Uni Jetstream Prime 3 Color Ballpoint Multi Pen – 0.7 mm – Navy Body

29 05 2014
Delays in getting this post done brought to you in part by: getting a new dog

Delays in getting this post done brought to you in part by: getting a new dog

Either the Uni people listen or they came to the same logical conclusions their customers do—there should be a fancy Jetstream multi pen, there should be D1 Jetstream refills—VOILÀ! Both of these things, in the same pen. Thanks to JetPens for providing this sample.

And most of all, thank you for blue, and not pink. Pink exists now though, for those of you who are not me and love pink

And most of all, thank you for blue, and not pink. Pink exists now though, for those of you who are not me and love pink

The body is metal (type unspecified), the paint job that same enchanting metallic finish typically reserved for bumper cars. But classy. Like a Ferrari bumper car.

Exactly like a Ferrari.

Exactly like a Ferrari.

Up top, we’ve got some of the most subtle multi pen markings I’ve ever seen, coupled with what I’ll assume is a curious homage to Legos. Sure, you are a fancy businessperson now, but your heart hasn’t forgotten how crucial the carefully collected gem panel was to the city-defending death ray you had Lego Anakin Skywalker man. Or whatever it was you used your Lego gems for.

Put them in treasure chests? But then where would we keep all of Lego Queen Amidala's extra hairstyles?

Put them in treasure chests? But then where would we keep all of Lego Queen Amidala’s extra hairstyles?

The knocks are so smooth, strangely smooth if you’re used to multi pen components that are pressed inward and down to deploy. They are extremely satisfying to manipulated, and probably guaranteed to drive coworkers crazy. At least they won’t drive you crazy—they never fail (not in my experience so far, no getting stuck, no randomly undeploying, just solid mechanisms).

Looks vs. comfort. Typically this is a battle that plays out over fashionable shoes.

Looks vs. comfort. Typically this is a battle that plays out over fashionable shoes.

I do question the comfort of the all-metal body, especially in the grip area, particularly if you like to grip hard. I have to catch myself when I’m writing to readjust away from a death grip, lest I press the pen uncomfortably into the base of my thumb. Maybe adding a regular grip would do nothing to alleviate this, but an Alpha Gel Grip? What you’d lose in svelte aesthetics you’d gain in heavenly grip comfort. Maybe if I suggest it enough times, it will be reality. Alpha Gel Grip Jetstream Multipen of Fanciness. Alpha Gel Grip Jetstream Multipen of Fanciness. Looks like for now, this will remain but a dream.

You could definitely fit more in here. Oh, perhaps a secret message could go in here too?

You could definitely fit more in here. Oh, perhaps a secret message would fit?

Moreso than the Uni Jetstream 4&1 multi, these refills rattle when writing. When I pick the pen up and put it back to the page I can hear it, enough to be noticeable. Not quite enough to drive me up a wall yet, but given the choice I’m inclined to go for a quieter writing experience. Or, there are some sounds that are soothing to hear when you write, like the gliding of a nib as it lays ink on the page. Refills rattling is not one of those pleasant sounds.

I almost want to ask for more colors, but knowing the track record I've experienced with non-traditional Jetstream color inks I think I'll keep my mouth shut

I almost want to ask for more colors, but knowing the track record I’ve experienced with non-traditional Jetstream color inks I think I’ll keep my mouth shut

The performance of the refills is satisfying. The colors are rich, and above all stay off my hands. The black seems to perform best of the three colors, but that might just be my imagination. Is it as good as a regular Jetstream? Perhaps not on the most microscopic, nitpicky level, but it’s much smoother and more satisfying than any other D1 ballpoint refill I’ve tried so far. Is there a bulk discount on these refills? I have a lot of mini ballpoint pens I’d like to upgrade.

Set it down like this and no one even knows about your allegiance to the plastic brick

Set it down like this and no one even knows about your allegiance to the plastic brick

Is this the best multi pen your $45 can buy? I guess it depends on how much of your childhood was dedicated to Legos. This is the sort of pen that would make a great gift to receive, but might not necessarily be a pen body you clamor to buy for yourself. The D1 refills that this body brought to pen existence are another matter entirely, and I strongly advise you to stock up and retrofit as many little pens as possible.

