Comparison – Wite-Out Vs. Liquid Paper pens (Shake n’ Sqeeze, Correction Pen)

Correction fluid is quite a useful tool and an art supply in its own right on some occasions. But those bottles are hard to lug around, and the brush tips difficult to manipulate to really cover what you want. Both of the major correction fluid brands have attempted to rectify this situation with pen applicators for their product. But how well do they really work in comparison? And how do they look head to head?

photo 1-35photo 2-32

Both are rather fat, pen-sized items at a little over 5 inches in length. Each is roughly cylindrical with a cap on one end, a squeezable bulge in the middle, and a posting step-down at the other end. The amount of fluid contained in each is surprisingly similar: being 7ml for the Liquid Paper and 8ml for the Bic Wite Out. But despite having only a slightly larger capacity, the Bic pen is noticeably larger in almost every way. It is a little bit longer, the tube diameter is about 125% that of the other, and the squeezable bulge extends out in two humps rather than the one of its smaller counterpart. Each one has a cap with an integrated clip, through the Bic one is translucent and more brittle-feeling than the LP which matches with the rest of the pen. The main color of each pen is an off-white, the differences of which mirror the differences in the colors of the fluids inside, with the Wite Out being a “warmer” and the LP being a “cooler” white. There’s a lot more information on the Wite Out pen, which is printed on a label wrapped around the bottom as opposed to the Liquid Paper which has just enough info printed directly on the plastic. And both pens have a strange “arrow” (triangle) pointing toward the tip molded into their plastic.

photo 4-28photo 3-31

Both pens are used in the same fashion: shake it up, remove cap and any little dried bits (there always is some, no matter how well you wipe it off), press down firmly, and then write with it like it’s a pen, squeezing and pressing to increase the flow when needed (then wipe the tip off and re-cap). Both do a pretty good job, but each has its own quirks. The Bic pen is harder to start as the tip is wider and the fluid dries more rigidly. It tends to cover nicely in one stroke but the width of that stroke is a bit unpredictable, and it’s pretty poor at “writing” on its own. The fluid is basically the same as the Wite Out quick dry (or regular), drying fairly quickly and smoothly over the paper, but noticeably sitting on top of it because it is a warmer white than the average piece of paper. The Liquid Paper produces a thinner line that is easier to write with, but can sometimes require multiple, finicky applications to really cover a mistake. The fluid does start to dry pretty fast, but it quickly becomes a bit “gummy”, and if you need multiple coats and aren’t fast enough this can easily lead to unsightly bumps in the finish. If you can get it down smooth, though, it blends in much better with the paper, being closer to the cool white of office copy reams.

photo 1-36

Both clips are serviceable when the pen is capped, with the Liquid Paper’s being a little weaker when clipping, but less brittle. As mentioned, both caps have posting stumps on the back. The Wite Out posts quite tightly and securely, while the Liquid Paper, even with no fear of falling off, seems a bit wimpy-er. Both pens have worked for me and not dried up over several months, and I happen to be in possession of another Liquid Paper pen dated 1989, which surprisingly still works (but not as well). I don’t know if that will apply to these new ones, but it’s a good omen. (The differences between the old and the new are minimal: the cap has had ridges added on the sides and a droplet shape on the clip, between the cap and body there is now a green band, that aforementioned triangle has been added, the applicator tip has been modified to add more metal, and the old has an applied label rather than material printed directly on the barrel).

photo 2-33photo 4-29

Neither pen is clearly better than the other, so it mostly comes down to personal preference. The Wite Out has: a larger capacity, a thicker line, simple application, and is easier to hold. While the Liquid Paper is: smaller, easier to start, and has a much more true-to-paper tone. If you’re just looking for a correction pen, you can’t really go wrong with either, so I wouldn’t go out of my way to find one or the other. As it stands, I’ll be using the Liquid Paper in my pencil case for on-the-go stuff and the Wite Out at the desk for when I need something more fine than the sponge applicator. And I think both’ll be lasting me a pretty long time.

photo 3-32

Review – Bic 4 Color Original Pen

For as much as they are almost “looked down” upon in the world of writing implements, and for as cheap a product as they are, Bic pens are very sturdy and reliable line-making machines, with newer ink formulations making them smoother than any pen in the price range seems to deserve to be. Their simple and effective designs have endured the tests of time, making the Cristal ubiquitous, and others, like the 4 color pen, an oddity many have toyed with and some people swear by. Is combining 4 pens into one really necessary? Probably not. But does it have convenient uses for those who still write thing down? Let’s take a look.

