I am on record (some may say broken record) as not a very big fan of ballpoint pens, but from time to time I do get tempted. The Pentel Graphgear 1000 ballpoint has two things going for it that made me bite: 1) 0.5mm tip size, and 2) a beautiful barrel.
When dealing with ballpoint pens, a tip width of 0.5mm translates roughly to an 0.4mm gel ink width, so this is a really fine point for a ballpoint pen. Most standard off the shelf ballpoints are 1.0mm (roughly 0.7mm gel ink width), and some brands have 0.7mm widths available (roughly 0.5mm). There are even fewer options in the 0.5mm category, and the ones I have used before have been great, so I was hoping for the best with this Graphgear.
The first thing that strikes you about this pen is obviously the barrel. This type of design is common in engineering and drafting pencils, so it is nice to see it available in a pen. The grip area is interesting in that the metal is interspersed with raised rubber ovals. You would think it would feel strange of uncomfortable, but it works surprisingly well. The ovals are soft enough to where it doesn't feel like they interfeere with your grip. The other thing I love with this barrel is the clicker. Aside from feeling very strong and durable, when you click it down it locks firmly into place. This is a very nice feature, especially for those that hate that extra rattling at the end of their pen caused by a depressed clicker. Since it locks in, you release it by clicking the top end of the clip, and it ejects with a solid thud.
From a writing perspective, I didn't realize an 0.5mm ballpoint could write so smoothly. If you got on a roll journaling, note taking, or writing the next great American novel, you wouldn't have any reason to slow down and take a break. It just keeps on flowing very nicely. Like many ballpoints, it does clump a bit at the tip every few lines, but in the realm of ballpoint pens I have used it was more than acceptable.
At $15 form JetPens it is by no means cheap, but depending on the type of pen buyer you are, this may be one you want to add to your collection.
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