Sunday, 3 August 2008
Uniball Signo Gelstick 0.7
So the first pen to come to the keyboard is the Uniball Signo Gelstick 0.7.
First of all, this pen is a bargain. Staples has them for $8.79* a dozen, vs $18.69* for the Signo RT and $21.99* for the Signo 207; in round numbers, this is 1/2 of the price of the RT and 1/3 of the 207. The 207's ink is safer for checking and those things, but if you don't have anything that is at risk, just like I do, the 207 ink is useless.
*Does not include taxes, fees or delivery costs.
It seems like Uniball uses only two gel inks, regular and 207 and the same nibs on all their pens (with the only difference in size of course), so you're paying half of the price of a regular Signo just because it doesn't have a rubber grip nor it's refillable (ok, if you have the skills you can refill it, but for the price it's easier to just shell out $8.79* and get a dozen of new ones).
I discovered these pens by accident about 2 years ago (I thought they were highliters, they looked like them) and loved them, the low price and high availability make them very good pens. Keep in mind that I live in a place where it can take months to restock a particular model of pen, but these are readily available in singles, single color duos, dual color duos and dual color trios. In addition, some stores carry the full color palette of it, and sky blue and pink seem to be well accepted among teenage girls (sky blue was the color of choice of my former chemistry teacher too).
Of the large quantities that I bought, I'm only left with two, the others have been left behind in the trash can, the pockets of my friends (and their trash cans eventually) and one was lost in an airplane (I think). I find them really comfortable, the small triangular grip makes them comfortable for writing during long periods of time (plus, the low price makes them good for writing a lot, since the price per meter is half the one of the Signo RT), and these ones can be left uncapped for long periods of time without drying out (I think that's common to all gel pens, I just never do that). It writes nice, 0.7mm is my favorite for gel pens, it's the right size, I once tried 1.0mm and it's too wide, and 0.5mm and below can feel scratchy sometimes, 0.7 is the ideal. The shade of blue closely resembles that of the semi-translucent body.
It is possible to split the pen in two, but because it's not refillable, there's no need to do so. In fact, the way the pen closes (it's not a screw-on) means that you'll probably end up with a lot of ink in your hands and fingers if you attempt to open it (pull the two pieces apart really hard).
If you're looking for a cheap pen to buy by the dozen or more to carry around to lend people or have them stolen from your desk, this is definitely a good option. They can't match the low price of a cheap ballpoint stic pen, but when compared to most gel pens, it's a cheap option, and cheap as in low price, not as in low quality.
A blog reader, ratan, commented that
I suspect Uniball gel pens use the same ink in all products. This table touts their ink properties in regards to check washing. I see the gel stick, gel grip and 207 line here, so maybe (maybe) the ink is all the same? Or at least it seems the inks are all acid-free, fade-proof and waterproof.
This is what they list
* Fade- and Water-resistant ink
* Comfortable grip
* Helps prevent check washing except for the colors Pink and Orange
* Helps prevent check washing
* Comfortable textured grip
* Fade- and Water-resistant ink
So it seems like most of their Gelstick colors use the 207 ink except for pink and orange (who would use neon pink to sign a check????). If this is the case, then the price difference is just for the body style, also, means that Uniball makes more profit by selling the 207 at a price higher than the regular Signo, even though the ink appears to be the same. But a discussion on this will come later, with the Signo RT discussion