• Pentopia
Distributor: The Price:
  • ~$25
The Pros:
  • Fits in stylus slot
  • Spring-driven tip
  • Replaceable ink cartridge

The Cons:
  • Too thin to be used as anything but emergency pen
  • Kind of expensive Ratings*:

*Maximum Rating is FIVE (5) InfoPalms

Pentopia Pen & Stylus for m500 Series Review
By Ed Hardy

While I almost always have my handheld with me, I rarely have a pen. That's why I really like pen/stylus combinations. The Pentopia Chameleon for m500 Series is a good combination of the two. It fits nicely in the m500 series' stylus slot, makes a good stylus, and is always available as an emergency pen.

Pen/stylus combos are usually used as styli far more often than they are as pens, so it is important that they do this well. Fortunately, the Chameleon handles the job nicely.

The best feature of this one is it has a spring-driven tip. This helps prevent you from accidentally pushing down too hard on your handheld screen and damaging it. The LandWare floating point stylus has this same type of tip, though the Chameleon's spring is much firmer. The tip hardly gives at all in use.

The central part of the shaft is metal but near the tip it becomes plastic, which has a series of ridges to prevent your hand from slipping.

Unscrewing the tip reveals a reset pin.

Remove the top of the stylus and a ballpoint pen is exposed. This is handy to have if you are, say, in the drive-through line at the bank and need to fill out your deposit slip. However, because the shaft needs to be slim enough to fit in the stylus slot, it is too thin for any serious writing.

Aside from that, it is a good pen. It writes smoothly in black ink. It uses a Pilot pen cartridge, so replacements are available.

To help keep you from losing the pen cap while you are writing, you can snap it on over the stylus tip.

The Pentopia Chameleon for m500 Series is a good stylus and a decent pen. At $25, though, it a bit expensive compared to its competitors.

Article Comments


The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. PalmInfocenter is not responsible for them in any way.
Please Login or register here to add your comments.

Comments Closed Comments Closed
This article is no longer accepting new comments.

Down View Full Comment Thread


PR @ 6/14/2002 12:44:48 PM #
$25 is a lot. i think i spent $15 for my pentopia for my Vx and it still fits my m515 just fine--maybe a little loose--but it works. it looks like exactly the same thing (maybe resized a little) for ten bucks extra. maybe the price will go down in a little while.

RE: ouch!
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/14/2002 12:49:27 PM #
My Vx Pentopia Chameleon is too long to fint in my m515. The spring tip keeps pushing it back out. Anyway, I spent $15 on Landware's Floating Tip stylus and really like that.
You get what you pay for.
Palm_Otaku @ 6/14/2002 1:20:35 PM #
I've been a big fan of the Chameleon for years - it's a beautifully designed and engineered stylus. There's little design details - there's a long stainless steel reset pin hidden inside of course, and the end cap has a nice little rubber tip - nice.

The convenience of having an "emergency" pen is worth the extra few bucks to me :-)

Too costly

abosco @ 6/14/2002 12:47:13 PM #
This looks like a good combo in that it fits in the slot but at $25 it looks like a ripoff. If it were $10-$15 then I would be all over it.

RE: Too costly
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/14/2002 12:51:17 PM #
You can usually pick up a Chameleon for about $18.99 at most office or computer stores.

I.M. Anonymous @ 6/14/2002 1:01:15 PM #
Has had these for over 1/2 year at $17
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/14/2002 1:04:25 PM #
I have both the blue and green. The are great, and I actually use the pen quite a bit.
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/14/2002 10:31:53 PM #
Franklin-Covey store has had it in stock for almost a year for $19.
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/16/2002 7:16:20 PM #
If Ed had posted that they were $17, you same losers would be posting that you couldn't find them anywhere for that much.
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/17/2002 12:00:07 AM #
Ha! I found them for $9 on So who's the loser now, troll?

''It uses a Pilot pen cartridge''

IanJD @ 6/14/2002 1:16:07 PM #
So at last I can slip one of these into my m515, tell people I take my Pilot wherever I go without getting slapped with a trademark law suit? Funny that Pilot should actually be getting into the PDA market, however obliquely.

I.M. Anonymous @ 6/14/2002 1:23:28 PM #
They've made these styli for virtually every model of PDA for years...

Compare/contrast with...

orb2069 @ 6/14/2002 1:17:09 PM #
Fellowes 'Slimpoint Stylus',1,105&pCat=109 or ttools' similar one? It seems like it'd be a pain to have to uncap the pen all the time - How likely is it that one would lose the pencap? Does it reattach to the stylus somehow when not in use?

Oh, and I saw the Slimpoint on clearance at the local Staples for $8 - and even full price on their website, they're only $16.

I /am/ the eggman.

RE: Compare/contrast with...
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/14/2002 1:31:48 PM #
ttools licensed the slimpoint to fellowes a couple years ago, if i remember right. i bought a couple of the slimpoints while back, and i liked it better than the pentopia in most ways, but the edge of the stylus wore down, and became a little sharp, and i was afraid of it scratching my screen. if you have a screen protector, i would go with the slimpoint. it's much more convenient.
RE: Compare/contrast with...
Altema @ 6/14/2002 2:27:35 PM #
"How likely is it that one would lose the pencap? Does it reattach to the stylus somehow when not in use?"

