Friday, April 22, 2011

Sharpie Pen RT

The Sharpie Pen is one of those pens that seems to be constantly remaking itself and appearing in countless different incarnations.  The RT version has been around for a while, but (probably because retractable pens generally have never been my favourites) I haven't actually tried it out until recently.

Like the Grip version, the Sharpie Pen RT has a more contoured and comfortable barrel than the original, but has also unfortunately lost the needle-point tip that I loved in the original.  Luckily, it also does not have the strong chemical odour that I noticed in the Grip version when it was new.  There is nothing different about the way the RT writes, although, interestingly, the blue ink of the RT appears slightly darker than the blue ink of the original - unfortunately, my original blue Sharpie Pen has since passed away, so I can't do a direct comparison for you.

I also must apologize for the somewhat outdated nature of this review.  Sharpie has come out with a version 2 of the RT, while mine is, regrettably, version 1.  Version 2 apparently has a slimmer grip, black plunger instead of chrome, and ring around the middle of the pen showing the ink colour.

One complaint I have about all the versions of the Sharpie Pen is that the pens do not make it obvious what the ink colour is.  If you have a number of pens mixed together in your pencil case and lighting is perhaps not ideal (although I don't know why you'd be writing in dim lighting anyway), then it can be difficult to pick out the colour of Sharpie Pen that you want.  Although the RT has the stylish black barrel, the colour is only indicated by the end of the plunger and, in the new version, a narrow ring around the middle.

Also, the grip of this pen attracts dust.  A lot.  And it doesn't come off easily.  The Grip version has the same problem, but in that case the grip is covered by the cap when the pen is not in use, so the problem is not as noticeable.

Finally, does the plunger of this pen seem ridiculously long to you?  The first two people I showed this pen to both commented on the length, and thought that the pen looked a little, well, silly.  Nevertheless, I don't have any problems with it, although it can rattle a bit if you are writing particularly vigourously.

Related reviews: The Pen Addict (1), The Pen Addict (2), Does This Pen Write?UnpostedOfficeSupplyGeek, Rhonda Eudaly.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Papermate Gel 0.7mm

The Papermate Gel is a fairly decent basic retractable gel pen, but there's nothing about it that is getting me particularly excited.

Neatly attired in black and white
To begin with, the barrel is simple in design, with a functional grip and altogether ordinary clip.  The bold black and white colour scheme does not particularly appeal to me.  I feel that it gives the pen something of a cheap look, but of course your preferences may be different.  The plunger mechanism is also completely functional, but again, completely ordinary as well.

But how does it write?
As for writing quality, the Papermate Gel performs fairly well, writing smoothly, but not shockingly so.  The ink may dry a bit slowly, but probably no slower than that of similar pens.  It reminds me very much of both the Zebra Sarasa and the Pilot G-2, although it feels slightly finer than both of those pens.  It is a bit smoother than the G-2 but not quite as smooth as the Sarasa.  The Zebra Sarasa is the best of the 0.7mm, retractable gel ink pens that I have used, and I can't think of any reason why someone would choose the Papermate Gel over that pen unless something about the design of the Papermate particularly appealed to them.

The business end
Overall, the Papermate Gel is a decent, functional, and basic retractable gel pen that you couldn't go wrong with.  Unfortunately, it is missing that extra something that would make it a pen I would want to buy again.

Related reviews: No Pen Intended, Pens 'n' Paper, The Pen Addict.
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