There's a lot of gear out there for your Apple devices, but how do you know which are worth your time and what's not worth your money? In our Gear We Love column, Macworld's editors tell you about the products we're personally using — and loving.
One of my favorite things about the annual Macworld/iWorld show is checking out the unique gear from smaller, lesser-known vendors and from the "We make so many different things that you're bound to find something you like" companies. Nite Ize is one of the latter. I first encountered Nite Ize many years ago, when the company concentrated on nifty flashlights and flashlight accessories. But the company has since expanded to the mobile-accessory market, and the Nite Ize booth at Macworld/iWorld is a veritable gadget-geek's gallery.
At this year's show, three products in particular caught my eye. I've been using them for the past few months, and each has proved itself useful. Just as impressive, each is relatively inexpensive.
Inka Mobile Pen + Stylus
Despite my digital-focused life, it's convenient to have a pen handy, and though I'm not a frequent stylus user, there are times it's nice to have one of those around, too. Alas, I usually have neither, because I don't want to deal with carrying them. The $12 Inka Mobile Pen + Stylus offers a solution: It's just 4.3 inches long and weighs just 10 grams, yet that compact profile features a ball-point pen, a rubber-nib touchscreen stylus, and a small carabiner clip for attaching the Inka to your bag, belt, or key ring.
Available in blue, black, or lime green, the Inka's screw-off end caps are interchangeable, so you can choose which tip — ink or stylus — is covered by the carabiner. I recommend choosing the end you use more frequently, so you can just leave the carabiner wherever it's clipped. A thoughtful touch is that the caps are translucent, so you can see which end is which before removing either cap. The body is made of nylon and carbon fiber, and feels very sturdy, and the replaceable ($5) ink cartridge is pressurized to write at any angle or altitude — even underwater, says the company. (I didn't test that claim.)
The pen itself is pretty good, and the stylus, while not the best stylus you can get, is better than many I've tested that cost more than the Inka. The Inka's thick barrel is even manageable with gloves on — you can clip the Inka to your ski jacket for using your iPhone on the slopes without having to expose your fingers to the elements.
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