Category Archives: Reviews

Edding 400 Permanent Marker Bullet Tip – Review

Edding are well known for offering a wide range of top quality markers. Renowned for their expertise on the marker front for over 50 years, the company strives to solve problems through innovation providing products for a wide variety of uses.

Edding-400-Marker-Black

Grouped into a number of categories that include Creating & Decorating, Colour & Play & Organising & Marking. The Edding 400 Permanent Marker comes under the Professional heading & is a permanent marker with a fine bullet tip.

This marker will write on pretty much anything you want it to including

  • Paper
  • Cardboard
  • Metal
  • Glass
  • Plastic
  • Wood
  • Ceramics

The ink has low odour & is free from xylene, a toxic solvent that can irritate the eyes & cause headaches amongst other things, as well as benefiting from being quick drying. Having a fine bullet tip meant I was able to create a few iffy looking stencils by way of a written example, art has never been one of my strong points as you will see! This marker is smudge proof (which I can vouch for) it’s also waterproof & lightfast. The tip is durable but can be replaced with 400N nibs, they can also be refilled with ink.  I did wonder if anybody does this as the marker is a reasonable price so I’d probably just get a new one.

Available in a wide range of 10 colours as well as the standard black, brown there are several bright shades like pink, violet & yellow to choose from which I think makes them as suited to art & creative pursuits as it does to marking work tools as demonstrated on edding’s web site.

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Pilot G2 XS Pixie Mini Gel Ink Pen – Review

Plenty has been written about Pilot’s popular G2, famous the world over for its smooth writing gel ink.

As I picked up a mini version in the Pilot G2 XS Pixie I was impressed to see that this little pen had the same comfy ergonomic grip section with the same barrel diameter as the standard version although the barrel is only 11.3cm in length & it weighs in at 118g.
This retractable compact rollerball has a 0.7mm tip writes a 0.39mm line & has positive push button with no annoying rattles, the sturdy pocket clip is the same as the full size pen.

Pilot-G2-XS-Pixie-Violet

Available in a choice of 8 colours Pilot claim “you will be delighted by the fluidity of its ink and the intensity of its colours” sadly this wasn’t my initial experience. I have to say I was a little disappointed with the performance of the little violet Pixie.

When putting pen to paper the ink didn’t flow, neither did the tungsten carbide ball glide across the page. Unfortunately rather than help me put the thoughts in my head down, I was distracted by the appearance of the text on the page finding it scratchy, skippy & messy.

Thinking about it & to provide a fair critique I suppose I do tend to scribble notes when preparing to review a pen & after completing my written review the page didn’t look too bad.

This is the type of pen I’d use if I had a small purse, bag or pocket space only, it would be fine for jotting a few notes whilst on the go but writing a manuscript would be out of the question.

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Zebra J-Roller RX Gel Pen 0.5mm – Review

The Zebra trademark has been around for a century, it’s no surprise therefore that the company produce a vast range of writing instruments. Amongst the array is the J-Roller RX, this is a gel ink rollerball of the stick variety.

Zebra-J-Roller-05-Gel-Pen-Blue

I have to admit that I’d usually overlook this type of pen, expecting them to be confined to corporate stationary cupboard’s or as free gifts in those charity envelopes that often fall through the letterbox. Having recently put my prejudice aside & used the Zebra J-Roller RX Gel Pen 0.5mm I have to admit that overall I was pleasantly surprised by the writing experience.

This rollerball has a twin ball ink flow system, the transparent barrel makes it easy to keep an eye on the ink level. The cap gives a positive click when it is posted holding it securely in place on it’s journey around the page. Given that we can usually apply positive & negative thoughts to most things in life, for me pens are no exception so here is my take on the J-Roller RX
Pros

  • Smooth writing
  • Acid free & archival quality ink
  • No skipping
  • Doesn’t smudge

Cons

  • Poor grip section that doesn’t provide a secure resting place for the fingers

I found the blue ink in this pen to be bold & vibrant, they are also available in black or blue with matching barrels.

I’m one of those people that tends to pick up different pens depending on my mood or what I’m planning to write. Zebra recognise that not every pen fits every persons needs & their web site has a fun quiz to help you discover your true personality, so if you’ve a few minutes to spare why not take a look.

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Uni-ball Insight UB-211 Rollerball Pen 0.7mm – Review

On a dark grey day picking up a bright pink pen was no great hardship, although putting pen to paper & producing an interesting read to an old friend proved a little more difficult so I decided to write this review instead.

