Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Pentel Vicuna Ballpoint Pen 0.7mm

I've been very behind in posts and reviews lately; in fact, I've only written two posts here yet this year!  I feel terrible about it, but have been so incredibly busy studying and working on my graduating essay for my 2nd last semester of university that I've hardly had a moment to spare.  That said, I've been using this pen for a couple of months now and thought I better get a review up for it before it runs out of ink!

My first impression of the Pentel Vicuna was that it was a very nice, smooth-writing ballpoint pen.  It did not skip and was certainly enjoyable to write with.  However, as I have used this pen more frequently, I have discovered that it is, unfortunately, prone to the occasional glob or blot of ink that I usually associate with much poorer-quality ballpoints.  Although I will not write the Vicuna off entirely for this fault, it is annoying, as well as disappointing.

Apart from the ink glob issue, I don't really have any complaints about the Pentel Vicuna.  It is retractable, which I normally don't care for, but in this case is redeemed by the very satisfying, faint popping sound the pen makes when I retract the tip back into the body.

The body of the pen is appealing and surprisingly comfortable to use, with a ridged grip that is slightly tapered towards the tip of the pen.  This is probably one of the more comfortable pens that I own.  The clip is made of clear plastic and is, as with nearly all pens, fairly useless for clipping onto anything more than a few sheets of paper.  The ink itself appears to be a fairly standard ballpoint blue, not particularly remarkable but perfectly serviceable.

Overall, I am pleased with the Pentel Vicuna.  If you are looking for a comfortable, smooth-writing, retractable ballpoint and you don't mind the occasional ink glob, then it may be the pen for you.  If you just can't stand ink globs, then you may be better off with the Uni-ball Jetstream.

Related reviews: Pocket BlondeDerek's Pens and PencilsThe Pen AddictOfficeSupplyGeek, Tiger Pens Blog,, Economy Pens.

In other news, my father recently bought a new camera, which means that I get his old one!  Although a couple years old, it allows me to take better close-up photos of pens than my old camera did, so don't be surprised if you see more photos in my pen reviews from now on.


  1. I've seen Vicunas around in store displays for a while, but I've never bought one. The ink is indeed slick, the click of the knock is pretty nice, and the grip feels pretty good, but I noticed that probably 10% of the pens in the various displays I saw had burst and/or leaked. Most of them showed noticeable globs of congealed ink like you mentioned. I've seen some issues with Jetstreams and Acroballs, but not nearly as many as I saw in Vicuna displays.

    Also, it may just be a personal aesthetic thing, but the gray plastic parts really look quite janky and cheap. When I first saw them, I thought they were cheap generic fare.

    As much as I want to like these ultrasmooth ballpoints, none has stayed in my active arsenal for long.

  2. Thanks for the comment, Robert! That is too bad that you have seen so many Vicunas that have burst or leaked. Sounds like there may be some quality control issues with them. I feel lucky that I haven't had any issues worse than the ink globs with mine.

    I'm sure everyone has their own personal tastes in pen design. I rather like the design of the Vicuna, but clearly it is not for everyone.

  3. I have also read review about Vicuna's ink leak. For Jetstream, I like mine very much when it behaves but sometimes it just skips and can be very annoying. I've just got a Surari 0.5mm from Jetpens and think it is very good so far comparing to either Vicuna or Jetstream. I have requested them to stock the Surari multi-pen which was just out on 23 Feb 2011. Hope they will get it soon! (:

  4. Thanks for the comment, Wenyi! I have heard about the Surari and I hope to try one out myself soon. Perhaps I'll add one to my next JetPens order (whenever that will be)...

  5. I like the Vicunas a lot but the ink cartridge only lasts me 10 days... haven't had a glob problem yet. Any ideas as to which other pen refills could also fit?

  6. Thanks, BJ, although I'm sorry I don't know of any other pen refills that might fit the Vicuna. Perhaps some other readers might have some ideas?

  7. Never tried one. I'm a Uniball Vision user here of late. However, one would like to be open minded, so it may be wise to test out a few others. Keeping a watch on your good column has its uses!

  8. I like your blog Heather, I'm new to blogging. Check out my blog,

  9. I had the same issue with the ink globbing on my Vicuna every so often. Still, it's a very nice pen with a comfortable design. It's extremely smooth to use, and I enjoy the pigmented ink for writing more important things.

  10. I agree, ThirdeYe - despite the ink globbing, the Vicuna remains an enjoyable pen to use. And it really does write very smoothly!

  11. Sometimes, the "blot" of ink in most pens occur because of the way it is held by a person. If one writes diagonally, there's little a tendency of blotting. But if one writes vertically, "blots" of ink can occur. Btw, if you really like that pen, then you could slightly ignore that issue. Being comfortable while writing matters. ;)

    Pamella Allabaugh


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