Uni Jetstream Prime 3 Color Ballpoint Multi Pen – 0.7 mm – Navy Body

29 05 2014
Delays in getting this post done brought to you in part by: getting a new dog

Delays in getting this post done brought to you in part by: getting a new dog

Either the Uni people listen or they came to the same logical conclusions their customers do—there should be a fancy Jetstream multi pen, there should be D1 Jetstream refills—VOILÀ! Both of these things, in the same pen. Thanks to JetPens for providing this sample.

And most of all, thank you for blue, and not pink. Pink exists now though, for those of you who are not me and love pink

And most of all, thank you for blue, and not pink. Pink exists now though, for those of you who are not me and love pink

The body is metal (type unspecified), the paint job that same enchanting metallic finish typically reserved for bumper cars. But classy. Like a Ferrari bumper car.

Exactly like a Ferrari.

Exactly like a Ferrari.

Up top, we’ve got some of the most subtle multi pen markings I’ve ever seen, coupled with what I’ll assume is a curious homage to Legos. Sure, you are a fancy businessperson now, but your heart hasn’t forgotten how crucial the carefully collected gem panel was to the city-defending death ray you had Lego Anakin Skywalker man. Or whatever it was you used your Lego gems for.

Put them in treasure chests? But then where would we keep all of Lego Queen Amidala's extra hairstyles?

Put them in treasure chests? But then where would we keep all of Lego Queen Amidala’s extra hairstyles?

The knocks are so smooth, strangely smooth if you’re used to multi pen components that are pressed inward and down to deploy. They are extremely satisfying to manipulated, and probably guaranteed to drive coworkers crazy. At least they won’t drive you crazy—they never fail (not in my experience so far, no getting stuck, no randomly undeploying, just solid mechanisms).

Looks vs. comfort. Typically this is a battle that plays out over fashionable shoes.

Looks vs. comfort. Typically this is a battle that plays out over fashionable shoes.

I do question the comfort of the all-metal body, especially in the grip area, particularly if you like to grip hard. I have to catch myself when I’m writing to readjust away from a death grip, lest I press the pen uncomfortably into the base of my thumb. Maybe adding a regular grip would do nothing to alleviate this, but an Alpha Gel Grip? What you’d lose in svelte aesthetics you’d gain in heavenly grip comfort. Maybe if I suggest it enough times, it will be reality. Alpha Gel Grip Jetstream Multipen of Fanciness. Alpha Gel Grip Jetstream Multipen of Fanciness. Looks like for now, this will remain but a dream.

You could definitely fit more in here. Oh, perhaps a secret message could go in here too?

You could definitely fit more in here. Oh, perhaps a secret message would fit?

Moreso than the Uni Jetstream 4&1 multi, these refills rattle when writing. When I pick the pen up and put it back to the page I can hear it, enough to be noticeable. Not quite enough to drive me up a wall yet, but given the choice I’m inclined to go for a quieter writing experience. Or, there are some sounds that are soothing to hear when you write, like the gliding of a nib as it lays ink on the page. Refills rattling is not one of those pleasant sounds.

I almost want to ask for more colors, but knowing the track record I've experienced with non-traditional Jetstream color inks I think I'll keep my mouth shut

I almost want to ask for more colors, but knowing the track record I’ve experienced with non-traditional Jetstream color inks I think I’ll keep my mouth shut

The performance of the refills is satisfying. The colors are rich, and above all stay off my hands. The black seems to perform best of the three colors, but that might just be my imagination. Is it as good as a regular Jetstream? Perhaps not on the most microscopic, nitpicky level, but it’s much smoother and more satisfying than any other D1 ballpoint refill I’ve tried so far. Is there a bulk discount on these refills? I have a lot of mini ballpoint pens I’d like to upgrade.

Set it down like this and no one even knows about your allegiance to the plastic brick

Set it down like this and no one even knows about your allegiance to the plastic brick

Is this the best multi pen your $45 can buy? I guess it depends on how much of your childhood was dedicated to Legos. This is the sort of pen that would make a great gift to receive, but might not necessarily be a pen body you clamor to buy for yourself. The D1 refills that this body brought to pen existence are another matter entirely, and I strongly advise you to stock up and retrofit as many little pens as possible.

