Review of the Ti-Click Pro Titanium Pen After One Week

I recently purchased a Ti-Click Pro titanium pen from Big Idea Design. I’ve been eyeballing a number of sturdy metal pens in the last year to claim as a lifelong pen. After some significant deliberation, I spring for the $89 Ti-Click Pro Pen + Stylus. I made two video reviews of it if you’d rather have a visual commentary. I’ll post a brief text review below the videos for those who prefer that.

Six Minute ADD Ti-Click Pro Review

Twenty-One Minute In-Depth Ti-Click Pro Review

(AKA “Wow I talk a lot”)

Update From Other Reviewers

Here’s a list of other reviews of the Ti-Click pen. John Kellas did an in-depth review, in my opinion much better than mine, that includes many of the same experiences and criticisms:

 

Written Ti-Click Pro Review

My Usage of the Pen

I’m a fairly consistent pen user. I like to scribble notes to myself, I do some journaling, and when I’m learning something new (which is often) I like to take handwritten notes. It’s something of a memory exercise for me. If I write something down, I’ll be more likely to remember it by writing things down even if I never look at what I wrote again.

I pick up a pen dozens of times a day, but often don’t write for more than 60 seconds. Deep note taking and journaling doesn’t last for much more than 20 minute continuous stretches. If I have a click pen, I click it approximately 25 to 50, maybe up to 70 times a day. I use a task management system called Kanban and burn through pads of sticky notes so fast I’m probably a measurable contributor to global deforestation.

The Hardware

The Ti-Click Pro, as the name suggests, is a Titanium pen. It is a clicker pen; it does not have a cap or need to be twisted. It comes in two main styles: Classic and Pro. Classic simply has a metal thumb clicker and pro has a stylus nib covering the clicker that works on touch screen devices.

Within the Pro and Classic styles are three colors: Raw, Silver, and Black. The pen I chose was Raw which has a more rustic, unpolished look. See the videos above for a clear view of that style.

It should be noted there is also an RT and RTS design to the Ti-Click pen series. The RT and RTS are un-nibbed and nibbed pens that are about an inch shorter than the Classic and Pro. I don’t have an RT or RTS for comparison and I preferred the longer, fuller pen style.

The Ti-Click Pro might be most famous for being “the most refill friendly titanium click pen ever.” It can take 35+ different refills, and this fact is what attracted me to the pen over other metal pens. I have a drawer full of refills from other pens that fell by the wayside, usually as a result of breaking, that I want to use up. I also like to experiment with a lot of different cartridges because… well, because.

The pen is $89USD with free shipping and comes in a minimalistic box with a spongy sheath that you probably won’t use.

The Stylus

The stylus is firm, not like some styli that can feel like you’re dragging a wet marshmallow around the screen (or, more disgustingly, a booger). It worked well for me, and the firmness behind the nib didn’t feel like it was going to damage or scrape the screen. I was impressed and actually looked forward to using a touch screen with it.

The Feel

Since it’s a metal pen, it does have some decent weight to it, but because it’s titanium it doesn’t feel quite as heavy for its size as you’d initially think. Nevertheless, be prepared for a metal pen and know that if you’re going to use it for extended periods (30 minutes or more?) you will most likely get hand fatigue.

Since it’s metal it will conduct the temperature pretty well, and as a result if you’re in a cold environment it can start to send aches into your fingers and hands. That’s inherent to metal pens anyway, so I wouldn’t worry too much about it, but it did seem to stay colder longer than an old Cross steel pen I had.

The pen does feel a bit thick in my fingertips after about ten or twenty minutes of writing. I’m a male, 5’10 tall with a 5’10 wingspan (that’s 178cm x 178cm), so in essence I’m perfectly average, with correspondingly average hands. I would say that people who are smaller than me would most likely not enjoy the pen as much. Those with big hands will probably love it.

The Problems

I had five main problems with the pen:

First, a manufacturing defect with the tip of the pen kept me from being able to screw it off and replace the ink cartridge. There is a rubber gasket  that causes a seal between the tip and the body, however when unscrewing the tip, the gasket would get rolled into the threads and lock the tip. I had to twist the tip counter-clockwise and clockwise over and over in tiny increments to finally get the gasket to roll out of the threads and let the tip off. As a result this chewed up the threads causing metal dust to get all over my desk and hands, and it also chewed up the gasket. After testing out several cartridges in the pen, the gasket was pretty well frayed and wouldn’t have lasted much longer.