Uni Jetstream Prime 3 Color Ballpoint Multi Pen – 0.7mm – Navy Blue Body at JetPens

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Uni Jetstream 4&1 4 Color Ballpoint Multi Pen and Pencil – Purple

15 04 2014
Someone hand me some failing tests, that red is just itching to give out a big glowing F minus minus

Someone hand me some failing tests, that red is just itching to give out a big glowing F minus minus to some poor sap not smart enough to be using a Jetstream

What’s better that a Jetstream? Several Jetstreams rolled into one. Thank you to JetPens for providing this sample!

It comes it several colors, but obviously dark purple is the superior choice

It comes it several colors, but obviously dark purple is the superior choice

The body is simple and professional, with tasteful silver accents. The markings to denote refill colors are unobtrusive—quite appreciable, as multipens are ever in danger of looking like rainbow vomit with their many-colored plungers.

I like how the pencil is referred to as "0.5mm SHARP"...it makes a mechanical pencil sound so much more dangerous and exciting

I like how the pencil is referred to as “0.5mm SHARP”…it makes a mechanical pencil sound so much more dangerous and exciting

The sticker on the body was easily removable and left no residue. Coupled with the subtle branding imprinted on the clip, you’ve got a pen that looks good and keeps distractions low key.

Things I was not expecting to find in here: metal. Things that all of in here consists of: metal.

Things I was not expecting to find in here: metal. Things that all of in here consists of: metal.

The pen itself is nicely balanced, with the majority of its light weight focused lower, in the grip. The grip section is metal, with a nice grippy rubber on top (though it would be PHENOMENAL to have the grip be Alpha Gel instead, that would probably make the pen unbearably wide, and would collect more debris than this grip does). The upper half is mostly plastic (excepting the clip), and the overall composition of the pen makes it pretty comfortable for a longer writing session.

In the event of a graphite emergency, break the snap seal located on the top of your multi pen and apply eraser directly to the emergency

In the event of a graphite emergency, break the snap seal located on the top of your multi pen and apply eraser directly to the emergency

Normally I’m not a fan of easily-lost caps covering uselessly tiny erasers, but this cap hold surprisingly firm to the pen. It’s not going to get lost unless you set it down and forget to put it back on. The eraser itself isn’t much to speak of—more of an emergency provision. The pencil component is deployed by pressing down on the clip, and lead is advanced by pressing the deployed clip down again. It’s a wise design choice, providing a larger plunger for easy use of the pencil while concealing it design-wise in the clip. The only improvement I’d like to see here is for Uni to find a way to shrink the Kuru Toga mechanism into the size of a multi pen refill. A multi pen made of Jetstreams and a Kuru Toga would be unstoppable.

If you need more colors than this, be sure to give yourself a stern lecture about how back in my day we didn't have any newfangled ink colors. Pens were also used uphill both ways. In the snow.

If you need more colors than this, be sure to give yourself a stern lecture about how back in my day we didn’t have any newfangled ink colors. Pens were also used uphill both ways. In the snow.

I’ve had some problems recently with certain Jetstream color models not living up to the Jetstream name—consider this pen redemption. All colors perform smooth and vibrant, as a Jetstream should. The 0.5mm provides crisp lines that glide onto the page with almost no pressure whatsoever. The barrel is a bit wide, as almost all multipens are, but it’s not unwieldy—only if you really prefer a slim pen will it be something that might bother you. And, after handwriting out this whole review, the side of my hand is clean. This is the Jetstream I know and love.

If someone at Uni isn't feverishly working right now on adapting the Kuru Toga mechanism for multi pen use, then they don't know good money

If someone at Uni isn’t feverishly working right now on adapting the Kuru Toga mechanism for multi pen use, then they don’t know good money

If you use red, blue, green, and black ballpoints on a regular basis, you’ve got to give one of these a try. I’m thinking especially professionals and students in the science, technology, engineering, and math fields, plus anyone who needs to mark up papers, or just likes having access to all the traditional pen colors at once. The refills are smooth, the mechanisms solid, and the pen looks good. Classic Jetstream goodness!

