Tag Archives: uniball

Review: Uniball Air

Here is another pen that if I’d reviewed it when I first purchased it would have received a better review than after about a month of on and off use. I resist my urge to again rant and rave against drive by beauty reviews that are pretty but lack a substantive amount of use to back the reviewer’s claims.

I picked up a 3-pack with red, blue, and black capped pens. The pen body is made of translucent plastic the same shade as the pen which is then covered in a print. The print is in black and gray and looks to me like a generalized idea of black carbon fiber… The pattern is slightly raised and feels nice. The cap is smoke colored with an inset attached to the clip matching the ink. The cap secures over the business end with a nice click. It posts deeply and I have no fear of losing it.UNI Air

The pen is lightweight and well balanced both posted and unposted.  I found that the grip section was slippery in longer writing sessions and that I could feel the coordinating colored bit. Something about this annoyed me. I think mostly that the section was slippery and thus I had to  adjust my grip frequently. I am not a sweaty hand person, I use metal and plastic sectioned pens all the time with no issues. So this was not a matter of my hand but the slick nature of the plastic.UNI Air UNI Air

The pen tips glide over every surface I’ve used them on and I think this is due to the huge ink flow. These pens are gushers. Using them in my comp books meant I had bleed and show through everywhere. This is less of an issue with these books as I don’t use the reverse of the page other than writing brief notes about things I need to address later or ideas for edits. But it does show how much the pens saturate the paper as well as how much ink is wasted. The pens were only available at target in the large 0.7 but I’d put them on most paper at a 1mm. The ink really spreads out. This is anything but a fine tip.UNI Air

These pens are so smooth that you can almost feel the ink being pushed out of the tip. My wife described these as a combination in feel of a gel ink and a fiber tipped pen, and I think that is an apt description. I did not like these for writing very much because they felt so weird, BUT they were really nice for drawing and the ink is waterproof. The high flow of ink really lent the pens to doodles and sketching. But again, because of the flow, lingering anywhere on a page will cause bleed through. These really flow so wet that writing on regular paper is akin to writing on toilet paper.

I really liked the shade of red and blue that was offered in the 3-pack. The red is a nice bright red, perfect for marking up edits. The blue is a wonderful shade that is both bright and bold. The black is deep and dark.UNI Air

Overall, I don’t really them much. I also think they are overpriced. With the ink flow being so high, I’ve used a quarter of the black already and can see myself blowing through this one if I used it more frequently very quickly. At $7.99 for 3 at Target, or $5 at Staples, and $6.57 at Walmort, or a whopping $12 on amazon, these are just not a value. Especially when you consider how quickly they squirt ink onto the page. Also, they are a little ugly. Actually, a lot ugly. The futuristic design will appeal to high school kids and possibly dudes, maybe dudebros. The slick grip was also uncomfortable even with my cool dry hands. If you must buy these, get them while they are on back-to-school sale for $5 at Staples.

There are much better options at better prices- the Uniball 207/307 or Signo gives you better feel and the same quality ink with a better grip, ink flow, and look.

Review: Uni Kuru Toga Roulette Gunmetal Mechanical Pencil

David Reese might refer to mechanical pencils as bullshit but I’ve had a long standing love affair with these wondrous pieces of awesome. From my first knurled metal gripped Koh-i-Nor to this pencil, I love ’em. Well, except for that cheap ass Kuru Toga I previously reviewed. 20141203_172208Enter the metal bodied version of the Kuru Toga, the Roulette. I have previously discussed the smooth metal bodied version, this one is knurled. And the knurling is nice, it’s crisp and grip-y and completely not slippery. Which was a problem I had with the smooth metal gripped version of this pencil.20141203_172129

The balance is just right for my hand. With the larger weighted end of the pencil being at the business end and the lighter end being the rest of the pencil. It is also important to note that Uni cheaped out and made the rest of the pencil out of colored plastic.  While the pencil is metallic and perfectly matches the paint, I do wish it was made out of the nice aluminum of the grip section. I find that the plastic is less noticeable on this version than the pink version, possibly because the grip and the plastic are the exact same color.20141203_172032