The pen cap pulls off and snaps back on, so you don't have to unscrew this version like the earlier ones. When you pull the cap off, it fits on the stylus end which makes the unit a little longer and easier to hold. The rubber tip on the cap comes in handy for turning pages and pressing Palm buttons. Also protects the screen if you forget it's there.

I've been using these since my IIIe. My only difficulty has been the little nubs that hold it into the stylus slot. They were mashed down by my too-tight m505, and now it is loose in my m515. Not the fault of the pen, but the fault of the Palm. Have not been able to find a replacement top, and have not seen the pen either to replace the whole thing.

Cross makes one with no pen cap!

I.M. Anonymous @ 6/14/2002 1:55:18 PM #
Cross pens makes a stylus/pen combo that costs less than $15. You twist the top to reveal the pen and the stylus is the top. It writes very nice, too.
RE: Cross makes one with no pen cap!
Palm_Otaku @ 6/14/2002 2:03:41 PM #
Does it fit in the stylus silo? Got a link?

RE: Cross makes one with no pen cap!
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/14/2002 2:55:18 PM #
I am not the original poster but I have a cross pen/stylus and it does fit in the stylus silo, I bought mine in CompuUSA.
RE: Cross makes one with no pen cap!
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/14/2002 2:59:05 PM #
RE: Cross makes one with no pen cap!
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/14/2002 3:21:39 PM #
Maybe it's just my bad luck, but I always insist on having a *3*-in-one stylus in my m505---a ballpoint pen, a stylus, and a reset pin. I always manage to lose paperclips when I carry a spare, so I prefer the Pentopia Chemeleon over the Cross. The Cross makes a better writing instrment when it comes to using the ink pen, but the Pentopia has a nice stylus tip and has a built in reset pin, which the Cross does not have. I have actually had a hard time finding the Chameleon pen for the m500s in retail shops. Office Depot is the only place that carries them around here, for $17.99 I think.

That's strange what everyone else is saying, because my Palm V Pentopia pen will not fit in my m505 at ALL! It's way too lose, even with some tape wrapped around the barrel.

Additionally, the tip of the Chameleon writes really well on a Silyboard surface and the soft rubber tip on the "other" end is pretty nice for game-playing or drawing on the screen, etc.

RE: Cross makes one with no pen cap!
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/15/2002 4:56:15 PM #
Yes the Cross is cheap...just $10 at JR and it writes well...but it is terrible as a stylus! You actually have to use the rear end as a stylus which takes getting used to...until which the metal pen end is constantly scratching at my PDA screen. Not very safe! The design is too generic for the M series and fits poorly. The stylus tip is too wide and partially obscured by the remnant pen clip. A very poor substitute for the Pentopia or the regular Palm Stylus at that.

and it doesn't have a reset pin!

RE: Cross makes one with no pen cap!
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/16/2002 1:45:25 AM #
Yes, the major flaw is the lack of a reset pin. But the stylus is made of softer material and writes very nicely; much better than those with stiff stylus, including Chameleon. You can't blame anyone for using the wrong end!!

The quality of the pen is high, including the pen retraction mechanism. The Cross pen writes nicely as well.

RE: Cross makes one with no pen cap!
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/18/2002 10:34:43 AM #
I have used the Pilot pens for years with my palm 3c and 515. I always end up losing them or giving them away :-)

Recently, Comp USA was out of the Pilots so I bought a few Crosses.

I agree with everything said so far about the Cross, but I'd like to add two more shortcomings:

1) It does not fit my Palm 3C like the package says.
2) If you write on a slight angle, there is a hard plastic nub that can scratch the screen

I'll buy some V series pens and see how they fit in the 515, they always seem to be in stock.

too much for this cr*p

I.M. Anonymous @ 6/14/2002 2:23:14 PM #
although its useful it doesnt make it worth $25? should a toilet paper costs $25 just bcoz everyone needs iT? no!

i got mine for $10 from $20 coz of a $10 rebate,.. thats why i bought it.

RE: too much for this cr*p
Altema @ 6/14/2002 2:45:05 PM #
Well, hopefully you don't flush these down the toilet everyday!

Seriously, the price is a little steep ($14.95 to $18.95 retail), but I've had the same one outlive several Palms (IIIe, IIIc, M505, M505, M505, M505, M505...)

RE: too much for this cr*p
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/14/2002 5:06:25 PM #
i think its too light for me too..i end up dropping it all the time coz it just slips out of my fingers... toilet papers are light too.
One stylus fit all of those?
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/14/2002 7:33:40 PM #
I thought the V/m5xx styli were narrower than the III series...
RE: too much for this cr*p
Altema @ 6/15/2002 11:19:11 PM #
"I thought the V/m5xx styli were narrower than the III series..."

They are. I had one for all my III series, and another for the smaller M5xx series. My post made it sound like I used the same one for all of them... sorry 'bout that. I still have the one for the III series, but it has cracks in the screw top. New new ones are made of different material and snap on, so cracking is not likely.

