The IT Vendor – Pen League Table

I’ve been travelling a lot over the last few weeks visiting many IT vendors. One of the things that most of these vendors decided that we needed was a pen. Leaving aside the irony that IT vendors want to give us pens it was interesting to notice the difference in the pens that we were supplied with.

Do the pens say something about the companies? I’ll let you decide on that point.

Starting from the top of the picture:

IT Pens League


The only pen to come in a pouch. A very professional pen meant for serious people. An enterprise pen.

This is a heavy pen (but not the heaviest) which is going to be solid and reliable. It’s also the only pen with a lid meaning that is sits very nicely in the hand and is quite well balanced.

As for colour – it’s nearly black, so it’s conservative even in it’s colouring.

Writing Stars: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

In complete contrast to the Cisco pen, the pen is an incredibly cheap pen.

The pen I was given is actually broken. The reason it is the only pen pictured with the nib showing is that it won’t go back in and it has a crack down one side.

This pen did come in a kind of a sleeve, but it was really just a plastic wrapper. The side of the pen shows the logo, which is, of course, the name and the web site address.

Colouring – it’s silver and red which I take to be bold but not really funky or cool. It’s corporate, but not really corporate.

Writing Stars: ⭐


This is the only pen in the set to have a logo, a company name and a web site address. Perhaps this says more about Eucalyptus as a young organisation than anything else.

It’s a nicely weighted pen, on the light side, but with a good grip.

The pen itself is a Smokey black, but it writes blue. It might just be me, but there is something wrong about a pen that is coloured black, but writes blue.

It writes well and starts from the off, not requiring any warming up.

Writing Stars: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐


This is easily the heaviest pen in the set. I wouldn’t want to write with it for long, my fingers would drop off. It’s a proper metal pen and you definitely know if you drop it on the desk, actually the whole office knows if you drop it on the desk.

This time it’s a blue colour pen – that writes black (What are you guys trying to do to me?) Having said that, the blue does appear to be the standard VMware blue that they use in all of their material so works as a branding tool.

It writes well enough, but for such a heavy pen there is no grip to step it sliding around your fingers.

This pen also rattles a bit, I really dislike pens that rattle as I write.

Writing Stars: ⭐ ⭐


Not sure quite what to say about this pen. There’s no logo on it, or any writing. It came with a notebook with the company name on it. I’m not sure whether putting the name, or logo, or web site address on the pen was too expensive for this relatively new organisation, but it’s certainly an opportunity missed.

I have hundreds of this type of pen and quite like them. The only think I don’t like about them is that I have a habit of twisting the clips off the top of them and it’s almost impossible to twist it back on.

It’s silvery see-through with a black grip. Not much to say really.

Writing Stars: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐


I did have a couple of the Google pens in different colours. One of the things about having children is that pens quickly get appropriated to other purposes. On the colour front, as you’d expect, the pens were all in the colours from the Google logo.

No need to put a web site address on this pen.

It’s a perfectly adequate, functional, plastic, writing implement. The grip is good and it’s a good size for my hands.

A green pen that writes blue, but somehow I can cope with that more than a black pen that writes blue or vice versa.

The kids regarded this as the cool new pen to take into school.

Writing Stars: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐


We did go and see Microsoft, but they didn’t give us a pen – they gave us a drinks bottle.

7 thoughts on “The IT Vendor – Pen League Table”

  1. Doesn’t it make you curious to know what the “Apple” pen looks like, would it be an iPen?

    Would they even think it was appropriate to give out an item of no-relation to their products (hardware, software or brand)?

    I mean a pen is pretty non-IT really, I guess the USB stick/pen fills that gap! A request for a league table of vendor USB sticks!

    Did you take many hand written notes?


  2. I got a pen from Sun that had a USB stick built in – clearly a pen drive!! Ha ha. But this was a while back – you can tell as it was 64MB.


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