For regular readers of The Pen Addict, you know what type of pen I am referring to when I talk about hybrid ballpoints, but for the uninitiated, let me recap real quick.
Traditional ballpoint pens are oil-based inks, which gives them certain properties that aren't so great. They tend to be messy and have a faint smell, but they write very smoothly. They are also very low-cost to manufacture, which is why you see them everywhere you go.
Hybrid ballpoint inks have gained in popularity over the past decade with the Uni-Ball Jetstream line of pens. The Jetstream ink proved to be smoother, darker, and more consistent than traditional ballpoint ink. The cost was greater, but the results were worth it to many people.
In the last two years, all of the major pen manufacturers have jumped into the hybrid ballpoint category. Zebra has the Surari, Pentel has the Vicuna, and Pilot has the Acroball (called the Easy Touch Pro in the US), each with their own ink formulation. All of these rank as some of my favorite pens to use on a daily basis. The Jetstream has topped my personal chart for as long as I can remember, but there is a new sheriff in town.
The Pilot Acroball impressed me from day one with its smooth, dark ink and exceptional grip. You would think the grip wouldn't play into the equation that much, but it can be a very important piece of the puzzle. I use the 0.7mm Acroball in both blue and black ink quite frequently, but the Jetstream 0.5mm was still my favorite hybrid ballpoint. I love the super fine line!
When I saw the 0.5mm Acroball released at JetPens, I couldn't get my hands on one fast enough. The lines I can write with this pen are very fine and tight, and it has the same grip as the original, which I love. The real question is will this pen replace my beloved Jetstream Sport 0.5mm?
There is one thing to remember about 0.5mm ballpoint pens before you jump into them blindly - they are scratchier than most pens. This doesn't bother me one bit because the actual output is more important to me, but I have recommended the Jetstream 0.5mm several times only to have readers tell me it was too scratchy for them. Compared to an 0.7mm gel ink pen or 1.0mm ballpoint, sure, they are scratchy. But all things considered, they write very well, and the Acroball 0.5mm may be the best of the bunch.