Uni Jetstream Prime 3 Color Ballpoint Multi Pen – 0.7mm – Navy Blue Body at JetPens





Ink Drop Soup: Shout out to Michigan!

23 05 2014

If you follow my Twitter, you’d have pieced together that I recently visited Michigan. For those of you not familiar with Michigan, it is a state made up of two landmasses (one shaped like a mitten, one shaped like a shark) that borders “lakes” so large you will frequently refer to them as oceans. There are waves. There is sand. There are shells. There is water stretching out to the horizon. What more do you need to qualify as an ocean?

Is it salt? I have salt. Here, I'll give you some salt.

Is it salt? I have salt. Here, I’ll give you some salt.

I had originally planned to lobby for a Lake Michigan circle tour (or perhaps half circle tour, cutting back across the lake by ferry), with the nefarious pen-related goal of visiting the Anderson’s pen store in Wisconsin, but it was still solidly winter when we got north of the 45th parallel. There was snow. Snow in May is a terrifying prospect for a North Carolinian.

Hiiiii, random Michigan lady! I assume you are a Michigander because you were appropriately dressed for the weather. I envied your coat, as I had to double up with discount hoodies and my running windbreaker. Plus a hat and gloves I got from a hardware store in Mackinaw City. I wasn't trying to film you; you just got in the way of my southern wonderment of snow.

Hiiiii, random Michigan lady! I assume you are a Michigander because you were appropriately dressed for the weather. I envied your coat, as I had to double up with discount hoodies and my running windbreaker. Plus a hat and gloves I got from a hardware store in Mackinaw City. I wasn’t trying to film you; you just got in the way of my southern wonderment of snow.

On the pen related front and entirely related to this trip, are any quality pen makers doing anything with pen bodies and Great Lakes stones?

I have a lot more where these came from

I have a lot more where these came from

Between the fossils and the striped agates and whatnot? I’ve seen Great Lakes stone jewelry, but what about a nice fountain pen with a stone set on top of the cap? If anyone needs stones to test on and want someone to review the result, I have an excess of both rocks and opinions.

 

I’m trying to get my reviewing rhythm back up to speed (I have more responsibilities now at work, which is exciting but has curtailed my ability to work on reviews in my downtime), and we are within 10 reviews of 200! Which means a giveaway! Of lots of things I’ve acquired! Hooray! Also, the Triangle Pen Show is coming up (next week?) and I will be there (mostly Friday) so look on my Twitter and if you’ll be there, feel free to find me and say hi! That’s about all the pen news that’s fit to print for now. Soon, reviews.

 

 





Ink Drop Soup: Someone Buy Me One (HMM RULE/ONE Kickstarter)

16 05 2014

This Kickstarter for the HMM RULE/ONE is so close to almost funded with six days to go…and it looks so sweet…look at it!

It’s magnet close (a feature that was added thanks to backer feedback), and the refill is Uni 0.38! And it’s black anodized aluminum. And you can use it like a bookmark thanks to the teardrop shape. And you can put in a lanyard loop. UGH I WANT ONE. Someone else go fund this thing all the way so maybe one day I can get one when I’m not so poor.
 
EDIT: they’ve reached their funding goal! …and I went ahead and backed them anyway. Ramen dinners and cool pens ahoy!
 

HMM RULE/ONE by HMM PROJECT on Kickstarter





Daycraft Animal Pals Notebook – “Aberdeen” Movie Edition Whale and Greenie

12 05 2014

I think Daycraft has nearly perfected the art of making almost unbearably adorable notebooks. Their latest offering is part of a tie-in with the movie Aberdeen. Why don’t we get sweet movie tie-ins in America? T-shirts and Happy Meal toys don’t count.

