Mark's Hibi Ballpoint Pen Review

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(Sarah Read is an author, editor, yarn artist, and pen/paper/ink addict. You can find more about her at her website and on Twitter.)

Sometimes I buy stationery because it's cute, and for no other reason. Sometimes that works out for me, but more often I end up disappointed. The Hibi Ballpoint pen is definitely one of the cuter mistakes I've made.

Ballpoints are my least favorite of the pen families, but there are times when that's just the tool required for the job. And when those moments happen, I want the ballpoint I'm using to at least be a fun one. So when I saw these lovely Hibi pens, I decided to give one a try. I love the wood body, the sleek profile, and the vintage-feeling colors. I think the branding on the pen body is charming. It looks both modern and timeless. In the looks department, it's a total winner.

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The wood body feels good in the hand, though I question its durability. It's nicer than picking up a cold metal pen. It's also very lightweight, so there's less chance of hand fatigue if you're filling out a lot of paperwork. The barrel is a bit narrow, so those who prefer thicker pens may find it uncomfortable to hold. I like the slimness, as it can be easily stowed in any pen sleeve or even inside the spiral of a notebook. Between the wood, weight, and slimness, it feels more like a pencil than a pen.

The clip is sturdy metal with a good amount of spring to it. It's well anchored at the top, so I don't worry about it bending or breaking. The click button has a good bounce and click to it, but the button screws off easily, and there is a tiny spring below it that could be lost or broken if it comes undone in a bag. And the looseness of the button means that it rattles when you're writing, which is a bit annoying.

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The pen is refillable with an Ohto No. 175 NP refill. The ink itself isn't a very deep black--it's a bit of a washed out grey. The needlepoint is .5 mm, but it feels finer to me, perhaps because it's such a dry ink, and the tip itself is very scratchy. The metal cone at the tip unscrews to access the refill (held by another spring).

Overall, I like looking at this pen, and I like holding it. But writing with it is unpleasant. Both the construction and the refill work against it. So does the price tag. If it were a $3-5 pen, I'd say I got my money's worth of enjoyment out of it, but I think $11.25 is too much for this.

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I haven't learned my lesson, of course. I'll buy the next cute pen, too, and find a use for it, even if it's not great. This pen lives by the kitchen calendar, where its fine tip can write in the small squares and its ballpoint ink suits the glossy paper. It's put to good use. But I don't think it suits the brand's motto of being an "everyday tool".


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Posted on November 30, 2017 and filed under Mark's, Ballpoint, Pen Reviews.