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razor_large.jpg

Quick Facts:
Pen Type Marker pen
Point Size(s) Extra Fine Razor — (estimated 0.3mm)
Water-resistant No
Ink Color 5 – Black, Blue, Red, Green, Purple?
Capped/Retractable Capped
Clip Yes
Approx Price $1 – 1.60 for 1 pen
Review:

Uni-ball Vision Elite has been my defacto pen for quite some time now. However, I recently have a new boss who magically turn my usually 5-task-per-day list into 30 (from what i still can’t tell is lack of planning or overwhelming number of “brilliant” new ideas from him). The first thing I did was change from college-rule paper to something finer. (Don’t ask me where/how i get something finer than college rule — i have my ways…) Then I noticed issues writing at that size with my Vision Elite.

So i thought to myself, what pen can produce (ridiculously) thin, precise and consistent lines? Why, it’s Pilot Razor Point! There are a number of reasons I don’t use it as my primary pen – its line lacks character (too consistent), gets scratchy after a while (the point “dies”), only 5 colors. But if there’s one thing it can do, and do very very well — it’s to provide (ridiculously) thin, precise and consistent lines 😀

Always wonder what the difference between this and Pilot Razor Point II is. As far as i can tell, the point/ink flow is same. Only the shape (and avail ink color) is different. The latter looks more cooperate-y. The “original”(?) looks kinda 70’s — which is part of the charm in my book anyway.

Rating: 15/20
Nib/Ink flow 4/5 (ink flow is very consistent, a bit scratchy toward later of pen life)
Design/Looks 4/5 (looks a bit 70’s?? which could be a charming, retro thing.. the black body is fine.. the other colors can look a bit tacky)
Grip/Balance/Weight 3/5 (grip is same material as rest of pen, balance and weight is fine w/o the cap)
Construction 4/5 (well made, not refillable though — i don’t think)
Official Site:

http://www.pilotpen.us/products/markerpens/

bic_round_stic.jpgOk, I found this pen in a long forgotten corner of a seldom-used drawer. I was excited at first. I tested it. And I take back everything I said when I compared Staples Ballpoint Stick Pen to Bic round stic. Bic is worse!!

I’m convinced someone who works at Staples sneak into my house and hid this defective pen so I can find it, test it and get extremely disappointed. This has to be an anomaly. I’m going to a store that let me test pens and try this pen out.

That’s all I got to say for now 😦

pilot_precise_deluxe_extra_fine.jpg

Quick Facts:
Pen Type Rollerball pen
Point Size(s) Extra Fine (estimated 0.5mm), Bold
Water-resistant Yes
Ink Color 3 – Black, Blue, Red
Capped/Retractable Capped
Clip Yes
Approx Price $3 each
Review:

Pilot Precise Deluxe is an “old” pen. I had it around the house. It was my favorite pen a few years back before I discovered Uni-ball Vision Elite. Pilot discontinued all but the red pen in this series.

The pen has a pastel body that matches its ink. The grip of the pen is visible even with the cap on. As consequence, the cap is much shorter and has a cute stubby look to it. Because of lack of surface area, it could be difficult to remove the cap sometimes. Perhaps they could add some rubbery material there to improve the grip.
The clip extends beyond the cap (which looks different in a good/interesting way).

The grip of the pen is pretty good. It is made out of a good rubbery material and has hatching (perpendicular to the barrel) to improve the grip. The only problem might be that the grip is only 2.2cm long. The grip is also a bit thicker than the body of the pen, so there is a noticeable difference. If you prefer to hold the pen at a higher location, you are out-of-luck. I usually do like holding the pen where the grip is. However, if my palm starts to sweat, I tend to prefer hold a pen higher (to give more room for air in the palm region).

The ink flow is mostly consistent. It might bleed just a bit on more absorbent paper. I have to estimate the point size to around 0.5mm.

Unique great stubby look, comfortable but short grip, decent ink flow make this a once-good pen.

Rating: 15/20
Nib/Ink flow 3/5 (decent flow)
Grip/ Balance/Weight 3/5 (good but short grip)
Design/Looks 4/5

  • honest (nothing is hidden, not even the grip),
  • not timid (the ink color is shown on the entire pen instead of just the tips),
  • unpretentious (instead of darkening the body to look professional, it lighten up with pastel), and
  • straight-forward (the name is simply printed in large font on the pen in black and white).
  • I don’t like the font used for “Deluxe”.
Construction 5/5 (well made)
Official Site:

http://www.pilotpen-store.com/product_detail.asp?T1=PIL%20PX-5%20RED

staedtler_liquid_point_7.jpg

Quick Facts:
Pen Type Rollerball pen
Point Size(s) 0.3mm (Staedtler Liquid Point 5 is 0.25mm)
Water-resistant No
Ink Color 4 – Black, Blue, Red, Green
Capped/Retractable Capped
Clip Yes
Approx Price $11 for 4 color pack
Review:

Staedtler Liquid Point 7 and Staedtler Liquid Point 5 are same (as far as I know) except for the point size. I own a 4 color set of Staedtler Liquid Point 7.

The pen has a gray body with a slight shimmer. The tips of the pen and the nib match the ink color. The clip has a nice arch that allows you to clip it to thicker fabric. The barrel has a more clear part that shows you how much ink is left. (It’s the black section in the photo where the name is.) Once you remove the cap, you see discs that make up the ink feed under the clear grip. I’m a sucker for clear plastic over seemingly useful (probably only decorative) technical details.