I think the movie is out now? Someone tell me if it's any good

I think the movie is out now? Someone tell me if it’s any good

I love Daycraft’s polyurethane—it’s so smooth and high quality, so well constructed. The embossing used to create the baleen whale plates, the cutaway for the blowhole, the stitching and cutaways for the chameleon—all brilliant details. These are wonderful stylizations.

If I had enough Animal Pal notebooks I could have made a looping chain of pockets in pockets in pockets!! Alas, opportunity missed

If I had enough Animal Pal notebooks I could have made a looping chain of pockets in pockets in pockets!! Alas, opportunity missed

A bookmark is pretty standard, but for some reason I was surprised to find a pocket as well. I guess I’m used to pockets only being present when there are elastic closures; it was a pleasant surprise (though it does create a slight bump in the back cover; life is full of trade-offs). Bonus: movie postcards!

I'm pretty sure #1 and #3 are the same. Oops.

I’m pretty sure #1 and #3 are the same. Oops.

Tell y’all what. The first three people to translate for me what these postcards say, I’ll figure out how to mail you that postcard. One postcard per person. Leave a comment indicating which # postcard above you are translating. One and three are, looks like to me anyway, the same. So, eh, once 1/3 and 2 are translated, the next person to leave a comment saying I want the last one can have the one that’s left.

Animal shapes!

Animal shapes! A tail, perhaps?

The paper is cream-colored with pale orange animal patterns on it (ears, tails, paws). The performance is standard Daycraft—does well with ballpoints, gels, felt-tip pens, pencils, but not so hot with liquid inks like fountain pens and rollerballs (unless you’re using the magical Rorher & Klingner Scabiosa ink, which I really need to review, on account of the magic).

Are my performance standards for liquid ink on papers too high? It's possible.

Are my performance standards for liquid ink on papers too high? It’s possible.

See? Fountain pens are doing okay on the animal print parts, except there’s kind of a weird pattern happening in the ink. Outside of the animal print, there’s a little feathering. It’s not the worst, but I’m picky. I’ll no doubt be happier using gel pens and other less particular instruments of writing.

Quick, someone go see Aberdeen and tell me if there are any catchphrases associated with Greenie. And then I can use that as the caption instead. Or, be lazy and just not.

Quick, someone go see Aberdeen and tell me if there are any catchphrases associated with Greenie. And then I can use that as the caption instead. Or, be lazy and just not.

If I could go back in time with these notebooks, I’m pretty sure I would have been voted coolest child in school. I don’t know how children vote for their superior peer leaders these days, but if it’s still based on the adorability of stationery products, then these notebooks are instant winners.

Animal Pals Notebooks – Greenie and Whale Special Edition at Daycraft





Eco-Essential Pen and Pencil Set

7 05 2014

 

Pen is Pilot Hi-Tec-C 0.5mm black refill. Can you believe I still haven't reviewed the basic Hi-Tec-C? Not yet anyway.

Pen contains Pilot Hi-Tec-C 0.5mm black refill. Can you believe I still haven’t reviewed the basic Hi-Tec-C? Not yet anyway.

Kickstarter has launched quite the Renaissance of pen bodies, mostly focused around the popular Hi-Tec-C refill (and why not, with all the colors and sizes it comes in). Now, I don’t keep my finger on the pulse of the Kickstarter pen community (because if I did, I’d be broke and buried in a mound of Hi-Tec-C bodies) but I don’t think I’ve seen another pen body on Kickstarter so prominently featuring wood. But then, I don’t pay much attention.

It is okay to drool. My cat does it all the time. But she usually isn't looking at pens.

It is okay to drool. My cat does it all the time. But she usually isn’t looking at pens.

The look is Ikea-chic, hip and minimalist, the aluminum in a tasteful matte finish, the sustainable bamboo luxurious. The Eco-Essential utensils are lightweight, but strong. It looks and feels like a quality product.

Can also be used as emergency Olympic Rings. If you pretend that orange is yellow.

Can also be used as emergency Olympic Rings. If you pretend that orange is yellow.