Uni-Ball-Insight-UB-211-Wine

The pen in hand is a Uni-ball Insight UB-211 Rollerball in wine, the 0.7mm tip writes a fine 0.5mm line & its available in 6 colourful shades.

The barrel is colour coded with the ink & has a transparent grip section & window down the full length of the pen which oddly I’ve seen referred to as an inkometer. Whilst useful for keeping an eye on the ink level this pen is refillable so there’s no reason to worry about running out mid sentence. On the subject of the refills, they are pretty much the entire pen, when replacing them all that remains of the original is the cap & sleeve below the (non existent) grip which doesn’t seem very eco friendly, so can’t second guess Uni-ball’s reasoning there. I can’t say the Insight has much of a grip either, all that prevents my fingers slipping is the ledge leading to the tungsten carbide ball. The cap is pink & has a fairly firm pocket clip with black edging.

As for the writing experience it proved to be as smooth as expected with all the benefits of Super ink with its outstanding resistance to light, water & chemicals, you can be sure that anything you sign your name to will remain secure. This rollerball also has the Uni-flow ink system regulating a steady flow of liquid ink which delivered a bright pink line on the page & although it appeared wet it didn’t smudge. There was no blobbing or skipping & it didn’t bleed through the paper.

So to conclude on the positive side the Uni Insight didn’t skip, there was no blobbing & the ink stands out on paper. The downside for me was the lack of grip, which did cause a little strain after a while also the refills replacing almost half of the pen, in fact given the price of this Insight I probably wouldn’t bother.

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Uni-Ball Vision Elite UB-205 – Review

The vision elite range of pens offer a consistent flow of liquid ink for a smooth writing experience. The unique uni-ball super ink is airplane safe, water resistant & of archival quality.

UNI-Ball-UB-205-Black

I have always liked rollerballs, they have been around since the early 60′s having been designed to give the convenience of a ballpoint giving the effect of a fountain pen.

Having reviewed its counterpart the UB-200 some while ago I now have a Uni-Ball Vision Elite UB-205 poised as I prepare to put pen to paper to write an old fashioned letter.

Appearance
This pen has a hard black plastic barrel, matching the ink colour. The transparent textured grip is handy for keeping an eye on the ink level. The well fitted cap has been designed to avoid a child choking & has a colour coded section to identify the ink & snaps on nicely. There are a series of three oval shapes on the metal clip which although sturdy I didn’t find it very flexible making it difficult when I wanted to attach it to my notepad.

My writing experience was positive, the 0.5 tip writes a fine 0.4mm line & the Super Ink lived up to my expectations having read that the science behind it means it’s

  • Fade resistant – ensures long lasting colour that doesn’t fade over time even in bright sunlight
  • Resists Solvents making it tamper proof & providing security against document fraud
  • Quick drying – due to low viscosity means risk of smudging is reduced
  • Smooth fast, fatigue free writing – as the ink delivery system lubricates the rolling ball as well as putting ink on the page
  • Airplane Safe – no risk of leaks during changes of pressure in-flight

As I came to the end of my rather long letter I didn’t have any of the aches or pains sometimes experience after gripping a pen too tightly, the writing was smooth & relatively tidy for me, although it was written at some speed. This leads me to the decision to leave this particular Uni-ball well within my vision ready & waiting for my next writing session.

 

Uni-Ball Eye UB-185S Needlepoint Rollerball Pen – Review

The Uni Eye UB-185S is a liquid ink rollerball from one of the key players in the market. available with black, red, blue or green ink, I am using a green one & although the needle tip is finer than I would normally use I have been pleased with its performance whilst catching up with some overdue correspondence.

Uni-Ball-UB-185S-Green

I still like to send handwritten letters, yes it can be more time consuming than firing off an email but I like the fact that I can pen a line or two anytime anywhere without being confined to sitting at a desk. I also find myself giving more thought to the content than I do when multi tasking at a keyboard, finding it hard to resist jumping from one screen to another.

The fine 0.5mm tip of the Uni-ball Eye UB-185S Needlepoint Rollerball writes a line width of 0.4mm, the pigment ink has all the benefits of Uni’s Super Ink

  • Water & Fade Resistant
  • Tamper Proof – once on the page ink can’t be removed
  • Quick drying as ink is low viscosity
  • Smooth fast fatigue free writing – due to unique ink delivery system

The pens barrel matches the ink colour, it is split into 4 sections, one is peppered with small dots another is transparent which enables you to keep a check on the ink level. The cap is solid green with a matt sprung chrome pocket clip with the length & flexibility to attach to a large notepad without breaking.

