Posts filed under Pen Reviews

Jetstream Premier Review

(Jeff Abbott is a regular contributor at The Pen Addict. You can find more from Jeff online at Draft Evolution and Twitter.)

I'm a huge fan of the Jetstream line of pens from Uniball. It's the first ballpoint pen I tried that featured the new hybrid ink that feels so smooth and rich and lays down a consistent line—something ballpoints of the past just couldn't do. The Jetstream line has expanded, and there's plenty of various offerings now, such as different tip sizes, different bodies, and multi-refill bodies. I've always wanted to put a Jetstream refill into a nice pen body, but never have found a good fit. When I noticed the Jetstream Premier on JetPens, I jumped at it.

This is another pen that Brad took a look at back in 2008. I don't think it really spoke to him, and I agree with some of his observations. But, then again, I also think it's a pretty great pen. I think of it like this: if you want a wider bodied Jetstream with a soft touch clicker, this is a great pen. Also, if you're a fan of the Jetstream line already, you can't go wrong. The pen ships with a 1.0mm refill, but you can swap that out with whatever size you prefer.

There aren't many "premium" Jetstream models available. There's the Jetstream Alpha Gel Grip series, which is a few dollars more than the Premier. Like the name says, it has a soft, gel-like grip that gives way when squeezed. Personally, I've never been a fan of soft gel grips on pens, so I never pulled the trigger on this one. The other nice feature of the pen is that the body is metal. Sadly, the Premier is just plastic. Given the price difference, I'm not really sure why the Premier is not also metal. It's a little disappointing.

The Premier on its own is a great pen. The grip is soft to the touch, but still firm. The click mechanism is unique—there's a certain amount of smooth friction involved when you operate it. Unlike most mechanisms that give a very pronounced feedback, this one is soft and almost unnoticeable. For me, I don't really care either way. I can see how this would really bother some people, or do the complete opposite. Either way, it does the job.

The clip is strong, but has a cheap look to it. It would look more pleasing if the clip was more integrated into the click mechanism or the body of the pen. As it is, it looks like someone super glued it onto the pen. It's my least favorite feature of the pen.

I went for the black model, and if I did it again I'd go the other way. I think the silver model would look much better in person. The black model has a small red section in the body under the clip. It gives the pen a cheap, gimmicky feel.

Now, after those harsh words, I still enjoy using the pen. For one, I love the way it feels in my hand when writing. It's a very comfortable grip and it also uses those fantastic Jetstream refills. Win-win situation.

The tip of the pen screws off of the body, and it's made of plastic. I really wish it was made of metal instead of a plastic that is painted to look like metal. It would improve the look of the pen quite a bit.

Overall, I don't know if I can recommend this pen unless you want to collect all of the different Jetstream offerings. It's a good pen, but I can't justify the cost. At just under $12, I don't think it's any better than the Jetstream Rubber Body Series, which is just over $4.

Ideally, I'd like to find a metal body that accepts the Jetstream refill. Until then, I'll use the Premier and enjoy it for what it is: a pen that feels good in the hand.

Posted on October 29, 2014 and filed under Jetstream, Pen Reviews, Uni-Ball.

Pentel i+ 3 Color Multi Pen Review

The Pentel i+ 3 Color Multi Pen is the latest entry into the customizable multi pen category. It’s not Pentel’s first foray though, as their Sliccies model hit the market back in 2009. It was met with mixed reviews, as was the Sliccies 2+1. I wasn’t a fan of either but the i+ 3 has finally put Pentel on the right track.

The barrel design is what I like to call “standard operating procedure” for Japanese multi pens. Plastic barrel, clear, threaded section, plunger-style refill deployment - all the basics other companies have covered as well. It is good looking and inexpensive too. Everything you need to start building your multi pen.

Building it out is where Pentel wants to seperate itself by giving fans of their inks - specifically the EnerGel and Vicuna - the opportunity to use them in a multi pen. The EnerGel is available in black, blue, and red in 0.5 mm, and the Vicuna in the same colors and tip sizes. There are also 0.3 mm and 0.5 mm pencil components.