Customization begins at the cap. Do you want a flat top (with logo), or would you like a capacitive stylus? I prefer the flat top, as I’ve got no end of capacitive styluses in my life, but I appreciate the option. And what color accent would you like? I’m partial to this deep, beautiful blue.

I will admit, sometimes when I'm posting it takes me more than one try to align the threads properly

I will admit, sometimes when I’m posting it takes me more than one try to align the threads properly, especially on the pen

Both the pen and the pencil have twist-on posting/closing caps (one full revolution to open and close, about a quarter revolution to post). The grip unscrews just below the threads to either access the pen refill or pencil insert (which you can pull out to put more lead in, or you can also pull off the knock button on the outside end which honestly seems a lot easier and likely more what they were intending). The pen refill, I will note, is a tight fit when you’re screwing the grip back onto the body, but it will go back to being flush with the grip. Just keep tightening.

What other refills might fit this body? How the heck does the little spring included to adapt the G-2 cartridge to fit even work? These are mysteries for another day

What other refills might fit this body? How the heck does the little spring included to adapt the G-2 cartridge to fit even work? These are mysteries for another day

The pen is almost like air in my hand. Because everything is so lightweight there’s little difference for me between writing with it posted and unposted. Sometimes I think I’d like for the grip to be knurled, for better grippability; other times I’m pleased with the smoothness and wouldn’t have it any other way. The grip lines up perfectly with my hands such that I’m not on the threaded ridge, but your grip may vary. The only thing that would make me happier would be if this were a silky-smooth Jetstream refill, because my love of Jetstream knows no bounds.

For as much as you'd pay for this pencil, I'd expect significantly less critical flaws

For as much as you’d pay for this pencil, I’d expect significantly less critical flaws

Now, as much as I admire the pen, I do have some unfortunate things to point out about the pencil that lead me to suspect it was envisioned as more of a matching afterthought than its own stand-alone product. Post the cap on the pencil. Congratulations, now you can’t advance the lead. That’s pretty crucial for a pencil. Yes, I could just not post the cap, but then why bother even having the threading? Why include an option that renders the pencil practically unusable? The only advantage to not posting the cap is then you’re less likely to accidentally use the stylus as an eraser, since there’s no eraser on the pencil. The pencil is beautiful, but the functionality is lacking. This is the result of asking, how do we turn the Eco-Essential pen into a pencil with the fewest structural changes possible? And I get that. Keeps costs down I’m sure. But the end product suffers for it. Are there self-advancing lead mechanisms that would work in this body? Perhaps design a special knock-cap for the pencil?

 

So pleasing to hold and behold

So pleasing to hold and behold

Go for the pen, especially if you’re a Hi-Tec-C refill fan (like I mentioned, it also takes Pilot G-2 refills but we know how I feel about the G-2). The Eco-Essential is an attractive and professional pen body. I kind of want to crash a fancy business scenario just to bring this pen with me. Anyone got any important board meetings I can drop in on? I have a suit and impressive array of office supplies, which I’m pretty sure is all you need.

The pencil, on the other hand, I would pass on, unless you just really want a matching set. If that’s the case, it will match quite beautifully.

Thank you to ISHUJA for providing this sample set for review!





Stone Paper from the Da Vinci Notebook Kickstarter

18 04 2014

I’ve been hearing murmurs lately about stone paper, like that it’s a thing and doesn’t require trees. Treeless paper? That’s as crazy as an inkless pen.

Note: this paper is not actually made of Lake Superior stones. They just looked pretty for the picture

Note: this paper is not actually made of Lake Superior stones. They just looked pretty for the picture

This stone paper was provided by Nick Romer, who is using it in his Kickstarter Da Vinci Notebooks. I can’t speak to the notebooks themselves as a whole, but I can tell you about the paper, and as we know, the paper is the most important part. This paper is made of calcium carbonate waste material from marble quarries and offcuts (80%), ground to a fine powder, combined with a non-toxic resin (20%) to hold it together. The process uses no trees, no water, no bleach, and less energy than traditional wood pulp paper. The catch in the whole eco-equation though is the resin, which is typically high-density polyethylene for most stone papers; I don’t have the numbers to do the necessary calculus to tell if the environmental impact of the plastic in stone paper in general is bad enough for the environment that wood pulp paper with its trees, water, bleach, and greater energy use (plus less ease of recyclability) would still be environmentally better. It’s just something to keep in mind for the stone paper category as a whole.