Second, there is no set of care instructions for the pen. I would have liked to see maybe even an email to a PDF that shows the different parts, how to service the pen, if there’s any oils that you can use on Titanium to condition the metal, something to use on any threads to keep it from locking, etc. This might sound a bit pedantic, but the problem I had with the tip made me question if I was using the pen in the right way. After puzzling over it for a while, I thought perhaps the cartridge was supposed to go in the back of the pen. I found a promotional video for the Ti-Click series of pens and there just happened to be a three second snippet of a guy replacing his ink cartridge. As a result I saw that you are indeed supposed to go through the tip, however that was entirely incidental to the purpose of the video, so I chalk that up to serendipity.

Third, and most annoying, the clicker mechanism is grating. To click the pen is a very unpleasant experience for the first week at least. If you have a serious aversion to fingernails down a chalk board, then you will probably get goosebumps when clicking this pen. It’s a metal pen, sure, so I’d expect some level of metal-on-metal feeling, but this is just nasty. Maybe it’s only a problem with the raw finish of my pen and the smoother silver and black finishes are smoother. My expectation was that there would be some level of smoothing for the parts that rub against eachother, but perhaps that’s not the case. I had hoped to review the pen after a solid year of use to see if the clicker mechanism smoothed out. Nevertheless, I really did grit my teeth when I had to reach for the pen multiple times a day knowing that I had to click it.

Fourth, my clicker mechanism had enough play in it to click ever so slightly as I was writing with it. It only happened if I was writing fast, but most of my writing is fast as I jot down Kanban tickets or scurry to get out a thought in my head for my notes or journal.

Fifth, and most devastatingly, the clicker mechanism completely exploded after ten days! After having written some with the pen, I clicked the pen, but when i let go of the clicker after having depressed it, the entire mechanism including spring rocketed off the pen and over my ear. For an example, see the six minute review above. I was able to find all the parts (I think?) but this was a show stopper. The clicker didn’t re-attach firmly so I think something genuinely broke. I’m not sure what or how because the pen had no abuse or misuse. I simply clicked the thing a few dozen times a day until about ten days after starting to use it, it couldn’t take it anymore and exploded.

The Fixes

As of the writing of this post, I contacted the support email address for Big Idea Design and had a response within minutes. They dropped spare parts into a shipment and had a shipping number sent to me within an hour. Wow, talk about fast turnaround time. There were reports of the clicking mechanism popping off, however I was the first one to report the gasket getting caught in the threads of the top. I still have yet to receive the parts and replace them. I’ll update the post when that happens.

Finito

I’m pursuing an exchange to get a new pen because I really do want to see how the pen ages. However the two apparent manufacturing defects (the gasket in the tip and the clicker mechanism) kinda soured my overall experience. Maybe problems three and four were caused by a faulty click mechanism too. Perhaps the grating and the clicker-waggling were all part and parcel of a greater defect. We shall see.

Nevertheless, removing the manufacturing defect with the tip, and the exploding clicker, but including the grating and waggling clicker until I can prove that it’s not part of a perfectly functioning pen, I’d say the pen is 6/10 on a cranky day, and 7/10 on a good day. I love the refill-friendliness of it, so that makes me feel like it’s a 7/10 on my good days. I’m not at all keen on the clicker feeling, so that makes me think 6/10 on my cranky days.

I’ll probably do another review when I get a replacement and have had a good while to utilize the pen and get familiar with it.

Do you have a Ti-Click pen? Did I miss something? Or maybe you have another fancy metal pen that you’d recommend. Let me know your experiences below.

3 Comments

  1. John

    May 8, 2014 at 7:42 pm

    This is interesting timing, as I am uploading my video review of this pen right now to Youtube as I type this. My experience was almost identical (fast response to queries from Joe, terrible grating of coarse metal on coarse metal, 2mm of excessive play in the clicker, refill would catch or not deploy, rubber stylus tip falls off easily and prone to getting lost), however I am less charitable and I’d give it a 3, and am simply going to return it and eat the return postage before the impecunious 14 day return period runs out. The privledge of returning will be about $16.00 as I live in Canada and the box is too thick to qualify to ship via Letterpost. Overall, this pen was reminiscent of a cheap Asian knock-off watch, and it never got the chance to explode on me, as it did with you. I even wonder if there is any Titanium whatsoever in this item, and the finish looks like it will scuff very easily. Perhaps the original version that was on Kickstarter was good quality, and then they moved production offshore and got bushwhacked by a factory on the Mainland? Unlike wine, I really doubt that this pen will get better with time, and I doubt the future bodes well for this venture. I’d recommend you do as I do and also return it before it’s too late to do so.

    Reply

  2. Roman

    July 16, 2014 at 9:21 pm

    Any other recommendation?

    Reply

    • WesleyDavid

      July 17, 2014 at 10:33 am

      I haven’t tried any craft pens other than this since the review, sadly. My pen budget is limited. I’m growing to like it more and more though, so in little while I want to post an updated review. It gets better as you use it, and if you get a well-machined pen. I think part of my problem was a poorly machined body which was just bad luck.

      Reply

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