The Pentel EnerGel Clena is the brands latest foray into micro-tipped gel ink pens. Like all of its Pentel predecessors, it’s a good one. Also like its predecessors, it could be better.
Like many of you, I was first introduced to Pentel’s micro-tips with the Slicci. At the time, it was one of the best writers on the market, especially in the 0.25 mm, 0.3 mm, and 0.4 mm tip sizes. It also has a terrible barrel that is skinny and uncomfortable. For those who enjoyed the writing experience it was worth it, and I certainly used my share of them. We all wished for more though.
The Euro came out a few years later to almost no fanfare, except from me. I love this pen! It’s a weird offering though, which is why it never stuck. It was a capped barrel with a needle tip - which is fine - but only had one micro size in 0.35 mm in black, blue, and red. The remainder of the sizes were the admittedly more popular 0.5 mm, 0.7 mm, and even 1.0 mm. More traditional EnerGel sizes if you will.
The standard EnerGel kept trucking along all these years, with the RTX being the most popular yet. The barrel design got a graphical update, and the color palette was expanded to 12 colors. 12 really good colors at that. This is the product lineup that most consumers are referring to when discussing the Energel.
The introduction of the Clena caught me off guard a bit, having both 0.3 mm and 0.4 mm sizes available out the gate. Like every other EnerGel I’ve used, they are amazing writers. The lines are clean, sharp, and dark, and the writing experience is smooth, which you can’t always say about tip sizes this fine. But I want something more from this pen.
There are two reasons Pentel can’t compete in the micro-tip gel ink category against the Uni-ball Signo DX, Pilot Hi-Tec-C, and Zebra Sarasa Clip: Barrel diameter and color choices.
The Clena uses what I call the traditional EnerGel barrel. It’s the one you see in the wild and go “yeah, that’s an EnerGel.” The paint job is different for the Clena, but for all intents and purposes its identical in size, shape, clip, grip, and knock. The barrel is great for wider writers like the 0.7 mm size, but I feel that it is too wide for 0.3 mm. Since you aren’t generally writing big, flowing lines with pens this fine, you want the control of a narrower barrel. Not Slicci thin, but Euro thin.
Secondly, the only ink choices are black and red. Even the Euro had blue! The 12 shades of standard EnerGel ink would be perfect for the Clena. I’d even forego complaints of the barrel diameter if I could get orange, blue black, purple, turquoise, and more in 0.3 mm.
To fix all of this, Pentel should rework the Euro barrel with the new shiny RTX silver paint job and add in all of the new colors. That fixes both of my complaints about what is actually a very good pen. If they do that, then Pentel will be in the same conversation with all of the other micro-tip gel greats.
(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)
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