Pilot Birdie Switch Combo Pen and Zebra Mini Ballpoint


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!


Kikkerland Retro Pens and Magnifier Bookmarks (and Giveaway)


“Pictures first, then the review? Have you gone mad!?” Maybe, maybe not… It’s just been that kind of day around here today, lol… Up for review today are Kikkerland Retro Pens as well as two different magnifier bookmarks sent to me by the lovely Laura… The book magnifiers are cute, one being a camera and one being a magnifying glass, and seem to be rather useful (although I don’t really have a use for them as of yet, since I’m not that blind) for seeing small type as well as keeping one’s place in a book.

The pens, however, were a bit of a disappointment. While the design truly was interesting, the quality of these pens did not impress me. The aesthetics truly were wonderful. I looked at them and was instantly reminded of the pens given out by churches, banks, and other institutions, back when they weren’t so stingy with their promotional products. The plastic body colors were randomly contrasted, and the only branding was a small Kikkerland stamp on the slip.

The problem started when I tried to write with them… The ballpoint was scratchy, something that I didn’t really expect, but no matter what paper I tried it on, the metal around the ball kept catching and trying to tear the paper. As I mentioned before, I was disappointed, since I was expecting a little bit more quality from a designer/distributor of fine products.

Don’t believe me? Well, here’s your chance to find out for yourself! I’m going to be giving away the two magnifiers, as well as all of the “Retro Pens”… So, the rules are that the first two people chosen will get a magnifier and a pen. The other three winners will be sent a retro pen and a random pen I happen to have in my stash (so you never know what’cha gonna get 😉 ).  Now, for the rest of the nominal rules…

Giveaway Rules:

1. Leave one comment on this post anytime between now, and Mondaynight (November 15th) at 11:59 PM Eastern Time.  You are limited to one entry. If you know someone who might be interested, feel free to direct them here!

2. For this contest, I will pick one winner at random from the comments section of this post.  The comments will be numbered in the order they are received, i.e. the first comment is #1, the second #2, and so on.  The Random Integer Generator at random.org will be used to pick the number of the winner.

3. The contest winner will be posted on Tuesday, November 16th.  The winner will have one week to email me at the address posted in the “Contact Info…” section of the right sidebar. If the winner does not e-mail me within a week, I will post a new winner the next day…

4. As of this time, I cannot ship internationally, so this content is open to US residents only. I will pay shipping to anywhere in the United States…

Good Luck!

Note: I am not an employee nor and I am in any way affiliated with Kikkerland or Leuchtturm1917. This review is in no way affected by the fact that this item was a free sample from Kikkerland.

Highlighter Highlights…

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Pentel Handy-line S and Staedtler Textsurfer classic

So, today we have two different highlighters up for review… I found both of these at my college bookstore on the clearance rack for $.99 (a price that can’t be beat for a college student) and decided that I might just try them out. By the way, this is in no way a comparative review, but a review of two different brands/types of highlighters.

So, let’s start with the Pentel Handy-line S. This highlighter belongs to Pentel’s retractable marker line, which offers retractable permanent markers, whiteboard markers, and highlighters. These highlighters claim to be ecologically sound and feature retractability as well as being refillable. The retractable mechanism uses the feature of a revolving circular piece of plastic to close (and perhaps make slightly airtight) the chamber where the tip and reserve is located. While I have not been able to test the effectiveness of this mechanism, these have been out of the package on my desk for about two weeks and they still work great.

The second up for review is the Staedtler Textsurfer classic. I’m not sure the point and purpose behind these highlighters, but I do know that Staedtler is a well-respected name in stationery products across the pond. Steadtler claims that the Textsurfer classic is ink-jet, photocopy, fax, carbon copy, and computer print-out safe, as well an ecologically sound due to the fact that it is refillable using their ink refill station.

So, how did they do? See for yourself (click to enlarge):

The scan doesn’t really do the paper justice, because on the scan it’s hard to see that both highlighters smudged the writing they were used on, to the point that they both took on a bit of the color of ink. They worked best on the laser print and ballpoint, but smeared all the other pens and pencil that were used. Not really all that impressive in my eyes. I thought about trying them out on one of my textbooks, but then decided against it. I’ve gone two and a half years without writing in any of my college books, why start now? Out of the two, I must admit that I like the Pentel the best, possibly because of its reatractability and size. The Steadtler just seems a bit bulky to me…

Sharpie Liquid Pencil – 0.5mm

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Pen #67.
Sharpie Liquid Pencil – 0.5mm

Having heard about these for the past couple weeks, I nearly fell over in my chair whenever “twistdfate”, a fellow pen aficionado/Twitter conversationist (check out her knitting on her Etsy page: TwistdFate) asked whether I might like to try some. Since they are not yet currently available in my area (nothing seems to get to WV until about 2 months after it’s released), I gladly accepted her kind offer, and not more than a week later, there they were in my mailbox!

