Posts filed under Sakura

Sakura Gelly Roll Classic Gel Pen Review

Sakura Gelly Roll

(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.)

Almost every note I took in high school was made with a Sakura Gelly Roll pen. Often in metallic or glitter. Yeah, not much has changed in (mumble) years. As far as stationery nostalgia goes, it doesn't get any better for me. There are better gel pens, certainly, but they don't make me smile the same way, and I can't always be practical. Or even most of the time, if my glitter notes are any indication.

The Gelly Roll was the world's first gel ink pen. That's a legacy I really appreciate. I remember reveling in the smooth writing and saturated colors. It felt like a miracle after the dry, scratchy, and skippy inks I'd been using my whole life. And they've improved the ink recipe over the decades.

Sakura Gelly Roll Review

The ink is still rich and smooth, and also boasts a whole menu of desirable characteristics: waterproof, archival, fade-resistant, fraud resistant, and formulated not to feather or bleed through. It does still occasionally skip--I think when the gel clumps and prevents the ball tip from rolling properly. But it's rare and corrects quickly. I haven't had to do any infuriating circle scribbles to get the pen going, just a quick double-back over a letter or two.

The gel does still run out more quickly than other ink styles. After a day of writing, I can see (through the handy clear barrel) the level has gone down somewhat. But it's not as fast as I remember. I chose one Gelly Roll pen to be my only pen for an entire weekend--a busy weekend--and I only used about half a centimeter of the ink. In my school days, I'd have exhausted the pen in that time. Part of the longevity is, I'm sure, in the new recipe, but part is the finer tip.

Sakura Gelly Roll Tip

These pens have a finer point than the Gellies that were available back in the day. The .06 mm is fantastic for writing. It's still a smooth writer, but the lines are cleaner and crisper. My notes don't look like they were written in bubble letters or marker. They're still wild colors, though.

This bundle contains the new colors for 2018. Baby pink, baby blue (these two are Ballsign pens, according to the barrel branding--the American version of the pen. I've heard they're not as good, but so far I can't tell the difference), brown, emerald, fresh green, lilac, yellow green, opera red, orange, pale blue, and yellow. The colors are all bright and vibrant. Fresh green is a bit difficult to see, but will be great in coloring books. And these are fine enough to use in adult coloring books with wee spaces.

Sakura Gelly Roll Cap

The bodies are the same old classic builds, with all the good and the bad. The clear barrel is great for watching the ink drain. The caps look like bright candy. The caps are tiny and easy to lose, and sport one of my least favorite clips in the entire pen world. The clips are thin, bendy, sharp, and might only fit over one sheet of paper. They'll bend out of shape and never go back. I'd rather they weren't even there--but they made for excellent fidgets in class. The cap, end cap, and visible ink all make it very easy to tell which color you're grabbing.

This bundle sells for $21 and individual pens sell for $1.95. I think that's worth it for a nostalgia bundle, but I won't be loading up on every color of these. The classic design is fun, but there's a reason pen design continues to evolve. The Pilot Juice is a better pen and costs less. I still love using these, though, and I'll probably grab more when these ones get used up. Sometimes I just need that stationery smile.

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


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Sakura Gelly Roll Review
Posted on June 28, 2018 and filed under Sakura, Gelly Roll, Pen Reviews.

Sakura Sumo Grip Retractable Eraser Review

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(Jeff Abbott is a regular contributor at The Pen Addict. You can find more from Jeff online at Draft Evolution and Twitter.)

When you start delving into the world of pencils, you quickly remember how important erasers are. If you're like me, you probably had an eraser or two in school that looked a little like this:

Pink Pearl erasers

These erasers gave your pencil box a distinctive smell, but I never really thought they were incredibly effective at erasing pencil marks. After working several years at an art supply store, I quickly discovered how varied and focused erasers can be. One of my favorite types of dedicated erasers was the retractable variety, and that's what I'm reviewing today.

The Sakura Sumo Grip retractable eraser is a fantastic design with a soft and efficient eraser core.

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On the outside, the Sumo Grip is a long dark gray plastic body with a translucent ruby clip and advancer button. It's understated, but I think it looks pretty cool. It's also pretty sturdy — completely up to the challenge of a messy pencil bag.

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Retractable erasers can have some pretty unique eraser advancement mechanisms, but the Sumo Grip is fairly simple. To advance the eraser, simply press the top a couple of times. To use the eraser, just hold the body and wipe away those marks. While some retractable erasers require you to press a button on the side to stay the eraser core, the Sumo Grip has a built in clutch that keeps the eraser from backing into the body. But, if you want to retract the eraser for storage, just press the button on top and push the eraser in for safe keeping.

In use, the Sumo Grip does a great job at erasing pencil marks. I've been trying it with different types of pencils and grades, and I've had fairly consistent results. It performs really well with hard grades, but starts to struggle a bit in the 2B range. It still manages to remove the marks, but it takes a few extra strokes.

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According to the information on JetPens, the eraser is made of a micro-porous foam and has certain advantages over other PVC erasers. I don't know much about the different types of eraser materials, but I can vouch for the performance of this particular eraser. With minimal pressure, this eraser can almost completely remove graphite particles from the page with just 3 swipes. In my other tests, going for the complete white out takes just 8 strokes. And, apart from removing the graphite that doesn't belong, it doesn't smear onto the page. It's a clean eraser that does its job well.

