The Japanese are known for two things around these parts: Amazing stationery and terrible naming conventions. Luckily for my sanity, the former outweighs the latter by a large margin, but sometimes I have to post the full product name solely for the humor it provides.
While the name leaves a lot to be desired, the pen does not. The Tombow Mono Graph Multi Pen - yes, I’m shortening the name - is a great choice in the 2+1 multi pen category.
What is a 2+1? I’m so glad you asked! It may not be the textbook definition of describing multi pens, but I refer to any multi pen with a pencil component as a +1. This Tombow has two ink cartridges and one pencil cartridge, therefore it is a 2+1. I like that designation because it saves me from writing “multi pen and pencil” over and over again. These are multi pens, with a pencil component.
Uni-ball, Pilot, and other Japanese brands make multi pens up to a 4+1 size, which requires a wide barrel, as you can imagine. One of them made a 1+1 in the past - I’m thinking Uni-ball or Zebra - but I don’t see it as available right now on JetPens.
When thinking about buying a multi pen, I consider barrel diameter first. How many components can I jam into one barrel and still feel comfortable writing with it? Secondly, I consider the refill choices. If the first part doesn’t satisfy my needs, the second part doesn’t matter, does it?
This Tombow multi pen fits three components in just a slightly larger diameter barrel than most standard gel ink pens. That’s a great thing, primarily for one rarely talked about reason. More components and a wider barrel lead to the refills being deployed at a less-than-vertical angle. That means the tip of the refill looks like it comes out of the front of the barrel crooked. Rotate the barrel in your hands, look at the tip, and you will see.
This isn’t always avoidable from a design perspective, but some companies do it better, and some do it worse. Another thing to keep in mind when shopping for multi pens.
In lieu of a knock mechanism, this Tombow uses a twist to engage the component you want. Rotate the clip around the barrel in any direction (there is no hard stop at any point) to line it up with the component name you wish to use. This one has black and red 0.5 mm ballpoint refills plus an 0.5 mm mechanical pencil.
Unlike other multi pens with a +1, this one has an eraser, and a killer one at that. Tombow makes some of the best quality erasers on the market, and this one has a jumbo twist eraser built right in. No dinky mechanical pencil eraser here!
From a writing perspective, I love the 0.5 mm tip sizes, but they aren’t for everyone. That is especially true for ballpoints, because an 0.5 mm tip gets you a line finer than 0.4 mm, or even finer, gel ink pens. And it’s not completely smooth due to the ink type. Know the fineness of this pen before diving into it.
I had zero issue diving into this one personally. In fact, if I worked at Tombow, this is a pen I would have designed for myself. Two extra fine refills, a fine pencil refill, a large, high quality eraser, as narrow of a barrel as I could fit it all into, and a killer paint job. All for under $10? Count me in.
I’ve been putting this one to good use over the last few weeks, and I can see myself carrying it for some time to come.
(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)
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