Posts filed under Pilot

Pilot Ageless Future Gel Ink Pen Review

The Pilot Ageless is a pen I have been fascinated with for years but was never sure how it would fit into my writing rotation. I was finally able to pick one up courtesy of JetPens and it is an interesting pen. Let's check it out!

The primary selling point of the Pilot Ageless is the barrel design, and specifically, the retractable mechanism. It features a double-twist deployment. Twist the section once and the nose cone appears. Twist again and the ink cartridge pops out and its ready to write. Reverse the twist and it retracts in the same two-stage process.

There are many things I like about this feature. First of all, it can be operated with just one hand. Rest the barrel in your palm, put the grip section between your index finger and thumb, and give it two little flicks to get writing or retract it for storage. The mechanism is smooth and flawless. Secondly, it is integrated seamlessly. There is no visible knock like with traditional retractable pens, and really no indication of how to deploy the nib if you aren't already aware. It is very well designed.

The barrel itself is made of metal and has a good weight to it. If you have a Retro 51 Tornado Laquers Edition it is close to that weight, maybe a touch lighter. It feels great and is well balanced when writing. When fully deployed it is a full length pen, too.

I have the Carbon Black Gray model with the 0.7 mm gel ink refill. It is ultra smooth and dark but I would prefer a finer refill alternative. I'll need to do some research because the refill is an interesting size to fit this pen. If you like 0.7 mm gel ink you will have no issues writing with this pen.

I compare the Pilot Ageless to the Zebra Sharbo X. It is a premium pen at a premium price, and for that reason it is not for everyone. For me personally, I love the design and if I can find an alternate refill I will use it a lot. If not, It will probably sit on my desk, look pretty, and be used sparingly.

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

Pilot Ageless Review.jpg
Posted on March 7, 2014 and filed under Pilot, Pen Reviews, Ageless.

Pilot Plumix Review

Pilot Plumix.jpg

I've taken my first dip into the world of squared nibs, and I'm afraid I'll have to jump all the way in before long.

The Pilot Plumix with a medium italic nib is my first experience with an italic nib. From what I understand, the italic nib is different than a stub nib, but similar. I did a little research and found this article on Richard Binder's site that explains the difference. Italic nibs are squared off while stub nibs are rounded off a bit. This information will become relevant a little later in this review.

Pilot Plumix Open.jpg

Looks

The Plumix is made almost entirely of plastic, save the nib. Even though it's made of a cheap material, it doesn't feel cheap. The plastic is sturdy and has a gem-like appearance that makes it pleasing to look at in certain light.

The grip section has a triangular grip that resembles what you find on a Lamy Safari. In my use, I prefer the grip of the Safari over the Plumix. If it were up to me, I'd stick with a plain grip section. I'm sure Pilot representatives are listening and will change their entire design to please me. Right?

There's an interesting bulb further down the body of the pen, just past the grip section. The bulb faces down (opposite the top of the nib) and provides some support when writing by snugging up to the space where your thumb meets your hand. I thought the design was a little odd when I first saw the pen, but I have to admit I really like this feature. An added bonus of this bulb is that it keeps the pen from rolling. This is important since the pen has no clip.

The fact that there is no clip on this pen isn't a huge deal for me, but it does mean I don't want to take it out with me. Pilot did integrate some small tabs on the lid of the pen to keep it from rolling.

One of the strangest things about this pen is the cap. It's tiny. It's only long enough to cover the nib and screw onto the section. I've never seen a cap that's so small. Surprisingly, it posts to the end of the pen, but it's not sturdy enough for my taste. A slight bump will send it tottering across the desk.

Overall, the build of this pen is better than I expected for the price. It's actually quite pleasant to hold and use. The quirky design is endearing to me.

Pilot Plumix Nib.jpg

Writing experience

In my mind, this nib would create a large, dramatic line variation that would rival calligraphy nibs. In reality, a Japanese medium is not that wide to begin with. The nib lays down a line that's a bit thicker than a regular medium nib when drawing with the flat side of the nib square to the paper (the thick end). If you turn the nib sideways, it lays down a really fine line.

The nib is smooth and has no starting or skipping issues. It ran a bit on the dry side for me. I'm not sure if this is a common issue, but it did annoy me several times. On the other hand, it also forced me to slow down to get the adequate ink flow that I wanted. This was good practice and actually improved my handwriting.

The pen ships with a standard blue Pilot cartridge. I skipped that entirely and went with one of the bulb converters from one of my Metropolitans. I tried several inks in the pen, and found that they were all a bit dry. My only guess is that the feed might need an adjustment or that the wide nib is spreading the ink further. I'd love to know if anyone else has mentioned or noticed anything similar.

The italic nib caused some trouble for me. The squared off edges don't play nice with thin or cheap paper. This nib is definitely much happier with a nice, smooth paper. It's because of this nib that I'm convinced one of my next fountain pens will be a stub. I imagine a stub is better suited to everyday writing. I'll keep the Plumix around to help me improve my handwriting.

