As someone who designs their own products, and who follows others who do the same, I know this to be the one universal truth: Designing is hard. And, when a company is willing to take a stand on a product design - in this case the Reaktor pen lineup by Karas Kustoms - I am even more impressed.
All of us outside of the building only see the end result of a product. What goes into the creation of that product usually escapes the public eye. Karas Pen Co. set out to break away from their usual product lineup and focus on making a product that both first-time pen buyers and experienced users would enjoy. And I think they succeeded.
Designing is hard, but designing with restrictions in place - such as cost and simplicity - is even harder. What can be eliminated to make the product as simple as possible, while keeping the aesthetic and quality the company is known for intact?
The Galaxie Rollerball features an aluminum barrel with an o-ring snap cap, and comes in four different colorways. That’s it. And it’s the same across the other three products in the Reaktor lineup, with the only difference being barrel length, finial design, and a clip on the XL models.
When dishing out these pens to the Pen Addict review crew, I chose the pocket rollerball because that is one of my favorite pen formats. I carry this type of pen more than any other, and was anxious to put it to the test.
I’m happy to say it held up well, minus a couple of small nitpicks. Primarily, the wiggle of the cap when the pen is closed. It’s a small issue, and affects the use of the pen none. It’s the result of using the o-ring instead of cap and barrel threads to keep the cost down. If you aren’t fidgeting with the cap then you won’t notice it, and it doesn’t make it less secure. The fit is tight.
That said, I did wiggle the cap off the back of the pen a couple times when writing with it, just from constant movement as I write. I run into this issue with other non-threaded pocket pens as well, likely due to a heavier than normal grip. Maybe I didn’t have it pushed down as firmly as needed to snap into the barrel grooves during the times it moved on me.
The Galaxie ships with the Schmidt P950 pressurized ballpoint, which is a good choice for this pen. For any pocket pen really, as it gives you that write anywhere, on anything, ability. If you have another Parker-style refill that you prefer, it will swap in just fine.
Color-wise, it’s hard to pick a favorite. The Black looks the best, the Tumbled feels the best, and the Red and Blue sections are the most fun. I think I would pick Tumbled as my first choice, but it is impossible to go wrong with any.
Let’s get to what makes this pen so unique and impressive in my mind: The price. It’s not listed on the site yet, but with the larger Galaxie XL coming in at $45, I’d guess this one will be the same, or slightly lower at say $40. For a made in the USA pen from a small company that is a great price.
I’m interested to see how the Reaktor product lineup will perform for Karas, and if they keep the minimal design and price point intact. Hopefully it will do well for them, and allow them to keep experimenting with colors, shapes, and designs on the higher end of the spectrum.
We make things to allow us to make more things, and I hope Karas Pen Co. keeps going down this path of experimentation.
(Karas Pen Co. provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)
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