Posts filed under Ballpoint

Bic Cristal Ballpoint Pen Review

For a blog that reviews pens you would have thought I would have reviewed one of the most famous pens in the world by now. But I hadn’t, despite many, many calls to do so. Why has it taken so long for me to review the Bic Cristal ballpoint pen? I have no idea.

The fact is, this is a good pen, if not a great one. Released to the public in 1950, it has had a 65-plus year run and shows no signs of slowing down. The design is revered too, with its clear hex-barrel being featured in the Museum of Modern Art. A design classic that has stood the test of time? Sign me up.

From a performance perspective it has a wide variety of uses. The oil-based ink writes well on many surfaces, is smooth, and dries quickly. It is also water-resistant, making it a good choice for outdoor use as well as waterproof paper such as Rite in the Rain.

What I find the most impressive is that the Bic Cristal has been the choice of designers, engineers, architects, and artists for decades as well. Just look at the detail someone like Andrea Joseph can get with a balpoint pen. Google “ballpoint pen drawings” and your jaw will drop.

I don’t have the artistic chops to appear in those search results, but I do enjoy writing with the Cristal. It’s lightweight, smooth, surprisingly clean - no globs or mess from the ink around the tip - and you can get shading variation depending on the pressure used. There is some white space in the lines, which is the primary downside. It’s not as solid or deep in color as a Uni-ball Jetstream or Pilot Acroball for sure.

The best part about the Bic Cristal? It will cost you about .20 cents per pen. Grab a dozen or two, throw them around the house, car, office, gym - anywhere a pen might come in handy - and know that you are covered in a pinch. You may discover that it ends up in your writing rotation more than that.

Posted on January 18, 2016 and filed under Bic, Ballpoint, Pen Reviews.

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.