Pilot Super Gel

Comes in various colours

Comes in various colours

 

Today’s review is about pens that are non-fountain. This is my first non-fountain pen review so far. The reason I wanted to do this is because I love these pens so much that I just had to share it with everyone! Arguably, since this blog’s name is “On Fountain Pens” and it is misleading if I do a non-fountain pen review, I have changed the blog description (which appears below the huge title) to better suit what this blog is intended to be. Anyway, no idea should be fixed, things change, times change!

A handful of 0.7's

A handful of 0.7’s

 

Sitting capped at 14.5cm, and posted at 16cm, this perfectly-sized pen comes in eight colours other than the regular blue and black. I have used the light blue one before (you can see the drop in ink level compared to the others), and yesterday I just got the purple, green, orange and pink. There is also the red which I don’t usually use, so I didn’t get it. Not only are the colours varied, the Pilot Super Gel also comes in two three different sizes: 0.5mm, and 0.7mm and 1.0mm nibs (*I have just found out online that they sell 1.0mm size too. Sounds delicious. I never noticed this size before). I loved using the 0.5mm blue and black pens when I was still at school. At the bookstore however, I found only the 0.7mm ones for the other colours, which is alright for me since I have grown to prefer thicker lines. I still have a 0.5mm blue half-used since about 3 years ago which I forgot to feature in the pictures I have taken.

2012-03-17 13.56.03

These pens, when still brand new, write like angels. I wouldn’t say they are the smoothest ones I have ever used, but smooth enough for me. They are not scratchy to the extent of feeling like there is an uneven bump on the tip, but not so smooth that they glide across paper effortlessly. I would put them in the middle leaning towards the smooth side. I encountered skips while writing, but it’s normal, and the skips are not so serious. However, after some use, some pens (not all) tend to exhibit ink flow problems. They seem to sense their impending deaths (they are non-refillable) and refuse to fully release all the ink until they are completely dry. At this point, the nibs become really scratchy and are so unpleasant to write with that you would just throw it away. Why this phenomenon? I have no idea. Sounds like the contrary to fountain pens, where those seasoned to the owner’s hand usually improve in ink flow and all. These are pretty stubborn pens, maybe.

These pens are pretty dry to write with, which is a good thing for me, since I am a leftie and it is important for me to be able to scribble stuff down quickly without having to wait for the ink to dry. Yet another thing I love about these pens is that the ink colours are really SOLID, and by that I mean they are strong colours that shout out to you NOT in a neon-fluorescent-blinding kind of way. You could say that the orange and pink look a little too bright, but you wouldn’t want to have highlighter-orange or highlighter-pink for an ink, would you? THOSE are too bright for writing, sometimes even for highlighting. Here is a writing sample, pardon the poor lighting, and note that the paper is not white paper:

Colours strong enough for you to see what you're writing, you can even use them in the dark, I expect!

Colours strong enough for you to see what you’re writing, you can even use them in the dark, I expect!

 

Now for the most important part: I tagged this post into the “Cheap pens that write well” because they are really CHEAP. The first time I bought them, I believe they were only 70 cents a piece. Now that some pen prices have risen so much, it remains awesome that these pens now cost 95 cents a piece. BELOW ONE SGD!!! Perfect for students who love to colour-code their notes or write love letters to one another in class. I’m sure most students nowadays are easily able to afford 5 of such pens without feeling the pinch.

I will be using these pens during an upcoming trip to Spain and France in my Paris notebook, which was featured in the background of one of the above pictures. Since they are ok-smooth, dry, lightweight and most importantly CHEAP (read: it’s ok to lose them because you don’t feel the ouch in the pocket), they seem to be travel-trustworthy pens that I can slip into my pouch and just bring them around to record useful information during my trips.

I would love to hear your thoughts!