As you would expect, the Tech 3 comes in a selection of colours and finishes. To give my specific model its full and proper name, it is a Cross Tech 3 Satin Chrome Multi-Function Pen, item #AT0090-5C. It occurs to me that this blog has been going over three years, and yet this is the first Cross writing instrument to be reviewed. Ahhh, my oversights continue to build!
The Tech 3 is fitted with three tip selections – black ballpoint, red ballpoint and 0.5mm pencil. I won’t go into any detail on the ballpoints except to say they are the usual sort of mini cartridges, and write very smoothly and produce good solid lines. Your only quibble will be the size of the ink reservoir. The ballpoint tips are coloured red and black so you know which is which.
You rotate the lower half of the pen around to push the tips out. Unlike many multi-function pens you don’t twist left or right for a particular tip. This one is just a continuous twist, you can go round and round in either direction to your hearts content. At first I thought I preferred the directional concept, you know, from the retracted position, left for red, right for black or something like that. However, after a while with the Tech 3 though I think I have been converted to this continuous twist concept - just spinning around as it were.
So, let’s select the 0.5mm pencil tip. I have sometimes felt that multi-pens suffered from more lead breakages than normal mechanical pencils, bit I didn’t notice this with the Tech 3. Like most multi-pens the Tech 3 has some tip wobble. No worse than average, but that’s definitely too much for the precise folk out there. I did sometimes hear the tip move against the body hole when I first started to write.
The lead advance mechanism is a standard push top ratchet. Like many such multi-pens it is rather laborious and imprecise feeling compared to the nice crisp mechanism that pencil fans are normally accustomed too. Ten clicks will get you about 6mm of lead, which is not a huge amount for a general writing pencil. But then again they maybe more concerned about reducing breakage from over-advancing and so on. The actual lead sleeve itself is a short cone with final short pipe section. Of course the whole tip retracts when not in use so this writing instrument is fully pocket-safe.
There is a small emergency use eraser under the top cap. You have to unscrew the cap to get at it.To refill the pencil or replace the ballpoint cartridges you simply pull the top half of the body away from the bottom half to reveal the internals. Then pull the relevant tip off its stalk and replace. For the pencil in between the ripping off and sticking back on you of course shove some leads in the tip and up the stalk. This is where it gets a little tricky. You need to be careful when pushing the pencil tip back onto the stalk that you don’t break any leads. Cross say the Tech 3 is filled with five leads, well I won’t dispute that you can get five leads in there, but personally I’d say you were pushing your luck and I’d only stick two or three in. Unless of course you like a bit of break and jam.
There is no specific grip zone or grip enhancements. My satin chrome finish seemed to offer reasonable grip though. The combination of satin and lustrous chrome trims is pleasing to the eye, and overall this is a fairly nice looking pen. Personally I think the tip is a little bit blunt and rounded, and that they could have done a little better with that part of the styling, but then that’s just my opinion. Obviously the folk who actually get paid to design these things disagree.
The Tech 3 is not a heavyweight and is fairly neutrally balanced, perhaps a little on the top heavy side of the line.
The pocket clip is the standard Cross design, good sturdy and functional, although not spring loaded. The only marking on the pen is the Cross name on the pocket clip. Overall then, this is a pretty good multi-function pen, and I enjoyed using it, and took the opportunity to use the red and black tips to underline some pencilled notes in meetings, etc.
- Best Points – Continuous spin to select point.
- Not So Good Points – Limited ink and lead capacity. Lead advance mechanism is a little laboured.
- Price Range – Mid.
- Does this pencil make it into the Top 5? - No.
Dimensions – Length 139mm, diameter 9mm at lower body half. Balance point about 75mm up from the tip.
I often like to have a themed background in my photos. I was trying to find some suitable backdrops for the Tech 3 but wasn’t having much luck. Then my neighbours turned their stereo up, and inspiration came. Unfortunately I didn’t have any suitable images to use, but I took a couple of shots against screen images that I googled. There’s no prize other than honour and glory (and maybe an empty can of XXXX) for the first person to leave a comment about the relevance of this images to the Tech 3. Sorry to most of you out there, but this quiz is slanted in favour of Aussies and Brits, and of course Kiwis too.