ystudio has become one of my favorite brands to follow over the past few years. Their product designs are classic and functional, while adding modern touches with their choices of materials and finishes. And, they want you to use, love, and destroy your pen or pencil in the process.
Their latest release is the Portable Brassing Ballpoint, which features - wait for it - a gel ink refill. An exceptional Ohto 0.7 mm Parker-style refill at that. This one caught my eye because they added new barrel colors to the regular lineup, in this case red and white to go along with the standard black. They have offered red and white in special editions previously, and now they are part of the regular lineup.
And they are different, at least in the case of the red model I have for review. In the past, ystudio’s barrel finishes have been either raw metals, like brass and copper, or a satin-like black paint coating. All of these materials lended themselves to patina and wear - core features of the brand. The new ballpoints, however, have a glossy paint finish that I’m not quite sure what to make of yet.
It’s different, that’s for sure. And unexpected, based on my past experiences with ystudio. I like it, and it is beautiful, but will I be able to get the full brassing effects like with their other models? Do I even want to since it looks so nice right now?
Like the other brassing pens and pencils, this one ships with sandpaper to help you customize the look. This caught me off guard the first time I saw it years ago, and I still find it funny that a strip of sandpaper is included with each pen. You can see the effects of its use on my ystudio Brassing Ballpoint review. It is forced patina, if you will. And I don’t plan on forcing this one.
The name of this pen has “portable” in it, similar to the portable fountain pen, but I find it to be far less portable in reality. It is a twist barrel, which is easily manipulated with one hand, but the accessories that ship with it make it less usable, even though they may help with the dictionary definition of portability.
The top of the pen contains a built in brass loop, made to be used with the included leather rope necklace or brass shackle. The necklace accessory isn’t the right choice for a twist pen. Necklace pens are usually capped so you can remove the pen and write while keeping the cap safely secured around your neck. You would need to remove the necklace over your head every time you want to write with this pen, unless you are constantly writing at eye level.
I thought the shackle might be a cool accessory to add on to the back end of the pen, but when put in place is it so loud bouncing off the barrel when writing that it becomes a distraction. I guess you can attach it to a clip on a bag or purse (Portability!) when not in use, but that is the only benefit besides aesthetics that I can think of.
To me, the idea of a portable pen is one that I can carry in my pocket and can use easily when needed. The ystudio Portable Brassing Ballpoint tries to be portable with its added accessories, but in each case, it makes the pen more difficult to use. If anything, this is a desk pen or pen case carry pen. And a good one at that.
In a nutshell:
Is this a good pen? Yes.
Would it make a good gift? Yes.
Would you enjoy it? Yes.
Do I enjoy it? Yes.
Would I recommend it? Maybe.
Would I choose it over any other ystudio pen? No.
That’s what it boils down to. It is a good pen. Some will even find it to be great. I find it to be ystudio’s least interesting and least useful design. In fact, I think it goes against many of their design principles. The funny thing is, if they called it the Glossy Barrel Gel Pen and dropped the accessories it would make more sense based on what this product actually is.
(Kohezi provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)
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