The Rotring Quattro is a very interesting pencil and pen combination.
It contains a .5 millimeter pencil, blue pen, black pen, and red pen.
It is very distinctive looking. It has sort of a gun metal finish. It is a rather large pen, I keep it on my desk to use for creative and editing work rather than carrying it with me.
The operating mechanism is very unique. Rather than having separate plungers or buttons to operate each color, you position the pen horizontally with one of four sides facing upward and push the button. Which color will be produced is indicated by a small (but easy to see) colored dot on the side of the pen barrel. The pen uses some type of gravity control to provide the selected pen or pencil.
The color selection mechanism works reasonably well, but there are occasional 'misfires' when you need to redo your selection. These misfires are generally operator error caused by not carefully holding the pen at the correct angle. The pens or pencil are easily retracted by clicking a button on the pocket clip.
I have found two shortcomings with this pen:
- The pencil is not as reliable as an inexpensive Pentel mechanical pencil.
- You are locked into using proprietary pen refills which are about 2.5 inches long. The refills are not particularly inexpensive. I stocked up on these so I don't ever need to worry about running out.
Gadget freaks and Engineers always want to play with this multi-pen.
Update On Mar 02, 2010: Original Rotring refill pens are becoming difficult to find. Fortunately, I stocked up and am unlikely to run out for years. If you need refills try Googling "Mini Multi Pen compatible Ballpoint Rotring Refill" (without the quotes). There now seem to be some aftermarket refills that are less expensive than the originals.