Posts filed under Parker

Parker Jotter XL Ballpoint Pen Review

Parker Jotter XL Ballpoint Pen Review

When I think of classic ballpoint pens, the first one that immediately comes to mind is the Parker Jotter. There are older ballpoint pens, and there are better ballpoint pens, but there is only one Parker Jotter.

It's place among the pantheon of all-time great pens is well-deserved. Parker has treated it as such, with regular updates over the decades.

The most recent to hit the shelves is the Parker Jotter XL. As a Jotter fan myself, I was anxious to give this one a shot. And, while I like it fine, it's not compelling enough for me to recommend it over the classic-sized Jotter.

Parker Jotter XL Ballpoint Pen

Let's talk about the XL moniker first. As it relates to the original, yes, it is longer, wider, and heavier. That puts it squarely into standard pen size for me, as the basic Jotter is actually a smaller-sized pen. That small size was certainly closer to expectations from this ubiquitous pen in its 1960’s and 70’s heyday. But like almost every other product that has been around this long, bigger is assumedly better.

I don't think the larger size serves the Jotter well.

Parker Jotter XL Ballpoint Pen Clip

The Jotter has always been a small, skinny, lightweight pen, with a plastic lower barrel and a thin metal upper barrel and clip. It tapers down towards the tip of the pen, and yes, with that thinness I see it being a non-starter for those with large hands. The XL does solve that issue, but I think that is where the benefits stop.

Due to the taper that is also present in the XL, the pen becomes more unbalanced the lower you grip it. It is a high-grippers pen, if you will. The top weight shift is not drastic - it's still a generally light pen - but I could feel it instantly.

Parker Jotter XL Ballpoint Pen Refill

The refill also does this pen no justice. It shipped with a standard Parker 1.0 mm blue ballpoint refill, and while the smoothness and color were enjoyable, it was a blobby mess. Ballpoint refill technology has improved greatly over the years, so what passed for reasonable ink output a decade or so ago no longer cuts it. As I wrote, the ink collected on the tip, and subsequently transferred to the page when I rotated. I hate messy ballpoint pens, although it is correctable by swapping it out.

Parker Jotter XL Ballpoint Pen Blob

That brings up the biggest issue I have with this pen: The price. At over 60% more than the standard ($23.50 vs $14 at JetPens) it is only justifiable if a short, specific set of criteria are met. One, if you are a Jotter fan and the XL barrel fits your hands better, or two, if you are buying it as a gift. It's tailor made for engraving.

That's it in my book. It's not different enough for me to choose it over any of the few standard Parker Jotters I already own and love. Make it in bright orange or hot pink and I may change my tune (and the refill) but otherwise I'll stick with what has worked for decades.

(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)


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Parker Jotter Comparison
Posted on July 15, 2019 and filed under Parker, Jotter, Ballpoint, Pen Reviews.

Parker IM Fountain Pen Review

Parker IM Fountain Pen Review

(Sarah Read is an author, editor, yarn artist, and pen/paper/ink addict. You can find more about her at her website and on Twitter. And check out her first novel, The Bone Weaver’s Orchard, now available where books are sold!)

Parker is one of those legacy brands that has the old-school, iconic look down while still doing a great job staying current and on-trend. They've always been good about keeping their products accessible for new enthusiasts and desirable for long-time collectors.

The IM line of fountain pens walks that line between old and new and does it with class. It has the sleek lines of a modern pen with all the character of its vintage ancestors.

Parker IM Fountain Pen Cap

The pen body is made from varnished brass, this one with a brushed purple finish. It has chrome accents on the top of the cap, bottom, and cap band. The grip is black plastic and is comfortable to hold. It has the classic Parker arrow clip. It's a good size--not overly small or too big. It's a bit weighted toward the nib end, but when the cap is posted, it feels well balanced. The cap has a plastic liner that prevents any scratching from posting.

Parker IM Fountain Pen Nib

The nib is a fairly plain, small steel nib. At first sight, it looks a bit odd--almost too small for the pen. It performs well, though. It writes smoothly with a good amount of wetness and just a bit of feedback. I did get some drying when I didn't use it for a few days, but with a bit of prompting, it started back up and wrote nicely again.

It takes either Parker cartridges or a converter, which is probably the main downside to this pen. Parker ink is great, but the colors are very limited. The converter is necessary, I think, but doesn't come with the pen. That boggles my mind with proprietary converters--I think they should always be included. To get one, you'll have to plunk down another $9.25, which seems high. So while the price of the pen is good at $41, it's really a $50 unless you like to write in only blue or black.

Parker IM Fountain Pen Cartridge

That price is still good for a good writer, though, and it's in the range for a nice gift, or for a step-up from an entry-level pen.

Apart from the lack of included converter, my only complaint about the pen is that the arrow on the clip is a bit too sharp. A bit too much like an actual arrow, perhaps. It has stabbed through my clothes a few times and those arrow barbs made it almost impossible to get back out without tearing the fabric. So be careful what you clip it to!

There are lots of attractive colors and designs available, and a premium design line for a bit more cost. I think these are great pens for graduation gifts, workaversaries, or for someone who has decided to take their interest in pens beyond the entry level.

(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)


Enjoy reading The Pen Addict? Then consider becoming a member to receive additional weekly content, giveaways, and discounts in The Pen Addict shop. Plus, you support me and the site directly, for which I am very grateful.

Membership starts at just $5/month, with a discounted annual option available. To find out more about membership click here and join us!

Parker IM Fountain Pen Writing
Posted on April 18, 2019 and filed under Parker, Fountain Pens, Pen Reviews.