The back side was so absolutely clean I had to put a stone on it to get the camera to focus (because I was too lazy to manually focus)

The back side was so absolutely clean I had to put a stone on it to get the camera to focus (because I was too lazy to manually focus)

It’s heavy. It’s thick. It’s smooth. Best performers on this paper seem to be markers (like Copic and even Sharpie), felt tip pens (such as the Sakura Pigma Micron, Uni Live Sign Pen, Sharpie Pen, etc.), and thick lead pencils. Second place goes to gel pens and ballpoints. Liquid inks (fountain pens, some rollerballs) had a tendency to spread on the surface, and sharp mechanical pencils kind of dug in to the page a bit.

"How crisp are my liquid ink lines?" is probably my #1 question with any paper

“How crisp are my liquid ink lines?” is probably my #1 question with any paper

But there’s no bleedthrough, no showthrough. Not even on the ink-heavies like Copic or Sharpie. Marker is king for this paper.

Trying to tear this paper at first was like entering a magic illusion

Trying to tear this paper at first was like entering a magic illusion

This paper cuts AMAZINGLY quietly—like whispers parting the molecules. I didn’t realize the sound of paper cutting was something to even remark on until suddenly it wasn’t there. The paper is tear resistant, in that unless you’ve got an edge to the page (like your nail, or perhaps a metal ruler) the paper will warp instead of tear. Is that better? I’m not sure.

Stain test: chili garlic Sriracha, red wine, ketchup that got inundated by the red wine, and salsa

Stain test: chili garlic Sriracha, red wine, ketchup that got inundated by the red wine, and salsa

It’s claimed to be grease resistant, so I stuck my finger in some movie butter microwave popcorn residue and pressed my buttery print onto the page, then tried to wipe it off—there’s a pale yellow stain remaining, and you might even be able to convict me off the print (I can still see ridges), but it’s very faint and didn’t eat through to the other side like some opaque greasy window the way you see with ordinary paper. I wonder if stone paper plates are a thing. I decided to further test the stain resistance with whatever red edibles I could find in my fridge, and was surprised that everything except the Sriracha washed off easily, and with some scrubbing (and then a little dish soap, because how often do you get to wash paper with dish soap?) the paper was almost completely clean—just a few faint orange marks.

Are you a scuba diver who likes to write poems to Australian coral reefs in their illustrious presence? I have got the paper for you.

Are you a scuba diver who likes to write poems to Australian coral reefs in their illustrious presence? I have got the paper for you.

Write on it in water. Put it in water, take it out, write on it. Go stand in a torrential downpour and scrawl out haikus about the meaninglessness of your rainsoaked existence—this stone paper is up for it.

You can even print on it, even if your cat jumps on the printer while printing, unless your printer uses heat to print, in which case it will not do so well regardless of application of cat

You can even print on it, even if your cat jumps on the printer while printing, unless your printer uses heat to print, in which case it will not do so well regardless of application of cat. Also, ART!

All in all, this is some cool paper. I don’t think I’ve ever seen paper handle bleedtastic markers so well; if you love using Sharpie Markers but have been looking for the perfect paper where you can use both sides of the page for your writings and drawings, HERE IT IS. If your father was a tree and was killed by Moleskine to make a crappy notebook because they diluted your father’s noble wood pulp content with who knows what kind of garbage, and you’ve vowed never again to write on wood pulp paper, YOU CAN WRITE AGAIN! Or if you just want something that is both familiar and yet completely different, this is the paper.

 

At time of writing, there are 5 days left on the Da Vinci Notebook Kickstarter and it’s already funded, so if you want a stone paper notebook, hop on board!





