Lamy Pico Pocket Size Extendable Ballpoint Pen – 0.7 mm Medium Point – Black Body

24 03 2012

Just like a BIC! For once, I mean that as a compliment; BICs are great for sketching and subtle shading.

I was originally hesitant to get the Lamy Pico—this was back before I totally lost my mind and started dropping some serious Jacksons on fountain pens. Even now, I am reluctant to break the fifteen dollar barrier on any non-fountain pen. But motorcycle trips are special occasions, and in the name of finding the perfect motorcycle pen I finally bought a Lamy Pico back in May of last year (when the Lamy Pico was $10 cheaper).

The Thomas Jefferson doubloon and 1 euro cent piece will be my new references of measure for pens

Design-wise, a thousand gold stars for Lamy. Sleek matte black finish, compact body with a thick barrel (too many compact pens tend to favor needle-thin chopstick bodies), nice weight, and no clip (clips are bulky and can get caught on things in my pocket). Originally I didn’t like that the Pico had no clip, but I’ve come around.

Why does this have to jut out so impudently in what would otherwise be such a streamlined casing?

The only design feature I’m currently not thrilled with is the logo. I stand by what I suggested previously: make it flush with the body, recessed into the metal, and make it out of a powerful magnet so I can attach it to various metal bits on my motorcycle. Or refrigerator.

As is, I have to be mindful of where the logo is (when writing without gloves on), lest I have it pressing into my skin. The argument for the raised logo would be that it acts to stop the pen from rolling away (unless the pen has some momentum, then it’s avalanche straight down desk mountain). However, I’m not intending to use this pen on tabletops, so that’s not one of my concerns.

You know what would be better than a Lamy Pico? If I had some scrambled eggs right now. But I can't very well scramble up some eggs AND type these captions, now can I??

Generally in my off-bike, deskside tests, I’ve been happy with the deployment mechanism. Occasionally it’ll still stick; you just need to push back down and it’ll keep going. Would be a lot better if this never happened at all, or happened so rarely that it wouldn’t be worth mentioning. Oh well! Doubt the ten dollar price hike has fixed this problem.

Paper enemy #1

And here we have what is hands down the biggest problem with the Pico: the refill. Maybe Jetstream set the bar too high for me, so when I fork over the dough for a nice ballpoint pen that isn’t as smooth as butter and black as the deep voids of space, I’m disappointed.

Dear Lamy Pico refill: No, we will never be friends. Because if you weren't so awful, you really wouldn't be the Lamy Pico refill, would you?

Didn’t help that I got an extra particularly especially shoddy refill the first time around (I bought another at my local pen store, and got to test it before I took it home). It writes well enough—takes a little squiggle to warm up if it’s been sitting around for a while, but otherwise pretty consistent. No egregious or particularly obvious skips, blobs, or inky aberrations with my new refill. If we had a scale, with absolutely horrible pens at the bottom (I dare not name names) and Jetstream pens at the top, I’d give this a 5.5, maybe a 6. Just barely above average, but I want smoother. I want darker. I DO NOT WANT TO BE REMINDED OF PENS SO CHEAP THAT PEOPLE PRACTICALLY PAY YOU TO WALK OFF WITH THEM WHEN I USE THIS PEN (no offense, BIC). I still haven’t found a refill that fits. Monteverde claims its mini pen refills fit Lamy brand pens, but the Pico must be an exception (or Monteverde must be a pack of liars). It fits into the pen just fine, deploys and there it is, but as soon as you press it to paper it goes right back up into the pen. Useless. If anyone can find a better refill for this pen, let me know. (Psst, Uni-ball. You would make a killing off of me if you sold refills that fit various other pen bodies. Like this one)

Bottom line: with the price hike and the mediocre refill, I can’t say that the Pico is worth it. The only justifications for getting the Pico are probably either that you want a compact ballpoint pen with a wide body, or you’ve got money to burn and are intrigued by the deployment mechanism. Or if you’re trying to buy every pen ever. I’ve warmed up to mine, but unless you’re flush with cash or being given this as a gift, there are much better pens you could be getting with that money.

Lamy Pico Pocket Size Extendable Ballpoint Pens at JetPens

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26 03 2012
Monday Grab Bag of Links … | The Pretense of Knowledge

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30 03 2012
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2 04 2012
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6 04 2012
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11 05 2013
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