Ink Drop Soup: The Most Awful Jetstream

24 08 2013

I’m not sure how the folks at Uniball/Sanford go about designing products for the American market. I assume they sit in front of a pile of beautifully designed pens for the Japanese market, and say to themselves, “These pens are attractive and successful. Now, what can we make that will be neither of those things?” And thus, the Jetstream Premier model was born.

What could the design prompt possibly have been? See how awful a pen has to look before people will stop throwing their money at the promise of a Jetstream?

What could the design prompt possibly have been? See how awful a pen has to look before people will stop throwing their money at the promise of a Jetstream?

From the weirdly smooth knock feature to the garish iridescent silver plastic body, the design experts behind the Jetstream really went out of their way to house a wonderful pen in an outstandingly ugly body. And to top it all off, do they use the Alpha Gel grip, sneakily seen in the American Signo 207 Premier model? OF COURSE NOT WHY WOULD WE DO THAT when we can have this grotesquely shaped horrible-looking repurposed nuclear tire accident of a grip?

The two hard protrusions aren't even the same on both sides! Why?! WHY?

The two hard protrusions aren’t even the same on both sides! Why?! WHY?

I am forced to assume that whoever designed this grip thought it was some kind of improvement on the Alpha Gel, that what they enjoy is a grip with about all the give of a fresh watermelon rind. Well, good for you, mystery person. You have the pen of your dreams. The rest of us have one of the biggest wastes of money you could ever associate with a Jetstream.

P.S. For a cheaper Jetstream Alpha Gel, take 1 Uni Signo 207 Premier body + 1 Jetstream RT style refill of your choice = squishy cushy goodness. But please don’t throw away good money on the Jetstream Premier body.

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14 responses

24 08 2013
Pilot G2.38

The worst thing about that pen is you have to change out the 1.0 for a .5 before you even use it.

26 08 2013
No Pen Intended

At that point you might as well just buy the much nicer Signo 207 Premier and swap in a Jetstream. Maybe *I* just really want to go but a Signo Premier body and swap in a Jetstream refill. Now, where can I buy pens in person at this hour…

27 08 2013
Pilot G2.38

If you bought a Signo 207 Premier you’d have to swap in an ultra micro .38! The Premier is the only Signo pen I’ve never bought.

26 08 2013
Penacious H

Greetings: two comments: first, the version you have pictured was replaced in the past year by a slightly modified version, now called only the “uni Jetstream’, with the name placed vertically to right of pen clip. Other change is the grip: I agree that the grip you illustrate was unsightly and irregularly shaped…the new one is black ‘rubber’ again, but with no squishy feel-only ridges in the bottom inch of the grip. Too firm for me; as you said, I’d prefer the alpha grip (you can buy a Uniball Jetstream with an alpha grip for about $15 or so on jetpens, btw, in silver, black and I think pink).

Worst to me, about either Jetstream (Premier) barrel is that it can get bent at the midsection (where grip meets apparently fake metal barrel)–I took one out of my briefcase a few weeks back and was surprised to see it was bent about 30 degrees at that point, for no reason I could see (ie, not abused…). It could not be corrected/bent back to stay, so I took it apart and saw that the two parts of the barrel appear to be GLUED with some kind of sticky substance–not quite silicone, but clear and a bit stretchy.

Finally, a couple of attempted hacks to this barrel: I really like the recent Zebra Flight hybrid/advanced ink pens–great flow…but hate the cheap looking barrels. So I played with one of the Flight refills and after much work and cutting it about 1/3 of an inch and putting tape around the top, it fits in the Jetstream (Premier) body, which I like… but you have to use the spring that came with the Flight body because the refill is really narrow and has a higher point where the spring stops.

26 08 2013
No Pen Intended

Is the body still rainbow-silver iridescent or have they thankfully ditched that too? I got the alpha gel grip Jetstream from Jetpens (either when they first started carrying it or when my Jetstream obsession started) but I’m always wishing for better options for my not-as-pen zealous friends to find in the actual physical stores they frequent.

31 08 2013
scribbler

Agreed, that is one ugly pen.

31 08 2013
Garren Cho (@garrencho)

Something I discovered while desperately needing a ballpoint for work, but not having a good RT one nearby: the non-RT Jetstream has a refill of just the right length and size for Signo 207/Premier barrels. Just twist off the stopper from the Jetstream refill, and use the same spring as in the Signo 207/Premier.

1 09 2013
No Pen Intended

Good to know that the non-RT refill can work as well!

31 08 2013
Mike

I really love the title of this post. (Also, that is a butt-ugly pen. Blech.)

1 09 2013
Jules

The ugliness ensures that you always get your pen back no matter how many people borrow it – even when they comment on how nice it is to write with.

The original capped Jetstream is my favourite version.

1 09 2013
No Pen Intended

That’s…that’s genius. o_o

30 09 2013
Jorfimus Prime

Is there seriously not a single person who likes this pen? Aside from me, that is, I have no issue with it, though it’s definitely not my first choice or one that I carry around all the time. But I enjoy it well enough anyway. Guess I’m alone there?

2 01 2015
Robyn

No you’re not alone. I love this pen, both the feel of it in my hand and the way it writes.

3 01 2015
PenaciousH

I concur with others but this review is actually outdated, from 2013; since then, there’s a newer Jetstream Premier; a nicer looking one that appears to actually be metal on top (not positive though), and a sleeker (though NOT cushiony) rubber like grip on bottom. See picture here:http://www.jetpens.com/Uni-ball-Jetstream-Premier-Ballpoint-Pen-1.0-mm-Silver/pd/12759

JetPens even has one in all black now! Also not available in stores in Northeast US anyway.

It writes beautifully I agree. I am a wide point fan so I like the 1.0– anyone who wants to send me their discarded 1.0, it’d be welcome here (:-))

I tried the other smoother ink pens and didn’t like the Pilot Acroball or Pentel at all. I do really like the Zebra Flight pen (though sadly a cheap plastic body) and the Zebra Emulsion line; Flight is 1.2 mm point and blobs a lot…though I like it enough to modify it (cut the length) to fit in the more acceptable (to me) Zebra Stylus Pen (retractable with air soft grip). While I also tried the Flight Stick pen, and the ink lasts longer, my experience has been that it blobs a lot more.

Happy New Year to all!

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