photo 1-29photo 2-26

The body of the pen is quite simple, with a retro vibe that probably comes from the design being relatively unchanged from its introduction decades ago. The main barrel is a light blue (or orange for the fine version) cylinder making up 2/3 of the length that begins to taper as it gets closer to the writing end. On top of this is a black band, which connects to the white top. This top section has a very “angular” molded-in plastic clip, a lanyard hole/rotary telephone dialer on top (rather intrusively), and 4 slots in which 4 plungers of different colors sit. When one of the plungers is depressed, a pen tip of a corresponding color pokes out of the front. Unscrewing the blue portion reveals that the mechanism here is quite simple: the 4 ink tubes (with tips) are situated equally distanced from each other inside the barrel. When one pushes the plunger, an ink tube is moved forward and bent via the barrel taper to come out the hole in the center, and a catch holds the plunger down until depressing another one causes it to spring back up. Unfortunately, the way things are constructed, the ink tubes are not replaceable, so if you run out, you’re stuck. The only other thing on the body is the Bic logo and “made in France” molded into the side of the white upper portion. It’s nice that it won’t rub off, but it doesn’t give you very much information to go on.

photo 3-25photo 4-22

The performance is decent. The inks are quite smooth for a ballpoint, and don’t cramp the hand too much, but there is more blobbing than I would like and some of the lesser-used colors (like green) often have startup problems from dried ink on the tip. Despite being a shiny plastic, the pen holds well in the hand. Being a bit larger than your average pen to accommodate 4 ink tubes, it has more surface area to hold on to and it isn’t slippery. It might not fit in some smaller pencil holders, though. I’ve taken a look at the more common Bic colors before, and they aren’t changed here. All are a bit more wimpy than I would like, especially the green, followed by the red, but they go down well and are recognizable while having the standard ballpoint advantages like being water-fast. The clip is pretty bad if you ask me, having almost no flex, but it will probably do its job.

photo 5-10

For art, this pen probably isn’t worth considering unless you’re challenging yourself. But for those that like stay organized with different colors in their planners, need a red pen and don’t want to keep track of 2 pens, or don’t want to run out of ink on the fly, this is a pretty good option. It’s got a nice retro feel if you’re into that sort of thing (understanding that it’s a little unprofessional) and even through it’s disposable, the materials are quality enough it won’t fall apart on you. For someone like me, who carries around 4 pens in 4 colors this might be a lifesaver. It’s not the end-all pen, but it’s a nice office-weight pen, designed to be inexpensive and get things done, which it does quite well at.

Review – BIC Cover-It Correction Fluid

In what seems like fate’s attempt to make my reviews less relevant immediately, I discovered another type of correction fluid in the store just after I had made a comparison review. Curiously, it’s made by BIC, who already own Wite-Out and Tipp-Ex, and it’s the same volume per-bottle as Wite Out, so I don’t know why they need another brand of white paper paint. Is it really any different?

photo 1-3photo 2-1

The container is very simple (the same as Tipp-Ex it appears). The main body is cylindrical and screwing on to the top is an octagonally-faceted cap. Inside, suspended from that cap, is a bristle brush that does go down pretty far into the container, but I haven’t accurately determined just how far. The fluid itself goes on smoothly, and even with the brush there are minimal stroke lines. Dry time is decent but far from instant, and when dried the mark is matte while being on the cool side of off-white. Coverage for pencils, pens, and other mild inks is good (there is an indentation where the fluid is displaced but that’s the same with all BIC correction fluids), and it even does a decent job with permanent marker, but it starts to show its limits there.

photo 3-1photo 4-1

If I were to compare it to other correction fluids I’d say that it’s almost the coverage of Wite-Out extra coverage, while being a little more on the cool side of the color spectrum. It covers better than Wite-Out quick dry and is more matte and paper-like than Liquid Paper. So it is ever so slightly different. But I’m not sure it’s different enough to warrant its production. Perhaps at store prices it might be a bit less expensive but online it is quite comparable in price to BIC’s other correction fluids, and it’s not in a very nice package. It will get the job done, and done quite well (I’d rather use it than regular Wite Out quick dry) but I don’t see why it isn’t another Wite-Out variation.

