Review – Poppin Fineliners

Poppin is a company that I don’t know much about, but their pens definitely catch the eye. When I saw this set of fineliners (felt tip pens) from them, I knew I had to pick a set up. The packaging and the feeling of the pens themselves appears quality, but do they live up to their first impressions?

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The outsides themselves are very nice looking. At the bottom is a small inset for posting the cap, which connects via a visible seam to a very smooth and featureless barrel. Underneath the cap are a series of step downs that are quite short and would be uncomfortable to hold, leading quickly to a standard-looking felt tip point, making it more comfortable to hold the pen by the barrel when writing. The cap, when on, has a slight step up from the barrel but is equally pleasantly smooth, and its only features are a dimple in the top and a rather unique u-like clip that looks like a Lamy wire clip that has been flattened.

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Functionally, the clip is about useless. It doesn’t have any dimple with which to grip, and is spaced farther from the cap than the width of most fabrics, meaning friction won’t be holding it in. The tips themselves aren’t that great, either. Like most fineliners, they do write with minimal pressure, but unlike most they do not give a consistent line. Dots very quickly form when writing or drawing due to having a very fluid ink not well controlled, and when writing fast at times skips can even develop, though this is rare.

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The colors of black, blue, and red are very standard, but the two extra colors are very washed out, blue especially. The blue is very pleasant sky blue when controlled well, but becomes darker quickly. But it still sticks out compared to other office blues. Red is nice and vibrant, though its tone is closer to that of a pink. It’s the least prone to problems as the ink is a bit thinner and less likely to dot. The black is fortunately a black and not a very deep purple or gray as some are. It is slightly on the cool side, which is unusual. The colors do match their corresponding pen bodies fairly well, but the inclusion of a 4th pen that has a white body, but also black ink, is slightly confusing. They unfortunately do bleed through the paper, but have minimal shading and resist water (while they do spread slightly when wet, they remain easily readable).

Overall I think the pens aren’t really up to par with what one can get for their office. They are sturdy and the ink works well, but without functional clips, they must remain at the desk or in a case, and their writing performance leaves much to be desired. The user just ends up with a pen that feels slightly rough and dry. If style and durability are your main concerns (and potentially ease of writing as the ink almost jumps from pen to page on contact) these might work for you. But for those looking for the superior, super-smooth and comfortable writing experience, or a portable reliable writer, these can be easily passed up.

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Review – PaperMate Flair Colors – Orange, Lime, Magenta, Marigold, and Pink

Now it’s time for part two of my look at the 20 colors of the Papermate Flair. This section of five is the “Warm” colors section. Mostly some normal colors here, but a few out-liars. Nothing too crazy.

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Orange – The orange is a deep, red-ish orange that is surprisingly natural looking. It’s very subdued, but noticeable, good for organization, but not for documents. It’s dark enough that it can be read at a glance. It fades significantly, but doesn’t really smear when wet.

Lime – The lime likely has the most variance in color, when written with fast it is a surprisingly standard bright lime color, but when taken slowly it is rather dark and subdued. It wouldn’t make a great office color but it is less harsh than a normal lime green, and the variances in tone make it good for art. Another plus is water hardly affects it.

Magenta – I find magenta colors had to classify, this one is pretty, nice to look at, and readable. It wouldn’t suit the office well but it does look like I could see it out my window. Heavy bleeding and smearing when wet with this one.

Marigold – At first glance this pen looks like another yellow, which it is, but much less harsh and more readable. It has a tinge of orange that is very pleasant and flower-like. There’s a lot of smearing, but almost no fading when exposed to water. Perhaps it could be used as an alternative to red to use when marking something important. Just as noticeable, but less aggressive.

Pink – I don’t like this color, it’s a hot-ish pink, not blinding, but not pleasant. It’s standard all things considered, it barely moves when wet and is inappropriate for anything but personal organizing. I’m not judging you if you like it, but I won’t be using if for anything.

And that’s part two. I like the warm colors, but I struggle to find uses for them. Next time I’ll take a look at five more, but this time “Cool” colors.

Review – PaperMate Flair Colors – Black, Blue, Red, Green, Purple, and Yellow

The Papermate Flair is a good porous-point pen; I’ve looked at both the black and red versions in the past. But they do come in a host of colors. I got the largest pack I could find, which seems to be exclusive to Sam’s Club, with 20 colors. And it’s so exclusive that I can’t find official color names for 4 of them. Those 4 will be in the last part of this series, the first 3 being Standard, Warm, then Cool. And now onto the colors.

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Black – The black is a fairly standard black (most are): it’s deep and cool. It’s office-appropriate and moderately smear-resistant. While it does smear, it is readable after most spills.

Blue – A dark, office-type blue that is not a very natural color, but a pleasant one. It is legible and unintrusive. It lightens considerably and smudges when wet, but doesn’t erase.

Red – A dull (but still punchy) red, nice to look at, but a bit pinkish. It’s less glaring and hard on the eyes for grading and warnings than comparable pen reds, but similar to most marker reds. Is fairly smear resistant, but does lighten.

Green – A dark green, slightly darker than, say, a crayon green. It’s a deep, grassy, natural color. Noticeably different from the other, more common colors, but nothing that’ll jump out from across the room. It could be used in a liberal office. It smears and lightens quite a bit, though.

Purple – One of the more usual, pops-off-the-page purples. It is noticeable as a purple and isn’t the most natural-looking color. It stands out from dark blues, but could get lost in a page of dark inks. Almost no smudging on this one, though it does feather a lot when wet. It could be used in a similar office to the green one.