Uni Jetstream 4&1 4 Color Ballpoint Multi Pen and Pencil – Purple at JetPens





Jetstream BLX 1.0mm – Green Black, Blue Black, and Purple Black

6 02 2014
I spent an embarrassing amount of time trying to find my red black Jetstream BLX to work on this review, only to realize eventually that I never even owned any such pen.

I spent an embarrassing amount of time trying to find my red black Jetstream BLX to work on this review, only to realize eventually that I never even owned any such pen.

I first saw the Jetstream BLX in a big box store, on a special Uni-ball endcap display. I immediately texted my local pen store (“I saw Uni-ball Jetstream BLX colors in an evil boxstore; when r u getting them so I can buy?”) and brought another Jetstream into my life. Would it be like the glorious Jetstream standard, or would it be a crushing disappointment like the newer color series?

If only looks were everything...

If only looks were everything…

In the realm of design, good work. The rubbery black body (with subtle microsparkles in the material) provides good traction for gripping, and the material has a pleasant handfeel without picking up too much debris.

Excellent use of colors. Better even than the Signo BLX.

Excellent use of colors. Better even than the Signo BLX.

The rest of the pen is either silver accents, or translucent plastic matched to the color of the refill. Love it. No complaints on style.

Here's where things fall apart

Here’s where things fall apart

But I do have complaints, and unfortunately, they’re about the writing experience. You can feel ink gunking on the ballpoint tip, clogging, with results ranging from episodes of writing not being smooth (being rather jarring, jerky, uneven feeling) all the way to not even writing at all.

How appropriate that it couldn't write out the word DISAPPOINTMENT, because that's exactly what it is.

How appropriate that it couldn’t write out the word DISAPPOINTMENT, because that’s exactly what it is.

I don’t know what the problem is. The colors look great, but the writing is unreliable. Would a smaller tip size help? Why would it, when the 0.5mm Jetstream color series also performed poorly, and black 1.0mm Jetstreams have done just fine? Maybe that blue-black Jetstream color ink series I got so long ago was just a fluke when it comes to the behavior of Jetstream inks with colors.

In the trendy garbage can where it belongs

In the trendy garbage can where it belongs

Sorry Jetstream. Sorry Uni-ball. But these BLX models are terrible.

But if you want to give them a shot, I’m not stopping you. You’ll find them at many box stores and also at JetPens.





Ink Drop Soup: Category Killers

3 08 2013

I want to do a brief lineup, a shout-out and nod to products so exceptional that it becomes almost impossible to review anything in their category without mentioning them, without adding a disclaimer acknowledging that the product under review certainly isn’t a so-and-so. Compared to the category killer, everything else lags behind in a competition for second place.

Mechanical Pencil: Uni Kuru Toga

Alpha gel grip for bonus points

Alpha gel grip for bonus points

It rotates the lead as you write. There’s an Alpha Gel grip model. All other mechanical pencils can go home because for me, this pencil reigns supreme.

Ballpoint Pen: Uni Jetstream

As close as a ballpoint can get to perfection

As close as a ballpoint can get to perfection

Your mileage may vary. I’ve heard some people complain that the Jetstream is too smooth, in what I assume is much the same tone that rich people use when they complain that they just have too much money. There may be good competition in the super smooth world, tolerable substitutes even, but a ballpoint pen can’t fall in my hand without being measured against the Jetstream.

Convenient Fountain Pen: Pilot Vanishing Point

  CLICK click CLICK click

CLICK click CLICK click

I love a lot of different fountain pens, but when it comes to convenience, the Vanishing Point is the undisputed champ. I own three now. Send help.

