And the Winner Is…..!


6th Place–Zebra Surari
5th Place–Pilot Acroball
4th Place–Pilot Dr. Grip
3rd Place–Pentel Japan Tradio Stylo
2nd Place–Uni-ball Vision Elite
AND the Winner of The Ultimate Pen Competition of 2012 is……
1st Place–Uni Jetstream SX-210

The Ultimate Pen is: The Jetstream SX-210

Think I got it wrong??? Write in the comments what YOU think The Ultimate Pen should be. If there are enough responses, I will do another Ultimate Pen Competition.

[click HERE to go back to Part 1]

[click HERE to go back to Part 2]

Penvy? or Penemy: The Search for “The Ultimate Pen.”

Hello. Welcome to a very special post where the same unbiased reviewer that brought you, “Kony 2012: An Unbiased Summary”, will bring you another unbiased post discussing once and for all the great unanswered question of our time: “What is The Ultimate Pen?” We’ve all been there. We’re writing all day for work, taking notes for class, writing a letter, or filling out our taxes, and the ink stops flowing from the pen. For whatever reason the pen stops working. Or, there is too much ink flow and the ink soaks the paper which leaves a black splotch behind. Or, the pen is too small, and after many minutes of writing, your hand cramps up and becomes tired of writing. Whatever your reason to become distressed over the failings of the pen, you have had many.

Similarly, I would wager that you have had many Great experiences with a pen. Maybe, you have even sworn your allegiance to a particular pen…the Sword in the Stone if you will. The King of All Pen-kind. The pen that is “penough” for you. I could go all day with pen puns…but I wont. I can already feel you squirming at how corny this post is getting. SO, this post will lay to rest the age old question, “Which pen is the greatest pen of all time?” The pen that fits perfectly in my hand and doesn’t cause cramping. The pen that has perfect ink flow and never skips on the page. The pen that is affordable and sexy too. (didn’t think a pen could be sexy eh? Well it can.) In the extended version of this post, I, Eric Peterson, will rigorously test, bluntly assess, and give a prognosis to each of the six pens reviewed. Ordered in from Japan, these pens were chosen after hours of research, pouring over countless glowing reviews, and consulting with the best in the biz until….FINALLY, the list was complete. It was narrowed from over twenty pens to these “Super Six,” you see before you. The pen companies represented will be quickly recognized: UniBall, Uni, Pilot, Zebra, and Pentel. The models being reviewed (in random order) are:

  1. Uni Jetstream SX-210 1.0mm Roller Ball Pen, Black
  2. Uni-ball Vision Elite 0.8mm Gel Ink Rollerball Pen, Black
  3. Pilot Dr. Grip Full Black Ball Point Pen 0.7mm
  4. Zebra Surari 0.7mm Emulsion Ink Ball Pen, Dark Black
  5. Pentel Japan Tradio TRJ50 Stylo Ink Pen, Black
  6. Pilot Acroball 0.7mm Fine Ball Pen, Black
To view the complete spec analysis of the pens mentioned above, follow THIS LINK FOR PART 1, and then THIS LINK FOR PART 2. This will give you all the nitty gritty details, and what I found out about each pen. Then, I will rate the pens by performance in the tests given to each of them. And finally, the Ultimate Pen will have a name. Feel free to leave a comment in the comment section of the Extended Review on what YOUR favorite pen is, and why. If I get enough responses, who knows…I may do another round of  “The Ultimate Pen” to see if they can knock out the reigning champ.

Extended “Super Six” Pen Review 2012 Part 2

Welcome to Part 2 of the search to find The Ultimate Pen. Let’s continue!

