Bic Gel-ocity

Review 3/3

Now this was a pen that I didn’t expect to be reviewing, but kinda just happened to fall into my hand when a friend left it at my place. When I tried to return it, he brushed it off and told me had 3 more and that I could keep this one. Given that I had just acquired a new pen that I had never tried before, I figured that I could write a review of an apparently very popular choice for a cheap ballpoint. I didn’t realize how popular this was until I looked around in my stats class and counted 5 people around me using this pen. Either these were given out for free, or it was indeed a tried and true choice for them.

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The Bic Gel-ocity is a rather interesting pen. It is a standard 0.7mm black ballpoint and there seems to be no special characteristic about it. In fact, it’s only sold in packs at office supply and other stores. I simply could not find a retailer that was selling these individually. It’s $5 for a pack of 4 and that’s the only way which I found it, in a pack. There were no sites that were selling it on its own and I think that’s mainly how BIC products are sold. The main focus is not quality, but value. This means that instead of selling one amazing pen, they sell packs of average pens. With this in mind, I really wasn’t expecting much out of the Gel-ocity, however I was surprised by how my first time writing with it was.

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It was a surprisingly smooth and above average performance for a standard BIC pen. The grip is much better than I thought it would be. Based on looks alone, the grip doesn’t seem like much, but the scored lines do a great job of giving the writer a decent amount of purchase. Simultaneously, it is made out of an extremely rigid material with minimal “give” if any. I found my fingers becoming slightly cramped after an hour of continuous writing. At the same time, the overall writing experience and the smoothness of the ink was exceptional and wasn’t affected despite my changing writing style due to my discomfort.

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I would definitely give this pen a look if you are interested in spending about $3 for a pack of pens instead of the usual one good pen. While this doesn’t match my tastes, I’m sure there are advantages to getting a 5 pack and not having to worry about replacing them or losing them. I think these would be ideal for an office or classroom setting where you can use it and abuse it without having to worry about any of the things that would come with using a nice pen, such as a fountain pen.

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Uniball Jetstream – 0.7mm

Review 2/3

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I purchased the Jetstream due to a recommendation from one of my friends back in Cali that swore by it. He said, and I quote, “It is by far the best pen I have ever used and if I could chose one pen to use for the rest of my life, the Jetstream is my choice”. Very high praise, coming from someone who I helped get into pens and stationary. He’s extremely picky with his writing experience and had gone through several pens throughout the years, but this is the one that immediately grabbed his attention and the one that he still writes with today. With such a sterling recommendation, I knew I had to eventually try it out, despite my then slight dislike of ballpoints. The years went by, he and I fell out of touch for a long time and I just recently reconnected with him. One of the first things I remembered was his love of the Jetstream and asked whether he’s still using it, to which he replied that he is and still loves it. Time makes us all  bit wiser, and after finding some great rollerball style pens, I was coming around on considering using ballpoints. It was the perfect time to experience what my friend did and I leapt at the chance. Suffice to say, he was right about everything.

I absolutely love this pen. It was love from first write and after constant use for the last 5 months, my love for this pen has consistently grown alongside using it. Everything from the design to the writing experience is downright amazing and I have never experienced such a great desire to write more with a pen since I first used my beloved Pentel Energel.

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The simplistic design that is classic Uniball takes a nice detour to something that is extremely elegant with an all black finish and a slightly textured plastic body with tastefully minimal branding. The overall design is very streamlined, as would be expected from a pen called Jetstream.

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The clip is pretty standard and not really that durable. I did notice a bit of excess bending when I tried to use it in the same scenarios as the highly flexible clip of the Tombow Airpress and it would not bend far enough to allow for versatility in how I carried it.

That being the case, it found a nice home inside my Nock Co. Sinclair, where I keep all the my daily drivers. More often than not, after first experiencing the amazing feeling of gliding across the page with it, I found myself reaching for it more often. In fact, I’ve been using it exclusively for taking notes in the stats class I’m currently in. It feels great writing with it and as an added bonus, with me enjoying writing, I’m also paying more attention to the material, being in a good mood and all.

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The Jetstream’s grip is really nice, allowing for a lot of purchase while also not bulking up the pen’s slim profile. The grooves in the grip are reminiscent of a shark’s gills, which also adds to the whole jetstream vibe that the pen gives off. The grip tapers off at the sides, allowing for a good amount of cushioning near the front, where it is most necessary and there is a very distinct delineation in the curve where the writer can feel where the extra padding is. I feel that it’s a very good choice as it prioritizes the comfort of the writer while also allowing for a confident grip for long writing sessions.

