This is a guest post by Bryan Gushikawa.
The Pentel Vicuna is Pentel's entry into the already saturated market that was started by the Jetstream and is now crowded with major players like the Zebra Surari and Pilot Acroball. Can Pentel capture any market share with its neon-colored entry? Read the review to find out!
The appearance of the Vicuña is the first thing that is noticeable when the pen is picked up. The crazy and bright colors and accents make it look like a 100 yen shop cheap special, but the plastic in the barrel is actually quite nice to hold. It's ridged on the grip area, but the barrel is not elastomerized, so it's not that spongy stuff that attracts dirt and dust. The handling of the pen is also quite good: the weight is mostly forward and the tapered design works in the pen's favor. The refill itself is a slender type with a gel matrix grease ink that is reputed to be super smooth. The refill inserts via the rear when the click mechanism is twisted off.
As far as writing performance goes, the ink IS super smooth. It's very similar to the Jetstream in that it's glassy smooth and skip free. It's also very dark dye ink and lays down a very solid and pleasant line. You won't have any trouble writing page after page with this pen! The width is right at about 0.4mm and there is no bleedthrough on the paper. A quick dry time is good news for southpaws and the consistent line width makes this pen a good daily workhorse.
Where does the Vicuña fall short? One is the design that doesn't have the same classy styling of a Jetstream. The neon colors might be really unsuitable for office use. The ink also blobs a little bit when writing loops, although the ink dry time is short enough to make this just a little annoyance.
Overall, this pen IS a very good entry and, if you don't mind bringing a brightly-colored, plasticky pen with you, then this is a pretty good deal! A definite recommend on the strength of the writing performance, with reservations on the styling.