I believe I mentioned to Brad at JetPens that my new job involves inordinate amounts of training and excessive amounts of note-taking, and that my hand was probably going to fall off, explode from callouses, and shatter at a molecular level. Or maybe I just said that I thought the alpha gel grip was great, and Jetstreams were great, and we could not possibly live in a universe where the combination of the two is anything but greatness squared; given these facts, should JetPens find it in its heart to bestow such an item unto me, I would be so grateful that not even the most extravagant of metaphors, no matter how many mythical creatures I invoked in said metaphor, would properly convey my thanks. Maybe I’m exaggerating, but the facts are these: JetPens did send me such a pen, my gratitude is at an all-time high, and this pen really is greatness squared.
I won’t dwell on writing performance; I’ve reviewed the Jetstream 0.5mm before, and there isn’t much that differs between the two except that the 0.7mm, being larger, is ever so slightly smoother. They take the exact same kind of refill, these two models, so if you don’t care for the 0.7mm you can easily swap it out.
The design, I admit, leaves me a little perplexed. I like the top half. I like the bottom half. But I keep getting the strange feeling that their designs were generated by giving two separate and isolated design teams a vague set of parameters (“silver. white. classy”), then taking the top half of one team’s design and adding it to the bottom half from the other team. Maybe if the grip were a different color, like a pale blue? Maybe I just can’t handle white and off-white on the same pen. I don’t know. But to be honest, I don’t care. Is this what infatuation is like?
Being almost entirely metal, the Alpha Gel Grip Jetstream has a nice weight in the hand. The clip seems reasonably sturdy (though I still prefer a hinged clip), and it clicks just like a pen should. Like every good grip, the alpha gel has an almost supernatural ability to attract cat hair, dust, food crumbs, and other little bits of debris that like to populate purses and pockets, but it’s easy to wipe off with a damp napkin, or, for the uncouth, a bit of spit on your thumb.
I almost wish that more of the pen were covered with the Alpha Gel grip; the gnarled way I hold a pen causes pressure on the end of my third finger and in the crook between my forefinger and thumb. It would probably look really weird, but I don’t think I’d complain if there were an inch more grip to the pen.
Whether or not the Alpha Gel grip is the One You’ve Been Searching For depends on your preferences. For me, if the grip is too squishy, with a firm grip you just end up holding the barrel, with a bunch of fancy grip piled around the edges of your fingers. But if the grip is too firm, you might as well not have a grip on the pen at all. I find that the Alpha Gel grip strikes the perfect balance; it cushions, but has enough firmness that all grip doesn’t flee from beneath your fingers.
As far as price goes, I think it’s well worth it. You’re paying for a lot of metal (sturdy) and a very nice grip (squishy). It would be nice if you could buy a replacement grip in case you wear the current one out (though I don’t know how likely it is to wear out), but I don’t think that’s currently an option. If you’re like me, and any nonstop writing effort that lasts for more than ten minutes starts shunting your hand into a deformed world of pain from the amount of furious concentration you instinctively devote to your grip muscles, then this pen is worth it at any price. I easily foresee more of these, perhaps the black body, finding their way into my JetPens cart. And if colored grips come out? That will be my Kryptonite.