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. 🙂The 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.
My 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.
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.
There 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.