Roche Diabetes has just released the next generation of their popular Multiclix Gatling-gun-style lancing device. The new version, called FastClix (yes, with a capital C versus the older lancer, with lowercase c), features one-click lancing, a whole new system for advancing the six-lance drum to a fresh needle, and an improved counter to keep track of how many lancing needles are left in the drum.

 Just how does FastClix stack up against its predecessor? Our correspondent Wil Dubois has been playing with the new device and files this report from the field:

 

So what's fast about FastClix? Ya don't gotta cock it. Just press your thumb down on the top and kwa-thiwp! Your finger is lanced. That's the biggest difference between new FastClix and the older Multiclix; but it's as big a difference as there was between Neanderthals and Modern Humans. Yeah, from a distance they look kinda alike, but up close...

FastClix is simple, intuitive, and well... yeah... it's fast. It's as easy to use as clicking a ballpoint pen. Just place the business end of the FastClix against a fingertip and click the other end with your thumb or index finger.

Removing the need to cock the lancing device actually removes 50% of the work involved in lancing your finger.

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Pretty cool.

Spinning the Drum

The second biggest difference between the older Multiclix and the new FastClix is the mechanism used for advancing to the next lance. The Multi had a dual-use top that confused the hell out of anyone who ever used the damn thing. To lance your finger, you had to depress the leaver. That cocked it. To fire it, you had to press a small button at the other end of the device.

If you wanted to move to the next lancing needle, you rotated the lever. There was nothing intuitive about how it worked, and it was easy to rotate when you intended to click, or to click when you intended to rotate. I had one little old lady who burned though all six lances in the drum without once lancing her finger.

The new FastClix has a nice white lever at the business end of the device. When you're ready to advance to the next lancing needle, you push the lever to one side, and with an efficient little click the drum rotates to the next lance.

How Much Ammo is Left?

Another significant advance with FastClix is a lancet counter window, showing you how many lancets are left in the drum. The first generation Multiclix (generally blue in color) had a hieroglyph counter. Never noticed? Don't feel bad. It's not obvious. Here:

 

 

Two bars means two needles remaining. The next gen Multiclix had a small number counter that required tri-focals to read. It's located in the same spot the hieroglyph are at. But the new FastClix has a large easy-to-read window:

 

 

What happens when the count-down reaches zero? Nothing. There is no zero. On the last lance, the window displays "1." And even with only one lancet remaining, the device can be used an unlimited number of times. If you get caught out in the wilds without a spare drum, you'll still be able to lance your finger.

What about the ammo for the two guns? Sorry. Even though both magazines hold six rounds, the older Multiclix cartridges don't fit into the new FastClix.

The overall size of the older and newer devices is similar, and, like its predecessor, FastClix has 11 depth settings, easily set by rotating a ring on the tip.

Just Keep Clicking...

When I first took FastClix out of the box, I worried that Roche had designed a system that would force us to use each needle one time and one time only. But, no, you choose when to rotate the drum to the next lancet. It's by no means automatic. You can use each needle as long as your fingers can stand it. Of course, I'm sure the official recommendation (from the people who sell the drums) is to use a new lancet each and every time; but out in the real world that's not realistic. Still, when you are ready, or when your aching fingertips are ready, spinning the drum to the next lancet is... well... Fast. And yes. It makes a clicking noise. FastClix.

What About Pain?

Well, I only used it once, more about that in a minute, but it lanced through my lancet-scarred and callused fingers cleanly and smoothly. If it weren't for the little drop of blood it left behind, I might have thought didn't work at all.

Wanting a second opinion, I flicked the lancet advance lever to rotate the drum to a new lancet and went looking for my type 2 spouse. After a brief discussion of how to operate it ("You don't have to cock it anymore, just place it on your finger and press the top like a ballpoint pen.") Debbie tried it out.

Then into her meter bag it went. "This is mine now," she said, leaving no room for argument.

So how good is the new FastClix?

Apparently good enough to steal.

 
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