Published on January 14th, 2013 | by Brian Greene20
Titanium Pen and Stylus with Multiple Refills by Big Idea Design (Launched on Kickstarter)
Back in June of last year we highlighted a really cool new pen that was being funded through Kickstarter that took the refills for dozens of your favorite pens, and also functioned as a stylus. The pen got enough momentum to actually get funded and I recently received mine as a funder of the project. The Titanium Pen and Stylus can be found over at the Big Idea Design website if you are interested in purchasing one.
The Titanium Pen and Stylus is a very solidly constructed pen, with a screw on cap (also screws onto the back when posting) and is made entirely of titanium including the cap, clip, and grip section. It is available in Bead-Blasted Matte Black, Bead-Blasted Matte Silver, and a High Polished Chrome Finish. The one you are looking at here in this review is the Bead-Blasted Matte Black, and it looks really awesome in person, it has a very stealthy look with the flat black everywhere. The only non-black part of the pen is the small Ti Titanium periodic chart emblem that is laser engraved (so it wont scratch or peel off) on the clip in white.
Here is a full view of the pen with the stylus tip installed and off in the distance there you can see the Ti printed on the clip if you click on the photo and look a bit closer. In this photo you will notice that the cap is not posted, which is how I found myself writing with the pen most often. With the cap posted it does get slightly top heavy, so for long writing sessions it is probably best to avoid posting the cap. Otherwise it is incredibly comfortable in the hand and I love the slightly heavier feel of the pen as opposed to the often light weight feel of many of the bodies that you usually use these refills in, so it gives your favorite pen a different feel and writing experience.
Now one of my favorite pens to write with (but not necessarily look at) is the Pilot Precise V5 RT so it was naturally the first refill I wanted to try in the pen. The refill slipped right in and the grip section screwed back on effortlessly, now the next test was to actually write with it. One of the things I feared with this pen was that since it was able to take so many refills, the refills might have a little bit of play in them and you would feel the refill move around a tiny bit as you wrote with it, but that was definitely not the case. This refill was in there nice and tight, and there wasn’t the slightest bit of play as the tip hit the paper each time.
The manufacturer of the pen lists a ton of different refill that fit, and I didn’t have the ability to test them all, but the scan above (and the first picture in the review) shows all of the pens that I did test successfully with it. Below is the official list from the manufacturers website with the refills they tested it with. Much like I was surprised by how snug the refill fit with the Pilot V5 RT, I was equally impressed with every other refill that fit. Not one of them had any play between the tip and the hole in the tip that it fit through. The spring inside the body of the pen does an excellent job of keeping your refill snug and not rattling around while you write for each of the refills that I tried. Here are the compatible refills from the manufacturers site, but keep in mind that names, model names, and designs can change over time.
UPDATE: In the writing sample above I wrote “Do Not Use” next to the Uniball Signo 207, and then neglected to mention why in the write up here. Basically what happened when I used it was that the spring inside of the pen that rests against the top of the refill to keep it in place got stuck inside of the refill and yanked it out when I removed the refill. This happens because the opening on a Uniball Signo 207 refill has a larger opening in it where the ink goes and it allows the spring to get caught in there. Rather than risk damaging the spring like this I would recommend just not using that particular refill since there are so many other options out there, although it does fit and write properly.
Thanks to the folks at Big Idea Design for pointing that out to me, obviously they are on top of their product and interested in hearing customer feedback which is always a great sign of a company that cares about their product and customers.
