I like pens. Beats the heck out of carving pictograms into rock. You know, take a harder rock and scrape it against the softer rock. The process is tedious but the results do last a long time. Pens make it a lot easier and, as everyone knows, they are mightier than swords. If only Ned Stark had access to a pen at that crucial moment.
Especially a pen that can do more than just write! Heck, multi-ink pens have been around for a long time. My dad was using one to grade papers back in the 1970′s. That was a big, bulky plastic thing that worked wonders, just not in any semblance of style. Acme Studios has blown the doors off of style and function with their 7FP, the 7-Function Pen.
The pen comes in a nicely presented box with a paper overlay that just slides off to reveal a nice metal box.
Open the box and inside the luxuriously foam-lined cutouts are the pen and an odd-looking plastic thingy. More about that in a while. The directions on how to use the pen are included and you are going to want to take a few minutes to read them.
So what are these seven functions? Well four of them involve actual writing. You have a blue pen, black pen and red pen along with a 0.7mm mechanical pencil. To activate any of them, just look at the rear end of the pen where each function is labeled around the barrel of the pen. Just make sure the desired stylus’ label is facing up and then push the rear clicker. The pen or pencil you want will be popped out the other end. To retract it, just push that big black button on the shirt clip.
It’s hard to see but just above the clip in the picture below is the word RED.
And this is the label for BLACK:
The pencil is quite interesting. You press the back in to activate it but if you want to push the pencil lead further out, you just press harder (but gently) on the back. Each repeated harder press pushes more lead out.
Here I’ve unscrewed the top off the body to reveal all four cartridges. They are all replaceable, even new leads can be placed in the lead feeding tube, as they call it. Just make sure you get only 0.7mm leads.
OK, so that’s four of the seven functions. Two more functions can be found at the rear, where you depress it to activate your writing utensil. Most obvious is the woven metallic fabric ball at the end of the depressing cylinder. This is the capacitive stylus that can be used on tablets.
It looks great in theory but not so good in practice. The rear cylinder is a little wobbly (reason being is that it’s a removable cover for the eraser) and you really have to press hard for it to work. I was able to use it with some pressure on my Nexus 7, even though I did not have the button pressed down as required by the directions:
But I could not get this thing to register at all on my iPad. I have a tempered glass screen protector on the iPad and, though my rubber-tipped stylus and my finger had no problem registering with the iPad with the lightest touch, I was practically stabbing the screen with this fabric stylus and still got no joy. Pictured below I have the stylus mashed down as hard as I could and still got no result.
This is the result with my finger:
So the usefulness of the stylus is going to depend on your device and whether or not you have a screen protector on it. Even without a screen protector, you’re going to have to press down pretty hard to make it work.
The cap with the capacitive stylus comes off to reveal an eraser. There is no information about the replaceability of the eraser in the directions but replacements are available at the Acme Studio website.
The final function is actually not part of the pen at all, rather that mysterious plastic thingy that is in the box there with the pen:
I think, with the closeup, it’s pretty obvious what this thing does. It plugs into the audio port of your phone or tablet and then you slide the pen into the plastic loop. It does a really good job of holding your pen snugly against your tablet. Here it is in the iPad:
It fits really well on the top of the Nexus 7.
So, it may have 7 functions, but how well do they work? The eraser erases, the dock docks and the writing implements write. Ink flow is nice and smooth and the pen feels great in the hand. The pen measures 5 3/8″ (136mm) long with the rear button popped out and 5/16″ (8mm) thick.
So, how do I like the pen? As a multi-pen it is excellent and I will be taking it with me everywhere in my gear bag as my go-to choice for pen, next to my Fisher Space Pen. It feels great in the hand, it writes well and you have four good options. I grade in green and just wish I could find a green refill to take the place of the red one. I’ve never liked grading in red, makes it look like someone is hemorrhaging all over the paper. Since the ink cartridge is replaceable I will be looking for that. The eraser is kind of tiny, to be expected and the stylus not only doesn’t feel good using it on a screen, it has hit or miss functionality depending on the device being used and what you are protecting the screen with. Even though the stylus may be the weak feature here (thus rendering the attachment loop of dubious utility), the pen stands on its own as a superb writing utensil that you will be proud to have on hand.
The Acme Studio 7FP is available from the Acme Studio website for $58. It comes in six different styles. The one reviewed here is the Mercury. They also comes in blueprint, graph, crossword, ruler and elite design schemes, all for the same price. The same site has replacements for all the consumable parts of this multifunction pen, including leads and erasers.