There are still categories out there where a single winner hasn’t seized my heart. Gel pens, rollerball pens, felt-tip pens, hardcase wooden pencils (though the Palomino Blackwing is pretty strong), lead holders (though I have a soft spot for the Ohto Comfort Sharp), highlighters … I don’t yet know the end-all champion in those realms (gel pens may never be settled, as there are many good gel pens). But now, henceforth, you all know when I review a mechanical pencil, ballpoint pen, or fountain pen touting its convenience, unless that product is the new category killer, it will go without saying that it isn’t in the same league as these fantastic writing utensils.





Uni-ball Jetstream Ballpoint Pen – 0.7 mm – Alpha Gel Grip Series – Silver Body

20 07 2011

Jetstream is just about the only black ink I still love right now (I am on a colored ink kick, what can I say)

I believe I mentioned to Brad at JetPens that my new job involves inordinate amounts of training and excessive amounts of note-taking, and that my hand was probably going to fall off, explode from callouses, and shatter at a molecular level. Or maybe I just said that I thought the alpha gel grip was great, and Jetstreams were great, and we could not possibly live in a universe where the combination of the two is anything but greatness squared; given these facts, should JetPens find it in its heart to bestow such an item unto me, I would be so grateful that not even the most extravagant of metaphors, no matter how many mythical creatures I invoked in said metaphor, would properly convey my thanks. Maybe I’m exaggerating, but the facts are these: JetPens did send me such a pen, my gratitude is at an all-time high, and this pen really is greatness squared.

Weep. WEEP, FOR IT IS BEAUTY AND IT CAN EXIST IN YOUR HAND

I won’t dwell on writing performance; I’ve reviewed the Jetstream 0.5mm before, and there isn’t much that differs between the two except that the 0.7mm, being larger, is ever so slightly smoother. They take the exact same kind of refill, these two models, so if you don’t care for the 0.7mm you can easily swap it out.

Ok, so maybe it's not the MOST beautiful pen. BUT IT PERFORMS BEAUTIFULLY

The design, I admit, leaves me a little perplexed. I like the top half. I like the bottom half. But I keep getting the strange feeling that their designs were generated by giving two separate and isolated design teams a vague set of parameters (“silver. white. classy”), then taking the top half of one team’s design and adding it to the bottom half from the other team. Maybe if the grip were a different color, like a pale blue? Maybe I just can’t handle white and off-white on the same pen. I don’t know. But to be honest, I don’t care. Is this what infatuation is like?

The grip could be puke green for all I care; doesn't change the fact that it is the perfect amount of squishy

Being almost entirely metal, the Alpha Gel Grip Jetstream has a nice weight in the hand. The clip seems reasonably sturdy (though I still prefer a hinged clip), and it clicks just like a pen should. Like every good grip, the alpha gel has an almost supernatural ability to attract cat hair, dust, food crumbs, and other little bits of debris that like to populate purses and pockets, but it’s easy to wipe off with a damp napkin, or, for the uncouth, a bit of spit on your thumb.

I almost wish that more of the pen were covered with the Alpha Gel grip; the gnarled way I hold a pen causes pressure on the end of my third finger and in the crook between my forefinger and thumb. It would probably look really weird, but I don’t think I’d complain if there were an inch more grip to the pen.

Gaze into the Alpha Gel Grip. Become one with the Alpha Gel Grip. You need the Alpha Gel Grip. You ARE the Alpha Gel Grip.

Whether or not the Alpha Gel grip is the One You’ve Been Searching For depends on your preferences. For me, if the grip is too squishy, with a firm grip you just end up holding the barrel, with a bunch of fancy grip piled around the edges of your fingers. But if the grip is too firm, you might as well not have a grip on the pen at all. I find that the Alpha Gel grip strikes the perfect balance; it cushions, but has enough firmness that all grip doesn’t flee from beneath your fingers.

