The Tombow AirPress falls into the increasingly popular write anywhere, anyhow, and on anything category of pens, made popular by the Fisher Space Pen (which I have yet to review), and followed up by the Uni-Ball Power Tank series. These types of pens are made to work in the toughest of conditions, such as writing on wet paper, or upside down, so it is probably a disservice that I wrote this review in a coffee shop. Maybe I should spill my coffee on my Doane Writing Pad next time?
The AirPress gets a good dose of cool points for it's design. It looks and feels like a sturdy durable pen - which it is - but it is surprisingly lightweight. The rubber barrel and raised ridges in the grip area make the pen easy to hold on to, and the clip hinges open very wide so that it can clamp on to a wide variety of items. The only part of the barrel that I didn't care for was the loop on the backside, only because it hit my hand in the wrong spot when writing. But with this type of pen, I understand why it is there.
Here is the full description of the pen from JetPens:
The Tombow AirPress leverages energy from each push of the cap to inject air pressure into the ink cartridge, allowing the pen to write on challenging surfaces. The pen is excellent for people involved in construction or outdoor work since it can write at extreme angles, upside down, on wet paper, and in cold weather. The rubber body is also easy to hold with wet hands or gloves. The AirPress is similar to the Uni-ball Power Tank Ballpoint Pen, except that this pen ingeniously uses the retraction method to pressurize the ink cartridge.
The AirPress has a strong, wire pocket clip and features a loop that allows you to attach it to lanyards and key chains. Multiple body colors as well as black, blue, green and red ink refills available.
The one item I have a hard time coming to grips with for this category of pen is writing performance. It really isn't fair to compare them directly to other non-extreme condition pens. The ink is made to withstand some tough stuff, so if you are looking for a Jetstream type performance, you aren't going to find it here. What you will find is a nice, more traditional ballpoint pen performance, which is pretty good compared to all that this pen is capable of doing.
At $9.00, it is about three times the cost of the Uni-Ball Power Tank, but half that of a regular Fisher Space Pen, so you have a lot of choices if you need to write your way out of the Great Snowpocalypse of 2010.
Click here for the XL review.