Pilot G2 0.38mm vs. Uni-ball Signo 207 Ultra Micro

24 09 2013
It's like an arcade game, with less quarters

It’s like an arcade game, with less quarters

There’s a big, wide world of micro-tipped pens out there, but when it comes to what’s available in physical American stores, choices are limited. So it’s high time for a showdown between the two most commonly available retractable micro tip pens: the Pilot G2 0.38mm and the Uni-ball Signo 207 Ultra Micro (in blue).

Imagine the sound of two pens clicking aggressively at each other. That is the soundtrack to this review

Imagine the sound of two pens clicking aggressively at each other. That is the soundtrack to this review

I’ve laid out my thoughts before on the design of both of these pens. Comparing the two is like trying to determine the winner in a noodle-armed slap fight. No one really wins, and we all feel a bit silly.

Are these really both 0.38mm? They don't look the same size.

Are these really both 0.38mm? They don’t look the same size.

What it really comes down to here is writing. The Signo 207 has lighter ink, and it appears to write thinner than the Pilot G2 by an almost microscopic factor. But the Uni-ball Signo 207 is occasionally plagued by some odd feeling at the tip when writing, something I can’t properly put into words. It’s not scratchy, it’s not like there’s any problem with the flow of ink, but there’s something, some slight something, that is at times getting in the way of 100% smooth writing.

And the Signo does a lot of this. See those near-railroads?

And the Signo does a lot of this. See those near-railroads?

The Pilot G2 isn’t exactly perfect either. It isn’t scratchy, but it feels ever so slightly slower when writing compared to the Uni-ball, like some kind of microresistance is involved—but the performance is more consistent, both in terms of the feel and the quality of the lines being laid down. The vertical line of my Ts with the Uni Signo 207 betrays an occasional tendency to deposit less ink in the middle than the sides of the line. The Pilot G2 does it too, but less often.

This has the makings of an excellent family crest. I'll get the castle fixed up and have it printed up on some flags and armaments.

This has the makings of an excellent family crest. I’ll get the castle fixed up and have it printed up on some flags and armaments.

If the Uni Signo 207 could get itself together and always write without that weird feeling to it, then in spite of its annoying grip it would be the clear winner. Both of the pens I’m using for this comparison I’ll admit are a few years old, brought back into use for this review, so even if age has brought the performance down it should have done so equally, because I got these pens around the same time.

For its consistency in performance, I declare the Pilot G2 0.38mm the winner of this fight.


Pilot G2 Battle – Black Ink

6 09 2011

The most writing I've done with a Pilot G2 since middle school, when I didn't know any better

I was asked by Arch Drafting Supply via Twitter what my opinion of the Pilot G2 pen was. My frothing knee-jerk reaction was “IT IS THE WORST THING“, followed by conceding that the 0.38mm Pilot G2 was inexplicably not an affront to human decency / everything beautiful in the world. But I still hadn’t done a comprehensive review of the Pilot G2 line. High time we change that.

Oh maaan look at how astoundingly unremarkable they are!

I’ve already laid down pretty much all the harshness I can in my previous post reviewing the 0.38mm Pilot G2—the design has reached the pinnacle of boringness. Can any pen hope to claim this title from the Pilot G2 through innovative use of the most uninspired and unappealing design techniques known to modern man? Unlikely. A design this steadfastly boring is a classic that will stand the test of time and remain just as boring 20 years from now as it is today.

Little plastic windows opening into the void

There are three elements of design that vary among the different sized models. One is the color of the barrel; the two larger tip sizes (1.0mm and 0.7mm) have smoky translucent barrels, and the two smaller tip sizes (0.5mm and 0.38mm) have clear barrels.

The Pilot G2: as exciting as a rollercoaster, provided that the rollercoaster only travels 1mph and never actually makes it out of the station before you give up and get off.

Second element: the writing on the clip—gold for the 1.0mm and the 0.7mm, silver for the 0.5mm, white for the 0.38mm.


And your final element: the color of the plastic on the tip (something that most people probably won’t notice, because who refills a Pilot G2 when it runs out? I’m pretty sure everyone just throws them away) is different for each tip size. But enough about the design. What really matters is what’s on the inside. In the spirit of fairness, I went out and bought these pens brand new for this review, hoping that the abysmal quality control would finally break in my favor, unlike every 0.5mm and 0.7mm Pilot G2 I would attempt to use at my last job.

When people say they love the Pilot G2, it's like when teenagers say they'll love each other forever. They just don't know any better.

Thankfully, I had no experiences of utter frustration resulting in throwing the pen across the room while writing this review (this happened several times with several previous G2 pens). All of the pens did what a pen is supposed to do, which is write.

The 1.0mm vs. the 0.7mm, the 0.7mm vs. the 0.5mm, and the 0.5mm vs. the 0.38mm

Of the bunch, I loathed the 0.5mm the most the 0.5mm was my least favorite. There was something that felt off, unsteady, annoying when I was writing with it. The 0.7mm came in at the cut-off of acceptable: perfectly fine if I need to write something down right now, but if I have the time and opportunity to go find another pen to write with, I will. The two extremes, 0.38mm and 1.0mm, turned out to be my favorites.

Baby bear and Poppa bear

Having such an audaciously huge rollerball made the 1.0mm the smoothest among the G2s. My writing looks awful and messy, but I wasn’t getting resistance from the pen (one of my main concerns). And the performance of the 0.38mm is no surprise; we already knew that one was a favorite, with neat, precise, and constant lines.

I doubt I’ll ever go out of my way to make sure I have any of the Pilot G2 models in my daily arsenal, but the 0.38mm and 1.0mm would be just fine in an office drawer, and those pens can rest easy knowing they probably won’t be evicted from one of my many homebound pen cups.


No link, because you can find these pens pretty much EVERYWHERE. Probably even convenience stores and bake sales. They’re ubiquitous.