Pilot Birdie Switch Combo Pen and Zebra Mini Ballpoint

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Well, I’ve got some good news and some bad news… The good news is that I have some new stuff to review (Yay!). The bad news, is that I’ve decided to take a hiatus from Pens’n’Paper (Boo!)… I know, I can already hear the hissing and “buts” on people’s lips as I write this, but there are several valid reasons for my putting a pause on my blogging endeavours. Firstly, cost… In today’s economy, with me being a poor college student working a part-time job, I am already experiencing mental angst when paying out for a tank of gasoline. It’s been over a month since I’ve bought a pen or a notebook, because I simply look at the price and can’t justify purchasing it. I have over 300 barely used pens and 100 notebooks lying around in nice orderly boxes at house, and even my obsession for pens can’t overrule my super-thin wallet… Secondly, I’m short on time… Between, church, work, girlfriend, school, and the million other things I have to do, blogging just hasn’t been a priority lately, and for that I apologize. So, after I complete two more reviews, I will be taking a sabbatical. No, Pens’n’Paper won’t be shut down. I still plan on paying for the domain name and leaving it up as a resource, and perhaps even returning to it someday.

But anyhoo, enough of my pity partying, let’s get on to today’s review…

 Up for a look today are two tiny pens which were sent to me by the amazing Andrew from over at MyMaido.com. The Pilot Birdie Switch Combo and Zebra Mini Ballpoint both are extremely small and would easily slip into the pine of your favorite high-end notebook or clip onto the rings of your spiral wound.

The Pilot Birdie Switch Combo Pen is interesting in that it’s a self-contained multi-pen with a pencil on one end and a ballpoint pen on the other. In order to switch from pencil to pen or vice-versa, you simply remove the cap (similar to most old-fashioned mechanical pencils) and place it on the opposite end. The Birdie features a 0.5 mm mechanical pencil and a 0.5mm black ballpoint and also comes with a black refill for the ballpoint.

This combo pen/pencil is a decent offering from Pilot. The mechanical pencil is mechanically sound and the supplied lead is smooth. The ballpoint is a bit scratchy, but that’s something I’ve come to expect from fine-tipped ball points, so I won’t harp on it too much. My main qualm about this combo is the fact that there’s no eraser… Having a mechanical pencil is kind of pointless if there’s no eraser available, but I guess it was sacrificed due to size.

Next up, we have the Zebra Mini 0.5mm Ballpoint. This small pen features a clip retracting mechanism, so in order to retract the tip, you have to push down on the clip, releasing the spring. The ballpoint writes relatively smooth, again a little scratchy because of the fine point, and the sleek barrel is an attention-getter. This pen also came with a refill, so that when you run out of ink you can replace it and continue on.

Both of these pens feature stainless construction and are very small (see the picture where they are compared with a dime), and would not be out-of-place on any person’s notebook. Thanks again Andrew for the awesome opportunity to review these two items from MyMaido.com!

Uni-Ball Signo MF2 – 0.5mm Gel and 0.5mm Mech. Pencil Multi-Pen

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Pen#66.
Uni-Ball Signo MF2 – 0.5mm Gel and 0.5mm Mech. Pencil Multi-Pen

A random find at my college bookstore (and slightly surprising I might add), the Uni-Ball Signo MF2 has found its way into my “To-Review” box, so here we go…

The Uni-Ball Signo MF2 features a 0.5mm Signo Gel refill as well as a 0.5mm mechanical pencil which you select by twisting the cap/clip. While this pen is a little thicker than your ordinary Uni-Ball, it’s still not humongous and ranges in the size category of your cheap dollar store ballpoint (y’know the ones that were made so that they will fit in a bear’s paw, should a bear ever learn to write).

The Signo refill write as expected as does the pencil. Not horribly impressed, but not miffed about it either. My main qualms lie in the quality of it’s manufacture. Firstly, as I mentioned before, the pen is huge… There’s room enough inside the barrel (had Uni-Ball been a bit more intuitive) for another refill or may be even two, if they were small. Secondly, the mechanism could have used a little work. While the mechanical pencil is firm and works relatively well, the Signo refill tends to bounce up and down in the body (possibly because the mechanical pencil plunger makes not only the pencil advance, but also causes the whole mechanism to raise/lower in the body). Thirdly, and most minor, is the itty-bitty eraser. In my college classes, I would use that in a couple days…

I didn’t fill out a review sheet for this one, since I was at home and don’t have any of my paperwork with me (which also accounts for the horrible lighting), but to be honest, I was pretty disappointed. While I’ve come to expect quality from Uni-Ball pens (such as my Signo bits), this definitely falls below the bar.

Final Score: 3/5

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