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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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.