When it comes to products that skirt really closely to the knock-off line, it can tend to push some people away or make them uncomfortable with the product. Other times, it’s easy to forgive the likeness if the product offers its own unique take on the original. With the Ohto Rays Flash Dry gel pen (“Ohto Rays" from now on), I’m on the fence. On one hand, it looks very similar to the classic Parker Jotter, but, on the other hand, it includes a stellar gel refill that conveniently fits in any other pen that takes Parker-style refills.
Despite the obvious inspiration for the design of this pen, let’s take a look at how it all comes together as a writing instrument. The pen comes in at 5.5 inches long, which is a bit long for the Parker-style retractable genre. Still, it’s quite comfortable and balanced. The barrel can feel a bit skinny, but I don’t mind it. I’ve grown accustomed to this slim feel after using a Parker Jotter in the past. Unlike the Jotter, the grip section of this pen is mostly plastic, save the small tip. The upper body, clip, and nock are all metal.
The click mechanism has a nice feel and sound, and it’s been very reliable in my experience. I’ve noticed that with some cheap model retractable pens that the click mechanism can have issues. That’s not the case here. The metal clip is also the perfect level of strong — not too stiff to make it difficult to use, but not too soft to cause issues with falling off things.
In general, the pen feels really good in the hand, and the plastic grip warms up to your hand with use. The extra length overall adds a sense of balance to the pen that I welcome.
Now, on to the aspect of this pen that I’m excited about. Like the inspiration for the outside of the pen, Ohto also took that inspiration inside the pen with the refill they chose. The refill is an Ohto-branded gel refill that performs wonderfully. I was really surprised that it performed as well as it does when I first started using it. The ink is dark, smooth, and precise, and the line width is incredibly precise and clean. The fact that the refill tip is a "needle-point" style also makes it feel a tad more premium. I’m sure this style tip is helpful when using it with a straight-edge, but I can’t attest to that. I’ve really enjoyed using this refill and have had zero problems or complaints. It’s a fantastic refill that I’ll probably use in other pens due to the ubiquitous size and compatibility with other pens.
The only downside to this refill (and it’s a doozy) is that you only have one option: 5mm in black. In the gel refill world, this is almost a death sentence compared to the wide, wide array of tip sizes and colors available from other manufacturers. I’m holding out a little hope that Ohto has plans to expand their offerings, but I won’t hold out long. Still, as far as 0.5mm black refills go, this is at the top of my list right now.
The Ohto Rays pen comes in a variety of colors, like yellow (shown here), blue (looks like turquoise, though), black, white, pink, and red. At just under $4, these pens are a really good deal. If you’re only interested in the refill, those are just under $2. Good luck finding the pens or the refills in stock! They’ve been incredibly popular on JetPens since their initial release earlier this year.
If you can get past the design decisions, this is a solid pen with a fantastic refill.
(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)
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