Uniball Jetstream Color 0.5 tastes better than crow

Uni Jetstream Color 0.4

I have a confession, though if you’ve read The Well-Appointed Desk for awhile now, you’ll notice the absence of almost any reference to ballpoint pens. Those Bic Stics. Yuck. As a lefty with a hook, my high school years were filled with smudged papers, ink all over my pinky from smearing through my work and a overall distaste for the oily, slow-drying ink of those budget ballpoints that plagued my youth. Since then, I have done everything I can to avoid them. On the rare occasion that I am asked to sign a credit card slip with one, I die a little inside. So I had firmly avoided ever reviewing a single implement described as a ballpoint. Until today.

I’d heard people wax poetic about the Uni Jetstream pens for years now. “How great could they be,” I thought, “they are still ballpoints.” Well, let me stop for a moment to eat this large plate of crow (please pass the hot sauce, I’ve got a lot to choke down). I picked one up in Hong Kong on a whim, more because it was a fabulous color described as “ash green” than for the fact that it was a (dare I say it) ballpoint. Then I put the pen to paper. What is this? It writes smoothly, dries quickly, does not stutter or smear. It has a fine delicate nib. The pen has a simple casing with just subtle graphics on a white case. Could it be that not all ballpoints are created equal? It writes more like a cross between a rollerball and a gel pen which I suspect is really what it is — the ink color is bright and clear like a liquid ink or gel ink and not at all the consistency of those Bic Stics that still make me cringe.

If you too fear the ballpoint, then the Uniball Jetstream may be the pen to break your distaste for them one and for all. I know it changed my opinion about them and made me seriously wish I had purchased more than one.

From Log-ON iSquare in Kowloon, Hong Kong for $12HK (about $2 US). Similar pens can be found at JetPens but I have not seen the illusive ash green color unless it is what they refer to as blue-black.

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3 comments / Add your comment below

  1. I bought the Ash Green/Brown/Purple at a book convention in Hong Kong two years ago. Can’t bring myself to use them because I’m not sure if there’s refills. So I bought a few black Jetstream Colors from Jetpens.
    These are the BEST ballpoints I have ever used. Smooth writing while not being as slick as the thicker Jetstream pens, and I feel that the normal 0.5mm Jetstreams are more scratchy. You get the full use out of the ink tube, and I found that these refills are the same size as the Alpha-Gel ballpoints.
    The only other ballpoint that came close in quality was the Power Tank 0.5, and it just died on me halfway through the ink cartridge. I’m guessing that it didn’t have positive pressure left in the cartridge.

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