Sunday, 21 June 2015

Giant Pens Review and Wrap-Up

I've been writing a lot more lately, both processing-type writing and stories/poetry, and that means I've been more focussed again on ... pens! Some are running low now, and I've decided that it's time to place another order with Jetpens. But which pens to get? Or re-get? I had a look at some of the pens I currently have to see if they were worth re-purchasing. All of these pens have already passed one test -- they were packed away for over a year when we moved house, and they haven't dried up. Some of the pens which didn't pass that test are mentioned near the end.

Gel Pens

At the moment, I have to say my favourite pen by far is the Zebra Sarasa Push Clip Gel Ink Pen. It ticks every box: it's comfortable to hold, writes smoothly and comes in over 20 colours. The colour saturation is very good (in the picture, the Port Wine variation is starting to run out, that's the only reason that it looks a little pale!). The only criticism I have -- and it's a very minor one -- is that you have to unscrew the pen to see when it's running low, unlike the Pilot Juice below, which is slightly see-through. I'll definitely be getting more of these.

I also quite like the Pilot Juice Gel Ink Pen. It also comes in over 20 colours, and it also comfortable to hold and write with. It can be scratchy at times, however. To my mind, the colour isn't as saturated as the Zebra Sarasa above, but that could be because I chose lighter colours. I was especially dissatisfied with the grey. It's actually difficult to read what I've written. Perhaps I'll use it for drawing subtle illustrations instead of writing. I'll stick to darker colours only with this pen from now on, but I would still re-purchase.

Next is the Pentel Hybrid Roller (shown in purple in the last picture). I didn't expect too much from this pen, as I've had similar-looking ones before that conked out permanently after only a few paragraphs. I was impressed by its longevity, comfort and colour saturation however. Unfortunately this pen has been discontinued.

I also have the Pilot Pockel Mini Pen in a couple of colours (shown in pink in the last picture). I have mixed feelings about this pen. It's comfortable to hold, but it's a bit scratchy and the line a bit thin. These are no longer for sale at Jetpens, so it's a bit of a moot point, anyway.

Felt Pens

I have two types of felt tip pens here. The first is the Marvy Le Pen Marker Pen: Fine Point. I knew before even purchasing this pen that it wouldn't be comfortable to hold, with its narrow barrel, but I just couldn't resist. It comes in nearly 20 beautiful colours, and the silver-embossed logo and silver clip are just so elegant. It's very reasonably priced as well, just over half the cost of the Typo pens, though I don't have to pay postage costs with Typo pens, I can just walk 2 blocks to one of their outlets.

The Typo Needlepoint is shown here in both the old and new versions. The old (orange) has a black, round barrel. The newer version, renamed the fine point, has a hexagonal barrel which is the same colour as the pen, the words "I'm so fine" embossed on it. Unfortunately, the hexagonal barrel makes it even more uncomfortable to hold than the old version.

I wouldn't repurchase either of these pens for the purposes of writing. For the ink to flow properly, the pen has to be held vertically, or else it's scratchy and skips. To hold a pen in this position for more than a few paragraphs really hurts! Not to mention the hard, narrow barrel. These pens are great for writing short passages like a greeting card or in my calendar diary though, with their beautiful colours and colour saturation, so I won't rule them out in future.

Fountain Pens

First up is the Pentel Pulaman JM20 Disposable Fountain Pen. As I've discussed before, this isn't actually a fountain pen, but a variety of felt tip pen, but it writes quite like a fountain pen. It has a flat nib which only writes properly when held in one position. It's a small bugbear that I have, as I have a habit of twirling the pen in between words! This pen only comes in black, blue and red, which is a bit disappointing. The thick line and colour saturation makes me want more, though!

Finally, it's the Pilot Petit1 Mini Fountain Pen. This is the only one of my fountain pens which didn't dry out while they were packed, the others being a Noodler's Konrad Flex, Platinum Preppy (several in different line widths) and a Sheaffer M. (See more about my Noodler's Pen in this post.) Unfortunately this pen isn't comfortable to hold for long periods, but that's outweighed by how cool it is in most other respects. It draws a nice thick line, its ink cartridges come in 8 pretty, saturated colours (blue-black is shown here) and, as I've seen, it doesn't dry out easily. The body is clear so it's easy to see when it's running low.
The Petit1 is part of a three-pen system -- there's also the Petit2, a sign pen (i.e. felt tip pen) and Petit3, a brush pen. These pens will only take the specialised Pilot Petit cartridges however, as I've said there are 8 nice colours and they're quite reasonably priced. Drawbacks aside, I really like this pen and find myself grabbing for it most of the time when I want to use a fountain pen.

Phew! Thanks for sticking through this massive review. For me, it's really helped me decide which pens I like the best and which I'll repurchase. I'll post again when my order arrives!

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