Friday, January 21, 2011

True Utility TelePen Review

"As I swipe my credit card to pay for my groceries, the obviously sick cashier coughs and splutters into her hand.  With her germ ridden hands, she kindly proffers her pen to me so I can sign the credit card receipt.  Having no pen of my own, I have to accept the pathogen-covered utensil, sign the receipt and finish my transaction."

I know this makes me sound like a germo-phobe (I'm not), but the situation above, has made me consider adding a pen to my keychain.  Pens always seem to go missing, sometimes they can't be found when you really need one.  Having a back-up pen on your keychain, can certainly be useful at times.

In the past few weeks, I have added the True Utility TelePen to my keychain.  I originally bought this pen with my keytool order; it was not overly expensively and I was open to giving it a try.

While I have been very critical of the keytool, I feel that True Utility Telepen has hit the right notes with me.

When closed the telepen is relatively inconspicuous measuring only 50mm x 5mm (~60mm with keyring attachment).  It can be extended like a telescope, up to 115mm in length.  You can choose not to have the telepen fully extended and use it with some of the segments pushed back in.  As you push in the telescopic segments, you get more width to hold the pen.  Personally, I prefer to use the telepen with one segment pushed in.  I find this provides a good balance in term of length and width, for holding the pen (in my hands). 

 The True Utility Telepen needs firm pressure to take it in and out from it's key ring attachment.  While this means it is slightly more difficult to take out for use, it is also unlikely to accidentally fall out from the key ring attachment.

Keyring attachment, refill cartridges, telepen

With the packaging, the True Utility Telepen, comes with three black ink refills.  When these run out, you can replace them with a standard ballpoint pen refill (cut down in length).  This is great, in that you do not have to worry about sourcing specialised cartridge refills, or worry about refills if the manufacturer stops making the item.

It may have just been my sample, but I had a lot trouble removing the original ink cartridge.  In the end I had to pry it out with a small screwdriver, and ended up ruining the ink cartridge.  I have since put in one of the replacements... however, the replacement also feels like it will be difficult to take out.  I guess if I use up all the ink in the cartridge, it will not be an issue if I ruin the cartridge when removing it.

At GB £4.99, the telepen is affordable and less expensive than some other alternatives which are out there.

I have to say the True Utility Telepen was a surprise for me, I did not have high expectations for it.  I would not recommended it for extended use, but it is perfect for signing receipts, jotting down phone numbers or scribbling a few notes.  Great as a back-up pen.

I have only had the telepen on my keychain for a few weeks, but I have a feeling this may stay on my keychain permanently.


Material: Stainless Steel
Colour: Silver
Size: L50 (closed) L115(open) x W5mm
Weight: 14 grams
Included:  3 Refills (black ink), Split Ring, Key-ring Attachment
Cost: GB £4.99

Manufacturer's Website:

Some alternatives to consider:

Valiant concepts keychain pen - comes in stainless steel or titanium.  Uses special pressurised cartridges.  These cartridges can write on various angles and on more surfaces.  May have issues if maker stops manufacturing the cartridges.  Significantly more expensive than the telepen.
TEC accessories pico-pen -  more expensive.  Longer in length
Inka pen -  uses pressurised cartridges.  Significantly larger.

Additional Photos:


  1. I bought this pen about 6 months ago and I'm very happy. It is incredibly compact but when extended is quite comfortable because part does rest against your hand. The slightly wider tip also makes the grip comfortable. It's come in handy when I've suddenly needed a pen.

  2. This pen is not much to be reliant on!
    The ink refills all suddenly stop working, the spring loaded keyring attachment has let the pen go a few times.
    Luckily I have found the pen / noticed the pen fell off.
    But I am using an Inka pen now!
    The Inka is sturdier, though a bit bigger and pricier.
    But it stays with you, and always works!

  3. I have used one for 3 years and find it really useful. Not had any problems with it.