Uni-ball Vision Elite – 0.8mm Blue-Black

31 08 2011

Blue-black: not as overexuberant as blue, not as boring as black

There was a day a few months back when I was jonesin for a blue-black pen. I hit up one of my local big-box office supply stores for a 3-pack of the only blue-black they had available: the Uni-ball Vision Elite. I had vague memories of my favorite pen I used to use in my high school AP Chemistry class being some kind of blue-black Uni-ball. So it was that this pen came riding into my collection on a wave of probably misplaced nostalgia.

Kind of like a space-ship, as imagined from the 1950s

I’m surprised Uni would market a design so almost cool in America. It’s simple, with a nice use of geometric repetition and an attractive translucent element on the cap that bears no resemblance to the actual shade of ink within.

Now the spaceship is a laser gun

The plastic around the tip of the rollerball is a much closer match for color. The cap snaps firmly closed, but only slides on to post—meh. I’m ambivalent on the waffle grid grip.

Roll in syrup for a snack in times of desperation

But that’s how I tend to be with grips. Unless it’s luxurious squish-cushioning or aggressively uncomfortable, it doesn’t merit much attention from me.

If you look closely, you can see my distorted reflection in the plastic of the pen.

In writing, this pen is especially dependent on the paper being used in terms of how the experience goes. In my Behance Dot Grid review notebook, I felt like I was getting resistance while trying to write. On Clairefontaine paper it rolls just fine, but takes too much of FOREVER to dry. I end up smudging ink all over the page and my hand. It looks like I’ve been awkwardly punching Smurfs.

DID YOU KNOW: Uni-ball's decision to switch their ink from being Smurf blood based to Na'vi blood based in 2010 caused such a drop in color consistency and quality that it sparked a 9 day riot outside of their Mongolian headquarters?

But Clairefontaine paper isn’t what a pen like the Uni-ball Vision Elite would normally come in contact with. So I tested it on regular paper—legal pads, notebook paper, printer paper, etc.—and found new ways of being dissatisfied. The ink soaks through these papers, making the back side useless, and the lines themselves on the front side look a bit fuzzy. I like my lines crisp, no matter how thick they are. I don’t want my writing to look like some kind of moldy growth on the page.

Is it terrible? No. If I were currently working in Cubicle Land, I’d probably throw these into a cup on my desk (a cup near the door, where other people might be tempted to walk off with them), and they would do a perfectly unremarkable job of recording my thoughts. But the Vision Elite isn’t some thrilling object that I would try to convert my entire office into using (like I did with the Jetstream). It’s standard office fare.

At least it's moderately attractive/possibly usable as a prop in a low budget alien-spaceship-invasion film.

Since the Uni-ball Vision Elite is available even in Wal-Mart, I’ll just link to the official Uni-ball page for the Uni-ball Vision Elite.




6 responses

31 08 2011

I love the caption for the second picture. When I saw the argyle-printed grip, I immediately thought that could double as a mini rolling pin :)

1 09 2011

Nice review and pics!

2 09 2011
Weekly Wrap | PencilWrap.com

[…] Uni-ball Vision Elite-0.8mm Blue-Black – No Pen Intended […]

3 09 2011

Actually, I have to disagree with you. I use the micro version of this pen and love it.

I use Clairefontaine paper as well, but I haven’t had the smudging and drying issues. In fact, it dries pretty much instantly. Maybe the bold point is different?

3 09 2011
No Pen Intended

I’ll have to try the fine tip. The bold definitely puts down just enough too much ink so that smudgination is a problem :T

6 09 2011
Tuesday Grab Bag of Links … | The Pretense of Knowledge

[…] Pens / Writing. Review: Moleskine Indigo Special Edition A4 Notebook Uni-ball Vision Elite – 0.8mm Blue-Black Lamy Safari Charcoal Collection Pilot Hi Tec C Multi Pens Edison Pen Company: Bulb Filler […]

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