Yellow – A super-bright, stereotypical yellow. It’s almost illegible on white paper. It’s the most water-resistant after red and purple, but it all but disappears anyway. It hurts they eyes to look at for a long time (I’m not sure if it’s the brightness or the fact it’s hard to read) and isn’t a very natural-looking color. I wouldn’t recommend this one unless you’re coloring in books.

And that’s part 1 of my look at the 20 Papermate Flair colors. A good general assortment here, but nothing groundbreaking. Next week I’ll take a look at 5 of the more Warm colors in the set.

Review – Zig Millennium 005 Technical Pen

There are a lot of technical pens out there, and I’ve only looked at a few. Today I’m going to try and remedy that a little bit by doing a review of the Zig Millennium technical pen, specifically the black 005 version.

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The pen body is a bit odd. The bottom is a small, rounded piece of plastic. The barrel is silver and covered in writing. All necessary information is printed in several languages. The cap is nothing really special either: the top is flat with the tip size on what looks like a black plastic cutaway; the clip is simple, with a rounded end similar to a Pilot Precise or Uni-ball Vision. Interestingly enough, it says to keep the pen horizontal, but gives one a pocket clip. It’s the section of the pen that’s strange: it’s very small and nubby, it rounds off quite quickly and the ridges used to keep the cap in place are quite noticeable. It terminates rather abruptly into a metal end that leads to the tip. I’m not sure if one is supposed to hold the slightly uncomfortable section when writing or move back on the pen and place the fingers over the written portions of the pen, which I can feel the ink is raised up on, and will likely rub off quickly.

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On to the tip. It produces a very thin line, around the same width, but perhaps a bit wider than other brands of the same size, though that may just be the paper being used. The ink is archival quality (haven’t tested) and waterproof (have tested, is quite!) though that is to be expected from a pigmented ink. The black is quite black, and a cool black, which is nice, as many blacks tend to be warm. Writing is smooth and there are no skips or bumps with a good tip, though it will wear out after some time.

Overall it’s a good little pen, and quite comparable to the other technical pens in terms of both quality and price. I can’t speak for whether or not the rest of the line is wider than its counterparts from other brands, but that might be something to consider when purchasing. Otherwise, I’d say it’s almost entirely an æsthetic and comfort choice for the user.

Review – Pentel Finito Porous Point Pen

Looking for a porous-point pen, and none of the standard ones are doing it for you? Maybe you might want to look at the Pentel Finito porous-point extra fine pen.

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The cap is all plastic, with a clip molded into it that does the job, but isn’t spectacular in any way. Inside is a small piece of plastic that covers the tip and is held in place by a spring, keeping a tight seal on the tip. This is visible through the clear plastic of the cap. The barrel is a black-covered plastic and has all necessary info on it. The grip section is clear and through it one can see the fins of the feed and a small bit of the ink reservoir. The grip section is very smooth and can easily become slippery. After a small bit of metal tapering, there is an extra-fine porous point at the end.

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The ink is fairly black, and fairly standard, not really permanent or fade-proof. The point does spew a lot of ink out: in fact, I would tend to call this pen a fine rather than an extra fine point due to the sheer amount of ink it leaves on the page. This makes the line considerably wider than just the point of the pen. This gushing also leads to points of bleed-through that are not seen in higher-quality porous point pens like Sharpies or Microns.

Overall I’d say the Finito is a mediocre pen that has no purpose as an art supply. There are many pens out there that do what this pen does better, and for the same price. If you want a pen that gushes, or will not dry out for long periods of time this pen may be worth a look, but I’d try something else first.

 

 

Review – Papermate Flair Part 2 Red

A while back I reviewed the Papermate Flair pen, and I was going to say that this was a review of the red version of the same pen; but really I intend this as a continuation of the last review after some more use, and as a review of the red color for the pen.

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I can confirm that the inner cap will keep the tip dry for extended periods of time. The clip is very difficult to use and is easy to get bent out of shape. And while the black pen has a problem with the color rubbing off, the red has no such problem.

The red color itself is more of a pinkish, and it’s kinda washed out. The line for the medium is spread out enough that it is very noticeable as a not-quite red. It isn’t very aggressive, so if one was grading papers and such and wanting to use something that didn’t offend the viewer, this would work. However, as far as I can see there are no other practical applications. Perhaps marking on technical drawings, but again there are easier and better solutions. Using the pen on a very absorbent paper will make a much deeper color, so that is an option.

Overall the Flair is still a great pen, but I wouldn’t recommend the red color as it is not a very strong red, or a good covering color.

 

Review – Pigma Graphic 1

So you like to draw things a bit larger, and technical pens just don’t get big enough. You don’t want to use a brush or something similar. You may want to try the Pigma Graphic in size 1.

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The body is identical to a Micron body. It’s tan and smooth, with most necessary information printed on it. It has a place on the back for the cap to fit that is color coded. The cap is nice and has a metal clip. On the top it says 1 to indicate the size. The top can rub off, though, with some rough treatment. The grip section is easy, kinda small but easy to hold onto due to it being textured.

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The tip is felt. It comes to a point that is about 1mm. It flows nicely, laying down a nice line with no inconsistencies. The point doesn’t have much flexibility, making the line very constant with could be a plus or a minus. The ink is the same black that all Pigma pens have. It is fade and smear resistant, with some waterproofness to it. It is also acid-free, making it archival quality. In other words: it’ll last as long as your paper does. The ink is also a very nice, true, dark black. The writing experience is smooth and easy.

To sum up, the Graphic 1 is basically a larger tip Micron. It does have a different type of tip, on which the point can be more easily damaged, but the base is more secure. If you like Microns and need something bigger this is a good choice. And if you like felt-tip pens and want a higher quality one this is certainly the pen for you.