Comparison – Wite Out Quick Dry/Extra Coverage/Super Smooth

Previously I’ve compared the two major brands of correction fluid: Liquid Paper and Wite Out. Back then I didn’t take a look at the fact that Wite Out comes in a few different kinds (but there is one that is basically “regular”), so I’ll attempt to rectify that this time. Now, the various “flavors” of Wite Out do go in and out of production, with the majors being “quick dry” (regular) and “extra coverage”. I also have a bottle of “super smooth” that I picked up second hand and surprisingly still works (it’s old enough to have the previous graphic design) but that type is currently out of production. How do they compare?

photo-1-2photo-1-1

Quick Dry – The standard of correction fluids and one that I’ve looked at before. Quick Dry is fairly “standard” in properties; it dries shiny and little warm in hue (yellow-ish). It is a bit finicky and tacky, sometimes making it difficult to get a smooth finish with multiple strokes. It covers regular pen, pencil and stray marks well (though it sometimes leaves a divot where the ink “repelled” it. But on darker lines like those made by Sharpies it only minimizes the effect.

photo-4

Extra Coverage – The other currently (easily) available Wite Out, Extra Coverage is smoother, dries matte, and is colder (and much more white) in hue. From my experience it layers well, always being fairly flat, even minimizing visible strokes. It covers pens and permanent markers with ease (though it’s still got that weird divot displacement thing going on) but doesn’t blend in as well with the paper. And, though I did no super thorough testing, it actually seems to dry faster than the “quick dry” or at least not remain tacky as long, but that could be because my “quick dry” bottles are older.

photo-2

Super Smooth – Being no longer available I have no idea what a “brand new” bottle of Super Smooth would be like, but I would hope it’s better than what I’ve got here. The bottle is old enough that it has a brush (not a sponge) applicator, and that’s not an asset since this particular type is very fond of clumping up. It’s visually similar to “quick dry” but more matte, and it doesn’t cover nearly as well (it just makes things look kinda hazy) forcing one to reapply it, causing many clumps and visible brush strokes. It dries much slower than the other two as well (maybe that’s why it lasted this long) and while it may be “smoother” in the technical sense I don’t see that as much of a positive either in the abstract or the comparison.

photo-3photo-3-1

If I had to pick a winner it would be “extra coverage” as the only flaw I see in it is that it doesn’t quite match the color of the average sheet of paper. The “regular” “quick dry” is still a good product but one I will be using less often now. It depends on whether or not you want the correction to blend in or completely cover up the mistake. But if there is one thing to take away from this, it’s that I now understand why “super smooth” was discontinued.

 

Review – Field Notes Bic Pen

Field Notes is a company that makes great notebooks, and they’ve always added a bit of a more personal touch to things. One of the ways they did that was by having branded pens and rubber bands readily available (I believe at some point in their orders, single pens and rubber bands were thrown in for free, but they can be purchased in larger packs easily.) The pens aren’t very expensive and fit very well with the brand’s style just on looks, but do they perform as well as the paper?

photo-120

The pen is actually just a branded Bic Clic pen, which isn’t a bad thing really. The entire design is a pleasant taper from the middle, where a ring separates the two halves of the pen. On the top there is a chrome-ish simple clip with Bic’s information on it, and a similarly-colored thin clicking mechanism (which give a very satisfying “click” when used). On the front of the pen, the ballpoint protrudes when the mechanism is depressed and the Field Notes information is printed on the barrel. The only colors of the pen are black, silver, and white, making the whole thing quite understated but also very nice.

photo-121

The writing is standard Bic writing. It is smooth enough, black enough, and steady enough to be serviceable in the vast majority of scenarios. It is a medium point, which is usually too broad for me, but definitely is unspectacular and fits with what most people are comfortable with. The ink is, of course, essentially waterproof once dry, with minimal skipping or blotting. I’m not particularly impressed by the writing, but I’m certainly not disappointed.

I’m sure the Field Notes Company did a bunch of research to find both a good enough and inexpensive enough pen for their brand that they wouldn’t have to try to make in-house. And I think they succeeded. The pens are dependable enough, sturdy enough, and simple enough to be almost entirely unremarkable (in both a good and a bad way). They fit the utilitarian image of the company, and are worth having at least as a backup pen.

Review – Bic Velocity Mechanical Pencil

Bic makes a lot of writing products, and sometimes it’s hard for me to keep them straight. I’ve never really been sure what one is supposed to do over the other. Nevertheless, the Bic Velocity is a solid mechanical pencil and I’ll be looking at it today.

20150510-220506.jpg

The back of the pencil is unremarkable; a clear plastic cap covers a small, white, barely functional eraser (it works about as well as most mechanical pencil erasers). This assembly can be pushed down to activate the lead advance mechanism. Just down from this is a plastic clip, functionally all right, with the pencil’s information written on it. Down from there, the body is clear and straight until it get to the rubberized grip section where it bulges then hourglasses, creating a nice place to rest your fingers. The little cap cone after this is clear, and has the metal tip floating inside so that is retracts when the lead is retracted, preventing the tip from getting caught on anything.