This pen and my Kuru Toga Alpha Gel are now my designated test-taking/oh-heck-I'm-gonna-be-doing-way-too-much-writing instruments

As far as price goes, I think it’s well worth it. You’re paying for a lot of metal (sturdy) and a very nice grip (squishy). It would be nice if you could buy a replacement grip in case you wear the current one out (though I don’t know how likely it is to wear out), but I don’t think that’s currently an option. If you’re like me, and any nonstop writing effort that lasts for more than ten minutes starts shunting your hand into a deformed world of pain from the amount of furious concentration you instinctively devote to your grip muscles, then this pen is worth it at any price. I easily foresee more of these, perhaps the black body, finding their way into my JetPens cart. And if colored grips come out? That will be my Kryptonite.

Note: If you buy one of these and are not satisfied, please send it to me. I would be glad to take it off your hands.

Uni-ball Jetstream Ballpoint Pen – 0.7 mm – Alpha Gel Grip Series – Silver Body at JetPens





Uni-ball Jetstream Ballpoint Pen – 0.5 mm – Basic Series – Black

15 04 2011

No words. Only ink. ...which makes words.

I realized yesterday that, as much as I make mention of how much I love Uni-ball’s Jetstream line of pens, I haven’t actually reviewed some of my favorite Jetstream pens (I’ve only reviewed the Jetstream color ink series blue-black thoroughly). Up until now, you have had to trust only my declarations of love without any evidence or overly-closeup pictures of pens. Let’s change that.

There it is, kids. The modern aesthetic. The perfect blend of fun and functionality. The pen that has been writing through your dreams, and into your heart.

WARNING: do not actually use a Jetstream pen to literally write into your heart. You may experience slight discomfort or death.

The design–oh boy. I love the design of this pen. I love the combination of curves, the swooping lines, the white-black-clear with metallic baby-grey-blue accents. The way this pen looks is due to the conscious effort of someone(s), somewhere(s), deciding that this pen should be more than just a pointy cylinder with a clip on the end. And I appreciate that. I think the effort of design really shines through on this pen, so, whoever you are that made this model of Jetstream look the way it does, thank you. I love it.

So fine, so smooth....one day, Casanova will be referred to as "the Jetstream of human beings."

Writing–compared to the larger nib sizes, the 0.5mm isn’t AS smooth–meaning that, instead of writing as smooth as liquid melted butter it writes as smooth as soft-but-not-totally-melted-yet butter. This is just an observation from having used the 0.5mm, 0.7mm, and 1.0mm Jetstreams. Bigger nib rolls a little more smoothly, but can also be a bit messier. But look, we’re reviewing the 0.5mm here so enough about those other nibs.

The amount of pressure required to make a line with this pen–and not just a line, but a good, dark line–is practically none. Writing is much more relaxing when you don’t have to grasp the pen as though for dear life and try to rip through the other side of the page from bearing down so hard. The ink flows, the pen glides, your hand can relax and still make words happen on the page.

The ink also dries very fast, or at least, does not leave wet blobs anywhere. I’ve had other ballpoint pens that would leave my hand spotted with ink after a writing session of dragging my hand across the page, but never with the Jetstream. The ink gets on the page and it stays there. Even trying to deliberately smudge a line immediately after making it, I only got a tiny bit to give the weensiest smudge. It’s barely even noticeable. THIS is what is ideal for lefties. I want a pen whose ink is set in stone within a second of putting it on the page. Jetstreams never made this promise, but it’s certainly what they deliver.

I believe the ink has some other fantastic properties to it–waterproof, fadeproof, some other fun stuff like that. Even if it didn’t, you already have a fantastic pen here. Everyone should own a Jetstream. Every office should stock Jetstream pens (instead of those awful Pilot G-2s, seeing how they are equivalent in price on the corporate supply website my office uses). Every ballpoint pen should be as good as this.

I dont think there is a better ballpoint pen. Certainly not one that can perform better.

Uni-ball Jetstream Ballpoint Pen – 0.5 mm – Basic Series – Black at JetPens





Special Edition: Battle of the Office Pens

26 12 2010

Three pens AT THE SAME TIME?!?! That's GOT to be cheating!

