Friday, October 7, 2011

Keychain Pen Review; Picopen vs Telepen


Tec Accessories Pico Pen vs True Utility Telepen

I've had the tec accessories picopen for a little while now and I've been meaning to compare it to my other keychain pen; the true utility telepen (reviewed here).  Here are some of the differences, that I note.

Above: True utility telepen, Below: Tec accessories picopen


The tec accessories pico pen comes nicely packaged in a metal box.  Included in the box is a bunch of accessories including: a gate clip, small split ring, wire cable keychain, stylus/pda insert and instruction manual/information card.

Pico pen with included accessories, packaged in a rectangular metal tin

The true utility telepen comes in a clamshell packaging.  Between the two, I feel the pico pen looks better when giving it as a gift.  The added accessories and better packaging makes it look classier.


Both pens are comparable in size.  The tec accessories pico pen is slightly longer, but is also slightly slimmer than the telepen.


True Utility Telepen: GB £4.99
Tec Accessories Picopen: US $19.95

Using the current coversion rates, the telepen is less than half the price of the picopen.


The tec accessories picopen feels solid and well made, I haven't noticed any issues in build quality during my time with this pen.  With the telepen, I do note there is some wobble and play in the telescoping segments.  Also, as mentioned in the telepen review, I had some issues taking out the refill catridge.  Neither are huge issues, but something to point out.

It may be that their range is smaller and simpler design, but in general I find the build quality of items from tec accessories to be pretty good (e.g. the p7 suspension clip and glow fob).  I find some of the stuff from true utility can sometimes be a mixed bag.  The Firestash I have, has since come apart and I can not get the wick back in.

Having said that, true utility's offerings usually come at a fairly affordable price. And, if anything does go wrong, I have read on some forums, they have pretty good customer service.


When actually using these pens, I prefer the feel of the true utility telepen.  The telescoping ability of the telepen makes it more versatile, allowing you to adjust the length.  The width of the telepen is also controllable, to a certain degree.  I find the the pico pen a little too small and thin to grasp comfortably.  For me, the picopen would be a last resort writing utensil.


Both these keychain pens can use normal pen refills.  You can also buy official pico pen refills, which are stainless steel (instead of the usual plastic refills).

The pico pen comes with a stylus/pda insert, which can be used instead of the pen cartridge.  I don't have any pda's to test it on, but it doesn't work with my current smart phone.

One downside I find with the tec accessories pico pen, is the magnet in the keyring attachment.  This magnet does the job of holding the pico pen firmly in place.  However, I find the magnet also attracts other metal components on my keyring.  These components (such as split rings, clips and snap gates), annoyingly, get stuck to the keyring attachment.  I'd also be concerned about keeping the magnet near magnetically sensitive objects like credit cards.

There is a magnet in the keyring attachment of the pico pen


Given a choice between the two, I would prefer the carry the true utility telepen on my keyring.  I find the tec accessories picopen more difficult to use, and I am not a fan of magnetic attachment.  The picopen does make good gift, presentation-wise.

In future I hope to try the valiant concepts keychain pen.  Once again, the smaller size may make it more difficult to use than a telepen, but I would like to test out a keychain pen that uses a Fisher ink cartridge.  These ink cartridges are meant to write on more surfaces, as well as upside down.