rOtring 800+ Mechanical Pencil and Stylus Review - and EPIC JetPens/Dudek Giveaway

When JetPens offered me the opportunity to review the new rOtring 800+ mechanical pencil and stylus, the rOtring obsession part of my brain tingled and instantly went into "excited" mode.

For one, it is new, and two, rOtring is coming out with new stuff!  

This is big news and I'm glad to see the company (Newell-Rubbermaid) is making strides to expand the brand offering.  We can all hope that some day there will be a glorious return of the 600 series ballpoint, rollerball, and fountain pens...

JetPens was kind enough to send me over the rOtring 800+ in black and in 0.7mm, my preference.

My review of the 800 pencil last October left me with a pretty good impression and the 800+ has done no less.

The first thing you notice about a rOtring 800 (or 600) is how hefty and sturdy they feel.  Built from brass and all metal, they feel solid and weighty; like a substantial tool.  The knurled grip and hexagonal barrel give the pencil a unique tactile experience which is hard to find in other pencils or pens.

The key feature of the rOtring 800 model is the completely retractable tip.  To extend the tip for writing, the user needs to twist the end near the knock (there is knurling up there too) which locks it into place.  The retract, just twist in reverse.  The lead is still extended via the knock and comes out at around a 1mm length per click. 

One thing I did notice about the new 800+ is that the knock has some slight play in it or that it seems to have a sort of "half click", although it doesn't do anything.  You have to press past the half click to get to the full click if that makes sense.  I've compared this to my other rOtring pencils including my other 800 and none of them have it.  It also moves the retractable tip slightly which is new, but not entirely enjoyable.  Some other noticeable differences in the knock is the eraser sleeve.  My older 800 has a solid cap while the 800+ has a hole in it.  Perhaps a manufacturing change by a different outfit which has slightly changed the knock experience overall?

Now, the key feature that distinguishes the 800+ from the 800 is the addition of a stylus at the very tip.  When the pencil portion is retracted and not in use, the pencil barrel they acts as a kick-butt stylus.

How does the stylus perform is probably the first question?  I would put it in the ranks of "ok".  I've tried to doodle in various painting apps on my iPad and also use it on my iPhone and there does seem to be some slight delay.  For the premium price of an additional $30 to upgrade from the regular 800, my hopes would be that the stylus would be a bit more responsive.  Is it worth it?  I'm not so sure, but it is nice to have the pencil/stylus in one.  

I do give props to rOtring for doing in the way they did as it is unique.  Usually when pen makers slap a stylus onto a pen it is stuck to the back (and usually seems like an afterthought) so you have to "write" with the pen upside down or with the cap.  rOtring allows you to maintain the same writing grip whether using it on paper or the screen.

Another slight and noticeable difference is the way the numbers are separated by a period rather than a comma.  My silver 800 has a comma.  This has happened at various times as manufacturing shifted from Germany to Japan throughout the years, so I am almost certain that something has changed.  Also, the "800+ 0.7 mm" is not in italics.  I may reach out to rOtring to get a bit more info... 

The 800 and 800+ come adorned with some gold accents which is reminiscent of the old retractable tipped pens and pencils.  rOtring even made a whole line of gold accented rollerball and fountain pens (with 18k nibs...on the list).  This may not be for everyone, but I don't mind it.  I mostly appreciate it due to the fact the company is sticking with its roots a bit.  I would love to see rOtring rise to a higher prominence again.

So, am I going to recommend the 800+ as a "stop what you're doing and go buy one" type of thing?  No, but I do feel it could be of benefit to some.  A rOtring 600 pencil?  Absolutely.  In my opinion I think everyone on Earth should own one of those.  The 800+?  Maybe not, so think really about what your needs would be before shelling out the extra coin for it.  It is sturdy, iconic, and feels amazing to hold and write with, but perhaps a bit over the top for a lot of people's needs.  If you are a rOtring fanatic and nerd like me, then by all means you need one for your collection, right?...

Thank you JetPens for providing the 800+ sample for me to review!

Now, for the epic giveaway...

Since the rOtring 800+ is a very new item, JetPens is unable to use them as promotional giveaway items so Elaine, my JetPens pen pal, and I thought doing a giveaway of amazing proportion would suffice.  Sound fair?

We've actually partnered up for this one and are giving away not only JetPens inventory items, but also The Cube handmade by your's truly as well as a three pack of Doane Paper Utility Notebooks in the now discontinued Garage Series.

The grand giveaway list is comprised of the following:

Is your mind blown yet!?  This is like an instant, awesome pen starter kit.  Big thanks to JetPens for providing such a slick assortment of goodies to go with the Cube and Doane Paper books.

To enter, visit the JetPens giveaway page and make sure you are signed up for their newsletter as it is required to participate.  This giveaway is only open to US residents.  (There will be more giveaways for everyone soon!)