Similar to the Sharpie Liquid Pencil in the fact that it is not a completely unique idea, the Ohto Pieni is still the first pen I have used where the barrel is made in the traditional wood case pencil style. The sleek design was a definite selling point, as was the 0.5mm ballpoint ink cartridge, but would this pen stand up to the test?
Performance wise, the 0.5mm refill did a nice job, but a decent amount of ink would collect near the tip when writing. It didn't often transfer to the page, but I did have to wipe off the tip six or seven times when writing the review. (I'm not the only one that keeps a napkin or the like next to where I'm writing just for that purpose, right?) Overall it was a good writing experience, but not without flaws.
The wood case barrel is skinny just like a pencil, and while that size has posed a problem for me in the past (see the Pilot Hi-Tec-C Coleur), this one worked ok because I was able to get a good grip on the hex shape barrel. It actually ended up being comfortable to write with, and lightweight to boot.
From a design perspective, its great looks are marred by one flaw - the soft wooden barrel is going get dinged and scratched pretty easily, just like a traditional pencil would. That may not be a big deal to those who go pretty easy on their writing implements like myself, but it would take away from the overall aesthetic of the pen if the barrel started to go downhill.
There are tons and tons of wooden barrel pens available on the market - especially from custom pen manufacturers - but this pencil style is a unique one to me and has been fun to play around with.
Click here for the XL review.