Uni Jetstream 4&1 4 Color Ballpoint Multi Pen and Pencil – Purple

15 04 2014
Someone hand me some failing tests, that red is just itching to give out a big glowing F minus minus

Someone hand me some failing tests, that red is just itching to give out a big glowing F minus minus to some poor sap not smart enough to be using a Jetstream

What’s better that a Jetstream? Several Jetstreams rolled into one. Thank you to JetPens for providing this sample!

It comes it several colors, but obviously dark purple is the superior choice

It comes it several colors, but obviously dark purple is the superior choice

The body is simple and professional, with tasteful silver accents. The markings to denote refill colors are unobtrusive—quite appreciable, as multipens are ever in danger of looking like rainbow vomit with their many-colored plungers.

I like how the pencil is referred to as "0.5mm SHARP"...it makes a mechanical pencil sound so much more dangerous and exciting

I like how the pencil is referred to as “0.5mm SHARP”…it makes a mechanical pencil sound so much more dangerous and exciting

The sticker on the body was easily removable and left no residue. Coupled with the subtle branding imprinted on the clip, you’ve got a pen that looks good and keeps distractions low key.

Things I was not expecting to find in here: metal. Things that all of in here consists of: metal.

Things I was not expecting to find in here: metal. Things that all of in here consists of: metal.

The pen itself is nicely balanced, with the majority of its light weight focused lower, in the grip. The grip section is metal, with a nice grippy rubber on top (though it would be PHENOMENAL to have the grip be Alpha Gel instead, that would probably make the pen unbearably wide, and would collect more debris than this grip does). The upper half is mostly plastic (excepting the clip), and the overall composition of the pen makes it pretty comfortable for a longer writing session.

In the event of a graphite emergency, break the snap seal located on the top of your multi pen and apply eraser directly to the emergency

In the event of a graphite emergency, break the snap seal located on the top of your multi pen and apply eraser directly to the emergency

Normally I’m not a fan of easily-lost caps covering uselessly tiny erasers, but this cap hold surprisingly firm to the pen. It’s not going to get lost unless you set it down and forget to put it back on. The eraser itself isn’t much to speak of—more of an emergency provision. The pencil component is deployed by pressing down on the clip, and lead is advanced by pressing the deployed clip down again. It’s a wise design choice, providing a larger plunger for easy use of the pencil while concealing it design-wise in the clip. The only improvement I’d like to see here is for Uni to find a way to shrink the Kuru Toga mechanism into the size of a multi pen refill. A multi pen made of Jetstreams and a Kuru Toga would be unstoppable.

If you need more colors than this, be sure to give yourself a stern lecture about how back in my day we didn't have any newfangled ink colors. Pens were also used uphill both ways. In the snow.

If you need more colors than this, be sure to give yourself a stern lecture about how back in my day we didn’t have any newfangled ink colors. Pens were also used uphill both ways. In the snow.

I’ve had some problems recently with certain Jetstream color models not living up to the Jetstream name—consider this pen redemption. All colors perform smooth and vibrant, as a Jetstream should. The 0.5mm provides crisp lines that glide onto the page with almost no pressure whatsoever. The barrel is a bit wide, as almost all multipens are, but it’s not unwieldy—only if you really prefer a slim pen will it be something that might bother you. And, after handwriting out this whole review, the side of my hand is clean. This is the Jetstream I know and love.

If someone at Uni isn't feverishly working right now on adapting the Kuru Toga mechanism for multi pen use, then they don't know good money

If someone at Uni isn’t feverishly working right now on adapting the Kuru Toga mechanism for multi pen use, then they don’t know good money

If you use red, blue, green, and black ballpoints on a regular basis, you’ve got to give one of these a try. I’m thinking especially professionals and students in the science, technology, engineering, and math fields, plus anyone who needs to mark up papers, or just likes having access to all the traditional pen colors at once. The refills are smooth, the mechanisms solid, and the pen looks good. Classic Jetstream goodness!

Uni Jetstream 4&1 4 Color Ballpoint Multi Pen and Pencil – Purple at JetPens








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