It took me a while to give the Pilot Acroball a shot. I'm a fairly committed Uni-ballb Jetstream fan, and I just didn't have a need to try anything else. Fast forward a bit, and I'd heard enough good things about Pilot's hybrid ballpoint offering to give it a fair shake.
What I love about the Jetstream is how smooth and dark the ink is. It's a fantastic experience for a ballpoint, and it's also my go-to pen for ballpoint situations. They're work horses — dependable and well-made. So, that leaves Pilot with a lot of work to do from the start.
I decided to try one of the multi pens first so I could try several colors at once without having a lot of extra pen bodies lying around. Yeah, I could have ordered one pen with several different refills, but the multi pen is way more exciting. They always bring back the nostalgia of using a Bic 4 pen from childhood, except these write much better.
Look and feel
Let's take a look at the outside of the pen first. My first observation is the clip on the Acroball 4. It's a sturdy, spring-loaded clip that feels really nice. That's one thing about the Jetstreams that I don't care for: they have weak clips (especially in their multi pens). When I clip the pen to something, I don't want to worry about it falling off, and the Acroball makes me feel nice and safe.
Another thing that I love about this body is the grip. It's a fat, textured grip that feels good in my hand when writing. It also does a really good job of resisting lint and dust.
The "knocks" for each color are a bit weak, but that's normal for any multi pen. There just isn't much space to include high-quality, sturdy knocks for each cartridge. Yes, some more expensive multi pens have much more sophisticated designs that feel and work great, but they don't cost less than $10 like the Acroball 4.
I went with a clear body, which I'm really happy with. I have a soft spot for demonstrators, and this one fits the bill. There are a few other color options, but most of them feature a partially clear body. The colors only take over the grip and clip pieces on most options. The black one is just...black, and the blue one has a blue transparent body.
The Acroball is a great writer. Pilot has a really great cartridge here, and I'm happy to use it. But, it just isn't as nice as the Jetstream cartridges. In my experience, the Acroball skips a bit too much when compared to the Jetstream. The colors work well, but the black is a little lighter than I prefer.
To be honest, I can only notice this difference when writing with them on the same page. When I'm just using the Acroball, I don't notice any differences.
Another thing to note in my pen is that the green cartridge is exceptionally scratchy compared to the other 3. I'm not sure if I have a dud cart or if this is normal because of the color and properties of the ink. Who knows. All I know is that I don't use the green cartridge because of the scratchiness.
The Acroball is a fantastic pen that I highly recommend. Fortunately, this is a pen that most big-box retailers sell, so that means more people are being exposed to it. I'm happy it's out there, but I'm also more happy with my Jetstreams.
(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)