Thursday, 7 August 2008
Pilot VBall Grip Extra Fine
Ok, so I'm finally reviewing something that's not Uniball. I got these V-Ball at a Target back in February, I was away from home, so I just tried them that night on a notebook provided by the hotel and found them quite scratchy, I first thought that I had wasted by money, but back home I tried them and found them to be nice. I never used them widely because I still had a large stock of G-2s for school use, but I've been using them more recently.
On Bond paper it doesn't feel scratchy at all, I have tried an Office Depot brand yellow pad (OD Mexico, so it might not be the same paper as the US one) and feels scratchy, not to mention the notepads provided by Fairfield Inn by Marriott, it feels like you're writing on sandpaper, but on bond paper it feels excellent. Of course, it doesn't glide like the Vision Elite 0.8mm, but it saves ink, and for being Extra Fine, they don't feel bad at all.
Pilots are still hard to find here, you can go to a particular store and maybe find 2 packs of V7s, a pack of Precise Grip and that's if you're lucky, and their parking sucks, so you rarely go there. Office Depot doesn't carry them, none of the supermarkets or drugstores do, and our local wholesale retailer, PriceSmart, only sells G-2s in a large pack (like 10 or 12 blacks, 3 blues and 1 red or something like that), so for Pilot I rely on my own imports or stuff that friends/family bring/send.
The grip on the VBall Grip is really comfortable, it's not just a simple piece of rubber, it does provide excellent traction and feeling, while it's not a gel grip like the one on the UB 207 Premier, it does an excellent job. This pen is available in 3 sizes, Extra Fine, Fine and Medium or Bold (not sure of the name), and you can identify them by the text on the barrel and the barrel colors (they become darker with the tip size, the thickest one get's a dark grey instead of white).
An interesting detail on the VBall Grip is that you can unscrew the ink cartrige (in the same way that you do with the UB Vision Elite), the difference is that I haven't really seen the cartridges for sale, so that could have been done just in case you need it in the future, to let you have your favorite tip size on your favorite barrel color, or to let you see how much ink you have left. I don't know, but it's an interesting detail.
About the packaging, I got mine in a black 3-pack, but I recall seeing a pack containing 2 blacks, 1 or 2 blues and 1 red, Pilot's traditional KRGB packaging (black, red, green, blue) (they should consider CMYK too) plus some stores appear to be carrying dozens, when I'm in the US I normally shop for writing instruments at Target or Walmart, so I'm quite unfamiliar with Staples/OfficeMax/Office Depot offerings (The multi-color pack I mentioned was seen at Office MAx, I was in a place that had an Office Max conveniently placed next to a Target, so it was really nice). I don't recall seeing numbers on the cardboard packaging, so you might have to do some research to find the size in mm (I think it's 0.5/0.7/0.9 or 1.0 but don't quote me on that).
For those who are interested, I'm using Doane Paper, www.doanepaper.com