Wednesday, June 23, 2010

TelePen Keychain Pen Review

We all have our favorite writing implements, and of course try to have that with us at all times. That neat gel pen, the medical sample ballpoint our doctor uncle gave us, perhaps a fountain pen. But, we are prone to lose things, misplace things (some more than others), and at those times, it's really convenient to have a backup.

I'd searched about a bit for a useful backup pen - there's a couple out there, but are either really pricey, or really bulky. For instance, there's a titanium keychain pen that used to be available, for almost $60. Uh, sorry, but that's incomprehensible for a bush-league player like me =)  And then there's for instance the R.S.V.P. mini's - which are fun to use but too big to feasibly put on your keychain (except maybe to use as a handle to swing your keys around like a flailing mace).

Step in, the TelePen, by "True Utility."

This pen costs only $5.99 at It comes with what you see above: bubble package, telescoping pen, split ring, and three refills.

A nice looking pen!

And as the name implies, it telescopes out, much like an old-school car antenna, or a chart-pointer thingy (pre-laser days):

After telescoping to full length (about 4.25"), pull a little harder and the tip pops out of the cap:

The ballpoint's writing quality is pretty typical; smooth and writes dark enough for everyday use. Here is a writing sample:

To refill the pen, unscrew the tippy tip tip:

Neat thing is that the manufacturer saw fit to put an o-ring in there. Nice touch. More than waterproofness, it helps provide a snug fit of the tip to the body.

As you can see here, the refill is pretty much like a snipped off piece of a standard ballpoint refill. The manufacturer even recommends doing just that, once the three extra refills are used up. However, I doubt you'll have to worry about this, since it's more of a backup/emergency use pen.

The grip is of course nothing like say a Dr. Grip or Jellfit, but is comfortable enough to write with - though by necessity being very thin at the tip.

If needed, though, you could telescope it down one section, trading overall length for a little more girth in the barrel:

Or even two sections, if you're feeling adventurous...

...but that's as far as you can get, because if you collapse the last section, it becomes a little stub that you can't hold like a regular pen.

The build is stainless steel, and feels pretty tough. Well-designed, and comes with a split ring too, so that you can add it to your keys right away. A backup pen is invaluable when you need to endorse a check, write down some important notes, scribble directions for someone, and you don't have your regular pen with you. This one definitely fits the bill and at a very affordable price point. Check it out!

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