I found this to be an ideal everyday pen that was a pleasure to use.

 

 

Sharpie Professional Marker – Review

Since turning their focus to markers 50 years ago Sharpie have produced markers for a range of uses. The Sharpie Professional is a permanent marker that apparently lasts 50% longer than standard Sharpies.

Sharpie-Professional-Marker

I have a Sharpie Professional Marker in black. The grey plastic barrel has yellow rubberised inserts which make for a non slip grip & the oval shaped design of the cap & barrel mean they won’t roll of working surfaces. There are 3 small raised squares positioned either side of the cap. These are in line with the yellow rubber section & make it easy to remove the cap if wearing gloves.

These markers have a versatile chisel tip that writes a 1.5 & 5.3mm line width. Designed for professional use, these Sharpies work on most surfaces & are suited to rough conditions so I’d expect to find them in action in warehouses or on building sites.

Benefits

  • Can be used on wet, oily & non porous surfaces
  • Water & fade resistant
  • Last 50% longer than standard markers
  • Quick drying ink
  • Oval shaped barrel
  • Cap is easy to remove
  • Non Toxic

I usually like to add a written sample in the reviews but found it a bit difficult on this occasion. As I doodled I noticed that the ink did bleed through several pages, but as they’re designed for more heavy duty work I doubt that will be an issue for most users.

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3 Popular Stabilo Colouring Pens

Colouring has always been a popular activity for kids.With the trend for adults using the pastime for therapy we thought we’d feature 3 Stabilo Colouring Pens, suitable for artists & kids alike.

Stabilo Trio Scribbi Felt Pen

trio

With its push resistant thick tip the award winning Stabilo Trio Scribbi is almost indestructible making it ideal for the young budding artist just starting out on their first work of art. With its triangular ergonomic grip & chunky barrel the Scribbi helps children get a tight grip of the pen. They write a 1.5 – 2.0mm line & there are 12 vibrant washable colours to choose from.

Stabilo Pen 68 Fibre Tipped Pen

68

The Stabilo Pen 68 is great for underlining or colouring large areas. The fibre tipped nib writes a 1mm line & the cap can be left off for up to 24 hours before drying out. These pens have a push resistant tip that allows the odourless water based aquarellable pigment ink to flow evenly. Aquarelle is one of oldest forms of painting, this technique can be used to create a transparent washed out blurred look. The Stabilo 68 range is huge with 46 colours to choose from including 6 fluorescent shades.

Stabilo Cappi Colouring Pens – Wallet of 12

cappi

The ergonomic grip on the Cappi Colouring Pens is ideal for little hands & the tube shaped design prevents them from rolling away easily.

These fibre tipped pens write a 1mm line & as well as coming in a handy wallet. The Cappi has a ringed cap making it easy to tie them together, it can also guard against them slipping through small hands. They are a child friendly colouring pen with ventilated caps just in case they are swallowed & the ink can be washed away.

If you you’re looking for some ideas or inspiration for the next colouring project why not take a look at the Win & Fun page.

We hope you found our selection useful, please let us know if there is anything you would like to see in future posts we would love to hear from you.

Pilot Fineliner Pen SW-PPF – Review

Fineliners are generally used for drawing & sketching, some people prefer them for writing & they are also ideal when working with rulers & templates.

Pilot-Fineliner-Black

The Pilot Fineliner Pen SW-PPF is referred to as the original fineliner. It has a relatively slim barrel, the cap has a durable metal pocket clip & white end stopper. The plastic 1.2mm nib writes a 0.4mm line & is reinforced with a metal sleeve. Available in black, blue, red & green with the barrel matching the ink, the only distraction are the words Pilot Fineliner.

When it comes down to looks this water based fineliner is more stylish than say the Berol Fine Line, just my opinion you understand. If I didn’t know better I’d say that was down to having different markets, when I think of Berol its usually for children’s pens & pencils. However Pilot claim they have many students as customers & that they target “through its sponsorship of student events” & Berol produce a wide variety products that they say are “suitable for both children and adults” so that puts paid to my theory.

