The PHX was my first Kickstarter venture. Sure, call me a Johnny Come Lately, it's true.
I'd seen the Pen Type-A while it was still live/ongoing/whatever it's been termed, but I didn't jump on board. Which is weird. It got me pretty excited. But you know how some people argue that using "pretty" as an adverb is actually a demotion from the default status of the adjective? That's the kind of pretty excited I was. Because for an awesomely designed shell for the wonderful Hi-Tec-C, I knew it was a pen I wouldn't use. No cap. No cap? What do you mean you don't have no cap? Oh, but you have a ?holster? ...yay. I just knew it wouldn't fit into my lifestyle.
Then the Render K busted on the scene. This really got my juices flowing. Real cap, real clip, some knurling tossed in for good measure - an aesthetic I could get behind 100%. It's ruggedly classy! I really have no excuse why I didn't back this. I'd feel bad about it, if they didn't blow way past their goal. I'll probably end up picking one of these up from their direct site, because I really like what they've produced.
But neither of those products is what I'm trying to talk about now
By the time the PHX came up, I was clearly ready to back a Kickstarter barrel for the Hi-Tec-C. There were a few things that roped me in quick and made me feel secure:
- Touted Balance = sustained comfortable use
- Stainless Steel = Heft = conforming to that weight->value concept many pen fiends have
- Additional compatibility with the Signo DX
- Only $20. Whoa, cheapest Hi-Tec-C barrel yet!
So I backed the project, tacked on the additional$3 for the threaded back plug, and went about life.
It arrived in the mail towards the end of May, much to my excitement. It came with a nice, durable pocket sleeve.
Now these Kickstarter crews are doing a great job with very thorough presentation of their product, so you know a lot more about the product before buying it than is the case for most purchases (at least in the pen department).
But what can't you tell from the interets, regarding the PHX?
The first thing I noticed was how much less I had to apply pressure to the page. Due to the barrel's significant weight, I can use a very light grip. This is especially nice for sketching. I can get a smooth dark line with zero force. I know this is mostly the Hi-Tec-C at work, but weight of the PHX does make a difference.
One of the things I'd worried about was the threads getting in the way of my grip or irritating my finger tips. Totally not the case, even when I'm holding the pen right on the threads. Speaking of grip, the barrel is really smooth. I've read a lot of minor gripes that hands just slip off this pen. I don't know what kind of grip these people are using, because it's definitely not an issue for me.
One of my hopes was that I would feel cooler while using this pen. It absolutely has that effect. An effect I wasn't expecting is how much safer I would feel from criminals. I don't normally carry around tactical pens, but I'm pretty sure the PHX fits into the bludgeon category. But be warned: if you're ever sneaking into, well... anything, try not to drop it. The PHX is LOUD. Even just rolling around on my desk, I keep thinking a rail car is pulling up beside me.
So are there any real cons to this pen?
I do have some small issues to note. Posting this pen makes it unwieldy and very off-balance. I feel a lot more tension in my wrist when writing with the PHX posted, and it becomes unpleasant to use. Also, unthreading the cap from the back plug has a tendency to loosen the plug from the body of the pen. Whoops! Luckily, I'm not big on posting in the first place. (Chad&Joe note that using fabric/grippy thing to tighten the back plug more securely will prevent the cap from unthreading the plug)
Also, I find that the cap doesn't always thread smoothly onto the front of the pen. Maybe I'm just inept, but there have been times where I'm actually looking at what I'm doing and the cap still won't thread on smoothly the first try.
Another thing to note is that this really isn't an EDC pen. Which is exactly how I've been using it. But it's too heavy not to notice in any pocket, and if you don't use the sleeve, the PHX is a danger to anything else held within your pockets.
But those are minor issues. I've had the PHX for a month now, and it's held the lion's share of my attention. I'm really glad I backed it, and I look forward to when Chad & Joe's next project arrives at my door.