#4 Uni-ball Vision Elite 0.8mm Gel Ink Rollerball Pen, Black

  • Capped
  • There is a fair bit of resistance when trying to remove the cap on this pen. The one hand test was a success (uncapping the pen with one hand) There is a resounding “click” when you put the cap back on. This is good and let’s you know it’s safe. Still, maybe too secure.
  • The weight of the pen is nice. This pen is not heavy, and allows ease of writing. Exact weight & length: 42oz, 5.58in(capped) 6.0in (uncapped)
  • The feel is glossy. The entire body of the pen is glossy, but it makes the surface of the pen a little less grippy.
  • The grip is non-existent. There is an area where you can grip the pen, but there is no actual grip-like surface. There are grooves carved into the plastic grip section, to aid in grip of the pen, but the grip is much more slippery than the other pens.
  • This pen is a RollerBall Ink Pen.
  • The Vision Elite has a very smooth ink trail. This pen is so very easy to write with. It takes almost no effort whatsoever to write with this pen. 5/5 for Smoothness and Ease of writing. (in Appendix 1.1)
  • The Volume of Ink on the page is substantial. There is much more ink on the page with the rollerball than with the ballpoint pens. Still, there are no spills, blotches, or leaks. There seems to be a perfect equilibrium of ink being placed on the page.
  • Width of ink on the page seems to be thick. At .8mm, it is a larger thickness of a line than the ballpoints.
  • Skippage: Zero. This pen will never skip, unless it’s kicking the bucket and it dying.
  • Ink Dry Time: The Vision Elite was absolutely horrible at drying after 5 seconds and 10 seconds. However, when I thought all was lost, the ink dried dramatically after 20 seconds, and had nearly no smear at 45 seconds. (in Appendix 1.2)
  • Refill: Takes UBR-90 (08)
  • Sex Appeal: This pen is a Capped pen. The sex appeal on a capped pen automatically goes up because of the extra step users must take to open the pen. The Vision Elite could be more appealing if it was given a full black finish. Still, the very sleek, glossy, and simple style of this pen give it great marks. 8.5/10 on Appearance. 
  • Material: This pen is made mostly of plastic, with a chrome pen clip.
  • Pen Point: 0.8mm
  • Price: $1.72 USD
  • Prognosis: I absolutely love this pen. With light given to its flaws such as the smears within 10 seconds after the ink hits the page, and the white finish on the body of the pen…the benefits outnumber the flaws. This pen is so smooth and easy to write with, you will want to come back to it over and over.

#5 Uni Jetstream SX-210 1.0mm Roller Ball Pen, Black

  • Capped
  • Similarly to the Vision Elite, the Jetstream SX-210 needs a good tug to get the cap off, making the pen very secure. The one hand test was a success, after a few attempts. Putting the cap back on the pen gives a very audible “click” which leaves no room for doubt that you capped the pen.
  • This pen is fairly light, and does not lend to fatigue of the user’s hand. Exact weight & length: .53oz, 5.4in (capped) 5.6in (uncapped)
  • The feel of this pen in my hand is incredible. The non-slip surface provides zero opportunities for this pen to fall out of your hands. The diameter of the pen is medium diameter, which aids the user when using the pen for long periods of time. Excellent.
  • The grip of the Jetstream SX-210 is made from the same material as the body of the pen. This gives the user a sticky grip. The grip also has transparent slots to view the ink.
  • This is a RollerBall Pen.
  • The Jetstream SX-210 was a seriously smooth ride. It was bizarre because I was expecting a closer ink type to the Vision Elite, but it was more of a hybrid of the ink from the ballpoints previously reviewed, and the ink from the Elite. It wasn’t too flowy, but it wasn’t restrictive when writing with it. I’m seriously impressed. High marks. 5/5 for Smoothness and Ease of writing. (in Appendix 1.1)
  • The volume of ink on the page was absolutely perfect. The ink volume was not too messy, and not too thin.  Never was there a spill, or seepage on the page. Only once was there a blotch of ink in the thin line test, but other than that, it was very good.
  • The width of the ink on the page was thin. 
  •  Skippage: There was zero skippage with this pen, and I doubt there would ever be any. The lines were solid and so were the letters in the sentences.
  • Ink Dry Time: Now, this pen’s ink was advertised to be quick dry and waterproof. We tested for dry, and this pen kicked everyone out of the running. There was no need to test past 10 seconds. At 10 seconds this pen’s ink was fully dried. This is the Left Handed Pen User’s Friend. (in Appendix 1.2)
  • Refill: Takes SXR-C1
  • Sex Appeal: Alright. So far, there has been no other pen that has looked quite as good as the Jetstream SX-210. This pen was crafted by a master. The sheer design of the full black and complimenting chrome blends perfectly. This pen has an allur that screams luxury. Even the ink cartridge inside the pen has a chrome outer casing so that the label “Jetstream” is reflected within it’s mirrored surface. Beautiful detail. Use this pen to sign checks, important documents, and especially in front of the ladies…cause this pen will get attention even if you don’t.  9.5/10 on Appearance. 
  • Material: Made with chrome, plastic, rubber, and non-stick finish
  • Pen Point: 1.0mm, this is the largest pen point out of the pens reviewed.
  • Price: $1.85 USD
  • Prognosis: At $1.85, why wouldn’t you buy this pen over and over again. With the way this pen looks, that might be enough, but Uni decided to go for gold. This pen writes super smooth, doesn’t skip at all, the ink doesn’t spill on the page, fits nice in the hand, grips well, and oh, did I mention that it is drop dead gorgeous?? Go buy one.