Moving on to writing, I usually prefer a medium tip but still found this pen to be a smooth writer that was comfortable to hold. Despite not having a specific grip (just a couple of steps between the tip & centre of the pen) my fingers didn’t slip.

I keep coming across the fact that the fine nib of these pens makes them ideal for writing with carbon copies. These words bring back memories of rows of ladies sitting pounding the keys of their typewriters. It’s hard to imagine life in the office now without computers & photo copiers, but recall them I do & carbon paper was widely used, all very well until you made a mistake! I’d have thought the messy black stuff was now obsolete so was surprised to discover there are still a few companies making it.

Anyway, as I don’t have cause for using carbon paper & the only thing I draw are match stick men whilst doodling I can’t see me making a B-line for the Pilot Fineliner, but horses for courses as they say it could be just what you’re looking for.

Uni POSCA PC-5M Marker Medium Bullet Tip Review

Uni-ball have been creating a wide range of products for over a century. The POSCA range offer something for everyone when it comes to Arts & Crafts, from the full blown artist to the occasional hobbyist. The POSCA PC-5M Marker has a medium bullet tip that will produce a 2.5mm line.

Uni Posca PC-5M Light-Blue

These markers have long been a popular choice with Uni customers & have had continued success since 1983, so much so that they have a web site dedicated to POSCA. If you pay a visit you can expect to find news, competitions & a host of creative workshops. There are instructions for homemade magnets, kites, paper mice & much more, all designed to help everyone get the most out of the range.

The POSCA PC-5M are a multi purpose water based paint marker with pigment ink. There are diagrams on the side of the pen to get you started. Once I removed the plastic it took a while for the paint to emerge, I guess I got a little impatient as I made the mistake of shaking the pen vigorously without replacing the lid! The inevitable happened & paint went everywhere, this did however give me the chance to test the non-permanent claim.

I can report that the series of bright blue dots was easily removed from my hands & desk, it also came out of my clothing after a spin in the washing machine.

Benefits

  • Write on most surfaces including fabric, glass & metal
  • The ink doesn’t seep through paper
  • Non-permanent therefore easily removed
  • Resistant to fading & water
  • Odour free
  • Useful for scrap booking, interior design, graffiti artists & architects. These versatile markers can be used for almost anything.

The POSCA PC-5M is available in a wide range of vivid colours, 33 to be precise.

Zebra Z Grip Max Gel Pen – Review

Although gel pens are fairly recent as a product of the 80′s, they have become very popular. I usually expect them to make a bold & vibrant statement due to the viscosity of the ink.

Zebra Z-Grip Max Gel Pen

The Zebra Z-Grip Max Gel Pen is retractable with a 0.7mm tip. They are available in 5 colours, for this review I’m using violet. The plastic barrel matches the ink, it is joined to a nice chunky rubberised grip with a shiny chrome coloured ring. The pocket clip & nib housing has the same metal finish.

The Z Grip Max Gel has check safe ink that Zebra claim gives an easy glide performance, it’s of archival quality & acid free. When it came to my writing experience I was initially disappointed. Having previously used a Z grip Flight & Z grip Max pens, although both ballpoints they provided a smooth easy write straight from the off.

As I started my first paragraph with the gel version it proved to be far from consistent, it skipped leaving gaps in almost every word, much to my annoyance. Feeling it should be given a fair crack I persisted & lo & behold this Max Gel rose to the challenge. As the written sample shows, no skipping is evident.

I found this pen very comfortable to use, my preference for chunky barrels & grips could have swayed it a little, but add to that the positive rattle free click when the tip is retracted & the vibrant colour of the ink I’ll certainly be keeping this zebra close to hand.

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Pilot Frixion Ball Erasable Rollerball – Review

As the oldest manufacturer of writing instruments in Japan with branches throughout the world, its no surprise that Pilot have several collections on offer, one of which is the Frixion range. Known as the Frixion family they even have their own web site where you can read all about them including the secrets of the ink that allows you to correct mistakes by erasing & immediately re-writing without leaving a residue on the page.

Pilot-Frixion-Ball-07-Blue

One member of the family is the Pilot Frixion Ball BL-FR7, an erasable rollerball with a 0.7mm tip that can be refilled with BLS FR7 refills. These pens are available in eight vibrant colours, I am putting a blue one through its paces.

The eye catching design consists of a large silver pattern on the barrel reminiscent of a tribal tattoo. The cap hosts the branding along with a pocket clip, which is not very flexible & feels as though it could be susceptible to breaking with frequent use.

