The Paper Mate InkJoy is the most recent store-shelf pen to receive a big marketing push. Advertisements and store displays are abundant, as are PR pitches to mark the launch of Paper Mate’s Revolutionary New Ink System. But how revolutionary is it?
On a scale of 1 to 10 it checks in at about a 0.
Special ink blends are the new black. Uni-ball has used this technology for years in their Jetstream line. Pilot and Zebra followed up more recently with hybrids of their own - the Acroball and Surari, respectively. Formulating an ink to give you smooth, consistent lines is neither new, nor revolutionary. Unfortunately for Paper Mate, all of the other companies do it better.
There is not a lot of bad to say about the InkJoy 500 RT that I reviewed. There is not much good to say either. It is just a pen. I use that phrase to describe pens that are average and offer nothing new or exciting. It writes smoothly (as every 1.0 mm pen should) and starts quickly, but the lines are not as crisp and clean as marketed. There is plenty of white space as if it were your basic generic ballpoint. It has that wonderful ballpoint ink aroma as well.
Regardless of what I think about this pen, Paper Mate will do well with the InkJoy. I bought this pen at Walmart, where Paper Mate has taken over approximately 25% of the pen section. That is where the problem lies. There is nothing new or interesting on the store shelves where the vast majority of consumers shop. The last big change in that section was when the Sharpie Pen started making waves, which was over two years ago.
The pace of innovation in mass-market pens is extremely slow. Inroads are being made by a few manufacturers, and let’s face it, I am not their target customer. The Paper Mate InkJoy is a prime example of that.
Say hello to your moms new favorite pen.