#6 Pentel Japan Tradio TRJ50 Stylo Ink Pen, Black

  • Capped
  • This pen is SO easy to de-cap and re-cap. This pen passed the one handed test with flying colors on the first try. The pen still offers a “snap” to indicate that you succeeded in capping the pen.
  • The Tradio is not heavy, but it is not super light either. I would say that you can tell it’s a bit heavier than the average “cheap” pen. Heft is good in this case. Exact weight & length: .53oz, 5.7in (capped) 6.3in (uncapped)
  •  The feel of the Tradio in my hand is Excellent. It almost feels like an extension of my hand. It is a very good length so that it can easily rest on the user’s hand.
  • The Grip looks like it is made from hard transparent plastic. This sounds uncomfortable, but somehow Pentel has found a way to make a hard surface almost feel like a cushioned surface. Excellent.
  • This pen is a Stylo Ink Pen.
  • This pen was a fairly smooth writer. The problem with me not saying it was a FANTASTICALLY smooth ride, was because I felt like I was going to break the tip at any moment. This pen is a illustrator’s pen, a styling pen. This is in a class of it’s own. This model comes with a rollerball cartridge, which would be a MUCH better fit for the pen. 4/5 for Smoothness and Ease of writing. (in Appendix 1.1)
  • Volume of ink on page can be controlled. You can decide to have a large volume of ink on the page, or you can decide to minimize the ink flow by using the fine tip on the pen. I thought this pen would spill and flow, but it did not. Excellent control of the ink flow.
  • The width of ink on the page is also not a fixed thing. You can turn the tip of the pen to make a broad stroke, or write on the tip for a fine line.
  • Skippage: You will NOT have to worry about skippage in a pen like the Tradio. This pen is meant for good ink flow.
  • Ink Dry Time: The Tradio smeared on the 5 second mark, but barely smeared at the 10 second mark. The 20 second and 45 second mark smear was barely visible. (in Appendix 1.2)
  • Refill: It is refillable with “MLJ20. Tradio “Stylo Ink” is not hard to come by. The real gem is trying to find a supplier of the Tradio Rollerball Cartridge…they are very rare. You can find them here. There. I’ve done the work for you.
  • Sex Appeal: This pen has the Don Draper of sex appeal. This has to be the most drop dead sexy pen I have ever seen. This pen has a streamlined look that reminds you of something they would give first class passengers on a plane. This is the pen that the President would sign a bill into law with. Everything from the full black finish, to the transparent grip, which allows the user to view the ink spilling into the tip, to the window in the cap that allows you to view the pen tip and color, gives me an easy job in rewarding this pen with the highest marks, for the most appealing pen in the bunch.  10/10 on Appearance.
  • Material: Very Hard plastic, some chrome.
  • Pen Point: unknown
  • Price: $4.99 USD
  • Prognosis: This is a difficult pen to give a final word for, and it has nothing to do with the price surprising enough. I feel like this pen could have taken the others for a ride around “Ultimate Pen Park” if it were the Rollerball cartridge. Given that the tip the pen came with is more of a “brush pen” feel than a traditional pen feel, I had a hard time writing with it. Not because it didn’t write smooth, but more because I felt precarious with the tip of the pen, which reminded me of a harder felt tip than anything else. I stand by my judgement. This is an absolutely beautiful pen design, the feel is incredible, the weight is great, ink dried quickly, but the tip material is something I just couldn’t get passed.

The Decision for The Ultimate Pen has been made. VIEW IT HERE!! 