Pilot Plumix Comparison.jpg

Conclusion

Overall, this is an excellent deal for a quirky little pen that will open your eyes to a different world of nibs. And if you're already a member of this other nib world, it's still fun to try the nib and the shape of the pen.

The Plumix is available in purple, light blue, and black. When I purchased the pen, I was under the impression that purple was the only color. Bummer. That light blue looks awesome. But, it's fairly easy to swap the nib to a Metropolitan or a Prera body, so that opens up a lot of style options.

If you're in the mood for an affordable, quirky italic pen, try out the Plumix.

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

Pilot Plumix Sample.jpg
Posted on March 5, 2014 and filed under Fountain Pens, Pen Reviews, Pilot.

Pilot Hi-Tec-C Coleto N 3 Multi Pen Review

Pilot Hi-Tec-C Coleto N 3 (Image via JetPens)

Pilot Hi-Tec-C Coleto N 3 (Image via JetPens)

The Pilot Hi-Tec-C has long been a favorite of mine and to this day remains the best multi pen on the market. While the refills have remained unchanged over the years, Pilot introduces new barrels to the lineup regularly. This time around it is the Coleto N 3 and N 4.

Coleto barrel designs haven't changed too much over time - a new body finish here, a rubber grip there - but the N models have a small design tweak that was needed. The flip-top cap where you refill the pen has always used a flat design with a small tab you had to get under and snap up. It worked, but a fingernail or two have been lost to the cause along the way. The N model uses a larger cone shape which allows you to use your thumb pad for an easier opening experience. Sometimes it's the little things.

Old (top) vs. New

Old (top) vs. New

And little things is all the Coleto needs. The rest of the N model has been done before, especially with the clear, smooth grip section. Somehow it isn't slick, so keeping your grip steady is not a problem.

What makes the Coleto so great are the Pilot Hi-Tec-C refills, which haven't changed a bit. I tend to lean towards the three cartridge barrels because I am locked in on what refills I want to load up: Blue Black, Clear Blue, and Apricot Orange, all 0.4 mm. These three colors give me the range I want while having fun at the same time. Adding in a fourth color confuses my brain. I can never settle on what combo works best so I stick with what I know.

The Coleto N 3 is one of the least expensive barrel options in the line at $2.50 from JetPens. I like it as much as the base model with grip and is more solid than the Smart model. Of the higher end barrels I prefer the Me over the twice as expensive Lumio, and it's not close.

One of the base models is all you need to get started with the Pilot Hi-Tec-C Coleto Multi Pen Line, and the new N model is a good one.

Do you have a favorite Coleto barrel? And what inks do you load it up with?

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

Posted on January 30, 2014 and filed under Coleto, Hi-Tec-C, Multi Pen, Pen Reviews, Pilot.

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.

Pilot Kakuno Fountain Pen Review

Pilot Kakuno

What is the best fountain pen for beginners?

I get this question all the time. My stock answers are the Lamy Safari and the Pilot Metropolitan but of course the real answer is "it depends."

The Pilot Kakuno will be joining - and maybe even replacing - the pens mentioned above as one of my favorite fountain pens for beginners.

Instagram has been a great resource to see what pens are hitting the Japanese market before makng their way to the US market, and pictures of the Kakuno have been popping up in my feed for months. I was in love with the simplicity of this pen before even getting my hands on it, and now that it is here I love it even more.

Let's be clear about one thing up front: The Kakuno is marketed towards school children in an effort to learn how to hold the pen properly and help improve their penmanship. Lamy did the same thing in the ABC fountain pen with their now commonplace grip design.

Pilot Kakuno

Marketing aside, this pen is for anyone who can appreciate great design and excellent performance. The plastic barrel and cap feature a hexagonal shape to keep the pen from rolling off the desk, with an added bump on the cap if the pen starts to get away from you. There is also a groove in the cap to help with removal.

The nib is standard Pilot quality. For those not playing the home game, standard Pilot quality is code for awesome. The F nib in my pen performs identically to other Pilot nibs found in the Prera and the like. It's fine, firm, and consistent. I'm assuming it is also swappable with other sizes (like the EF in the Pilot Penmanship or italic in the Plumix) but I haven't tried yet. I'm having too much fun writing with it as-is!

Pilot Kakuno

If there is any "gotcha" with this pen it is that there is a smiley face on the nib. It is there so kids know when they see the face they are holding the nib in the right direction. I thought it might detract from my use of the Kakuno but it is barely noticeable from a normal writing distance. Besides, what is more fun than a smiley face nib?

I see the Kakuno becoming a staple in Pilot's lineup, even moreso than the Metropolitan. The barrel is a blank slate, calling out for a huge range of colors and designs, and likely even some Japanese marketing tie-ins which are popular. Pilot could take this anywhere, especially with such a strong price point and the ability to use Pilot's ink converters.

For me, I'm taking it everywhere. It is highly portable, fun to look at, comfortable to hold, great to write with and downright cool. There is no doubt I will be adding more to my collection.

Pilot Kakuno

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

Posted on December 19, 2013 and filed under Fountain Pens, Pilot, Pen Reviews, Kakuno.