Previous True Utility products have come in fairly spartan blister packaging – creating the impression of a cheaper or ‘utilitarian’ item. We’re pleased to report than this has now been replaced with vastly superior packaging – a hard plastic case with a clip opening. At a pinch, you could even use the box when out and about. So, no more knifing open frustrating packaging. You get three refills in the box, which is a nice touch. From our own usage, we got through two spare cartridges in around 12 months, with the pen as an occasional use item for small amounts of writing. As a giftable item, the packaging really hits the mark. Full marks!
The first thing you notice with the clip Telepen is that it is somewhat larger than the original. Partly this is because of the clip, which is a quick release type attached to the pen lid. But overall, then pen is somewhat thicker and slightly longer than before. The finish is now shiny black rather than silver, and the branding is slightly more visible. But it looks nice regardless, and feels like a quality item.
This time around, the lid has a much firmer closing action, snapping into place in what feels like a much more reliable way. this may be because, unlike the original, this version expands from the bottom of the pen, rather than the top. We think that this may have cracked the lid problems some have seen with the prior Telepen.
Performance & Features
The change to expand the pen from the bottom rather than the top is actually an excellent idea. Aside from fixing the lid issues, it also means that the thickest part of the pen is near the writing nib, rather than at the bottom of the pen. Of course, near the tip is where you grip a pen when writing and this gives the new pen a much more natural feel. When comparing the two side by side, we hold the clip pen naturally and it feels like a normal pen. The original requires a slightly ‘pinching’ action near the tip to allow comfortable writing. We never felt this was a big problem with the first pen, since they are not intended for long sessions of writing, but for those moments where you quickly need to jot something down. But compared side by side, the clip pen is clearly superior as a writing instrument – more balanced and much easier to use.
There is a small ‘button’ at the bottom of the pen that you grip to expand, and this works without issue, There is a slight ‘click’ when closing the pen back up, presumably to stop the pen expanding in your pocket. This feels slightly weak, and could be a problem if it weakens with use. That said, this is unlikely to cause any practical problems, and is certainly much better than the prospect of losing the pen itself. The clip to attach the pen to your keyring is strong and works well.
The additional size, while noticeable, is not enough to make the pen uncomfortable on your keyring or in your pocket, and it’s still small enough to make daily carrying easy, and to provide a significant advantage over a full-size pen.
We’ve been carrying the first Telepen since we got hold of one 12 months ago, and have found it to be an extremely useful, well thought out and attractive gadget. The Clip Telepen improves on the original on all fronts. We wouldn’t leave home without one, and can recommend it unreservedly. As a gift item, the new packaging seals the deal. Get one!