Call me simple, but I love pens that have more than one function. Doesn't really matter what they do besides write, as long as it's something completely different.
That's why I like USB pens – write with one end, steal top-secret files with the other.
Thing is, I've always thought of them essentially as novelties, as in pens that really are more just about fun than practicality. So I was a bit surprised to discover that there are USB pens made by some high-end brands.
Monteverde Invincia USB pen – carbon fiber-and-chrome ballpoint pen that contains a 4GB flash drive. Also has a tiny screwdriver for changing refills. Monteverde's suggested retail: US$125.
S.T. Dupont Neo-Classique President USB fountain pen – described by the luxury accessory maker as "the first pen designed for powerful and influential men." The pen is finished in Chinese lacquer with a palladium nib and includes a 4GB memory stick. Comes with a blue ink cartridge and a converter – and a healthy dose of pomposity, it seems. Average price: around £800.
Montegrappa Parola Ballpoint Pen with USB – standard twist ballpoint pen with resin barrel and palladium-plated finish. Contains an 8GB flash drive. Average price: €200+.
Swarovski Crystalline USB Pen – while known more for its crystal than its writing instruments, Swarovski does make a line of luxury accessories, including this ballpoint pen with 16GB USB stick. The upper barrel contains 200 crystals that are color-coordinated with the lower half. Retail price: US$90.
These last two are more along the lines of what I was expecting from USB pens, more low-end novelties than "luxury" pens.
Super Talent 3in1 USB Pen – an inexpensive ballpoint pen that includes a laser pointer and 8GB flash drive from Super Talent, a maker of memory hardware. Retail price: $US17.
Brookstone 3-in-1 USB pen – another inexpensive fine-tip ballpoint pen that also serves as a tablet stylus and has a removable 4GB memory stick in the cap. Brookstone calls it the "write tool for any medium!" Bad puns do not cost extra. Retail price: US$19.99.
If I had to recommend a USB pen, I think it would be one of those last two simply because it seems a little ridiculous to spend such large amounts on high-end USB pens, no matter how luxurious they are.
None are primarily writing instruments, all use tiny ink cartridges and even the fountain pen isn't likely to include a quality nib. So, if you pick up a USB pen as basically a fun toy, there is no sense in paying more than a little for it.