The tip floats a bit as it needs to be able to move up and down without friction thus has a loose-ish fit in the cone. It’s barely noticeable as I’m writing. The Kuru Toga “engine” does it’s job and moves the tip in miniscule amounts as I write, keeping the edge sharp and crisp. The line doesn’t widen at all, it’s stays the same. IF I remember to not rotate my pencil. Since I’ve been writing with wooden pencils all summer I have gotten back into the habit of rotating my pencil, so in effect I defeat the mechanism.20141203_172136

The key to making these pencils work well, it to not rotate the pencil as you write, something that is hard to stop yourself from doing if you’ve been making yourself do it for a full 4 or more months. It also helps if it’s held at more than a 45 degree angle. Steeper angles don’t provide quite enough force to the mechanism to actually rotate the lead. So it just acts like any old pencil.20141203_172048

Anyway, bullshit aside, this is a great looking and feeling mechanical pencil. I break very few leads with this beauty and my writing is crisp and accurate, well as crisp and accurate as my crappy handwriting can be. The price isn’t bad depending on where you purchase it. I found mine on Amazon for about $10, but they are now out of stock. On Jetpens they are $16. In my opinion, if you are looking for a great mechanical pencil, the knurled metal grip Roulette is a fine choice.

Review: Uniball Kuru Toga Starter Kit 0.7

I’m going to start off this review with a negative statement then run into the more positive. This isn’t my first Kuru Toga and won’t be my last, but you shouldn’t buy this as your introduction to Kuru Toga. Why? It’s a cheap imitation of Kuru Toga greatness. The idea of the Kuru Toga is that the lead rotates so you are always writing with a sharp crisp point. This pencil does that, and does it pretty well. If I were just reviewing the Kuru Toga “engine” this pencil would get a high five and stellar review, unfortunately the great guts are marred by a god awful pencil body.bad kuru toga bad kuru toga The body of this pencil is smokey gray plastic that allows you to see the inner workings of the pencil. In theory this is a pretty cool idea, but unless you are working in bright light you can’t really see the inner workings. For me to see through the plastic I must be under a nice bright light otherwise I can’t see anything inside moving, certainly not the small white logo on light blue that is inside this pencil.bad kuru togaThe other Kuru Togas I’ve handled have had a stainless steel tip section, this model has a chrome plated plastic section with a super wide silicone ring around it. The rubbery silicone grip keeps your fingers from sliding off the pencil. The problem is that it’s really hard, has a raised ridge, and is very uncomfortable. I consider myself to have a pretty tough writer’s callous on my right middle finger, but this pencil irritated it. bad kuru togaThe eraser is puny, but works okay once you can get it into contact with the paper. The eraser is so short that you have to flip the pencil completely upside down for it to make contact with the page, otherwise the body of the pencil gets in the way. When you do flip it over you have to press so hard you deploy the nock.  The end cap is also miniscule and easily lost. Basically, just keep a block eraser on hand for erasing. This starter set arrives with 2 extra erasers, but no case to keep them in, so you’ll lose those too.bad kuru toga bad kuru togaThe set arrives with 2 leads in the chamber and a 10-lead tube of NanoDia HB leads. While these are not my favorite leads, they are very nice and smooth for HB leads.  This is probably the best part of this $5 starter set. bad kuru togaI don’t know why Uni made such a terrible pencil package as it’s Kuru Toga starter kit. I don’t think this pencil is going to bring anyone to a love of the Kuru Toga. If anyone is interested in getting a Kuru Toga they are better off getting the rubber gripped version or one of the metal gripped versions. The rubber gripped version is only a few dollars more expensive, and has better reviews.

In short I’m saying this pencil is very cheap feeling but the Kuru Toga engine inside works just fine. I wish I had just saved my $5 and put it toward another metal bodied Kuru Toga or a package of BIC disposable mechanical pencils. The “good” thing about it is that I can use it at my internship and not worry about losing it. Since I don’t have desk space of my own, I have to carry all my stuff around either on my person or leave it in my bag, meaning I don’t leave anything of any valuable laying about.