The other day I was at Staples doing some some shopping and research when I came across their private label AvantPro Retractable Stylus and Pen. I’ve never been a huge fan of having a pen with a stylus at the top, so this offering with the retractable point that goes through the stylus tip seemed like a great alternative.
My biggest issue when I use a combo stylus and pen is when the stylus tip is on the top of the pen because in terms of a usability its an awkward thing to flip the pen over to use the stylus. Having the stylus in the tip allow for a much more natural transition between analog and digital writing or navigation. This AvantPro retractable pen and stylus nails it and makes the analog and digital divide easy to navigate. The tip of the stylus does an excellent job helping to select aps and flip through screens on my phone so long as I remember to retract the pen tip. I’m much more comfortable having the pen tip there and experiencing the occasional forgetfulness about retracting the tip as compared to having to flip the pen over every time I want to use the stylus.
The Staples AvantPro retractable pen and stylus has a great look and feel with the majority of the body being constructed of a nice brushed metal and some more polished metal for the accents such as the clip and plunger on top. The only non-metal parts are the stylus tip, the grip section and the two parts above and below the section that connect to the tip and the pen body.
I only have two real beefs with the Staples AvantPro retractable pen and stylus. First is the use of plastic for the grip section. It would be nice if the grip section and collars also included metal in their design, it worries me that the plastic on these sections could deteriorate over time as it has a somewhat cheap feel to it.
The other issue I have is with the refill itself that comes with the pen. As you can see above, the Staples AvantPro retractable pen and stylus is able to accept standard Parker refills which is a good thing since I did have some issues with the original ink.
Although the supplied refill for the Staples AvantPro was tolerable, it did tend to clump slightly here and there in this Black n’ Red notebook, which gave me flashbacks of thinking I might have been writing with the dreaded Pilot G2. I also found it a little odd that this pen is sold as a .8mm tip, which clearly falls outside of the normal .38mm, .5mm, .7mm, and 1.0mm offerings that are more of a standard. Overall I think the Staples AvantPro retractable pen and stylus looks great and helps make your transition from digital to analog and back a much simpler experience. Do yourself and grab one at your local Staples since they don’t offer them online, and while you are there get yourself a new Parker refill too as a bit of an upgrade.