Another goody courtesy Brad at JetPens: the Tombow OnBook ballpoint pen! My curiosity had been piqued by the pseudo-gimmicky innovation of this pen for quite some time, but I resisted tossing it on my JetPens Wish List for serious consideration—until they busted out a turquoise model. Turquoise makes everything better.
It’s a nicely constructed little number. I am both baffled and enchanted by its design, a merger of minimalism and peculiar, appealing shapes.
But I can’t quite figure out how I want to hold this pen. There are a lot of awkward/mildly uncomfortable ways to wrap your fingers around this plastic construction, due to the two rounded ridges on the flat side of the pen. Thanks to my natural grip, it seems like some part of my hand is always pressing into one ridge or the other. Using the “ideal” pliers grip seems better, but we should know by now that, without firmly molded guiding grips, “ideal pliers” is practically a pipe dream for me.
I am also a bit confounded by the design decision that, instead of retracting the tip by re-clicking the plunger, you have to press in that little dot. If you have hard, sharp, bony fingers then it’s probably no big deal, but if you have squishy fingers, it is inconveniently slightly more difficult than necessary to push the button in far enough to release and retract the pen. Aesthetically, I love the dot. Practically, I wish it weren’t the only retraction method.
How does it do being on books? For that, I’m pretty pleased.
The flare-up at the end of the clip makes it easier to slip on, but doesn’t flare up so much that it digs into your book (especially important if you’re clipping it on the cover, rather than the spine). Stays on nicely without death-gripping. If you want to get your OCPD on (I know I am tempted to), you might complain that there is a mere 2mm protrusion of cap above the clip, preventing the pen’s profile from being perfectly flush with the book; but it’s not so much that it’ll be getting knocked around. The flattish side of the pen rests nicely against both covers and spines, so much so that I think it makes up for that 2mm protrusion. Wait, am I really griping about 2mm?
It writes decently; not phenomenally convert-strangers-on-the-street-into-using-this-pen smooth (a.k.a. Jetstream butter-smooth), but it’s a far cry from the frozen black molasses that passes for ink in cheap ballpoints. If I had to write a bunch with this pen, I would probably get more tired of the grip before I would get fed up with the ink. Low instances of ballpoint-ink-blobbing, and it writes easily with very little pressure; just generally the sort of nice performance that I think a standard ballpoint pen should give.
I’m not gonna sit down and write out the Next Great American Grocery List, pages 1 through 4098, using this pen. But I think it’s perfect for keeping on the spine or cover of a book/journal/calendar/planner/assemblage of bound paper, so as to have a pen handy for jotting down notes and ideas, and other esoteric margin scribblings.
It also comes in other colors, if, for some insane and unfathomable reason, you don’t like turquoise.
Thanks again to Brad and JetPens! :)