I went with the black and red EnerGel and the blue Vicuna refill. The EnerGel refills are excellent writers and I especially like the needle tip style as opposed to the conical tip. The gel inks are some of the smoothest and darkest on the market. But the Vicuna - that is the big winner here. I was already a fan of the 0.7 mm refills and the 0.5 mm may be even better. It is easily as good as the Jetstream and Acroball.

So where does the i+ 3 fit in the grand scheme of Japanese multi pens? Pilot and Uni-ball still take the top spot for me, but Pentel’s fans should be pleased. This gives them a valid option to use some of the best refills on the market. If Pentel can find a way to broaden the EnerGel refill lineup with more colors and sizes they will be able to easily compete with the big boys.

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

Posted on October 24, 2014 and filed under Multi Pen, Pen Reviews, Pentel.

Kaweco AL Sport Stonewashed Roller Ball Pen Review

Finding the perfect pocket pen is a challenge. Most of us only carry one. Should it be a ballpoint that will write in almost any situation? A fountain pen that will give you the writing experience you crave? Or a rollerball that is a bit of a mix between the two?

I’ve carried a fountain pen for the most part for the past couple of years, either the Kaweco AL Sport or, more recently, the Kaweco Liliput Brass Wave with a custom nib grind. Now that the AL Sport Roller Ball comes in the awesome Stonewashed finish I wanted to see if it could break into what has been a fountain pen only rotation. Short version: It can, and it has.

If it wasn’t already obvious, Kaweco not only makes great pens, but many of their models are perfect for every day carry. The AL Sport Stonewashed Roller has the same great build quality as its counterparts. The aluminum barrel has a solid feel, threads nicely, and can take a beating on the go and not skip a beat when it is time to write or draw. Just what I want in a pocket pen.

What makes the AL Sport Roller a real contender is the use of a Parker compatible refill. It ships with a Kaweco-branded Schmidt roller in medium, which on its own provides a smooth, dark line. It’s too wide for me, so I swapped it immediately with a Moleskine 0.5 mm gel refill in black and went to town. If you prefer the pressurized ballpoint of the Space Pen Refill that is an option too. Any Parker-style refill fits, making this a customizable EDC workhorse.

Kaweco pens are built for this. They are durable, long lasting, and flat-out beautiful. The AL Sport line is made for the pocket as much as they are made for writing when it is time to get down to business.

(JetPens is a sponsor of The Pen Addict and I received this product at no charge.)

Posted on October 20, 2014 and filed under AL Sport, Kaweco, Fountain Pens, Pen Reviews.

Rotring Tikky Graphic Drawing Pen 0.1 mm Review

A few years ago I reviewed the Rotring Tikky Graphic Drawing Pen in the 0.4 mm tip size. I enjoyed the build quality of the pen but the 0.4 mm tip size spews ink. Not in a terrible mess kind of way, but it goes on heavy. Great for artists, not so good for my writing style.

With all the praise this pen gets and my love for drawing-style pens I knew I had to pick up a smaller size. I went as small as they make (0.1 mm) and my writing is much better off for it.

The Tikky Graphic Drawing Pen has three main features. One, the ink is archival, which most other pens in this category have. Two, it has a metal encased nib to help with tip durability, which a few of its competitors have. And three, Rotring's Free-ink technology makes the ink flow consistently down to the last drop, which no one has that I am aware of.

While feature one is great, and three is nice to have, I'm a fan of anything that makes fiber and plastic tips more durable, especially when dealing with 0.1mm tips. It usually doesn't take long for drawing pen tips to show some sort of breakdown but this one has help up well so far. More use will be needed to see if any real issues pop up but it is tracking nicely at this point.

Ink darkness is important to me too, and the Rotring fares well there. On its own, I thought for sure the Tikky would be the darkest ink I would test, but to my surprise the Sakura Pigma Micron took that title. I've always felt the Micron was lighter than others so this comes as a surprise. I did use the 03 Micron so the line was wider but I don't think it affected the darkness. My favorite Kuretake Zig Mangaka falls in the middle of the range.

Overall, I can see why this is a popular drawing pen. It is more expensive than many ($3.60 at JetPens) but it offers added features that make up for some of that cost. If you are in the market for a durable, dark drawing pen then the Rotring Tikky is worth a look.

(JetPens is a sponsor of The Pen Addict and I received this product at no charge.)

Posted on October 17, 2014 and filed under Pen Reviews, Rotring, Drawing Pen.