So, I got them out, slightly pensive due to the negative reviews I had seen on The Pen Addict as well as Office Supply Geek, and was quickly rewarded with the same negative thoughts that both other reviewers had… While the design of a liquid graphite pencil is not exactly revolutionary, I must say that I was expecting far more from a name like Sharpie… While the design of the pen itself was sturdy and relatively comfortable to use, the liquid graphite left very much to be desired. I can even say that the Pentech Liquaphite pens/pencils did a better job at it than Sharpie did…

“Why was this liquid graphite pen so horrible”, you ask? The reason for my instant dislike was the fact that I clicked the retractable plunger and applied the pen(cil) to paper… And nothing happened… I scribbled for several seconds thinking, “Well, maybe since it was in the post and had been used before it’s a little shook up and just needs ‘reactivated’…” Nope… I scribbled for several seconds more and finally got it to start writing… Sort of… The ink line laid down on the paper was very faint and horribly skippy, and did not really improve over time (see review photo for ink sample). I will say that the ink did erase very well, but that could be possibly due to the fact that there was barely any ink laid down.

The biggest let-down of all though was that I expected more… I’m not sure what the problem was, but Sharpie must’ve been in way too much of a hurry to get this pen onto shelves or something, because the quality is far below Sharpie standards. I only hope that before the next batch leaves the factory that they figure out the problem and fix it before many other people unwittingly see the name brand and think it must be a great pen… Better luck next time Sharpie…

Final Score: 3.7/5

Pentel Slicci Gel Multi-Pen 0.3mm and 0.4mm – Blue-Black, Golden Orange, and Red

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Pen #65.
Pentel Slicci Gel Multi-Pen 0.4mm and 0.4mm – Blue-Black, Golden Orange, and Red.

Sorry about the pause in between reviews guys (I actually was alerted to the fact that it had been a while by Dan’s comment on the Noodler’s post)… I took a bit of a Sabbatical from work and everything for a while, and I just kinda decided to take a break from blogging for a bit too…

Here we have another one of the pens from my last JetPens purchase. While I wasn’t particularly impressed with the last Slicci I reviewed, I must admit that these fulfill my expectations much better. The pen barrel itself is actually a little uncomfortable, since it features no type of grip other than the gnurled plastic, and the body style is thicker than that which I normally use, causing my hand to tend to cramp.

The ink refills, however, are amazing… The 0.3mm red and 0.4mm black-blue and golden orange lay down a thin, yet vibrant ink line and are relatively smooth for such fine tips. I must admit that I am rather impressed with these, and there is a distinc possibility I may buy some more refills for this pen in the future…

41/45 = 4.5/5

Pilot Hi-Tec-C Coleto 0.5mm Gel Multipen – Brown and Apple Green


Pen #63.
Pilot Hi-Tec-C Coleto 0.5mm Gel Multipen – Brown and Apple Green

First pen out of my new JetPens order that gets reviewed is this Hi-Tec-C Coleto. I was a little leery of purchasing this at first, since I didn’t really have a wonderful experience with the original Hi-Tec-C I purchased, but I must admit that I was pleasantly surprised. I purchased the two-cartridge body and one refill each of 0.5mm brown and apple green ink.

The pen body is rather plain, featuring no grip other than a gnurled plastic, and is designed so that the refills themselves are the plungers, rather than having them attached to the pen. It also refills in an odd way in that a small hinged “door” at the top of the pen opens and you slide the refills down into the pen barrel. My issue with this is how durable it will be. Will this “door” break off if I happen to drop this pen? Will the plastic “latch” dull down after a while and pop open on its own, causing my refills to go flying every which way? Well, we shall see…

As for the ink itself, I was very surprised and pleased with how it writes. It is still a little scratchy compared to some, but whem compared to the last Hi-Tec-C I purchased, it write like a dream. The brown and apple green ink are very bright and vivid, and I must admit that when I chose them, I meant to pick out a “tree” theme…

The notes section on my review sheet mentions that I didn’t know what the difference was between the regular Hi-Tec-C’s and the Coleto, but I did discover what it was… There isn’t one. The Coleto brand refers to the multi-pen series.

41/45 = 4.5/5

Uni-Ball Signo RT 0.7mm Gel Pen – Black


Pen #62.
Uni-Ball Signo RT 0.7mm Gel Pen – Black

Honestly, I must admit that the Signo RT easily makes it onto my “Most Favorite Pens” list. Available in 0.7mm and 0.38mm (at least in most US office supply stores), the Signo RT is a staple pen in my daily arsenal.

The Signo RT features a slim body style with an extremely comfortable foam rubber grip (not too thick, not too thin, but just right). Being a college student, taking notes is not a perogative but a requirement, and these pens are a necessity for anyone writing for long periods of time.

The ink flow is extremely smooth (not unexpected, since Uni-Ball has perfected their line of gel pens, including the 207 series of smooth-writing gels with “Super-Ink”), and there is literally no skipping or scratching… At all… Even with a gel pen, that is almost an unheard of experience.

I heartily reccomend this pen as a beginning to a pen obsession… If you don’t own one yet, go buy one… Now… 🙂

NOTE: Also, discovered the other day that if you’re a fan of the 207 Series from Uni-Ball, the ink cartridges are the same size, so if you’re like me and prefer the Signo RT body style, you can swap them out easily!

49/50 = 4.9/5

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