Posts filed under Pen Reviews

Pilot Vanishing Point Gun Metal Black Matte Fountain Pen Review

I didn't need another Pilot Vanishing Point. I already had two: the famed Black Matte, which became one of the "pens who shall not be named" on the podcast, and a retro Black Faceted model, which is a mainstay of my collection. So why did I NEED this new Gun Metal Black Matte Vanishing Point? I rarely need any new pen, but this one I had to have.

It took a while for me to get on the Gun Metal bandwagon. I wasn't sure of the color scheme at first, but after seeing multiple pictures of it and checking it out in person I went for it. The barrel is slightly different than the full black matte version, with the grey area being smooth as opposed to a satiny matte feel, which is reserved for the tip, clip, middle band, and knock. It's quite a stunning look, especially in person.

It also sports one of the recently introduced black nib units, which I am in love with. I went for the EF nib, which is ridiculously small, even for me. I never recommend this size to anyone but I love it. Paired with a well lubricated ink like Sailor Nano Black, this nib writes wonderfully smooth and consistent. But boy is it fine. You really need to manage your writing angle with this one to make sure you are hitting the sweet spot.

Many people have asked what fountain pen best compares to the Pilot Hi-Tec-C 0.3 mm/0.4 mm gel ink pens. Pilot's EF nibs, as found in the Penmanship (which can be swapped into the Metropolitan or Prera) and the Vanishing Point, are the closest I have found. Looking at the writing sample in my Field Notes it is closest to the 0.28 mm Uni-ball Signo DX and 0.3 mm Hi-Tec-C, so that seems like a good range. Ink and paper will cause this to vary of course.

But back to this whole idea of needing this pen. Although yes, I got this pen for free as part of my JetPens sponsorship, I still couldn't justify it without selling one of my current Vanishing Points. I didn't see myself actively using two similar pens, so my trusty black matte VP, one of my first big fountain pen purchases, has found a new home. More than any other fountain pen I own, the Vanishing Point is made to be used, anywhere and everywhere. That is this pens job, so having one sitting around collecting dust would be doing it a disservice.

My friend Mel found the words I was struggling to find about my Field Notes Butcher Orange, and it applies here too: "By using it, it is now truly yours and you've fulfilled its purpose." Words to live by.

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

Posted on July 21, 2014 and filed under Pen Reviews, Pilot, Vanishing Point, Fountain Pens.

Sakura Pigma Micron Blue Black Review

How did a blue black ink pen like the Sakura Pigma Micron 05 slip under my radar? I am a huge Micron fan and use the 03 black model all the time. They are also one of my favorites to use in Field Notes memo books. They write well, handle all types of paper, and are disposable so I don't worry about losing or breaking them. So how did I overlook this beauty? I was blinded by the cult of fine tips.

Comfort zones are an interesting barrier. For years and years I was fixated on ultra fine tips, the likes of which are found in the Pilot Hi-Tec-C, Uni-ball Jetstream, and more. The finer the better in my book, with almost no limit on how fine. That carried over to my fountain pen fascination, as stock EF nibs weren't fine enough for me and I sent them off to be ground even finer.

As I found out quickly with fountain pens I was missing out on the benefits that wider nibs have, like stubs and italics. There was a level of expressiveness to be found, plus it opened up new brands and styles to me that I wouldn't have considered when I was in "XXXF OR DIE!!!" mode.

And that is how I missed this great blue black Micron. A Twitter follower asked why I had never mentioned it before, knowing how much I like both Microns and blue black inks. The fact is, I was stuck using "my size" of Micron and never bothered to check that other colors were available in other tip sizes. I logged into JetPens, clicked over to the 05 Sakura Pigma Micron page, and lo and behold there it was.

It's pretty good too. The blue black color reminds me a lot of Sailor's blue black fountain pen ink, which I have come to love after some initial hesitancy. The 05 Micron size (.045 mm) is obviously larger than what I'm used to but I like it a lot, as the first 6 or 8 pages in my latest Field Notes book will attest to. I can see this size in other colors making its way into regular use.

Step outside your comfort zone occasionally. You might be surprised what you find.

Posted on July 14, 2014 and filed under Sakura Pigma Micron, Pen Reviews.

Uni Power Tank Smart Series Review

The Fisher Space Pen is the quintessential write-anywhere ballpoint pen that most people have seen or might own. There are several other pens that utilize a pressurized cartridge to achieve the same results, and the one that I've really taken a liking to is the Uni Power Tank.

There are three things that stand out to me that make the Power Tank a greater value than the Space Pen: Price, Grip, and Writing Performance. Bold claims, right?

At $3.30, the price is obviously much lower than most Fisher Space Pens. But, the price doesn't detract from the writing quality of the pen, which is what makes it a great value. I have several of these in different places. There's one in each of our cars, a couple in random bags of mine, one at work, and probably a couple others that I've forgotten. I can buy several and not flinch.

The grip on these pens is something I especially enjoy. The grip section sports tightly grouped grooves that provide an excellent writing grip. The thickness of the section is also very agreeable. It's on the thick side of average. I've written a lot with these pens, and I've never been annoyed by the grip.