20150510-220540.jpg

Writing is fine. The lead is standard. It doesn’t break much, goes on smoothly enough and dark enough for school or office work. There is no advanced shock absorber or lead turning to prevent any damage, though, but at the price, that’s teetering on the edge of reason. The grip is comfortable enough to get one through writing or drawing without too much trouble. It doesn’t slip and isn’t too narrow. The overall construction is solid, and it feels like it won’t break in your hand.

Overall, the Velocity is fine. It isn’t the best mechanical pencil ever, and it has no real features, but it’s solidly and relatively comfortably built. It is fairly inexpensive and comes with enough refills of erasers and lead to last the user for some time. As far as inexpensive options go for mechanical pencils, it’s a good one, but there’s nothing special about it.

Review – Bic Cristal Bold

Bic makes a lot of pens, and the Cristal is one that everyone knows about. It’s a staple of the modern world: an admittedly cheap pen that can be, and is, used by everyone. But most of the time you find the medium version (or a fine if you’re either lucky or unlucky). And those have many of the problems we associate with ballpoints. And when one is running a business or doing art, sometimes it’s more important that the pen write on the first try, and write smoothly, than have a thin line. That’s where the Bic Cristal Bold 1.6mm pen that we’re looking at today comes in.

20141230-230245.jpg

The body is a simple as can be: a translucent piece of hexagonal plastic with key info on the side. The base of the ball point is plastic, while the tip itself is metal. The cap is a single piece with an integrated clip that works, but isn’t the best. The cap’s only real function is to prevent the pen from marking things when set down.

20141230-230252.jpg

But the real thing here is the tip, which is much wider than usual Bic ballpoint tips. Bic says that it is an “easy glide” pen. And I’d agree that that is the case. The ink is super smooth, and requires very little pressure once it gets going. After pushing down for a little bit, the pen, in my experience, will be writing perfectly a quarter of the way into the first letter, so not perfect startup, but good for a ball pen. After that it’s smooth enough to write cursive easily. There are a few points where the ink breaks up, and those are unsightly, but with a little hand control they can be covered up nicely. Like most ballpoints it’s suitably waterproof. And while the pen and packaging say it’s 1.6mm, Id’ be much more tempted to say it’s simply 1mm.

Really, it’s a great little pen, and not very expensive. If you’re looking for a cheap way to get a smoother (and partially less globby) writing experience, I’d say this is the direction to go first. They don’t match liquid ink pens of any type, but they certainly do work quite well and are convenient, having replaced most of my other ballpoints right now.

Review – Bic Stic Colors Pink, Purple, Lime, and Light Blue

The Bic Round Stic is an iconic pen. Not so much as the Bic Cristal, but still quite well known. It is a fairly robust pen, but usually one of few colors. The pen usually comes in the four standard colors: black and RGB. With some hunting, though, one can find more exotic colors, like the ones I will be talking about today: the pink, lime, purple, and sky blue colors.

20140924-022123.jpg

First up is the pink, which is a nice color. It certainly isn’t hot pink, which I despise. It covers well and writes smoothly. It’s fairly dark but still quite pink, though not a very natural pink. It’s the kind that could really only be seen from an ink like this and not anywhere else.

Next is the light (sky) blue, which writes smoothly, but has many little imperfections in the line. It just doesn’t cover well. The color is fantastic, though. It can be a bit hard to see at times but it’s quite pleasant to look at and not particularly eye straining. It is most like the colors at the edges of a clear body of water or the sky closer to the sun, so rare, but not unheard of in nature.

A bit altered in editing

A bit altered in editing, but a good representation

On to the lime, which is by far the hardest to read of the group. And it has some startup and writing problems, though when you get it working it does write smoothly. On the paper, the green is so light as to be unreadable in many cases and can cause eye strain. Though I call it lime, it really is much lighter and closer to… well, nothing that I can think of.

And finally, the purple, which is the best in terms of pen quality. It has no startup issues, writes smoothly, and covers well. It is darker than the blue but not by much, and still would require a second glance to read from far away. That being said, it is a very pleasant color to look at and is great for use when a more standard office color is not necessary. The color would be a rare one to find in the wild, though.

