Review – Expo Ultra Fine Pink, Purple, Orange, and Brown

I’ve looked at the 4 most common Expo marker colors (specifically in the Ultra-Fine tip) in the last few weeks, and this week I’ll look at 4 of the lesser-seen colors: pink, purple, orange, and brown.

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Pink- to start with, the pink is a nice, dark pink that looks much more pleasant than the common pinks found in writing utensils. It’s rosy, and very consistent; the line width is medium, though.

Purple- next, the purple is a very bold writer, it goes on smoothly and with a lot of ink, but there is more variance in the color when dry. It is a nice, dark purple, and unmistakably so. It might be confused with black from far away, but is generally distinguishable.

Orange- the orange is very thin, both in line and in color. It’s sometimes hard to tell it’s there at all, and there is a wide color variance within it. I’m not a particularly big fan of it.

Brown- and finally the brown, which is another wide-writer. It writes smoothly, with the only color variance being in the tips. It’s a dark enough brown to be easily read, and still distinguishable from the other dark colors.

Overall, these 4 are a nice addition, though they aren’t my favorites, either in performance or in looks. I like them, but if I were just getting these for a class I would skip them. For organization, note-taking, and art, these colors have a better purpose, but those aren’t the main purpose of dry-erase markers.

Review – Expo Ultra Fine Red, Green, and Blue

Last week I looked at the Ultra-Fine Expo markers as a whole, and the black color specifically. This week I’ll look at the more common colors in most dry-erase ranges in this size and brand, and see how they work.

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Red- The color red is a problem with many pens, and dry-erase markers are no exception. The red goes on smoothly enough, and is one of the thinner “sticking” inks. The lines it makes are solid, but the shading and their thin-ness is more pronounced. The color is also quite washed out and pink, which I’m not really a fan of, but seems to be a theme in reds.

Green- The green is one of the thicker and smoother colors. The lines are bold and solid. But the color, while pleasant, is also washed out. While it is definitely in the green spectrum, it’s more of a sea-green or something similar.

Blue- And finally the blue. In writing characteristics, it’s more of a mixture between the other two. The lines aren’t as bold or thick, and it’s not quite as smooth as green, but more so than red. The color is the most true and least shading of the bunch. It goes well with the black, and is easy to read even from far away, though it isn’t too dark.

The first set of colors is standard, and while lackluster, they get the job done. I can’t really complain as they weren’t created with art in mind, but rather for ease of use and low odor, which they have. Next week I’ll take a look at some of the less-standard colors available in the lineup.

Review – Expo Ultra-Fine Point Dry-Erase Markers

When it comes to dry erase markers, Expo is almost the only brand people recognize out there. Their chisel-tip markers are almost ubiquitous in any place that requires a white board, and are generally what people replace the cheap in-package markers from home magnetic boards with. And while I like the markers and always have, I do have a problem with their tip size. Even the fine point markers are large enough to be hard to use for people who like to write fine lines, like I do. Fortunately, there are slightly-less-popular, but still easily available Expo markers with an “ultra-fine” tip. Are they much better?

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The body design is almost identical to the fine tip versions, with a slight taper from the middle to the ends. There is a step-down on the rear to allow for easy posting. There is also a step-down from where the cap is removed to the section. The cap and all of the writing on the pen is loosely in the color of the ink. The section can be a bit slippery, but it’s never a problem. It ends in a small cone with the point that is indeed very fine for a dry-erase marker. The information presented on the side is standard and useful enough.

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The tip is very fine when compared to a regular fine marker. It gets down to a medium/broad on a regular ball or fountain pen. The ink flows smoothly and erases easily, as one would expect from the Expo brand. The black is the standard Expo black, and does the job. It doesn’t start to wash out at this size and is perfectly readable.

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For anyone who needs to mark something with a bit of a finer point (like on a map), wants to write regularly on a dry-erase board, or for those who are artistically inclined and were frustrated when they couldn’t get the various line sizes they needed out of the more standard Expo markers, these work very well. They are of the same quality as the other markers in the line (which is to say as good or better than competitors) and offer a much smaller and more manageable line.

Review – Sharpie Twin Tip Fine/Ultra Fine

I like permanent markers, and Sharpies are some of the best. But there are many situations where the tip of a fine Sharpie is simply much to broad. Carrying around a second sharpie in extra-fine seems like a hassle, or vise-versa depending on which size one uses more. The people at Sharpie (Sanford (Rubbermaid)) must have figured this out at some point and so they now have multiple point Sharpies. Let’s take a look at the Fine/Ultra Fine version.

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The body of the pen is quite like a regular fine-point Sharpie. The cap is slick with a flimsily little plastic clip built in. The body is made out of a similar material and has the necessary information printed on it. Where there would usually be a rounded-off end on a normal Sharpie, there is instead a tiny cap that has a set of spines, and is much easier to grip than the other end. Pulling either cap off reveals a slick section that is nearly identical to regular Sharpie Fines and Ultra Fines. These sections are not quite slippery enough to have the pen fall out of one’s hands during normal usage. The larger cap posts very easily on the smaller one, but in a very well-thought-out design choice, the larger cap has several small studs that allow the smaller cap to in effect be posted. This doesn’t hold the cap in the most secure manner possible, but is better than the alternative of nothing.

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The tips are fairly standard. The Fine is slightly larger than a Micron 08 or about 1mm, the Ultra Fine is about 1/2 mm or about the size of a Micron 05. Both of these are large for standard writing, but for writing on boxes, other large spaces, or some drawing they are superb. The ink is standard Sharpie fare: a cold, deep black (when the marker runs dry it becomes a much warmer color) that covers well, but not the best. It is permanent and run-resistant, it stains clothes and is unpleasant on the skin. It is non-toxic for normal use, but heavily sniffing or eating would be cause for concern. Just be normal with your normal usage.

Is it worth it to get a pen with two tips? Yes, if you find a need for both. I’d suggest going with the fine more often, as the ultra fine tends to dry up faster with its smaller cap. But there is still a good amount of utility there. The thing is easy to use, and works really well. Moving, signing, warehousing, and large art pieces are where these will find their homes. And really, for a nice black permanent marker, there are few that match and none that are better.