Review: Monteverde OneTouch Stylus Tool Pen

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Monteverde OneTouch Stylus Tool Pen

Every once in a while, we see multitools with pen implements, such as in credit card tools or some Swiss Army Knives. The Monteverde OneTouch Stylus Tool Pen flips the script — it’s a pen first and foremost, with extra tools built right in. In this review, we look at the ballpoint pen version, graciously provided by the folks at PenChalet.

Don’t be fooled by its retractable ballpoint tip, its hefty, hexagonal barrel, or its strong and springy pocket clip, even if it seems like just a pen. Look closer and you’ll see four scales on its body: three metric (1:100, 1:200, and 1:300) and a four-inch ruler. That’s odd. You might notice a level built into the barrel, too. Interesting. The tailcap of the pen doesn’t feel like a clicky, it’s actually a capacitive touch screen stylus. And behind that? A Philips and flathead screwdriver bit! It’s not just a pen after all, it’s a craftsman’s toolkit trapped in a pen’s body. Even with all those tools, it weighs in at just 1.3 oz and manages to stay decently sized for an EDC pen at 5.875” long. It’s well made, with some nice attention to detail in its design — a knurled grip at the tip of the pen also helps twisting to deploy and retract the pen, the anti-roll hexagonal barrel rounds out towards the grip area for a more comfortable writing experience. Construction seems solid and the fit and finish out of the box is great too. The markings on the rulers are clear, clean and defined. Unfortunately, the outer coating isn’t as durable as I’d like for an everyday carry pen. On any other pen, I wouldn’t mind scratches, dings, and a general patina from normal use and carry. But on a pen with usable markings on the barrel, the finish being prone to scratches and wearing away is disappointing.

In the hand, the pen’s heft gives it a nice, substantial feeling. The pen is a tad backheavy with all its other tools implements in the tail end. Because it’s also a ballpoint pen, the need for relatively more pressure to write, combined with balancing the pen demands a slightly more labored grip. Overall, it writes comfortably — unless you have a very high grip, you might have some issues as you’d be holding a hexagonal barrel with harder edges. Normal to choked up grips would enjoy a knurled, rounded tip. Writing is “smooth” mainly because of the wide tip of the ballpoint. While not scratchy, it doesn’t feel very finessed either. It’s acceptable performance from a ballpoint, especially for just quick markings or jotting notes down.

At the other end of the pen are the other tool implements. On one unmarked side of the barrel, there’s a bubble level. I admittedly only used this twice during testing: one time to check if a computer monitor was level, and another to check if a desk was  even. Adjacent to the level is the pocket clip. It’s fairly strong and its retention is good. My only gripes with it are that it’s difficult to clip onto thicker material like denim, and the coating scratches easily. Beyond that is the pen’s capacitive stylus. It requires very little pressure to properly glide its rubbery tip on glass surfaces and touch screens. Less pressure is recommended especially because the tip is hollow, like a balloon. Pressing and dragging too hard gives weird feedback as the tip gets pushed in. Unscrewing the stylus end reveals the Philips/flathead double-sided bit and driver. When the bit driver is in use, the stylus piece conveniently screws onto front end of the pen. These smaller precision bits work well for tinkering with electronics, gear, and other small-scale projects. I found that while convenient to be able to simply pull the bit out and reverse it to change between flathead and Philips, it’s prone to falling out of the driver during use (even during a light-duty project like swapping out a laptop hard drive).

Reviewer Score: ★★★☆

Pros:

  • It’s a multitool, in a pen!
  • Cohesive industrial design elements (heft, hex barrel, knurling and threading) make it feel like an instrument 
  • Comfortable and intuitive to use the pen and other tools

Cons:

  • Ruler markings and overall finish very prone to scratches and wear
  • Lackluster writing performance in ballpoint variety
  • Slight issues with bit retention

While the ToolPen offers a certainly unique complement of features in an uncommon form factor, a handful of performance limitations really holds it back from being a must-have. Instead, it seems best suited for specific users such as craftsmen and tinkerers. As a standalone pen, it performs adequately — not the best, but certainly not the worst. Its other tools (especially the precision driver and stylus) come in handy enough to make this pen a worthwhile addition to a backpack, briefcase, shirt pocket or desk drawer.

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