Posts filed under Ballpoint

Craft Design Technology Chrome Ball Point Pen Review

Craft Design Technology is a unique Japanese stationery brand whose mission statement is to marry "modern design with Japanese heritage of traditional craft and technology innovation." Their beautiful green packaging has been on my radar for a while and when Rikumo reached out to me offering a couple of products for review I was excited to take a look.

The first item I chose from Rikumo was the Craft Design Technology Chrome Ball Point Pen - Item 22, CDT's take on the classic business ballpoint. This is the type of pen I picture in my grandfather's shirt pocket, on my dad's office desk, or in a Mad Men client meeting. It exudes style and class.

Most pen companies in the 1950's through 1970's leaned heavy on this design and CDT has done their best to refine it. The chrome barrel is a stunner. It is so shiny it is hard to photograph for a hack like me, but in person it makes a statement. I could do without the CDT branding - just their logo would have been nicer - but I would be lying if I said I didn't like the whole "Item 22" thing. Something about that cracks me up. It is so Japanese, and I love it.

As with all writing products in this line, the chrome ball point is built in conjunction with Pentel and therefore uses Pentel refills. The 0.8 mm ballpoint is average at best. The darkness of the ink is excellent, but it is prone to being messy and there is even some spidering (a string of ink between letters/words when lifting the pen of the page.) In the abstract it looks fine, but on closer inspection I expect more.

Getting down to brass tacks, the Craft Design Technology Chrome Ball Point Pen is a value proposition. At $65, this is not a cheap pen, so are the benefits worth the price? I don't think so. The design is excellent and CDT's goals are admirable, but the value isn't there. There is a long list of pens that I would choose over Item 22.

There are Craft Design Technology items that look like they would suit my writing needs better and I hope to try out more soon. This is a company that is well worth keeping an eye on. Big thanks to Rikumo for sending me this pen for review. Be sure to check out their online shop for more wonderful Japanse imports or drop in to their brick and mortar store if you are in Philadelphia area.

Posted on June 9, 2014 and filed under Ballpoint, Pen Reviews, Craft Design Technology.

Zebra Fortia ST Cap Ballpoint Pen Review

One of the latest releases at JetPens, the Zebra Fortia Ballpoint is a surprisingly good entrant in the less than $10 ballpoint category.

This is a classically designed pen. There is no show to be seen, no flair to be tossed around. The Fortia is all business because sometimes that is what you need. Rock your favorite Hello Kitty multi pen in your cube, but swap it out for the Fortia when you head into that meeting. Your boss doesn't understand the depths of your addiction, so no need to own it until the time is right. These are the things us addicts must consider.

The Fortia features a glossy plastic barrel with a metal inner sleeve to give it a nice weight when writing. The design of it reminds me of a wider Pilot Hi-Tec-C Cavalier. Like the Cavalier, the Fortia hides a refill worthy of excellent housing. No, it's not Hi-Tec-C quality, or even Jetstream quality, but for a standard ballpoint it is very good. Smooth, clean, and dark - can't really ask for much more. I generally enjoy Zebra's ballpoint refills and this is no exception.

Should you rush out and buy a Zebra Fortia? It falls into the situational use category for me. It's not game changer, but rather a solid offering if you have the need for this style of pen with a ballpoint refill. For only $8.50 I'd say it provides good value.

(JetPens is an advertiser on The Pen Addict and I received this product at no charge.)

Posted on April 4, 2014 and filed under Ballpoint, Pen Reviews, Zebra.

Pilot Acroball Color Ballpoint Pen - 0.5 mm - Light Blue and Orange

One of my favorite pens keeps on getting better as Pilot has added color to its excellent Acroball ballpoint pen line.

The Acroball has picked up steam since I first reviewed it in 2009. At that time they were only available in Japan, but soon started showing up at importers in the US like JetPens. Nearly four years later, Pilot decided to put the Acroball on the store shelves and at least by the chatter surrounding it, it seems to be doing well.

Why does it take a popular Japanese pen from a major manufacturer four years to hit the market in the US and other countries? I'm still searching for that answer.

Back to the Acroball Color before I go completely off the rails. It's great - as good as any Acroball I have used in fact. If you have never used one or heard of it, what sets it apart from most ballpoints is the use of a hybrid ballpoint ink, similar to the Uni-ball Jetstream that is so loved. This gives it a smooth, clean ink flow that is as good as you will find in a ballpoint. It allows for a vibrancy in color too, which is shown in the writing sample below.

The use of the Miami Dolphins color scheme is unintentional, but it kind of works, doesn't it? Both light blue and orange are difficult to get right in ballpoints but Pilot pulls it off here. I could use both of these colors on their own without pause. And the grip? Why this hasn't propagated through Pilot's offerings (especially the G-2) is beyond me. It is fantastic.

The Violet model is in my future, and if they come out with a good blue black it might be game over for the Jetstream.

(JetPens is an advertiser on The Pen Addict and I received this product at no charge.)

Posted on January 13, 2014 and filed under Acroball, Ballpoint, Hybrid, Pen Reviews, Pilot.

Ohto G-Fit Barrel Ballpoint Pen Review

Ohto G-Fit

I was pretty excited when I opened my latest package from JetPens and put the Ohto G-Fit Barrel Ballpoint Pen in my hands. It looked great, felt great, and was the perfect size for an every day carry pen. Then I started writing with it.

And that's where things fell apart.

Look at the output on the page below. Normally I don't get too worked up over bad ballpoint pen performance. It is to be expected more times than not. But when a pen has so much going for it like the Ohto G-Fit it is disappointing when the ink cartridge renders it unusable. There were a few words that showed promise, but it was primarily a skip-fest, and on occasion worse than that.

Ohto G-Fit

It is possible I got a dud refill. Possible, but not likely. I think it is more likely that this is normal performance from this pen. That's too bad because I think we could have a real winner on our hands here if the writing performance was up to par.

Ohto G-Fit

(JetPens is an advertiser on The Pen Addict and I received this product at no charge.)

Posted on October 28, 2013 and filed under Ballpoint, Ohto, Pen Reviews.

Caran D'ache 849 Ballpoint Review

Caran d'Ache 849

A Pen Addict reader requested months ago that I review a pen from the Caran d'Ache 849 series, and I was more than happy to oblige. I had my eyes on this pen for a while, and it didn't take much for me to hit the buy button.

I ordered the Black Metal version from Amazon and the photos don't do justice to how great looking this pen is. And honestly, I didn't expect anything less from a company that manufactures very high end pens. The 849 series is a way for us common folk to get in on a well-made and highly-respected Swiss pen.

The hexagonal aluminum barrel enhances the clean lines of the pen, and the chrome clip and knock add a sharp touch. My only issue with the design is that I would prefer more feedback from the knock. Maybe it is a Swiss thing, but there is no audible feedback when engaging or retracting. It is more of a squish-down, squish-up feeling and I would like to hear a more solid click when the ballpoint is engaged.

About that ballpoint ink cartridge - it is terrible. The tip is scratchy and there is a lot of white space in the line. That is normal ballpoint cartridge performance, but I expect more from a company like Caran d'Ache. I will be looking for a suitable replacement soon because this barrel deserves to be used.

One sentence review: The barrel is built to last but swap out the refill to protect your sanity.

Posted on April 11, 2013 and filed under Ballpoint, Pen Reviews, Caran d'Ache.