Overall, for writing these pens are hit and miss, and for art they are also hit and miss. The purple and blue are the best. I wouldn’t even try to use the lime. If you’re looking for some way to make your writing more unique, there are other Bic sets out there for that (like an entire box of the purple) and the same goes for any type of art that you might be making, unless it requires some very specific colors

Review – Bic Atlantis Ballpoint and 0.7mm Pencil

Bic is one of the most prominent manufacturers of cheap pens and pencils (and other necessary cheap plastic things). They have several lines of pens and pencils, some as expensive as a dime and some a bit more. The Bic Atlantis is a set of pencils and pens in various colors, which happen to be called the same thing. Today I’ll be taking a look at the Blue ballpoint and the 0.7mm mechanical pencil.

20140716-000746.jpg

Despite sharing a name, the pen and pencil don’t share bodies. They do have similar styling that can be described in the same way, with the pencil being slightly thicker and a bit longer. Starting from the tip, there is a small cone, metal on the pencil, plastic on the pen. This is followed by a thin, hard rubber grip which is all right, but might as well not be there, in my opinion. Within the grip it is a clear plastic wave in the pen, while the wave is impressed into the grip of the pencil. The barrel is relatively smooth and has all necessary information. Neither have a way to twist open the barrel, but around the clip both can be opened and the insides removed (the pen is glued). Above that is the clip, which is quite different on each. The pen is a very firm, stiff piece of metal, while the pencil is much more loose and is wrapped over into the plastic body. On the top is a clicking mechanism. The pen is surprisingly quiet and unsatisfying. You’d never know it clicked if you closed your eyes, but it works well. The pencil has an eraser and a cap on it, the eraser can be removed to allow the pencil to be refilled, and the clicking works well. So both are quite different, but they are similar enough to be in the same category.

20140716-000752.jpg

The pen gives a very fine line, which is quite smooth. However like most “smooth” ballpoints it tends to blob often and pick up paper fibers. The color is also, like most ballpoints, quite waterproof, meaning it won’t run without being completely and utterly soaked. The pens can technically be refilled, but they aren’t supposed to be. The pencil is standard 0.7 and HB, meaning it is smooth but not too smooth. They also have a retractable metal tip to prevent the inside of pockets and bags from being torn, and there is a spring which prevents the lead from breaking due to excessive pressure. I honestly think that HB (#2) is a bit too soft, but for most writing and sketching purposes it does quite well.

20140716-000800.jpg

Overall the Bic Atlantis set is very lopsided. The pen is standard fare and not really worth much. It doesn’t do anything better than anything else in the price range, though they are quite cheap. The pencils are twice as expensive, at least, but are much more worth it. They come with extra lead and erasers, and the spring and cover mechanisms for saving the eraser and lead are almost unique for the price. It’s a great little thing that I quite enjoy using. And it might become a sketching mainstay.

Review – Bic Tech Ballpoint and Stylus

Well, sometimes now-a-days art isn’t always done on a physical medium. Tablets, smart phones, and touch-screen devices are becoming more prevalent these days and for artistic purposes your finger isn’t the most precise thing in the world. Fortunately, Bic has a solution for both mediums (maybe) the Bic Tech pen and stylus.

20140206-232018.jpg

The barrel of the pen is a fairly standard Bic barrel with a slightly grippy (grip) section, a hole for the ballpoint and a logo. Halfway up the pen is where things get interesting. The top half of the pen is a chrome-colored plastic which I personally don’t like but doesn’t look terrible. Just above another Bic logo in the center is the click mechanism, which is unique in its side mounting. The lever protrudes out to the side sightly, but not enough to really get caught or accidentally pulled. It has a slight curve to it, making it a great finger place and making for easy disengagement of the fingers or caught objects (again preventing accidental usage). I would say my only problem with it is it gets scratches from fingernails far too easily. The clip is absolutely nothing special, in fact it doesn’t even clip, it more just hangs on a pocket or something so that’s cheap. At the top is the stylus which I’ll talk about in just a second.

20140206-232024.jpg

The pen itself is nothing remarkable. It does appear to be smoother than a normal Bic ballpoint. But it is almost the exact same shade of unimpressive grey-black as every Bic pen.

20140206-232030.jpg

Now on to the stylus, which is the standard stylus end that has been popping up all over the place recently. It works. It is obviously not the most expensive or precise thing but it gets the job done. It is better than a finger, I can tell you that much. I can’t attest to the durability of such things, but I can say that it feels likely to break, though the pen isn’t expensive and by that time you’ve probably gotten your money’s worth out of it.

So what is the Bic Teach pen like overall? Mediocre. It does an alright job at being both a stylus and a pen, but does neither fantastically. But for the money it really shouldn’t. If you’re looking into the prospect of such a device or are on a very slim budget (or possibly don’t care) this might work for you, otherwise I’d suggest looking elsewhere.