RIIND Compact and Slim Pens review – Simple tools with advanced designs

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CROWDFUNDING REVIEW – As a huge advocate of Bullet Journaling, and journaling in general, I take a lot of notes. I go through several of my favorite Leuchtturm1917 notebooks each year and even more Schmidt ink refills. I’m also a proponent of paying more for higher-quality versions of the items you use most often. This is why after accepting the offer for my current job I immediately purchased a highly-reviewed, well-designed bolt action pen to celebrate. That pen has proved its worth for years after outlasting countless lesser pens that couldn’t hack it.

The only other pen I ever considered purchasing over my current workhorse is the RIIND Pen (read our 2017 review here). So, imagine my joy at the opportunity to review RIIND’s latest products, the Compact and Slim pens, currently available via Kickstarter. Both pens hit all the marks for me; incredibly well-engineered, thoughtfully designed, and a joy to use over long periods. Compared to other similar pens on the market they’re quite reasonably priced as well. The Slim Pen is available on Kickstarter for $69 and the Compact for $89. I reviewed the titanium version of the Slim Pen which is priced on Kickstarter at $119.

What is it?

The RIIND Compact and Slim pens are metal machined pens that accept over thirty different types of the versatile Parker-style ink refills. RIIND utilizes some unique features on its pens such as a proprietary Continuous Cam, which allows the pens to be opened and closed with twists of their caps in either direction. The Compact also features RIIND’s Super Clip which can attach to almost anything and maintain its grip.

The pens arrive in a thick-walled cardboard box emblazoned simply with the RIIND logo.

Inside the box, the pens are safely secured within their own plastic cases and packed tightly.

I am now a fan of these cool RIIND plastic pen boxes and I’m trying really hard to find more uses for them.

What’s in the box?

  • The Slim Pen (Titanium)
  • The Compact Pen
  • Information card

Hardware specs

The Slim Pen:

  • Material: Anodized Aluminum or Titanium
  • Color Options:
    • Gray (Aluminum)
    • Rose (Aluminum)
    • Navy (Aluminum)
    • Black (Aluminum)
    • Raw (Titanium)
  • Dimensions:
    • Length: 5.1 in (129.5 mm)
    • Diameter: .41 in (10.4 mm)
    • Weight: (Titanium) 30 g

The Compact Pen:

  • Material: Anodized Aluminum
  • Color Options:
    • Gray with Polished Clip
    • Black with Polished Clip
    • Black with Black Clip
  • Dimensions:
    • Length: 5.1 in (129.5 mm)
    • Diameter: .45 in (11.4 mm)
    • Weight: 30 g

Current Refill Compatibility:

  • Parker
  • Cartier M
  • Visconti AA38
  • Fisher Space Pen
  • ST. Dupont
  • Schmidt Easyflow 9000 (509)
  • Schmidt P900
  • Stabilo
  • Parker Quinkflow
  • Pelikan 337
  • American Pen Company Gel Ballpoint
  • American Pen Company Liquid Ink Ballpoint
  • Montverde P11 SoftRoll Ballpoint
  • Montverde P13 SoftRoll Ballpoint
  • Montverde P15 SoftRoll Ballpoint
  • Montverde P42 Ceramic Gel
  • Montverde P44 Ceramic Gel
  • Montverde P152 One Touch
  • Private Reserve P900 Ballpoint
  • Private Reserve Gel
  • Schmidt P950 Megaline Pressurized
  • Unibene Gel Ink Ballpoint
  • Jaymo Gel
  • Rite in the Rain
  • Zutan Luxury Ballpoint Pen Refills
  • DunBong Refill
  • Rotring Giant Ballpoint
  • Stilform
  • Faber-Castell
  • Retro 51 Tornado
  • Staedtler 458
  • Kaweco Sport Gel
  • Uni SXR-600 Jetstream
  • Ohto Flash Dry Gel

Design and features

The original RIIND Pen with its industrial aesthetic, heavily knurled grips, and unique asymmetrical clip really made an impact on me when I first saw it. The barebones design is at once futuristic and utilitarian striking the perfect balance between the two. The new Compact pen is basically a shorter version of that popular pen.

The Slim also takes a lot of design notes from the original except it’s a bit thinner, has less of an aggressive grip, and is without the famed clip.

Disassembling the pens by unscrewing the front tips reveals how well they were designed and machined. The tips of both pens are heavy with long threads to keep them securely fastened without coming loose during use.

Even the spring used for the Compact and Slim pens is overengineered in the best way with tight coils on both ends.

