Flexible stylus has some cool hidden talents [Reviews]


The StylusFlex does a bit more than just let you poke at your screen.
Photo: Evan Killham/Cult of Mac


Most people don’t use a stylus with their iPhones, and late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs wouldn’t want them to. But the StylusFlex might change a few minds because it’s not simply a substitute for the five styli you have at the end of your arm.

You have plenty of reasons to just stick with your fingers when you’re using your iPhone or iPad, and this device seems to realize that. That’s why it does a few extra things that might help it earn its keep.

StylusFlex is super-bendy, and it has a little headphone-style jack at the end. That means you can plug that end into your iPhone and then bend the rest of it 180 degrees back behind your case for easy stowing. Having to carry the thing around isn’t the only reason not to use this kind of peripheral with your phone, and it isn’t even the best reason. But it’s cool that this one addresses that issue pretty elegantly.

The thing is also touchscreen-compatible along its entire length (not just at the business end), so you can still use it for other things while it’s stashed in your phone if that ever arises. I’m having trouble thinking of use cases other than public touchscreens, but that’s a pretty good one.

But StylusFlex also has a great feature that has nothing to do with screens at all: Because it’s so bendy, you can quickly fashion it into a stand to prop up your iPhone to watch videos or take pictures. I’d probably get way more use out of it as a stand than a stylus, actually, and I didn’t expect that at all.

StylusFlex 02
This is where we start to run into problems.
Photo: Evan Killham/Cult of Mac

I do have a couple concerns with the product, however, and they’re both related to that nub that goes into your headphone jack. For one, while it’s felt pretty sturdy during my testing, it’s hard to trust that it won’t just break off someday and leave its business end jammed in my phone. Hopefully, that won’t be an issue.

The other quibble isn’t even the device’s fault, but most of its practicality will be useless on future devices in the likely event that Apple kills the headphone jack on the iPhone 7. It will still work with Android phones and the millions of Apple handsets that are currently out in the wild, but we aren’t sure if a Lightning-style version or adapter would be in order at some point.

But that’s not the StylusFlex’s fault, and it’s a pretty handy little device on its own. The company is currently seeking funding to finish production, but it’s one you’ll want to keep an eye on.

StylusFlex’s campaign is currently running on Kickstarter. The company sent Cult of Mac a free prototype unit for this review.