Review – Sharpie Clear View Stick Highlighter

I would imagine that somewhere within the companies that produce writing implements there is an R&D department or team, whose task it is to come up with new products that will sell and grab market attention. I would also imagine that this job is fairly difficult at this point. Not only are physical writing implements perceived as being on the way out, but those that are around have been honed for decades to be exactly what the markets are looking for. In other words, I’m not entirely sure the motivation behind “improving” highlighters with the Sharpie Clear View highlighter was actually an intention to make the product better. But maybe it does. Let’s take a look.

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The main bodies of the pens are a matte plastic matching the color of the ink. They’re more ovular, rather then entirely cylindrical, and they taper down to the end more in one direction than the other, making their ends appear squished (or chewed on, like the ends of many pens I’ve seen). Underneath the cap is a shiny black plastic section that is slightly more slippery than the body but doesn’t really impede use. This tapers down slightly and from it protrudes a very angular, chisel-shaped felt highlighter tip. Inside this tip is a similarly shaped piece of clear plastic that both holds the tip in place and allows the user to see through it. The cap is made of a frosted plastic to allow one to see the special tip through it and the packaging, while being soft enough to not shatter easily (like many clear plastics would). It has an integrated clip and posts securely, but with a strangle wobbly feel from the “squished” rear.

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The three colors that come in the package are your standard highlighter colors: pink, yellow, and green. Each is quite bright and visible, but doesn’t block whatever is being highlighted. Green is the darkest, and is a color almost unusable in some highlighters, but here it is serviceable, if my least favorite because of the “shading” pools that tend to form at the start and end of a highlighted line. Pink is slightly better at this, and of course yellow trumps both in the visibility of words beneath it, its own visibility (in good light), and lack of shading. Sharpie’s smear guard is still working as good as ever and most inks can be highlighted without trouble (but some water-based inks are more unhappy about it than others). And then there’s the main feature. After using it, I don’t get it. It is technically possible to see through the highlighter so you know what you’re highlighting and when to stop. But if you didn’t know that going in what were you thinking? And the angle you have to hold the pen at to see well isn’t a very comfortable one. I mean, I can’t fault it for “not working”, but I just don’t understand how it’s supposed to be used. It doesn’t make anything easier or better, it’s just there.

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If you’re looking for a set of highlighters, these work, and if you find them at around the same price as normal highlighters (the price fluctuates) I’d say get them (it doesn’t hurt). But I wouldn’t go out of my way for them, or pay much more. I can’t see their gimmick as anything more than that, and it doesn’t work for me.

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Mini Review – TxDOT Highlighter

This review is going to be a bit different than my normal ones (hopefully quicker). I found this highlighter for almost nothing in a charity shop where it seems someone donated whatever they didn’t give away. It’s got no branding save a message not to drink and drive (fine advice) and such a strange shape that I wanted to take a look.

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The body is a very large cylinder that bubbles out in the front and has 3 flattened areas that are ribbed for grip. It’s mostly smooth, save for a coarse area in the back where messages can be printed, so obviously it’s from some bulk-online company and the only logos are the ones that are being advertised. At the back, there is a giant, super-satisfying click mechanism and a surprisingly robust clip. The mechanism is a standard one (that you can see through the translucent body) that should perform all right and keep the tip from drying out immediately. The ink is a very pale, lackluster orange that doesn’t have a good smudge-resistance but does what one would expect.

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I just think it’s a nice, chunky, fascinating thing. It isn’t very practical but it gets the job done and it shouldn’t be possible to lose. And it’s made of a sturdy (and thick) enough plastic that if the refill is any good it should last for years. And hey, if you managed to get one, it was probably free! (Also it comes in one of those terrible plastic bags that I think is supposed to prevent it from drying out and which I can’t imagine working.)

Review – Sharpie Highlighter

At times I feel like there is very little for me to say about certain things. And highlighters are one of those things. I use them, but not so much that I’ve extensively tested many of them to find the best. And I only use them for highlighting, and not some of the more creative applications like using them similarly to a blue pencil. Still, a product that does its job well deserves some of my time to talk about it.

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This Sharpie highlighter was a pack-in with several Sharpie pens, but I’ve seen it on the shelf by itself as well. The body is very simple, being a translucent yellow cylinder with a “cone-shaped” stopper on the end. The cap is a solid piece of plastic with an integrated clip that works well for what it is. The section is also a simple cylinder after a step down from the barrel, and then there is a slight taper and protrusion at the (chisel) tip. Sharpie is on both the cap and barrel in various forms with the only other information being a nontoxic seal and the words “smear guard”.

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When writing, the ink goes on smoothly, and is very bright. So if you want to draw attention to something, this will work. The ink also resists smearing both what it is being applied over, and itself when wet. While it does smear and spread some when dampened, it isn’t too terrible, and during my tests only fountain pen (liquid, dye-based) ink smeared even a bit. I haven’t tested the longer-term effects, but I’d like to think Sharpie has experience with these things.

It’s a highlighter. It’s a good, simple, bright highlighter. If you aren’t looking for anything special from your highlighter, but don’t want smearing, these will work.

Review – Liquid Accent Highlighter

Highlighters are a useful tool, mainly for their intended purpose of highlighting text. But they can also be used to “sketch” drawings before inking them and not be picked up by a scanner (similar to drawing with a blue {non-photo} pencil). Still, many highlighters are the same, and I hesitate to review them, but let’s take a quick look at the Liquid Accent highlighter that is my main choice for this type of product.

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The design of the body is fairly standard for this type of stuff. The cap is a smooth, domed shape with a “futuristic” clip based in and protruding from it. This snaps onto a barrel that is again one sloping shape, with a “lanyard” hole at the end (I assume that’s what it is). The body is transparent, so the ink supply and feed can be seen from the outside. The section is almost slippery, but not quite, and the chisel tip of the marker is quite hard and works well. The information printed on is the bare minimum, and I wish there was a bit more (like manufacturer’s name) to identify it.

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There isn’t much to say about how it writes: it’s smooth, it’s bold, and isn’t too wet (it doesn’t bleed). The ink stays where you put it, generally. I haven’t tested it in the sun, but it does smear a little bit under water, and it also smears any of the less permanent or non-dried inks it highlights.

It’s a good highlighter, but it’s hard to have a bad one. It highlights stuff, it holds well, and it has a ton of ink. (I’m having trouble finding my exact brand online, there are highlighters that seem very similar produced by Sharpie and Paper:Mate {Both owned by Sanford, which is owned by Rubbermaid}, but if it’s a cheap one when it is found, that’s another plus) I don’t really have much to recommend it over any other highlighter, but if you do find it, it’s not a dud.

Review – Signo Angelic White

Some colors of pens are rare, and white even more so. So if you need to highlight something in your art or maybe need a white-out pen that isn’t a white out pen you can try the Uni-ball Signo Angelic white gel pen.

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Starting with the pen itself: the barrel is octagonal near the back and becomes a weird grip shape near the front, though it is quite comfortable. The cap has a plastic clip that works I guess and securely clicks into place on both the front and back of the pen. A metal cone holds the tip and cartridge in place and can be easily unscrewed for refilling.

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The ink is white. Though not as white as one might hope, being a gel ink it is slightly transparent, and on darker colors would require several coats to cover completely. That being said it highlights very well and is very visible on colored paper, though it looks a bit grey on black paper. The ball is also very fine, leading to a line that can be very faint sometimes.

So overall it is good at highlighting and some writing, but if you’re looking for a pen that can precisely cover marks and don’t have the patience to use multiple coats you might not want to look at the Uniball Signo Angelic White.