The Uni-Ball Fanthom is the latest entry into the friction based erasable pen market, and compared to the Pilot FriXion, it is a pretty decent option. While erasable pens have their good and bad points, I do see some value in them, especially for students. In the business world, maybe not so much, but this pen is designed for fun, so know what you are getting before you take the plunge. Hopefully this review will help.
The ink is the real selling point of the Uni-Ball Fanthom. Like the product description states on JetPens, the ink is thermo-sensitive, meaning the more heat friction I create while trying to erase it, the better the ink comes off the page. This poses two problems for me. One, it is difficult to erase a small area. I write small, and it is tough to generate enough friction to erase just part of a character. I have to erase two or three characters to get a clean enough area to make my correction.
Two, and this is a real stickler for me with the Fanthom as compared to the FriXion, the harder and faster I erase, the more I "gloss up" the area of the page I just erased. I don't know the official term for "gloss up" but what I mean is by rubbing so hard on the page, I tend to create a smoothed out area that now has different properties than the page around it. When I write my letters back over that spot, they look different than the other letters that weren't erased. Not a big deal for some, but with my anal retentive ways, it bugs me. The FriXion eraser has a little more give in it to where it doesn't treat the paper the same way as the Fanthom. The Fanthom doesn't even have an eraser per se. You just use the point of the pen cap to get the job done. At least Uni-Ball put the eraser on the correct end of the pen.
On the plus side of the ledger, I thought my writing looked absolutely killer with this pen. The letters were clean and sharp on the page. The barrel is very well designed also, with a nod to the Uni-Ball Vision Elite barrel, which is one of the best around in my book. Also, the Fanthom is refillable. That is a very nice touch for heavy users - like students - who should find this pen quite handy. While the ink colors are much lighter than gel or liquid ink pens, compared to other erasable pens it isn't too bad. The regular FriXion seems lighter to me, but the colored pencil-like FriXion is darker.
Who knew there would be so many words to write about an erasable gel ink pen? After all of that, there are probably things I have left out, so please leave a comment below and I will address any questions you have. I haven't tested out any of the non-traditional colors yet, but I plan on it soon. At $3.00 a pop, they are priced to where you could try one out before committing to the entire rainbow.
Click here for the XL review.