Appendix 1.1

Appendix 1.2

Extended “Super Six” Pen Review 2012 Part 1

Well, the day is here. The day that we finally find out who can hold the title of The Ultimate Pen. No pen will be given the title based purely on how it looks, or feels. Each pen will be used for the first time right out of the package and each pen will be brought through a rigorous amount of tests to prove its worth. Here are the tests:

  1. Retractable or Capped
  2. Retractable (ease of click [Very easy, easy, moderate, difficult, or Very difficult]) Capped (resistance of de-capping/click of capping)
  3. Weight of the pen
  4. The “Feel” in the Hand
  5. The Grip
  6. What kind of pen it is. (gel, ball point, roller ball, ink, etc.)
  7. Smoothness and Ease of Writing (1-5, five being the best)
  8. Volume of ink on the Page
  9. Width of ink on the Paper (thin, thick, messy)
  10. “Skippage” (does the ink skip on the page. gaps of space and ink)
  11. Ink Dry Time (after 5 seconds, 10 seconds, 20 seconds, and 45 seconds)
  12. Refill (what you can use to refill the pen)
  13. Appearance (sex appeal, 1-10, ten being the best)
  14. Material of the Pen
  15. Wide or fine point (0.5mm, 0.7mm, 1.0mm)
  16. Price (for a single pen)
  17. Final Prognosis of the Pen
  18. Ranking among other Pens (this rank was given after all pens were reviewed)
  19. The Ultimate Pen Decision

Let’s get to the tests!

[Note: The smoothness of writing, volume of ink, width of ink, “skippage”, and ink dry time tests will be done together in visual form, as well as written. You can view a full picture of the pen by clicking on the blue title.]