The version of the Slim pen that I reviewed is made of titanium as opposed to the anodized aluminum used for the Compact and other Slim versions. The titanium texture is more matte than glossy and I felt like it allowed for a better grip than the shiny anodized aluminum of the Compact. Weighing in at 30 grams, both the Slim and Compact feel impossibly light during use, which was unexpected since the pens just look so heavy.

The Slim’s internals are identical to the Compact and mine came with a blue Parker refill.

The Slim has a much less aggressive texture than the Compact and original Pen.

Instead of a grippy cross-hatched texture, the Slim has simple horizontal ridges on the tip.

I found this grip to be both comfortable and effective especially after prolonged use.

The cap of the Slim has the same simple grip except the ridges are vertical to allow for good purchase when utilizing RIIND’s Continuous Cam.

The Compact delivered fully on the promise of the original Pen in a slightly smaller form factor.

The Compact’s internals, like the Slim’s, are simple and effective. My Compact came with a black Schmidt refill, my personal favorite.

The heavily knurled grip might look too aggressive for some, and I was originally worried it would become uncomfortable over time, but that didn’t prove to be the case.

Even after a full workday of note-taking, the grip never grew to be an annoyance.

Actually, having that same aggressive texture on the cap made me want to fiddle with the pen even more than I do with my bolt-action.

The Continuous Cam almost invites using the Compact or Slim as something of a fidget device. The twisting of the cap has a very satisfying, enjoyable clicky feel to it.

The biggest feature of the Compact is the Super Clip. I was at first skeptical of this oddly designed clip and its asymmetry really scratched up against my need for order and conformity.

But after using the Compact for a while now I absolutely love the Super Clip. As with the cap, I find myself absentmindedly snapping it throughout the day.

One issue I do have is that the clip is quite thick. As a result, clipping the Compact to the front cover of my notebook doesn’t work quite as well as it does with pens that have a thinner, flatter clip.

But this clip wasn’t designed for simply attaching the Compact to a notebook, it’s better for securing the pen to the side of a fighter jet without worry.

Performance

As I mentioned previously, the pens both feel ridiculously light in hand. Coupled with the excellent Schmidt refill, this lightness allowed the Compact to absolutely float across the pages of my notebook.

The Super Clip, as large as it is, never felt odd or uncomfortable in my grip. And the Compact’s texture actually allowed me to apply less pressure to hold the pen. I never got any of those deep indentations on my fingertips that I’d get from poorly designed pens after hours of writing. The length of the Compact was perfect for me since I prefer shorter, lighter pens.

The Compact’s cap was always easy to activate but never so loose that it opened and closed without me intending it to.

My experience writing with the Slim and its Parker refill was just as enjoyable as that of the Compact. The thinner diameter of the Slim worked well with the simpler texture since it took even less pressure on the pen to maintain control. The titanium body felt cool, light, and grippy without ever feeling slick. The Slim is the perfect weight and length for extended writing sessions and never felt uncomfortable or heavy.

Playing with the cap of the Slim was fun, but without the Super Clip, the whole body of the Slim tends to turn in your hand if you don’t hold it correctly. The lack of a clip also allows the round Slim to roll off of uneven surfaces, so keep an eye on it.

A bonus of the clipless Slim pen is that it fits perfectly into the pen loop of my notebook whereas the thicker Compact wasn’t able to squeeze past its grip.

After using both the RIIND Compact and Slim pens the only problem I have now is deciding which one to use each day.

What I like

  • Outstanding workmanship
  • Incredibly light
  • Compatible with many popular refills

What needs to be improved

  • Compact’s Super Clip is a bit too large
  • Clipless Slim Pen tends to roll
  • Might be expensive for some

Final thoughts

The RIIND Compact and Slim pens are worthy additions to the company’s lineup and compliment the original RIIND Pen nicely. Removing the clip and slimming down the diameter makes the Slim Pen perfect for smaller hands or people who prefer to go clipless. The Compact Pen retains all of the best aspects of RIIND’s original Pen, including the famous clip, but cuts down on the overall length. The light anodized aluminum and titanium used in construction make the pens a joy to use for long writing sessions. The fact that the Compact and standard Slim pens come with price reductions from the original Pen is all the more reason to pick one up from RIIND today.

Price: The Slim Pen $69 / The Slim Pen (Titanium) $119 / The Compact Pen $89
Where to buy: Kickstarter
Source: The sample of this product was provided by RIIND.

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