The rectangular design (instead of round) gives it a nice edge for making detailed swipes, and the large body gives you plenty of control when making fine adjustments.

Overall, this is a fantastic eraser that I've kept on hand when using pencils. It packs up neatly, does its job well, and doesn't break the bank. At under $4, it's a great deal. You can't order refills, but the entire package is intended to be disposable. You can find other options that offer eraser refills, but this is a great portable option.

(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!

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Posted on December 20, 2017 and filed under Sakura, Eraser, Pencil Reviews.

Sakura Ballsign Premium 4*1 Multipen Review

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(Jeff Abbott is a regular contributor at The Pen Addict. You can find more from Jeff online at Draft Evolution and Twitter.)

No matter what your preferences may be in terms of gel pens, you can probably find a multi-pen variant from that manufacturer or that will fit your favorite refills. Today, we're looking at the Sakura Ballsign 4*1 multi-pen.

The Ballsign 4*1 is available in several color options, but I have the all-black version, which looks fantastic. There isn't a single piece of bling on the matte black beauty apart from the colored refill selectors. It gives this pen a tactical feel, though I don't think the same is true in the other colors.

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Most of the pen is plastic, but the grip section is a coated brass that adds a nice balance when writing. With the center of gravity so low, it's easy to control the pen when writing. This is especially important when using such fine-tipped refills like those that come with the pen. At 0.4mm, they strike a good balance between ultra-fine and still wide enough to show off the colors.

Like most multi-pens, you select a refill by depressing a tab at the top of the pen. When you want to retract it or select another refill, just depress another one. While there are four different gel ink refills to choose from (black, blue, green, and red), it also features a 0.5mm mechanical pencil component. To use this, depress the clip! The integrated clip, pencil selector, and lead advancer is a great implementation for this pen. I've really enjoyed using it and haven't had any trouble with the pencil.

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At the top of the pen, there's a small eraser hidden under a black cap that snaps on and off. Like most pencils with hidden erasers, I worry about losing the eraser cap at some point, even if I'm not routinely using the eraser.

Unlike other mechanical pencils, you don't refill the lead by dropping in more lead in the barrel that also holds the eraser. In this case, you unscrew the pen and remove the mechanical pencil component. The lead drops into the small component, and you can reassemble the pen. All in all, it's only one additional step compared to normal mechanical pencils.

The 0.4mm gel refills that come with this pen are very nice — they are smooth, bold, and have great color. The green is a little dark and a tad blue for my tastes, but it's still an interesting color. It's not a typical hunter green that normally comes with a standard multi-pen. The line edges are crisp and clean, and I haven't had any issues with skipping on most paper. Oddly, the black refill doesn't play nicely with Rhodia, but has no issues on other papers. I assume this has something to do with the coating on the paper, so keep that in mind if you intend to use this pen on any paper that features a smooth coating (like Rhodia).

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As far as refill options go, you're pretty limited in the Sakura lineup. They only offer the same four colors that come with the pen: black, blue, green, and red. Unfortunately, I can't find anything else that fits. Pilot Acroball, Zebra Sarasa, Uni Style Fit, Uniball Jetstream, and D1 refills are either too short or too wide for the Sakura. This is a shame because an important part of any multi-pen is the ability to fill it with whatever colors fit your fancy. It's not uncommon for a manufacture to limit the color options in their multi-pen, but I wish it wasn't true. Either way, also bear that in mind if you're interested in this pen. The refill options are very limited!

Another aspect that somewhat soured my experience with this pen was upon initially opening it and trying to use it. Like most gel pens, each refill had a protective seal on the tip of the point. I've never had any problems removing these, as they simply slide off with a small amount of pressure. The Sakura Ballsign refills (all four of them) were a much different story. Using friction from your fingertips won't cut it; you have to use fingernails in order to accomplish anything, but it's slow work. Only small strips of the protective gel/wax covering came off with each attempt. Even after removing it (I spent 15 minutes doing this), the refills had trouble writing due to small amounts of sticky residue left behind on the gel ball. In time, everything started working perfectly, but it was a frustrating initial experience. Maybe it was a fluke, but consider yourself warned!

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Apart from the lack of color options for the refills and a frustrating unboxing experience, the Sakura Ballsign 4*1 is a solid multi-pen. The refills are all smooth and bold, and the pencil is reliable and well made. The weighted grip section gives the pen a premium and stable feel when writing, and the matte black color scheme gives it an intriguing aesthetic.

The Ballsign 4*1 is available in 2 varieties: standard and Premium. In the standard vein, you have an option of Navy, Red, Black, and Dark Brown. In the Premium vein, you have Black and Silver. The difference between the two is that the Premium pens have the weighted brass section, whereas the standard pens have a plastic, textured grip section. The prices range from about $15 to $25 for both lines, which are affordable and fair for the quality. Overall, these are great multi-pens!

(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!

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Posted on December 13, 2017 and filed under Sakura, Multi Pen, Pen Reviews.