Thursday, July 18, 2013

Pilot 2+1 Evolt Multi Pen

The Pilot Corporation has been making writing tools since 1918, and is the largest pen company in Japan, and the third largest in the United States.  Pilot mass produces writing instruments and distributes them around the globe reaching a very large segment of the writing community.

My very first multi pen was a Pilot that I purchased while stationed in Saudi Arabia.  It had exemplary build quality, and had I not lost it in my military travels, I'm sure that it would still be present in my current collection of writing implements.

I am sharing this background on Pilot because the subject of this review, the Pilot 2+1 Evolt Multi Pen is an underwhelming writing instrument, and it does little to live up to the reputation that preceded its production.

It is because of Pilot's reputation in producing fine multi function pens that I chose to purchase the Evolt 2+1 from  It is constructed of aluminum, complete with a shiny paint job and silver accents at the tip, top, pocket clip and midsection.  Available in nine colors, Pilot used a broad reach appeal strategy in marketing this pen.  For this review, I chose the brown variety which really does have a look of elegance going for it.  In addition, the 0.7mm ink cartridges lay thin consistent lines on paper.  This is where the attributes cease to exist with the Evolt 2+1.  The paint job that I referred to previously provides quite a slippery slope when gripping this pen and attempting to write complete sentences.  My fingers continually slipped down the barrel causing me to relentlessly re-adjust my grip, quite frustrating!

When twisting the upper barrel to change from one cartridge to the next, there is a flimsy feeling associated with this technique.  Going clockwise from black to red to pencil, there is a clicking sound indicative of the change or engagement, but once the pencil is engaged, if you attempt to continue the clockwise twist, you'll come to an abrupt halt.  While most multi pens that utilize the twisting technique allow a continual 360 degree turn to occur, whereas if you attempt that move here, the Evolt 2+1 will let you know that is not going to happen.  When I first attempted a continuous twist movement with the pen, the Evolt 2+1 buckled and actually bowed in the center.  I thought I had broken the entire pen.  I layed it flat and pushed it from the center until it straightened itself out again.  Once that happened, I was able to twist it back the other way.  So much for doing that again!

Somewhere in conception, the ball was dropped when it came to material to be used in the design and manufacture of this pen.  There were obvious corners cut here.  When I compare this pen with my Pilot Pentopia 2+1 purchased 13 years ago, the Evolt 2+1 simply does not measure up.  Granted, still present are the 0.7mm ink cartridges which handle basically any writing task.  While the pen tip houses a small white eraser which appears to be included simply as an afterthought.

Overall, Pilot appears to have lost its sense of integrity with this half-thought out offering, the Evolt 2+1 Multi Pen.  The insides, i.e. ink cartridges and lead holder are typical Pilot hardware, but the pen barrel is all show and no tell.  As someone who has acquired a number of Pilot Pens, mostly multi pens, I find this one a sore disappointment.  As such, I am unable to recommend it.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Tombow Zoom 414 Multifunction Ballpoint Pen Black

Tombow Pens have always epitomized the concept of "form following function."  Its launch of the "Zoom" series in 1986, opened the door for a line of uniquely designed writing implements .  In 2005, Tombow launched the Zoom 414 Multifunction Ballpoint Pen, which won the IF Design Award in 2006, as well as the Red Dot Design Award, an international product design prize awarded in Essen, Germany.  Let's take a look at this award winning pen and what makes it live up to that prestigious title.

When picking up and holding the Zoom 414, the first thing I noticed was that it did not rattle.  The multi pen Achilles heel was not present here.  Constructed of brass, the thin barrel holds two Tombow D1 style 0.7mm refills (red and black) with an optional stylus, and a 0.5mm lead holder.  The top section above the pocket clip unscrews to reveal a white compact rubber eraser.  Twisting the barrel at the pocket clip bottom, allows a change to the desired ink cartridge color or lead holder.  The feel when engaging the barrel is a quite solid one.  At 5.4 inches long and 0.37 inches in diameter, the slender barrel is substantial.  Writing with this pen feels comfortable enough, no slipping due to the matte paint job on the barrel.  I only wish the ink used here was equal to that employed in the larger Zoom roller ball refills which utilize a dark vibrant pigment ink.

However, it produces a thin, consistent line on paper which is not washed out at all.  The red ink lays an equally consistent, thin line.  The lead holder is a familiar 0.5mm pencil, but also lays a nice lead line on paper without easily breaking as some lead refills in multi pens have a tendency to do.

All in all, Tombow's Zoom 414 Multifunction Ballpoint Pen is a superb build quality writing instrument, employing adequate D1 style cartridges, and is user friendly in engaging / disengaging those refills.  For me, this multi pen is in my daily rotation as a go-to writing tool, and is highly recommended.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Lamy 2000 Multi Colour Ballpoint Pen

As a huge fan of Lamy pens for over a thirteen years, I have always appreciated the quality and style present in each of Lamy's offerings over the years, of which I have acquired a few.  In this review I will examine the Lamy 2000 Multi Colour Ballpoint Pen, picking it apart quite profusely. 

Designed by Gerd A. Muller, and brought to market in 1966, the Lamy 2000 embodies an understated retro look.  The line of Lamy 2000 pens includes the original 2000 fountain pen, ballpoint, mechanical pencil, and multi color ballpoint which we are looking at currently.

The Lamy 2000 Multi Colour Ballpoint is constructed of makralon, a fiberglass / polycarbonate material
with brushed stainless steel at the cartridge tip, knock and pocket clip.  This makes for a lightweight yet very durable writing implement, and quite sustainable.  The pen employs Lamy's M21 refills, black, red, blue and green.  They all ink adequately when applying on paper, I would however like to see a fine gel tip refill available as an alternative.  Also welcome would be additional refill colors like blue-black, turquoise, and brown.  That aside, Lamy inks are consistent, without any sort of skipping or hesitation when writing, while being waterproof and smudge proof as well.

This pen, like the Lamy Accent and Logo Multi pens, employs the gravity select mechanism which offers a shift in ink color by laying the pen horizontally while turning it to the desired color code located at the top near the head of the pocket clip.  Once the knock is retracted, the chosen ink cartridge is engaged, no fuss, no muss.  That said, there is a slight rattle when the knock is disengaged.  It is the Achilles heel common to most multi pens, one which I have learned to live with when considering a pen's other distinctive qualities, of which the 2000 has many.

Above all, it has a timeless appeal, and form truly follows function in the case of the Lamy 2000 Multi Colour Pen.  As a ballpoint pen which offers four individual colors of inking ability, there are many occasions that I call upon this pen to complete a scribing session.  The brushed barrel offers a great feel when writing, all without slippage.  This pen has an elegance which actually seems to improve my handwriting.

In my humble opinion, Lamy got it right with this offering.  The M21 refills withstanding, I enjoy the writing experience provided by the Lamy 2000 Multi Colour Ballpoint Pen and as such give it a high recommendation.