Lamy Logo Multisystem Stylus/Pen

Reviewed by: Howard Carson, December 2004, send e-mail
Manufactured by: Lamy, go to the web site
Available from: StylusCentral, go to the web site
Requires: N/A
MSRP: $49.95 (retailers sell for less)

There is nothing quite like a stylus/pen that contains refills which can be switched lightning fast. While twist mechanisms are extremely popular these days, especially in the higher quality pens, many of those mechanisms can't be operated with one hand because the position of the rotating front barrel or tip section is too far from a convenient fixed section. Not enough leverage when attempting to twist the mechanism with one hand means you have to employ your other hand to extend, retract or switch refills. We want a push button mechanism that orients easily and deploys the refill of your choice using only one hand. In other words, where can we find a Lamy Logo?

StylusCentral sells a number of Lamy multipens and we asked to review this one mainly because several readers have asked about it and secondarily because I had, enviously, seen it in action in the hands of a client. In my ongoing quest for the perfect stylus/pen I was intrigued by Lamy's modest barrel diameter, clean & contemporary design, and high quality and variety of refills. A quick check with the writing instrument experts also revealed some reverent comments about Lamy in general and several of the company's writing tools in particular: the Logo being reviewed here, the TwinPen IT, the Swift, the AL-star, etc. Lamy designs aren't demonstrably elegant, tending rather to sleek tech and innate functionality. The designs also just beg to picked up and used. Lamy is based in Heidelberg, Germany.

The Logo Multisystem Stylus/Pen is a variant of the standard Lamy Logo pushbutton ballpoint pen which is usually supplied with the large Lamy M16 refill. Lamy has replaced their proprietary single refill mechanism with a triple refill version containing two standard capacity Lamy ballpoint refills (one black, one dark blue) alongside a full length yellow stylus refill. The pen tube is brass under the cyclical matte finish stainless steel outer barrel. The push mechanism is actuated by a composite button that is integrated with a spring-mounted steel pocket clip. Circular ribbing on the front part of the single barrel, just above the tip, provides a remarkably secure and non-abrasive grip just below the center of balance.

The trick with using stainless steel to design and manufacture pens has to lie in the weight and balance of the component parts. Too much barrel wall thickness and you end up with a pen that weighs too much and causes fatigue, writers' cramp, and constant readjustments in your grip. Add a cap or top-heavy mechanism or a brass tube that's too heavy and you've got a disaster on your hands. Lamy has taken the high road and smartly designed a strong device with a center of balance that should please people with medium sized hands and larger. In point of fact however, a number of people who attempted to (ahem!) permanently borrow the pen during the review period were women with smaller hands. So in this particular design configuration, it's the pleasingly moderate diameter which seems to be more important than the overall length, center of balance and so on. The truth about any stylus/pen's usefulness is whether or not users stop drawing the OEM stylus out of its silo, reaching instead for the stylus/pen clipped to a shirt pocket or daytimer. Where this Lamy model is concerned, almost everyone who tried it began reaching for it (and preferring it) over their standard stylus very quickly indeed.

Cons: May be slightly long for smaller hands resulting in the need for a moderate to tight grip, or a long grip, for best writing and tap control. It's a minor quibble. Both the pen and stylus refills can be replaced with different colors, but there's no way to change the colored indicators embedded in the push-clip. Stylus replacement requires a bit of patience because of the single barrel design, which means that the actual refill mounting tube is high up in the middle of the barrel. The process usually requires a few 'pokes' to locate the mounting tube and fully seat a new refill.

Pros: The M21 and M70 refills (blue & black ballpoint and stylus tip respectively) are extremely competent and functional designs. Ink flow from the M21 is very well controlled with no discernable clumping, no clogs, and a very clean hand - no drag except on the worst kinds of paper. Extend, retract and switch tips with one hand; the gravity actuated selector is almost flawless and very forgiving even at odd actuation angles. Works well for a wide range of hand and finger sizes. Extremely accurate stylus tip which centers almost perfectly as it extends from the barrel. Solid feel to the stylus tip, with very little flex when forming Grafitti strokes and smooth, well controlled tracking on longer strokes, during game play and when writing freehand using BugMe Notepad. Stylus tip compound tracks well on screen surfaces and on a wide variety of screen protectors. Spring-loaded pocket clip is very forgiving on a wide range of pocket materials and thicknesses and we couldn't bend the clip in normal use. Grip rings on the front barrel provide excellent control with little or no slip even outside on cold days. Excellent finish and manufacturing quality. If you need a clean looking work horse to do daily double duty for notes and to fully replace the OEM stylus in your Palm or Pocket PC handheld, this Lamy model is a terrific choice. Highly recommended.

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