Here we have another upstart to challenge the throne of The Realm of Dark & Smooth, currently ruled by King Jetstream (attended by a noble court of The Earl of Vicuna, Lord Surari, The Duchess of Write Dudes Super Smooth Ballpoints…etc.).
My feelings about this color are not exactly a secret, so any opinion I have on the design of this pen will be prejudiced by my overwhelming feelings about the excruciating loveliness of this color.
I much prefer the translucent blue/shiny silver combination to the opaque matte grey-silver/solid-and-slightly-different shade of soft blue. Unfortunately, this pen features both of those color combinations, and it’s a bit discordant. Not so jarringly that it makes the pen ugly, but just enough to register a subtle level of subconscious dissatisfaction. While we’re on pen psychology, this pen has a firm and satisfying click to the knock mechanism, but be warned—it is louder than the Jetstream (a consideration for librarians and people who need to write around fainting goats).
The grip is functional, and the rows of little ovals, while perhaps not being the most aesthetically enjoyable, provide good traction. Maybe one day I’ll care more about ordinary grips, and have more things to say about them. Today will not be that day.
For whatever reason, I was really struck by the smell of this ink when I was doing the doodles for the writing sample. Scribbling on a piece of paper right now, though, I have to put my nose right on the paper to smell anything, and it doesn’t smell too far out of the ordinary.
[In the interest of full disclosure, I'd like to note that I've just now experienced a nosebleed, though it probably had more to do with the unseasonably cold, dry weather than me sniffing Pilot Acroball ink. Nevertheless, I'm going to cancel further attempts to smell any inks tonight, and will not be making a smell comparison between various super-smooth ballpoint pens.]
Writing-wise, there’s still no competition. The Jetstream is far and away the best, and will rightfully remain ruler of the realm. In terms of smooth writing, from smoothest to least smooth, I’d rank Jetstream > Vicuna > Surari > Write Dudes Super Smooth Ballpoint > Acroball. The Acroball just has a slight but perceptible drag, particularly noticeable when I switch between various members of the court. And though I wouldn’t use this pen for drawing (look at those blobs up there), for writing the lines are dark and the ink is consistent.
Even though the Acroball is inferior to every other entry I’ve tried in the super-smooth category, I’m glad to see it on the market. I want to see every pen company roll out their own take on super-smooth (Dear Lamy, you’re next. Please make something to replace that awful Pico cartridge. Thank you), and then I want to see those models continuously improving in the fierce heat of pen competition! Everyone would win. Let’s make it happen.
Pilot Acroball Smooth Writing Ballpoint Pen – 0.7 mm – Soft Blue Body – Black Ink at JetPens