Pen Name/ Refill Name
•Bic Velocity Gel 0.7mm (Medium)
•Cross Gel Rolling Ball Refill 0.7mm
•Dong-A Fine Tech RT Pen (GRC-43 refill)
•Duke Rollerball Refill (Medium)
•Faber-Castell Ceramic Rollerball Refill 0.5mm
•Foray (Office Depot’s Brand-USA) Replacement Refills
•Mont Blanc Fineliner Refills
•Mont Blanc 163 Rollerball Pen Refills (M) & (F)
•Monteverde Rollerball Refill (Mont Blanc Style Replacements)
•MUJI 0.5mm Refill
•Ohto Ceramic Rollerball Refill (C-305P, C-307P)
•Pentel ENERGEL BLN105 pen (LRN5 & LRN7)
•Pentel HyperG Retractable KL257 Series (LR7 & KLR7)
•Pilot Frixion Ball pen BLS-FR5 (LFBK-23EF-B refill)
•Pilot Ge (America’s #1 selling ink gel pen, 0.38, 0.5, 0.7, &1.0mm)
•Pilot G2 Pro
•Pilot Hi-Tec-C Cavalier (Same performance as Hi-Tec-C, but with more ink) ****
•Pilot Precise V5 RT/V7 RT, named Hi-tecpoint V5 RT/V7 RT in Europe
•Pilot Q7 Needle Point Refill 0.7mm (BLS-GCK-7 / LHKRF-8C7)
•Pilot V ball RT (BLS-VB5RT)
•Pelikan Roller Refill 338 Rollerball
•Schmidt Safety ceramic roller 888 Fine
•Schneider Topball 850
•Staples Classic Grip Pen 0.7mm Gel (#31581)
•TUL GL1 Gel Pen Retractable Needle Point Fine 0.5mm
•Uniball Impact RT 1.0mm Bold (Signo UMR-80)
•Uniball Signo RT Gel 0.38mm & 0.5mm (UMN-138)
•Uniball Signo (UMN-152)
•Uniball Signo 207 Gel Refill 0.7mm (UMR-87, UMR-85)
•Uniball Jetstream 1mm (SXR-7)
•Visconti Rolling Ceramic 0.7mm (AA40)
•Waterman Rollerball Refill
•Zebra Sarasa Clip Pen Refill
•Zebra JF Gel Ink (JJ2; JJ15; JJZ15; JJ21; RJF5 pens)
***Note – This is not the standard Pilot Hi-Tec-C refill, the Cavalier takes a different size refill than the standard Hi-Tec-C
Now more important in my opinion is knowing what refills won’t fit in the pen, so I tried as many different options as I could to see what I could come up with. The photo above represents the ones that didn’t fit, but I will list them out below (in left to right order in the photo) so you know what to avoid.
- Bic Cristal 1.6mm
- Uniball Signl UM-153
- Uniball Vision Insight
- Magna Tank
- Uniball Signo Bit
- Uniball Signo DX .38mm
- Pentel Slicci
- Uniball Power Tank
- Uniball Vision RT
- Staedtler Maxum
- Uniball Style Fit
- Pilot Better Retractable Pen
- Zebra JJ101 Hyper Jell
- Uniball Signo Stick .7mm UMR-7
- PaperMate Ink Joy 700RT
- Pentel Vicuna BX157
- Pilot Hi-Tec-C Standard
- PaperMate Earth Write Bio-degradable pen
- Tornado by Retro 51
Obviously that is not a complete list, but they are the ones I was able to verify as not fitting the titanium pen/stylus body. Now this is not at all intended to be a knock on the pen because I think that its awesome that it does fit so many other refills. I just wanted to make sure to document as many non-compatible pens so that we can avoid anyone buying this in hopes of it fitting one of those.
The Pen/Stylus also actually gives you the option of removing the stylus tip and replacing it with a matching titanium flat screw if you don’t like or need the stylus tip on the back. As a stylus I didn’t notice any flaws in using it, having tried it on my Amazon Kindle and my Samsung Galaxy S3 Android phone. It operated very smoothly, and having it as an option on the back of whatever your favorite pen may be is a huge plus.
Almost forgot to mention the free soft case that comes with the pen/stylus. Kind of looks like a little sleeping back for your pen, but definitely a nice touch to add this with the pen.
Overall I am very pleased with the Titanium Pen and Stylus from Big Idea Design, and I’m looking forward to using it a lot more. For someone like me, this pen and stylus body sets me up to be able to get some use out of the tons of pens and refills that I have sitting around by giving me the opportunity to put them into a very handsome looking body that is a pleasure to write with, and also gives me the added benefit of a stylus if I want. I’ll probably be stocking up my pen case with a bunch of my favorite refills that I have sitting around so that I can always put this pen to use at a moments notice and feel like I’m getting the most out of my vast accumulation of pens. I may even consider picking up an extra one of these so I have a back up should I ever misplace it or more likely if someone “borrows” it when I’m not looking.
© 2013, Brian Greene. All rights reserved.