#1 Pilot Dr. Grip Full Black Ball Point Pen 0.7mm

  • Retractable
  • Moderate ease of click. Some resistance with clicking, but not horrible.
  • Weight is medium heft. Pen is not light, but not overly heavy liken to some metallic pens. Exact weight & length: .70oz, 5.55in.
  • The feel is comfortable, with the length long enough to rest on the hand.
  • The grip is very comfortable. There is some “give” to it that creates a “pillow like” effect in the gripping of it. The grip curves in a concave design that ergonomically aids the hand in writing. Excellent.
  • This pen is a Ball Point Pen.
  • Some would place ball point pens in their own class, simply because…well…it’s a ball point pen (which in some enthusiasts is far inferior to gel and inkball pens) Still, the Dr. Grip writes fairly smoothly for a ball point. 3/5 for Smoothness and Ease of writing. (in Appendix 1.1)
  • The volume of ink on the page was very minimal. It was almost like the pen was self-rationing the amount of ink used. Still, it wasn’t hard to read. You will NOT have to worry about this pen spilling or seeping into the page.
  • The width of the ink on the page was thin.
  • Skippage: none (but ball point pens are more likely to skip)
  • Ink dry time: in all time frames, the pen smeared, but it smeared much less at 45 seconds. (in Appendix 1.2)
  • Refill:  Takes Pilot BRFN-10F refill
  • Sex Appeal: User can purchase this pen in different colored accents. This user purchased the pen in “Full Black” and it looks very good. The design would gain interest if the chrome pen clip was indeed also black. Aside from that, this is a beautiful pen. 8/10 on Appearance.
  • Material: made of plastics and metal pen clip. Glossy black body, with matted black pen neck.
  • Pen Point: 0.7mm
  • Price: $9.45 USD
  • Prognosis: This pen is expensive. Right off the bat, this is what I noticed. My expectations were pretty high because of this. In full black, this pen is gorgeous. The performance was a little weaker than what I was expecting, but this is still a quality pen. It feels great in the hand, and with the amount of ink that is put on the page, I don’t think I’ll be needing to refill this baby anytime soon.
  • Retractable
  • Easy click. Solid sound and feel when clicked.
  • Fairly light pen. Not heavy at all. Exact weight & length: .56oz, 5.6in
  • The feel is nothing special, but it is not uncomfortable. Fits nicely in the hand.
  • The grip is nice. It is not similar to Dr. Grip, but it is slip resistant, with grooves that improve the traction. With a slight concave design at the finger tips, this grip is pretty good.
  • This pen is a Fine Ball Pen.
  • The Acroball has got some chops for a ball point classification. It was a fairly smooth ride. Much smoother than most ball points that I have used. 3.5/5 for Smoothness and Ease of writing. (in Appendix 1.1)
  • The volume of ink on the page was a good amount. There were not any moments when there was spillage or seepage into the paper. This pen allocates the amount of ink very well.
  • The width of ink on the page is thin
  • Skippage: The pen did skip on the page. This basically just means that I had to retrace a line because the ink didn’t mark the page, and thus created a gap, or a “skip.” For the most part, this pen does not skip, but I did notice the occasional skip.
  • Ink Dry Time: for a pen that advertises that it is “quick-dry” and “water resistant,” it does a pretty good job. I don’t expect pens to do very well at 5 seconds or even at 10 seconds, but this pen did fairly well with almost zero smear at 45 seconds. (in Appendix 1.2)
  • Refill: Takes BRFV-10 refill
  • Sex Appeal: This pen has some unattractive pieces on it that detract from the overall appearance of the pen; very plastic looking grey pieces. This being said, the Acroball still holds a certain level of attractiveness with the sleek design and transparent body/neck. The majority black color scheme also gives it a very business feel that does not cater to nail biting eighth graders using it on a geometry test. 7/10 on Appearance.
  • Material: Majority of the pen is made from plastics. Little metal or rubber.
  • Pen Point: 0.7mm
  • Price: $1.50 USD
  • Prognosis: It is in my opinion that this pen functions very well in ball point standards. The pen functioned pretty decently in the physical tests, and did very well in the “Ink Dry” test. The pen may be too small in the grip, which will cause the user’s hand to cramp after a lot of use. Still, the look of the pen really aids to the design, which is dark, sleek, and deserves a spot in your cup at work.
  • Retractable
  • Very Easy click. Takes Very little pressure to click the pen open. Love it.
  • Also a very light pen. Easy on the hand. This makes the lightest pen reviewed. Exact weight & length: 52oz, 5.5in
  • The feel of the pen is not so great. Also, the pen is small in diameter, which willinevitably cause the writer to cramp up after long usage.Nothing special here.
  • The Surari has a grip at the finger tip, but it is thin and has zero “give,” which makes the grip hard. Not a great grip.
  • This pen is an Ink Ball Pen.
  • The Surari is complicated. I felt like this pen was above average with smoothness and ease, but it felt like I was driving a knife into the paper. The tip, where the ball and the tip meet, seemed to dig into the paper. This pen could work on that. The pen advertises to have “extra smooth ink flow,” as well as Emulsion ink, which smear proof & waterproof.  3.5/5 for Smoothness and Ease of writing. (in Appendix 1.1)
  • The volume of ink on the page was not too much. The Surari has a pretty similar amount of ink on the page when compared to the other two Pilot pens. The pen did have a moment when there was an ink blotch on the paper, which can easily smear, but it wasn’t frequent.
  • The width of the ink on the page is thin.
  • Skippage: This pen did skip a few times actually. Like the Acroball, it was occasional, not frequent.
  • Ink Dry Time: So far, the Surari has performed the best for ink dry time. This pen smeared a bit at 45 seconds, but this was only due to an ink blotch, and you can see the line not smeared outside the blotch. (in Appendix 1.2)
  • Refill: Takes EQ-0.7 pen refills
  • Sex Appeal: Well…hmm. The Surari is a very basic looking pen. There is not much eye candy to be found here. The transparent body extends almost the entire way. The full black color scheme, and sleek body are the only points I give it for style and appeal. 5/10 on Appearance. 
  • Material: This pen is made entirely of plastic.
  • Pen Point: 0.7mm
  • Price: $1.45 USD
  • Prognosis: The Zebra Surari Emulsion pen is the champion of the cheap looking pens. This smooth writer may skip on you a few times, but I’m sure that more usage will shake out the kinks. The small body diameter is not ideal, but it is light, easy to click, and a pretty smooth writer. The only downside is that it looks like the geek of the pen world. Not very appealing. This pen can be found in pocket protectors everywhere.

[Click HERE for Part 2 featuring the “Capped” pens.]

Appendix 1.1
Appendix 1.2