For $150 bucks you get a motorized ITR with 3 patented technologies that make for some absolutely incredible levitations and animations.
Take a look at the trailer and you'll see levitation and animation effects that you wouldn't normally think you could do with ITR. In fairness however, these techniques could be applied to any thread work, but you'll learn them here on the included DVD.
The DVD cover lists the length of the DVD at 60 minutes . . . not true. It's only 42 minutes and that includes the credits, the trailer, the FBI warning and the sales pitch he gives for Spider Pen Pro accessories.
The ad copy states:
"With a gentle touch, the bill flips in the air, and you walk away leaving it in mid air. Yes, you walk away."
While this is not entirely untrue, it's very misleading. It would be easy to infer that you are walking away and not coming back all the while leaving a bill suspended in mid air." You can back up a few feet from the bill, but you can't really walk away.
Additionally, the ad copy states that you can walk up to 35 away from the floating object. That is also not true. The reel that comes with the pen comes with 35 feet of thread, so unless you're bill is floating at your anchor point and you're planning on completely unreeling the entire thread reel, it's more realistic to say that you can walk about 15 - 20 or so feet away.
Upon opening the package and examining the pen, merely attempting to pull out a length of thread caused the thread to break. While attempting to fix it, I discovered about a foot or two of the thread had wax residue on it making things much more visible, so I had to break off the exposed thread.
The wax included is very sticky and messy and left residue all over the pen, so I would definitely recommend getting a different type of wax. Additionally, the DVD chapters where in an odd order. There were several segments that teach you how to use the device, how to fix the thread, how to use it, how to hook it up, etc. However, they were interspersed throughout the tricks and trick teaching section. It would have been much cleaner and much clearer had they put all of the "care of gimmick" sections together in the beginning. Working with the pen is not as intuitive as you might think, so having the information together would have been very beneficial.
Each of the effects are taught using visible thread except for one. It was very hard to follow the hook up and the manipulation of the thread without the use of visible "teaching" thread. Incidentally, this is the effect where you can "walk away" from the bill. During this effect, Mesika says that as you back up, count your steps. He never says why or what you do with that information, so I'm not sure the point of telling us this.
This pen is supposedly a working pen that you can use to write with. However, it's very unclear how your get then pen tip in a position to write. The tip is retracted into the pen, and there's no instructions on how to un-retract it (for the lack of a better word). I finally figured out that you have to twist the very bottom tip of the pen which is a bit awkward to do and causes the actual gimmick to unscrew. In my opinion, I would not consider this a working pen. Getting the ink in and out just doesn't work. Additionally, in one of the sections regarding pen care, he talks about how to replace the ink cartridge which is about a third of the length of a standard ink stick you might find in a BIC pen. His explanation:
get a pen stick from a stationary story and cut it down to size
Have you ever done that? It leaves an inky mess everywhere and you're left with a short ink stick that has ink pouring out of the non-tip end. He does not address this at all. He just shows a short ink stick that is about half full of ink. It looked custom made to me. I'm not sure that his advice for cutting an ink stick and inserting it is legitimate advice. But I guess that doesn't really matter since you'll never be able extract the ink tip anyway. Thus you won't be able to use it to write, and therefore will never run out of ink in the first place.
Lastly, there is a "hidden" menu item that briefly mentions that you could use the reel for a P.K. Touch effect. He doesn't demo it. He doesn't show it. He barely explains how it might work in less than a minute run time on the DVD.
Oh . . . and P.S. Battery Not Included.
As you can see, this project has a lot of "issues" ranging from slightly visible to extremely visible. For $150 you have the right to expect more. However, there are a lot of positives as well.
First, the technology used in the pen is brilliant and overcomes some problems with past reels (motorized or otherwise). There are no switches to activate the motor. It just "knows" when to turn on and turn off. It's very smart technology. The thread is pretty darn invisible and pretty strong. The effects taught on the DVD are amazing. I really like the fact that the pen is pretty innocent looking. It's above suspicion. For all intents and purposes, it's a reel that does what all of those kinds of reels do. However, the tension management "system" is smart and will allow your thread to last longer. Its automatic retraction motor is very smart and unlike any ITR that I've heard of (motorized or otherwise). I've never been much of a thread guy. However, after playing around with this, I'm planning on working on a couple of routines that will utilize it. Here's why:
What I don't like about traditional ITRs is that the longer the thread pulled out, the more tension and wear and likelihood of breakage you have. Not so with this one. So the thread will last longer, and the animations look better because of the more even tension.
Another thing I don't like about thread work (particularly reels) is that the floating object tends to bounce a bit (a tension issue). Again, with this reel you have more control. The pen is light weight, looks nice, and the reel works very well. The real question is would I use it and/or would I pay $150 for it. This is the first reel I've seen where I was interested in trying thread work again, so would I use it? Yes. Is it worth $150? I'm not sure that I'd pay that much for it only because I don't think I'd use it enough because I'm not much of a thread worker, as mentioned. However, if you're a thread person I can definitely see this as a valuable tool.
Looking at all of the negatives, you'll notice that none of them were about the pen's ability to do its job. They were either about the initial set up of the pen or the DVD or teaching, etc. So the pen is solid overall, but I'm just not sure that $150 is a reasonable price. Can I recommend the product in and of itself? Yes! Should you spend $150 on it? That's your call. You now know exactly what you're getting. Is it worth it to you?
3 Stars with a Stone Status of gem with a little "g."