Having played with an EnerGel before, I decided it was time to continue sauntering down needle-point micro-tip lane and go straight for the 0.35mm version of the EnerGel pen.
This pen is another entry in the plastic lightweight class (firm plastic that still has a little give to it; not brittle), with a metal clip, metal tip, and several nice little design accents that make it stand out.
Like the gill-slits showing off the smoky semi-transparent grey plastic beneath. No function (to my knowledge). Purely design. And I love it. Anything that differentiates a pen from being a long, simple cylinder is a step in the right direction, in my book. The labeling on the cap is also useful, provided you have this pen in enough sizes that differentiating between EnerGels is something you’d need to ever do (as this is the only EnerGel I have in this design, the utility is somewhat lost on me).
I’m currently torn as to whether I’d like to see the barrel itself come in other sparkly color options; the blue is classy enough as not to be garish, but I could see an expanded color barrel line quickly devolving into a brouhaha of tween-branded, gaudy-looking, eye-corrupting, sparkle-rainbow-pukefest. Perhaps if the line were restricted to [color]-black barrels (blue-black, violet-black, burgundy-black, green-black, black-black) then the EnerGel could remain respectable but add a touch of individualization.
The cap clicks onto the end of the pen to post, which is nicely reassuring. You know then the cap is in place. It’s not going anywhere. I just shook this posted pen in front of my coworkers to prove this very point. And the cap, as I just mentioned, did not go anywhere.
The grip is a shiny-sparkle-metallic-colored rubber matching the body of the pen. Comfortable enough; or at least, not of discomfort, which I’d have noticed. What was uncomfortable, however, was the plastic ridge above the grip, where the plastic of the cap meets the body of the pen. After writing for a while, I was particularly aware of the discomfort it was causing me, and found myself wishing I had some way to take the ink cartridge out of the pen body and move it to the EnerGel RT body (I have not, as yet, found such a way). This is one of my biggest complaints with this pen. Maybe it’s just a problem with how I hold my gnarled left hand as I write my hooked scrawlings, but at the end of the written review I was glad to give my thumb a rest from the pressing plastic.
As for the actual writing performance, this is just a finer-tipped version of the other EnerGel I reviewed, with all the same benefits and problems. It writes dark and smooth, but puts out maybe the teensiest bit more ink than I think a pen of its nib size should. I did not experience faster drying times from this pen more than any other pen; drying times seem almost entirely at the mercy of the paper used. And though the writing remained pretty crisp all through dragging my hand across the page, my skin still picked up and moved ink particles around the page–if you look closely (maybe you can’t actually see it in my scan, but I can see it as I obsessively press the paper to my eyeballs) you can see that bits of ink have been smudged onto white spaces. How the letters remain crisp in spite of this flaw is probably dark wizardry.
Do not be lured by Pentel’s claims of this pen being “Ideal for Lefties”–this is not the Holy Grail we’ve been looking for. What this pen is, is it’s a good gel pen with a nice, fun, yet professional design. Another good contender in the micro-tip category, just watch for ink getting picked up on your hands, and hopefully you won’t have the same problems with the grip that I have. The only thing that could make this pen better (without actually changing anything about its production) would be if it were generally available in American chain stores (hint, hint, Target, you’ve been getting a good selection going lately, you should think about picking up this pen, hint).