The last thing I expected in JetPens latest new product push was a revamped Pilot Hi-Tec-C but that is what I got with the Pilot Hi-Tec-C Maica. So, what is this new take on an old classic trying to accomplish? I'm so glad you asked!
I must admit upfront that the product description on the JetPens page scared me. The words "jewel-like," "sparkly," and "pizazz" had me wondering if I was truly the target market for this pen. I'm not a 14 year-old Japanese girl after all. But this is the price you pay to get new stationery products on this side of the Pacific, and all things considered, this is not that girly of a pen despite the description.
What it is is a solid upgrade to the standard Pilot Hi-Tec-C barrel. It is rounded and slightly heavier, and the grip area is smooth with small, raised dots. The cap loop I will call roll-away protection since I won't be stringing charms through it any time soon. When posted, it is longer than the standard barrel as well, which you can see in the pictures.
One thing I am not crazy abut is the ridge in the grip area. Since the cap seals flush with the barrel there is a slight step down in that area, and at least Pilot had the sense to round the edge unlike some other companies. I do feel it near the base of my grip when writing but it isn't a deal breaker.
The teen girl marketing aspect of the pen? I honestly don't see it. The only thing that hints of it on my Blue Black model is the tiny faceted jewel on the top of the cap. I didn't even notice it for several minutes - it blends in so well it is hardly noticeable. There is nothing about this pen design that would keep me from using it regularly, but then again I do love my pink pens. Your milage may vary.
So now my big question: Why is the Maica only $2.50, while the regular Pilot Hi-Tec-C runs $3.30 (prices as of current writing at JetPens.com)? The refills are identical in size, although I have either used a bunch of the Blue Black Maica already or it was filled a little short. I ordered a Black Maica as well and it is filled evenly with an unused standard Pilot Hi-Tec-C. The Maica barrel seems a little more complicated to make too, so I'm not sure what warrants over a 30% price difference.
If nothing else, I know how I will be ordering color refills for my Render K from now on.