I like the fact that the Frixion Ball has a nice rubbery grip, it’s also well balanced & comfortable to use. My writing experience was positive, this rollerball is a smooth & easy to use. I have noticed that some people have criticised both black & blue ink colours as being too light, I can obviously only speak for myself & comment on the blue ink but didn’t have a problem.

Now on to the eraser, as I like to post the cap on my pens the fact that eraser was on the pen itself was a little annoying. That said, with cap removed & the eraser in action I found it did a sterling job, leaving no trace of text or debris behind. This proved to be the case not just on freshly written text but also on writing at the top of my page.

All in all a pretty positive review, I can see that erasable pens have a place. Ideal for the odd correction as it beats reaching for the tippex, although I wouldn’t want to rub out a whole sentence.

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Pentel Superb Ballpoint Pen Review

Described by Pentel as the original ballpoint the Pentel Superb is part of a large range of writing instruments brought to market by a company that have been making pens for over 60 years.

Pentel-BK77-B

Appearance
The Pentel Superb Ballpoint Pen BK77 has a slim transparent barrel, the end cap & ball in the cap match the ink colour. The nib is encased in a bright sliver coloured housing. These pens have been designed in such a way that they apparently clean themselves every time the cap is replaced, the purpose of the ball in the lid maybe? There is also a handy pocket clip that hosts the branding.

Performance
I’ve written about my preference for a squishy rubberised grip section in the past. Clearly these would not fit with the design of this ballpoint but they do have three very subtle panels that I can best describe as horizontal rows of lines. These did provide a resting place for my fingers but I didn’t find the pen comfortable to use for long periods as I felt the need to grasp it tightly, resulting in cramp. When it came to the writing the Superb was smooth & the oil based ink certainly left a clean looking line on the page without clogging. The 0.7mm nib writes a fine 0.35mm line & I’d say it would be possible to squeeze a lot of notes into a small space if necessary.

Looking through some of the reviews, quite a few people comment that the Pentel Superb proves to be very economical due to its long lasting ink. When it does eventually give up the ghost the pen can be refilled by simply unscrewing the silver nib housing, removing the refill & replacing with a BKL7.

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Edding 1255 Calligraphy Pen Review

Although Calligraphy has been around for centuries the writing instruments used have come a long way since the quill pen. Modern day calligraphy tools include markers, these are popular as they are a handy instant option.

1255-Calligraphy-2mm-SteelBlue

The Edding 1255 Calligraphy Pen has a square cut fibre tip & contains a water based pigmented ink. This is resistant to water & light, with the added benefit of not smudging or bleeding through the paper.

This disposable marker has a black barrel with silver branding & info, the lid, nib housing & end cap corresponds to the ink colour. Unlike some other calligraphy markers they don’t have a defined grip section this doesn’t make it easy to change the width of the text without adding more pressure. I imagine this could lead to a tired hand after a short period of time.

A 2.0mm tip & steel blue ink was used for the written sample, the edding 1255 is also available with 3.5 & 5.0mm nibs in a choice of 5 colours.

If you want to learn more about this ancient art, edding have a Calligraphy Training course that will take you through your paces with the help of videos, presented by their very own expert Birgit Nass. As well as the basics you will be given instructions on achieving different effects using letter height. There are also ideas on labelling a wine bottle & gift bag along with tips for writing on terracotta, metal & stone.

Whilst computers can replicate many different fonts using desktop publishing there is still a call for the hand made form of this art because of its uniqueness, these edding markers can help you hone the skill.

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Uni Clipturn MSE 800 Multi Functional Pen & Pencil – Review

A Multi-functional pen/pencil is likely to come in handy if you are one of those people that is always on the go yet needs a pen to hand, maybe you need to correct papers in a different colour or make notes that can be erased.

Uni-MSE-800-Clipturn

The Uni Clipturn MSE 800 Multi-function Pen & Pencil has black & red ballpoints & a mechanical pencil. The ballpoints have 0.7mm tips whilst the pencil uses 0.5mm leads, the eraser beneath the end cap is a useful addition. The clip on this multi pen will turn a full 360° enabling it to be fixed at any angle you like. There is also an eyelet should you want to attach a cord. The Clipturn can be refilled with Uni S7-L & standard 0.5mm leads.

