Posts filed under Uni-Ball

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.

Uni-ball Vision Elite BLX Roller Ball Pen - 0.5 mm - Purple Black Review

In the world of non-standard inks, purple black is only behind blue black as my favorite color outside of the standard black, blue, red trifecta. If I could only use blue black inks the rest of my life I would be happy, but dang it if purple black doesn't sneak into the rotation frequently.

Uni-ball introduced their BLX lineup in 2012 to some fanfare but I personally never fully embraced it. That was a mistake because these are really good pens. And after using the Vision Elite 0.5mm Purple Black model I think I am ready to name it my number one liquid ink roller ball when I add that list to my next Top 5 Pens update, which will be out before the end of the month.

I've defaulted to the Pilot Precise line as the best liquid ink roller ball pen for years, but the Vision Elite is where it is at, especially in the 0.5 mm tip size. The line is super clean and as smooth of an 0.5 mm pen as you will find. The barrel design is great, including the comfortable cross-hatched grip. On top of that, the Vision Elite uses archival ink, and the pen is airplane safe. What more can you ask for?

The only knock you are likely to have is that while the pen is refillable it is not very cost or size effective. Due to the design, and assumedly to keep it airplane safe, the "refill" comprises replacing at least 50% of the total pen, if not more. It is a huge piece that includes the grip section and pen tip, along with the ink reservoir. I think most users would just buy a new pen.

That oddness aside, I love this pen. I've long been a fan of Uni-ball's use of lavender black in the Signo DX and Signo RT so I am glad to see this similar color make its appearance in on of Uni-ball's main line products like the Vision Elite. The Signo 207 and Jetstream lineup also feature the same colors. I hope to add those to the arsenal soon.

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

Posted on October 6, 2014 and filed under Pen Reviews, Uni-Ball, Vision Elite, BLX.

Uni Style Fit Meister 3 Color Multi Pen Review

Image via JetPens

Image via JetPens

My Top 5 gel ink multi pen list doesn’t change very often. The Pilot Hi-Tec-C Coleto is entrenched at #1, with the Uni Style Fit a solid #2. The Uni Style Fit Meister is the newest barrel in Uni-ball’s gel multi pen lineup and I’m not sure it will crack the list at all.

On the surface, the Meister is a great looking pen. The lightweight metal barrel is an upgrade over the standard plastic barrel and the clean lines make this a pen people will notice. The Signo DX refills are excellent too. While you can choose Jetstream or pencil cartridges, I generally stick with the gels. It’s hard to beat the DX for smoothness and color vibrancy, although I believe the lines are a bit sharper from the standard single cartridge DX as opposed to the multi pen refills.

There are two annoyances with the Meister that keep me from heaping full praise on it. One, it uses a twist-deploy method for the ink cartridges. Some pens get this right, but not the Meister. The twist from station to station is quick from 1-2-3 and 3-2-1 but the second you go past slot one on the way back the barrel starts to unscrew. There is no buffer between that station and taking the pen apart.

Secondly, and this is something that may only annoy me, but the entire top section of the pen is able to be pressed down about a quarter of an inch for no good reason. Looking at the pen, you can depress the top of the pen like it is retractable and it covers most of the ink window in the middle of the pen. It serves no purpose other than to make me fidget with it and drive me insane. What can I say, I’m weird. (UPDATE: As my Twitter followers quickly let me know, I'm an idiot. What is my annoyance is others pencil click mechanism. Maybe I should try that component sometime?)

The Uni Style Fit is an excellent gel ink multi pen but stick with the entry level plastic body for one-fifth of the price. It is a no frills, knock-type multi pen that uses the same refills and gets the job done in a simple, efficient manner.

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

Posted on September 22, 2014 and filed under Multi Pen, Pen Reviews, Uni-Ball.

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.