The grip of the pen is pretty crappy. It’s also a bit thinner than the usual pen. Lacking friction and surface area, this is NOT the pen you want to use if your palm sweats at all. And since the body is so narrow, you have little to hold on to when uncapping the pen. Now imagine taking a test and removing the cap from your pen just tired you out 😦

Just as with most capped pens, the balance of the pen is good for me without the cap. With the cap at the end, the end is heavier than the front. I need to apply more pressure to compensate when writing.

The ink flow is pretty inconsistent to me (despite what the company claims). Sometimes I get no ink flow. Sometimes I get too much. Also, I’ve rarely seen an ink that bleeds this badly on notebook paper. The lines I ended up with are often thicker than what I would get from a 0.5mm pen. Because of the ink blots, there’s no way you can take notes on both sides of a sheet of paper as the ink soaks through quite badly. (Because of the bleeding, I’m going to assume it’s a water-based ink and is not going to be water-resistant.)

Decent looks, bad grip, inconsistent ink flow, and bleeding ink make this a crappy pen. You can get much better pens at much cheaper prices.

Rating: 12/20
Nib/Ink flow 1/5 (inconsistent flow, bleed-y ink)
Grip/ Balance/Weight 2/5 (slippery grip, narrow barrel and grip)
Design/Looks 4/5 (professional looking, especially like the clip arch)
Construction 5/5 (well made, should stand up to time if I keep it around)
Official Site:

http://www.staedtler.com/liquid_point_5_7_gb.Staedtler

Uni-ball Vision Elite

Quick Facts:
Pen Type Roller pen
Point Size(s) Micro (0.5mm), Bold (0.8mm)
Water-resistant Yes
Ink Color 8 – Black, Blue, Blue/Black (basically dark blue), Red, Green, Orange, Purple, Pink (looks more like magenta)
Capped/Retractable Capped
Clip Yes
Approx Price $2.50 for 1 pen. $20 for 8 color pack
Review:

Uni-ball Vision Elite is a roller pen that comes 2 point sizes (micro / bold) and 8 colors. I tried bold and was not a big fan (mostly because I prefer fine points). I have been using the micro point for the past 2 years in black and blue. I used all 8 colors in the last year.

The micro point has a black body and the bold point has a white/silver-ish body. I think the black body looks quite handsome. The tip of the cap matches the ink color fairly accurately.

The clip on the cap is very sturdy and makes the pen a good candidate for your pocket or any fabric less than 3mm.

The barrel has a clear part that shows you how much ink is left. So if your pen won’t write and you don’t see ink in the barrel, then you know you don’t have to give the pen a second chance and just chuck it then. (Although, based on experience, pens given a second chance usually don’t deserve it 😦 )

The grip of the pen is fair. The grip is fine under normal use. But if your palms are sweating (during an exam, 2 hours of note taking, or just in a hot office), then it feels slippery. (Also not recommended for writing on mass transit like subway or bus since it’s slippery and has 2 parts (cap and body).)

The shape of the grip is parallel to the barrel (no curves) which I think is the most natural shape for fingers anyway. The grip is slightly smaller than the barrel to make space for the cap. (Personally, I would have preferred the grip and barrel to have the same diameter.) Both the grip and the barrel are a decent size (too small would be hard to hold on to and too big would feel awkward and difficult to control).

The pen is a little on the light side. It wouldn’t hurt to give it an extra 20% in weight. The balance of the pen is good without the cap. With the cap at the end, the end is heavier than the front. I need to apply more pressure to the nib when writing (which kills my control or tires my hand out). To avoid this problem, I simply leave the cap on my desk (which gets lost from time-to-time which is annoying).

When closed, the cap does hold on to the barrel tightly so you are unlikely to lose the cap whether you drop the pen to the floor or dump it in a backpack full of other items with rough edges. However, the cap does not hold on the end of the pen quite as well. If you have it at the end while writing and the pen fail to the ground, there’s a very good chance the cap will separate from the pen.

A minor issue is the barrel of the pen has a tendency to unscrew itself upon many capping and uncapping actions. You just have to tighten the screw again. I think it has to do with the material they use that just doesn’t screw too well.

The nib of the pen is sturdy, fine yet smooth. It doesn’t give you the feeling you are scratching the paper (like many extra fine point pens). It doesn’t create much friction that would slow you down (or tire your hand out). It has just the right resistance against the paper.

The ink flow is superb. A lot of the times, when the point is this fine, the ink flow becomes inconsistent. But not this pen. It always delivers a perfect ink flow. Not too much that it bleeds or creates ink blots. Not so little that the ink disappears from time to time.

I have never had a pen leak thus far. It claims to be fade and water resistant. I have not tested the fade resistance yet, but the water resistant part is quite true (once it dried). Depending on quality/absorbency of your paper (such as loose leaf), you might notice a bit of bleeding if you pause the nib on the paper.

Really minor thing: I find it difficult to differentiate between blue and blue/black. Statistically, over the last year, I have 2 blue/black ink pens that won’t write after a few weeks/months of use (while there is still ink visible in the barrel). I have not had this problem with the other colors (such as black, green, and blue which I use more often than blue/black).

Also, what they claim to be pink ink is really a magenta color (darker).

The smooth nib plus the consistently perfect ink flow is what makes this pen such a joy to write with! And the color variety definitely does not hurt. (Go to your local staples and try it. You will fall in love with it.)

Rating: 15/20
Nib/Ink flow 4/5 (flawless flow, ink might bleed a little on absorbent paper)
Design/Looks 4/5 (professional looking)
Grip/Balance/Weight 3/5 (a little slippery, a little on the light side, good balance w/o cap)
Construction 4/5 (body unscrews over time)
Official Site:

http://uniball-na.com/main.taf?p=2,3,1