Don't leave home without it!

I.M. Anonymous @ 6/14/2002 2:39:38 PM #
I love this pen. Have bought one for the Vx and then the 505 I had. Not everyone has a palm to beam stuff to and there is times you just have to ink pen write something. No longer do you have to carry a pen with you. Very nice feel and is handy!!

Now, if they would just come out with something for the NR70v. Not a chance there though, the stylus is way too thin.

Scratches screen, doesn't fit silo correctly, etc.

I.M. Anonymous @ 6/14/2002 3:15:29 PM #
It's a nice design, but after having one for 6 mos, I'm ready for something else. Why?
- the red tip has scratched my graffiti area. I never, ever had that problem with the standard stylus.
- the red tip is so stiff, it never moves in and out when you write. I'ts really just a gimmick.
- the pen cap fits on the top of the stylus precariously when using the pen. It's very easy for it to be lost.
- the unit does not fit in the stylus silo correctly. When pressed in, it is below the top of the silo. It was incorrectly engineered.

Sorry, Ed. I can't agree with your rating on this.

RE: Scratches screen, doesn't fit silo correctly, etc.
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/14/2002 5:14:55 PM #
Sounds like yours is defective. I've used one (ok, two--I had to replace it) in a Vx for almost 2 years with very good results.
RE: Scratches screen, doesn't fit silo correctly, etc.
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/14/2002 5:22:17 PM #
I know five other people with these stylii. One has the M50x model, others have stylii for other PDAs. My friend with the M50x version also has the scratching problem, no one else does.

I think the M50x version has an issue.

RE: Scratches screen, doesn't fit silo correctly, etc.
Patrick @ 6/14/2002 11:22:47 PM #
My Vx screen was also scratched by a Chameleon. I thought it was my fault because I played a particular game a lot (Pyramid) and the scratches appeared at the hot spots on the screen that are tapped often.

Now I know I'm not alone and I certainly won't be moving to a Chameleon for my (so far scratch-free) m515.

I want to die in my sleep like my grandfather, not screaming in terror like his passengers.

RE: Scratches screen, doesn't fit silo correctly, etc.
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/15/2002 12:26:42 AM #
I have the same problem with my m505 Chameleon too. First I thought the scratch happened because I dropped my stylus to the floor, and the tip became 'cracked', so I bought a new one, and it still has the same problem. Luckily I am using a screen protector. Never have this problem with my PalmV Chameleon.

RE: Scratches screen, doesn't fit silo correctly, etc.
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/15/2002 4:51:11 PM #
Scratching problem has nothing to do with the stylus...if anything, the Palm version is more prone to scratch than the Pentopia. It has more to do with your habits and the cleanliness of your work environment and screen.
RE: Scratches screen, doesn't fit silo correctly, etc.
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/15/2002 6:48:35 PM #
If you already have one of each, you could try a "mix 'n' match"--swap the caps and use the Palm V one in the m505...
RE: Scratches screen, doesn't fit silo correctly, etc.
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/17/2002 1:42:57 AM #
My screen is always clean, dude - you sound like you're a Pilot company shill.

Poorly constructed plastic parts

I.M. Anonymous @ 6/14/2002 6:25:19 PM #
I owned the original Chameleon for my Palm IIIe. Twice I had to get it replaced because of the cheap plastic. The plastic female threaded portion would crack because it constantly had to be tightened.

A handy concept that was poorly executed and overpriced.

My 2

RE: Poorly constructed plastic parts
I.M. Anonymous @ 6/15/2002 4:48:27 PM #
I've tried both versions of the pentopia...I agree with the assessment for the one made for the palm 3...but the new one for the M500 series does not have this problem.

LandWare's floating Point stylus

I.M. Anonymous @ 6/16/2002 3:35:48 PM #
Ed, I just wanted to follow up on your comment "The LandWare floating point stylus has this same type of tip, though the Chameleon's spring is much firmer."

Although both stylii feature tips that are 'sprung' in nature LandWare's floating point stylus is quite a different beast from the pentopia

Floating point's special nib dampening system provides a "non-linear" response to pressure exerted by the user. By contrast the pentopia is equipped with a a simple coil spring which provides a "linear" resistance as you press down. So what does this actually mean?

It is non-linear nature of Floating point's stylus nib movement that mimics how a pad of paper reacts when you push down on it with a pen. If you push down on a pad lightly it feels quite "soft" and gets increasingly firmer as you push down harder with the pen. In other words the firmness of the paper pad increases at a non-linear rate, just like the floating point stylus.

Compare this to the resistance offered by Pentopia's regular sprung stylus. They increase at the same rate as the force exerted by the user. ie Push twice as hard and the stylus offers twice the resistance, push three times as hard and the stylus offers three times the resistance etc which is NOT the way a pad of paper reacts in real life. In addition to this the difficulty with the pentopia's approach is that either the coil spring is too stiff to provide adequate compliance when writing, or too soft to maintain good 'feel'.

more info can be found at:

hopefully info helps

clinton logan
landware inc

Top View Full Comment Thread


Register Register | Login Log in