Overall, the Uniball Jetstream is a very well designed, sleek and comfortable pen that offers an amazing ballpoint writing experience. The ink is smooth, consistent and great with all kinds of paper. I would highly recommend anyone who wants a great ballpoint pen to put the Jetstream at the top of their list, because it is certainly on the top of mine.

Tombow AirPress Ballpoint – 0.7mm

Hello everyone, so sorry with the late updates. I’ve been a little busy the past few weeks and decided that whatever happens, I’ll catch up on reviews this Sunday. So this is review 1 of 3 and the rest will be published shortly. Thank you for your patience so far, and it’s good to be back. 🙂DSCF1712The Tombow Airpress Ballpoint is a very interesting pen that fits into the built like a tank category. Other pens in this category are the Fisher Space pen, Uniball PowerTank and other such pens that are meant to take a beating and still be reliable writers when necessary. I’m usually not one to carry these types of pens mainly because I don’t carry pens in my pocket. All my writing utensils are always in my backpack encased within my Nock Co. Sinclair. It’s one of the reasons why I’ve never bothered really picking out a solid “EDC” pen (because I’m always walking around with my backpack). I was a little hesitant to really get the Tombow due to the slightly extravagant price of $8.50 on JetPens. I’m happy to report, however, that I was wrong to hesitate and have discovered a new-found appreciation for pocket pens that are built for EDC.

DSCF1710My initial reaction when I first pulled the AirPress out of the JetPens package, was astonishment at how nice it looked. If you’ve been following my blog, you all know that I’m a sucker for blacked out pens. It’s aesthetically very pleasing and is my preferred style choice when I need to make a decision. The Tombow AirPress, in my opinion, is a perfect example of minimalist, utilitarian design. The branding is subtle and matches the color scheme perfectly so as to not draw too much attention. The window that lets the writer view into the mechanism contains just the amount of contrasting color to give a clear indication when the pen is ready to write. I love the color choice as the red juxtaposed next to the all black exterior looks elegant, thereby elevating the overall look and feel of the pen.

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The pen is surprisingly small and light-weight, which makes sense given that it is geared mainly towards EDC and the like. It has a very decent clip with strong retention and due to its wide range of flexibility, I’ve clipped it onto anything from my pocket to a notebook cover to my mouse pad when I was taking breaks in between completing assignments. The pen also features a handy little loop on the backside of the pen for threading some string through to facilitate lanyard retention or something similar. The grips were something that I found to be surprisingly well designed. The AirPress utilizes a clear, window style grip that gives the writer a view of the spring inside the pen and provides a decent amount of purchase too. The grip is made up of clear, ovular and tapered pieces of plastic(?), that are wonderful to admire the red spring inside. I never once felt myself losing my grip on the AirPress despite the less than ideal conditions I was using it in.

DSCF1711There are genuinely a lot of good things to say about the Tombow AirPress, but one of the major flaws is the writing experience. To say is was mediocre would be considered high praise. I really could not get used to how dry and scratch it felt when writing despite using a variety of papers known for their smoothness such as Maruman and Rhodia. The ink is okay, nothing to really write home about. The performance on wet paper or in the rain (yes I actually tried this with all the thunderstorms going on) isn’t as good as I expected it to be. I was expecting a pen that can match the likes of Rite in the Rain notebooks, no matter how much water falls down, it’ll keep going faithfully. This was not the case with the AirPress and I was frankly a little disappointed. While some may not find as much fault with it, with me having been spoiled with amazing pens that offer a significantly better writing experience, my bar is naturally set pretty high.

Overall, I was initially impressed with the design aesthetics and the exterior features that made this pen so versatile and great for EDC. However, when it comes to writing the same can’t be said. I’m sure that someone looking for a decent EDC pen that is built to withstand less than ideal conditions would appreciate this pen more than me, but I would also point them towards slightly more expensive options that offer more value than the Tombow AirPress. If you are interested in EDC pens and the like, this can definitely be a solid option if you don’t care much for how well it writes. If you’re like me and you’re used to pens performing like the Uniball Signo DX and Pentel Energel, this would seem like a huge downgrade and not something I would recommend.