Uni-ball Signo DX UM-151 0.38mm Gel Pen in Brown-Black & Bordeaux-Black

30 10 2010
Two colors at once!

These doodles aren't quite as inspired as the last ones, but we'll get over it and click this thing for a larger image anyway.

This pen is far from being a candidate for perfect pen. This wasn’t what I’d concluded from use of this pen before I decided to use it in a review, so why don’t I share those sentiments first.

Two pens!

I have no idea why the bordeaux-black doesn't have "DX" on it

Prior to writing this review, I had many a time enjoyed jotting down my inane brain crap into an extra-small Moleskine volant with the brown-black pictured here. It had the power to make my horrific left-handed scribble look somewhat more neat-looking with its needle-fine tip.

So fine!

You could stab a man with those. Maybe.

I also didn’t have bleed-through problems on the Moleskine paper, which I feel is something of a rarity. You could see the ink through the paper some, yes, but that was because it was so deliciously dark. And the pen didn’t feel like the typically slender, fragile, dainty sort of pen I’ve had with some needle-point types. This pen always made the cut to be thrown into my everyday pen-carry pouch. But the course of this review brought out an unfortunate revelation.


It didn’t always happen. But when it did, these nightmare ink blobs would collect on the tip of the pen. I got a huge blob to form while taking pictures of the pens today (I’d done a little writing too). Then I did what is easily the stupidest thing I’ve done all week.

oops, too close

That would be a blob of ink on the camera lens.

My first attempts at a close-up went a little too far. At least the ink came off the lens. Then a blob didn’t want to form for documentary evidence, as if to try to convince the world I was some kind of pen-liar. Little did the pens know.






Look what it did to this innocent paper

Anyway. This is otherwise a good gel pen. I don’t know how frequent this blob-propensity is, but the fact that I got two pens ordered at two different times to exhibit this same phenomena seems to indicate that this might not just be my pens. Perhaps we need a bigger sample size. Or I just need to put my pen down when I need to think. Either way, I’d be willing to buy more of these pens. They have a fantastic range of colors, decent price, it’s a smooth writer, and in spite of my caps lockery the blob thing isn’t that big of a deal. I had never had it happen before yesterday. But in light of this development, I have to, for now, deem this Not a Candidate for Perfect Pen (gah, it was so close though before I did this review…)

Uni-ball Signo DX UM-151 0.38mm Gel Pens at JetPens

(also available in 0.5mm and 0.28mm)



15 responses

30 10 2010

I have to say I find the format of your blog, with the pictures/captions along the way, hilarious.

From the first picture with “zombiessssss….” to “THE UNSPEAKABLE HORROR” you had me laughing.

That’s a pretty snazzy looking pen though, in spite of the BLORBITY BLAARRBBB:SL:DKJFSD

30 10 2010
No Pen Intended

:D Thanks! I hate that this writing sample scan looks so especially crappy at the bottom. I used the work scanner after work :/ which is apparently not very good. I also need to get one of the stupid computer monitors that I have access to adjusted colorwise to perfectly match reality. I’m not sure I completely achieved that here with the writing sample, which is silly considering that was the whole reason I wanted white-freaking-paper.

31 01 2011
Robert M.

Sorry for the late comment, but what colors did you have that had blobbing problems? I have had some issues with bordeaux black and green black apparently becoming less viscous, which would make them seem to write “wetter” and feather more on most papers. I haven’t tried the whole color lineup, so it’d be interesting to know if it’s innate to all their inks, or only with certain pigments or something. For what it’s worth, I’ve never encountered a problem with most of the Signo DXs I’ve tried, but bordeaux black always vexed me because I liked the color, but hated the ink behavior.

31 01 2011
No Pen Intended

The bordeaux-black was the worst, but I also got some blobbing on the brown-black. I think I’ve got a blue-black around here somewhere; I should see if it’s got the same thing going on. What size tip have you had good performance on? Both of these were 0.38mm

24 05 2011
Uni-ball Signo RT UM-138 Gel Ink Pen – 0.38 mm – Blue Black « No Pen Intended

[…] pen to work its way into my regular rotation of pen use about a year ago. The model was the Uni-ball Signo DX 0.38mm in brown-black and bordeaux-black, which, though enjoyable, was plagued with issues of ink blobbing. But the pen had otherwise […]

13 08 2011
Pentel Hybrid Technica Gel Ink Pen – 0.3mm – Black « No Pen Intended

[…] isn’t much to remark on; in terms of appearance, it looks like a very close cousin to the Uni Signo DX. Line width clearly marked on the top, the better to see when jumbled up in a pen cup, little bit […]

15 09 2011

I use this pen in black for 10 years. The only problem I can mention is the blobbing issue.

4 10 2011
No Pen Intended

So you’ve had the blobbing too? Brad (a.k.a. The Pen Addict) has had bunches of these pens but no blobbing issues…glad to know I’m not alone! Must be the random luck of the quality-control draw.

10 08 2014

Yeah, and I’m still using these pens and still have the blobbing issue. I always clean the tip of the pen on the corner of my notebook paper. But I love this gelpen, as it is permanent.

10 08 2014

Anyway, I also have the blobbing issue with the Jetstreams. I found that maybe I hold the pen in a little bit flat angle, that is why it can collect the ink on the tip. If I hold the Jetstream more vertically, the blobbing issue goes away. Pilot c4/g2 don’t have such problem.

14 12 2011
Uni-ball Style Fit Mystar 3 Color Multi Pen Body Component – Brown « No Pen Intended

[…] a sturdy metal clip now.  I’m very happy with this model; you can have a Jetstream and a Signo DX in one sharp looking pen ….AT THE SAME TIME! The only thing missing is a Kuru Toga component […]

25 01 2013

Excellent post. I used to be checking constantly this blog and I’m inspired! Extremely useful info particularly the last phase :) I handle such information a lot. I was looking for this particular information for a very long time. Thanks and good luck.

14 12 2014
Heather B

This is a really old post, but for new people reading I’ll go ahead and say: I LOVE this pen – I use it in almost every color, every day (I’m a microbiology student…lots of writing). The blobbing is pretty universal, and my solution was to train myself to tip my pen up for shorter pauses, cap it for longer ones. The pens are so nearly perfect if you’re looking for a line that’s fine and smooth with bold, opaque ink, that the extra effort is worth it. The bordeaux and orange are my favorite colors!

4 01 2015

Heather B

Do you have a favorite color? Do you have “Blue Black” variation, which is basically navy blue (I think)? What size do you use and where did you order them from? I really want to try this pen out but I don’t want to buy dozens of different colors and sizes. Thanks

4 01 2015
Heather B

My absolute favorite is the bordeaux-black, with orange as a close second. As for the blue-black, it’s the only blue pen I use (for whatever reason I just don’t care for blue pens). It’s a very nice dark navy blue.
My handwriting is pretty small, so I use the 0.38mm which has a thin yet bold and consistent line. Anything smaller gets a little scratchy.
I buy all of my pens from JetPens.com. They have a couple of multi-color packs so you can try a few different colors, but individual pens are reasonably priced too.

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