The Platinum Double Action R3 sounds like some kind of video game controller but is in fact a three-way multipen. It’s available in five different translucent colours for about £5 (around $8) from Cult Pens, who sponsored this post. There’s also a more expensive steel version.
The barrel holds a 0.5mm pencil and two D1 refills (black and red ballpoints on arrival). The Platinum D1 ballpoints aren’t my cup of tea at all, partly because they’re not particularly great ballpoints but mostly because they are, in fact, ballpoints. I swapped the red one for a Hi-Tec-C refill and kept the black one for the odd occasion when only a ballpoint will do. If you want to keep the refills that this pen arrives with then you’ll find they are perfectly functional but uninspiring.
The lower part of the barrel twists to deploy the required refill, which clicks into place in a reassuringly definite way. However this is where the biggest problem with this pen occurs: there’s no ‘off’ position. If you want the pen to be retracted you have to carefully turn it to be halfway between two positions. This isn’t easy to do and it keeps un-doing once you’ve done it.
The pencil mechanism is great. When deployed it works just as any other mechanical pencil. The lead is advanced by pressing down the end. It’s held in place firmly with no wobbling or jiggling. There is even a reasonably sized and rather functional eraser. This is in fact a better mechanical pencil than many actual mechanical pencils and also costs a lot less than most.
I like how this looks. I’m a fan of pens that let you see their working innards. (I do not apply this thinking to people or pets.) The coloured barrels also look good too. It’s a shame that the look is somewhat spoiled by the fact that the tip of the refill has to slip along the inner tip as it’s deployed, meaning that some will leave a trail of ink inside.
The Platinum Double Action R3 is made well. The clip is reasonable and all the parts fit together without any wobbly bits.
I wrote the handwritten part of this review over a month ago and until recently kept the pen in my pocket every day. It was almost perfect for that task: a single pen that suited all my non-fountain pen needs. I’ve recently stopped using it because I kept finding one of the refills would deploy while it was in my pocket. This may be what my teachers were thinking of when they kept telling me not to fiddle with things in my pockets. I also found I’d often unscrew the erase cap. It’s a shame because it was almost perfect. My search for a perfect non-fountain pen for my pocket continues.
This is a great multipen for the price. (It is, let’s face it, dead cheap.) The quality is very good and the ability to use any D1 refill is excellent. It is let down by not having an ‘off’ position and by the inky tip issue. If you can live with that then it’s worth trying.