The refill is excellent as far as ballpoints go. I don't think it uses the same ink technology as the Jetstreams, but it's pretty similar. Smooth, dark, and skipless. This pen keeps up with fast writing in less-than-ideal conditions and positions. On top of that, it's a 0.7 mm point, which is what I prefer. It's the same line width as the Jetstream 0.7 mm points. Prefer something different? You can also get 0.5 and 1.0 refills, although color options in all are bare.

One of my favorite things about this pen when compared to something like the Fisher Bullet is the fact that it's retractable. Sure, it's longer than the Bullet when it's closed, but you can't beat the simple one-handed operation of a retractable pen.

This pen is a real winner for me because it significantly over-delivers on what it sets out to do. It's trustworthy, and I love it for that.

There are five colors to pick from, as well as a premium metal body that's only available in pink on JetPens. They used to carry a silver and black version, and I wish I would've gotten one when I had the chance. The body colors are extremely exciting, but there's plenty of choice. Personally, I think you can't go wrong with the Yellow or Silver bodies.

(You can find more from Jeff online at Draft Evolution, Twitter, and App.net.)

Posted on July 9, 2014 and filed under Pen Reviews, Uni-Ball, Power Tank.

Parker Jotter 60th Anniversary Ballpoint Pen Review

I had a bad time with my first Parker Jotter. Readers had been on me for years to review it and I kept putting it off for one reason or another. Mostly because I kept forgetting to order one. When I finally got it in hand I was not impressed. The ballpoint ink cartridge was terrible, and while yes, I could swap it out for a superior refill, the as-sold impression was not a good one.

Enter the Parker Jotter 60th Anniversary Ballpoint Pen.

Hesitant is how I would describe myself adding this pen to my cart at JetPens. I'm open to second chances though, and really, who could pass up these great barrel colors reminiscent of the heydey of the Jotter. This is a classic pen, recognizable anywhere. Even Don Draper would approve.

I approve this time around too. After using the blue 1.0 mm refill in this model I'm starting to wonder if the 1.0 mm black refill in my first Jotter was a dud. It was horribly scratchy and felt like the tip was diggining into the page. The refill in the 60th Anniversary model was smooth, solid, and clean. Pretty much everything you could ask for in a standard ballpoint refill.

Deciding on which barrel color to go with was not an easy task. I opted for Gray Green, but Pink and Coral were both options, and Whiteness may be the most classic of them all. The Gray Green looks great in person, and all the pens ship in a nice two-tone box, making it perfect for giving to your favorite stationery challenged friend.

All in all, the Parker 60th Anniversary Jotter is an excellent pen. Does it write as well as a Jetstream? No. Is it as good a value as an Acroball? No. But the Jotter has that little something extra that is hard to pinpoint. It's been around for 60 years for a reason, right?

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

Posted on July 7, 2014 and filed under Jotter, Parker, Pen Reviews.

Pentel Slicci Techo Mini Review

The Pentel Slicci Techo Mini is one of those pens that doesn't look like much at first glance. But once you pick it up and start using it, you realize it was made to do a specific job. And it's pretty good at doing that job.

What job is that specifically? The Slicci's job is to be a dependable, well-built, portable gel pen with a super fine, smooth point. It's perfect for those of us that want a tiny gel pen that writes well. To boot, it's also really affordable.

One of the first things I noticed upon first picking the pen up is how well-built it feels. The body is aluminum and the tip is also metal. It feels really solid for such a small pen.

Clicking the knock also feels more solid than it should for such a small, portable pen. It takes a bit of pressure and locks into place securely. The clip is also decently strong and has a soft, rubber-like material on the clip end to provide some extra grip. Once this pen is clipped to something, it isn't going to shake loose.

Personally, I love the orange body, but that's just me. It's a great color and it's easy to find in a dark bag.

On the writing end of things, the Techo Mini is actually really nice. The body is incredibly slim, and that takes a while to get used to if you normally write with "normal" pens. Even though it's slim, it's easy to control and get used to. The length is also a good fit for me. The part of the body just below the clip attachment point is where the pen falls on my hand to rest. It feels good, but you never really forget about the pen. It doesn't blend into the writing experience, but that's not really the purpose. It's tiny, and it writes great for this category.

The gel refill is smooth and dependable. I've never had a problem with skipping or starting. At 0.3 mm, it's a really fine line. It's not as smooth as writing with a Signo DX, but it's still a great refill.

I'm not sure if you can swap in other refills, but JetPens only lists the proprietary Pentel Slicci refill on their site. It looks unique, so you might stuck with these refills if you buy the pen. Also, it only comes with black ink. Bummer. If anyone has tried another refill for this pen, let us know.

Overall, for an $8 mini pen, the Slicci Techo Mini is fantastic. I've taken it with me on trips and always enjoy using it. With six colors to choose from, there's something for everyone. Like I said, I think orange is the right choice, but there's also copper, purple, green, pink, and navy.

If you're in the mood for a delightful pocket/travel pen that has a great gel refill, this is a great start.

(You can find more from Jeff online at Draft Evolution, Twitter, and App.net.)

Posted on July 4, 2014 and filed under Pentel, Pen Reviews, Slicci.