How does it work?
This is a pen of the chunky variety, the barrel has a large black rubberised grip with a section in the middle that makes the changes, the rest is a metallic silver colour. It is easy to make your selection, simply twist the middle section whilst holding the silver area above the grip then line up the red notch with the black, red or 0.5mm text. To retract the nib just align with one of the black horizontal lines.

Writing experience
I was pleasantly surprised by the relatively fine line that the Clipturn left on the page, even though I knew it had a 0.7mm tip its appearance gave me the impression it would be wider somehow. This smooth writer was comfortable to use & the large grip meant that it was easy to write for long periods without tiring.

How to refill
Holding the centre of the pen simply twist the barrel clockwise & unscrew. I found I needed to pull the refill harder than expected which made me worry I’d damage the pen. This was probably made worse as I can be heavy handed & had read that some users complained about breakages. I needn’t have worried as I found this multi pen to be pretty durable.

When it came to replacing the refill that was a little fiddly but once I’d located the small holes a firm push was all that was required to secure it in place.

Sharpie Metallic Silver Marker – Review

Not having much idea when it comes to arts & crafts I don’t usually have cause to use a metallic pen. That’s about to change as I have a Sharpie marker ready & waiting for a review.

Sharpie-MT-Marker-Silver

Appearance

The Sharpie Metallic Silver Marker has a grey two tone body. The majority of the barrel being a dove coloured shade with black & silver text, the cap is darker & subtly branded with the Sharpie name. There are no health warnings to worry about having been approved by the Art & Creative Materials Institute. The AP logo confirms the ingredients have been checked for any potential harm to any part of the human body, adverse interaction with other ingredients & possible allergic reactions.

Moving down the pen beneath the cap the tip housing is nicely rounded revealing a sparkling silver bullet shaped nib. The cap posts securely on the pen but the lack of pocket clip is noticeable. This is not an issue for me sitting at a desk but I can imagine those that want or need a more portable pen might be disappointed.

Performance

This permanent marker has a fine 1.4mm nib & the opaque ink apparently makes it really useful for writing on light & dark surfaces. I put this claim to the test as you can see in the written example & can confirm the result was positive as expected. Great on a dark background & although the text was visible on white it probably wouldn’t be my first choice. During research I’ve read these silver markers are also good for writing on black cloth but can’t say I’ve tried this yet, have to wait until I have some dark material to hand.

This markers ink is fade & water resistant & also quick drying. There wasn’t a hint of smudging even writing over another permanent marker & the sheen was clearly visible.

Whilst I don’t imagine I will need to use this Sharpie for creative pursuits anytime soon, I can certainly see me marking a few cables as I attempt to tidy the maze of wires occupying far too much floor space beneath my desk. It’ll also come in useful the next time I need to send a card with one of those dark envelopes that common-or-garden black or blue ink gets lost in.

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Stabilo Worker Colourful Rollerball Review

When I read that Stabilo had a pen that could improve my writing skills I took note. Despite spending many hours hitting the keyboard I still frequently end up with a pen in hand. The longer I write for the more untidy the text gets, with that in mind I put the Stabilo Worker Colourful Rollerball to the test.

Stabilo Worker Colourful Rollerball Review

I chose to use a green worker, this was in colour only as this Stabilo doesn’t appear to have any green credentials on the environmental front. It was also noted that although I’ve seen the earlier (original) orange model referred to as being ergonomic I couldn’t find a mention of the same for this updated edition. Maybe I didn’t look hard enough as I happened to have an orange version close by & on inspection couldn’t see any difference.

This rollerball has a completely non slip barrel, a bit like a full length grip that means it is very comfortable to work with. The medium ball writes a 0.5mm line & partnered with Stabilo’s progressive liquid ink technology this worker delivers a smooth writing experience all day long.

The cap on these rollerballs is short & stubby with a wider than average sturdy yet stylish metal pocket clip that has pride of place. The colourful barrels have a number of white accents in the form of 3 circles, nib housing, end cap along with a central panel housing the branding.

These pens are available with red, green, black & blue barrels, all have matching ink. The tag line promising that one “brightens up a dull day” is apt, this green worker has earned a space on my desk for sure.

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Pentel Energel BL60 Liquid Gel Ink Pen – Review

Many rollerballs have liquid ink & because this soaks quickly into the paper it can bleed & cause feathering. Due to Pentel’s innovative high performance ink technology the Energel XM has the best of both worlds going for it. Containing a hybrid of liquid & gel ink this pen is a smooth writer with the added benefit of being very quick drying, so good for left handers.