Is this pen review for you? Ask yourself a few questions:

Do I work, perhaps in some scenario where I need to write things down, and where my employers provide pens for me? Yes? THEN READ ON. Everyone else, you are free to leave.

Where I work, my boss, though awesome in all other respects, simply does not understand the importance of a good pen. Even though he is similarly left-handed, he is content to make his scribblings with the cheapest ink-squirters money can buy. I like to pretend that, deep down, he acknowledges that the Jetstream pen I gave him is maybe the best thing he has ever written with, but just doesn’t say anything so that I remain convinced that he thinks I’m slightly crazy.

One of these things is not like the other, one of these things just isn't an unmitigated pile of plastic garbage.

Before I made input, the two go-to contenders for writing utensil were the Bic round stic grip fine ballpoint pen, and the “deluxe” *snort* option: the Pilot G-2 07 gel pen. Let me show you what the G-2 is good for.

Launching projectiles across the office, that's what they're good for.

ANYTHING BUT WRITING. The barrel doesn’t actually contain black gel ink; what you see there is black liquid frustration. If you have an idea you’d like to write down, you’d do better to stab yourself in the hand with the G-2 and write it down in your own blood smeared across 37 sheets of photocopy paper. Please see my writing attempts above, far left. A dozen-pen box of this hellish devilment will run just shy of $10 through corporate ordering sources. As I mentioned, you might as well buy 10-cent steak knives and a box of band-aids for everyone.

The Bic, you might think, is just a cheap pile of crap you would leave in a cup for everyone you hate to partake of when they feel particularly kleptomaniacal. For writing, this is still true. You can probably get a dozen of these for a dollar. Some people might even pay you just to take them away. But the Bic has a place; two places really. It is the pen you buy for the masses to use; if someone walks off with one, don’t worry, there are probably a thousand and ten more in a closet somewhere. It is also the pen you buy for your workers if, instead of writing things down, you’d rather have them making elaborate and fantastically shaded doodles and other such masterpieces. In the writing department, the Bic requires your typical amount of *urgh* effort to write with; it’s slight, but significant. It certainly impedes my writing. For drawing, though, this thing is great! The crappy ink is excellent for light shading, since it doesn’t come out consistent and solid and black as the Batman’s latex-covered butt, you can get nice variations and effects going.

Then I was given the power to make suggestions for what office supplies we should order. Imagine my unbounded delight when I saw that, for  a few dimes cheaper than a box of atrocities against humanity Pilot G-2s, I could bring into this lab a shining dozen JETSTREAM PENS. You know how I feel about Jetstreams. If you can order these bad boys through a corporate website, DO IT. DO IT TWENTY TIMES, for the love of ink, it is an excellent deal. My boss wondered why we needed TWO boxes of fancy pens (a coworker does not share my furiously burning hatred for the Pilot G-2), and I rationally explained to him without the use of caps lock that these pens were more important than life itself, and I would be a happier human being if he bought them for us all.

 

I TOLD YOU, MY BOSS IS AWESOME :D

When I saw the box of these waiting on my desk, my eyes lit up like a Christmas tree on burning gasoline. I have been converting coworkers to the joy of a ballpoint pen that doesn’t require pressure to write (these Jetstreams, I tell you, they are SMOOTH. I do not lie. They are like writing with warmed butter), that lays down ink like the ink is an attractive member of its preferred sex that it wishes to have intimate relations with, and it is the smoothest operator since Casanova. Look at the writing sample. It isn’t as good for drawing, because this pen is all the time about consistent and dark ink flow. While it has a place in the drawing supply pantheon, perhaps augmenting the delicate shading of a Bic, it’s not the best stand-alone drawing unit. But it is EXCELLENT for writing. Whenever I have an idea at work that I need to write down and I reach for this pen, the encounter does not end with my idea forgotten as I growl and hurl the pen down a hallway, since all of our second-story windows do not open for fear of suicides and bad acid trips. No. I reach for this pen, and it flows, and the experience, every time, really does make me just a little bit happier. And happy employees are productive employees, you guys.

 

THANKS AGAIN TO MY BOSS! :D