The last time I reviewed a multi-pen was way back in August of 2009, when I reviewed the Pilot Hi-Tec-C Coleto. The Coleto ultimately ended up disappointing me, and (perhaps because of that) I haven't touched a multi-pen since. But long before the Coleto and this blog, there was another multi-pen: the Bic 4-Color pen, a staple of my ninth-grade science class, where I sat in the front row taking perfectly colour-coordinated notes and clicking the colours back and forth. Click. Click. Click. The Pilot Feed, while not a Bic, could very easily be a close cousin to it and that is why, after all these years, I'm reviewing a multi-pen once again.
The bottom end of the Pilot Feed contains four tabs representing the four colours of ink. To write with the colour you want, you simply use your thumb to pull down the appropriate tab until the ink cartridge snaps into place. The Feed comes in several different barrel colours; this white barrel looks almost like a clone of the Bic multi-pen, but I think it also looks rather odd. The two halves of the pen don't really match, and it almost looks like someone took two different pens and combined them together.
But I have to say that - ugly as it may be - the Pilot Feed is comfortable to use. It has a wider-than-average barrel (typical for multi-pens, to make room for the extra ink cartridges), which I find easy to hold, and the grip section is great. The pen is nicely rounded off towards the tip, so there are no sharp edges to dig into my fingers, and grip itself is rather, um, grippy, without being squishy or sticky.
The pen can be refilled, and the colour of the ink is indicated not only by the tabs at the end, but also by a tiny circle of colour on the nib. I like that the tip is transparent, so that I can see the movement of the ink cartridges as they move in and out of position.
But as for how it writes, the Pilot Feed seems to be a very average ballpoint. There's no ink globs, which is good, but this is no Jetstream by any means. There is a fair amount of white space in the line and most disappointing is the green cartridge - it is a pale colour that makes me feel that I need to press down extra hard with the pen to leave a mark. The black is more of a dark grey than black. The blue and red are the best, I think: they seem to write the smoothest and be the brightest colours.
Overall, the Pilot Feed is comfortable to hold and will likely evoke memories of the Bic multi-pen for many users. But it's not the most attractive pen and the writing quality is only average. I still enjoy using it for the memories, but it won't be on my favourite pen list any time soon. And maybe now that I've gotten back into multi-pens, I'll be more willing to give that Coleto a second chance...
Related reviews: Paper Lovestory, Tiger Pens Blog.