Pentell Energel BL60 Liquid Gel Ink Pen

The Energel XM BL60 Liquid Gel Ink Pen is part of the recycology range & Pentel say its made from a minimum of 50% recycled material. Another bonus for eco friendly fans is that it can be refilled with LR10 refills.

This traditional capped liquid gel ink rollerball has a 1.0mm metal ball that makes an appearance through a smokey grey translucent nib housing. It has a stylish gunmetal grey barrel & positive fitting cap with a sturdy metal pocket clip. I appreciate that the name is a giveaway as far as the intention of use is concerned (as in pocket) but I’m sure I’m not the only one that clips pens to note pads or other papers am I? Well this one wouldn’t stretch to more than a couple of sheets, possible because it is so strong making it less flexible.

I love the rubberised grip section, it has a series of wave like grooves & performs well on the anti slip front. Oh & I forgot to mention its also latex free, making it an option for those with sensitive skin. These particular Energel pens are also available in red & blue, & the barrels match the ink colour.

Despite being a little on the broad side for my liking, preferring a 0.5 or 0.7 nib, this Pentel performed well enough resulting in an easy going write, albeit a little scruffy. This is what seems to happen when I have a 1.0mm tipped pen in my hand for some reason, maybe that’s something for another post.

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Pilot SnapClick Retractable Ballpoint Pen Review

Some may argue you’ve seen one ballpoint you’ve seen them all but Pilot have tried to ring the changes with the SnapClick.

Pilot SnapClick Retractable Ballpoint Pen

The body of the Pilot SnapClick Retractable Ballpoint Pen has a comfy rubberised grip that is met by a transparent section exposing the springed section that operates the retractable nib. This see through window also reveals the ink level, a nice little feature to have if running out of ink will spoil your day. What is less common about this ballpoint is not the protracting nib which operates by pressing the button that is bog standard, the difference comes in to play when you want the nib to retract, by pushing on the top of the pocket clip. The design of the SnapClick is a little unusual, but does it add anything to the pen? I’ll leave that to you to decide.

I do think that it must be difficult for designers sometimes, always having to come up with something new to please appease the good old consumers, but then there are worst things to do for a living & someones gotta do it.

The SnapClick is refillable with Pilots RFGPM refills which are a little longer than average & the medium nib writes a 0.31mm line. The choice of 6 oil based ink colours is also better than the norm offering a nice orange & light blue turquoisey shade. Pilot say that oil based ink usually lasts 3 years as opposed to some other types lasting 2 on average, not that I’ve ever used a pen for more than a few months but there you go, that’s just me. The pocket clip/button also releases the nib when attached to your pocket or notepad & can be clipped on thicker than average pads or clothing. So a few differences there to be fair.

As for the writing experience, its a ballpoint, nothing wrong with that it did what was required & landed a bunch of text on the page. The grip was comfy & non slip but as far as looks go the Pilot Snapclick doesn’t get my vote.

Pilot SnapClick Retractable Ballpoint Written Review

Pilot SnapClick Retractable Ballpoint Written Review

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Stabilo pointVisco Gel Rollerball Review

It seems that just lately I’ve seen a fair few pens with hexagonal shaped barrels land on my desk. The most recent being a Stabilo pointVisco so here goes with a review.

Stabilo pointVisco gel rollerball

The Stabilo pointVisco Gel Rollerball is a little different as the shaping is confined to the bottom half of the pen. The fruity two tone tangerine orange barrel has a comfy rubber grip section with 3 hexagonal type shaped panels outlined in white just below it. One section is partly covered by the pocket clip, with the branding & product details stamped in black on either side.

As I start to write I notice the ink oozing from the fine 0.5 tip is smooth & quick drying. Not sure what I make of the claim that it’s formulated so that you can write faster, just how fast is fast? I had visions of a row of people sitting in a line overlooked by a mad professor type standing with a stopwatch.

The pointVisco is available in 10 striking colours, all have orange barrels with the grip section, pocket clip & end caps denoting the shade of the ink. The cap posted well but on a negative note I didn’t find the clip suited to my thick writing pad.

That said the Stabilo pointVisco has clearly impressed having won the iF product design award. iF has been hosting design awards since 1953, dishing out gongs to some 35,000 products & Stabilo have had a fair amount of success.

I found the orange pointVisco easy to write with, the colour was bright & lively & the ink didn’t smudge thanks to its quick drying properties.

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