Pens are generally something we consider portable in order to take notes while on the go, but there is a subset of the pen market that intentionally designs their products to stay put. The standard option is to either have a pen rest of some sort or vertical stand, but there are some that try to do things differently…
The product in review today is called Hoverpen which is currently on Kickstarter (ending soon…). Designed by a company called Shanpo who wanted to produce a desk pen, but with some details that turn heads or get people to take a closer look.
Rather than being physically stationary like most, Hoverpen deploys the use of magnets in a metal base that allow the pen to levitate vertically or even spin in place if you give it a twist. And, it does it pretty flawlessly.
Shanpo was kind enough to send me a sample of their pen to try out and I’ve been enjoying having it on my desk for the past couple of weeks. Thanks to them!
There are some Kickstarter projects that are a bit scrappy and the makers are just getting things off the ground, but others seem to have put a good amount of design work into the overall package they will be sending out. The Hoverpen came in attractive custom packaging with foam inserts to hold the components and is nicely done. Feels ready for production.
Aesthetically, the one they sent me has a bit of a futuristic vibe (at least to me) being all silver. The base is circle with a slight dome shape that has four pillars evenly spaced around it. The pillars have softer, rounded edges where facing the pen, but then flat, sharper edges on the outside. Like a building from some city in the distant future. The pen itself is a fairly simple, cylindrical shape which adds to the design.
The base is weighty and has a rubber pad underneath. This combo allows it not to move about, but also will provide some protection to the top of the desk which is nice.
From a usability standpoint I find the setup to be extremely easy to grab and use. Just reach over and pluck the pen literally out of the air (which is cool), remove the cap and start going. Also, the cap is magnetic too so it snaps back on without much effort.
The coating is a silver, metallic paint of some sort which is attractive. It is well done and the product is coated nicely. Oddly enough, when I first saw it I thought it reminded me a bit of the finish on my silver Macbook Pro… well, they mention in their campaign that the Hoverpen is finished in the same factory as Apple products so there you go!
From a material standpoint, the version of the pen they sent is made from aluminum, but they also have a titanium option available.
The pen is sturdy, but not overly “hearty” and is light weighing in at just 0.5 oz (uncapped). There are three main parts of the pen: the cap, the barrel, and the end cap (to cover the threaded refill). The two cap pieces are made of very thin aluminum and, while this isn’t bad per se, with metal pens I am used to slightly thicker walls or that the parts feel a bit more “machined”. It would take a decent amount of force, but I wager if I dropped my cap and accidentally stepped on it I would bend it pretty easily.
I speak to the way they designed it not as a criticism, but if you are used to metal pens on Kickstarter that have more heft the feel of the parts on the Hoverpen may come as a surprise.
For the refill they opted for the threaded Cross-style ballpoint which is like a long stick with a plastic piece on the end. These are generally found in many twist mechanism Cross classic ballpoints. It is a decent refill, but in our world of gels, rollerballs, or ultra-smooth ballpoints it doesn’t leave a lot of room for people that may have different tastes. If there was something about the pen I wish had been different it would be this.
Going with a Parker style or Pilot G2 size would’ve provided more room to please folks I think. There is an option to swap in a Fisher Space Pen compatible refill, but won’t provide much of a writing improvement.
Aside from my own personal refill preference mentioned above, I think that Shanpo has made a cool and curious product that people will enjoy. And, the initial pricepoint for it starts at $59 on the Kickstarter (my review model) which I feel is a good value. If not for yourself, someone that likes gadgets or fidget type products would probably find this to be a great gift.
Special thanks again to Shanpo for sending the sample for review. Their Kickstarter is wrapping up this week so give it a look if you think this might make a good addition to your desk setup.