). I had problems getting the cord through the hole in my device, which is something that often happens in such situations I believe. So what I did is take a paperclip, fold one end open, and use it to peel the cord out of the hole on the other side of where I put it in. Don’t torture yourself if you can’t get the cord through the hole by simply pushing it through, take a paperclip and it will go much easier.
When using the Touch Screen Pointer with your device, you might want to try some ways to hold it. Out of nature I held it like on the image to the right, with the pointy end to the left of my thumb, just like you would hold a stylus. However, I found that it’s sometimes better to hold the point at a 90 degree angle compared to the screen, so that your thumb and index finger are above the place where the pointer touches the screen. This way, the pointer has the best effect on the screen while typing on a small keyboard, for example.
However, the “stylus-hold” might work for you, and it works for me as well in most cases - check the video of this Triforce staff member using the Touch Screen Pointer:
Anyway, no matter how you use it, it is important that you don’t press your fingers against each other too hard. If you apply too much pressure you will feel a strain in your fingers that really isn’t necessary. Just hold the Touch Screen Pointer between your fingers in a relaxed manner, and you’ll be fine.
The pointer feels both solid and flexible, so you can carry it with you without fearing for it to break. It has points at both visible sides so that you can use it no matter how you take it in your hand, and the points are rounded so that they don’t damage your device. There’s also a point hidden under the lanyard, which is great because it gives an extra solid feel. (Between your fingers you hold the two sides of the lanyard and the inner point of the pointer.)
A final note about the lanyard: it feels strong and secure, so apart from coming in fancy patterns it’s also created of quality material. When walking on the street with my hand through the lanyard (like I described above) I’ll feel safe when accidentaly dropping the device. The lanyard is easily strong enough to hold the weight of a falling device!
Product specifications accoring to Triforce:
- Specially adapted for touch screens with good fingertip control. For use instead of a stylus.
- The psychological resistance against the traditional stylus is removed using the Triforce Touch Screen Pointer, which gives touch screen devices a larger target group.
- It is steady in the hand and cannot be mislaid or lost.
- The pointer is always within reach and re-aligns to its correct position.
- The ergonomic design and performance allows comfortable use by hand, without having to exert excess pressure.
- Extremely durable – it won’t break.
- Frictionless and soft against the screen to prevent scratches.
- Triforce is safe to keep in your pocket – it won’t cause damage to clothing or person.
- Gives easy access to your device by pulling the strap, and also prevents you from dropping the device.
- Good for marketing use and as an effective promotional product.
- Can be designed to go with all types of devices, from strictly business to hip-hop.
I found the Touch Screen Pointer to be a very cool accessoire for my device, it’s probably the gadget-lover alternative for the flowers, bears, hearts and other shiny objects other people decorate their device with. The difference is that the Touch Screen Pointer actually has a use, since it makes taking out the stylus unnecessary. Since it’s not round but flat, and because you hold it very close to the end, it takes a little bit of getting used to but that’s not a bad thing. For the past few days I’ve been using the Touch Screen Pointer a lot while navigating on my device and I like it a lot. I’ve also found that I can use the lanyard to hold my device more securely, by taking the hand that I hold my device with through the lanyard before picking up my device. For nearly 7 Euros it’s priced at a pricepoint that’s very competing for this kind of phone accessoires (most of the shiny decorations are ~10 Euros where I live). And if you’re running a company, it might be a very attractive advertisement gift. Just contact Triforce about your color choices and the logo and I’m sure they’ll work out an order that fits to your wishes.