Uni Style Fit Multi Pen Review

My opinion of multi-pens has not changed since I reviewed the Lamy multi-pen a little over a year ago. I still think they are good utility pens that fill a niche and frankly, I’m intrigued by the mechanics of them more so than just picking one up because I enjoy writing with it, that designation is usually left for my fountain pens.

What drew me to the Uni Style Fit, that I’m sharing with you today, is the lure of 5 colors in a single pen body, yes 5! The Uni Style takes the approach of building your own multi-pen with the refills you prefer. This initial cafeteria style purchase is unique and in the end may cost you a little more but you end up with no wasted colors or refills you don’t use. You don’t need 5? There are plenty of body styles for 3 and 4 colors as well.

  • Material: Aluminum
  • Length Overall: 5 7/8
  • Weight: 7.85g
  • Street Price: $17.25 with 5 gel refills

Here is a great Uni Style Fit guide that Jet Pens put together and gives a lot of detail on the options available.

The Uni Style uses the excellent Uniball Signo ink and you can get refills in ballpoint, gel or mechanical pencil. You can even mix and match or double up on your favorite blue! The only possible drawback I found was you are locked in to their refill system. They have some excellent choices and at less than $2 a refill I think they are fairly priced. I loaded up a Pink Meister 5 series with 5 colors of .5mm gel refills. Total cost: $17.50.

I’m a deployment guy when it comes to pens. I don’t want to spend a lot of time between when I pick up a pen to the time ink hits the paper. Mainly because at my age I may forget the thought! Pushbutton knock style remains my favorite for random quick notes but with a little thought in the refill placement (See insider tip below) the Uni-Style is pretty good and the typical slotted sliders at the tail end of the pen. They are all clear so you use a clear window in the body of the pen to see which color which slider pushes out the tip. There are four sliders and the clip acts as the fifth refill slider. Ingenious and though not the fastest color chooser here is your insider tip. You can strategically place the refills you use most often and then by memory you know sliding the clip gives you blue, for example. Retraction of the tip is like most others, just partially deploy another color and everything goes back inside safe and sound.

The sliding clip doesn’t instill the most confidence in its robustness if you are hard on traditional clips but it hasn’t broke on me yet so maybe I’m being over critical and just paranoid because the clip moves. Ramp is good and even with the construction it works like a pen clip should.

The only design element I can’t grasp is what looks like a knock pushbutton on the top of the pen. It looks conventional enough but not on a multi-pen. It even pushes down a little bit but doesn’t seem to do anything. Unsolved but unimportant.

(UPDATE:  The pushbutton that I couldn’t figure out is to advance lead when you’re using the mechanical pencil refill. Thanks Kelly!)

(UPDATE 2: Underneath the pushbutton is an eraser. Nice touch. Thanks Notebook Stories for the tip off!)

Conclusion

The Uni Style is a fat pen, coming in at over ½” in diameter. It’s holding 5 pens and when I look at the wall thickness of the body I don’t know how they could make the whole assembly any thinner. I like the girth but I understand it wouldn’t be for everyone. It does slightly taper down smaller near the clip end of the pen and the overall shape gives the pen kind of a torpedo look. The taper down to the nose is gradual and the ink window is a good size.

If you have a need or application for a multi-pen the Lamy 2000 is probably the dressier more dignified sibling with its Makrolon body and black look but at way less than half the price of the Lamy the Uni Style Fit is a better writer with the Signo ink, has 5 colors and you can build it yourself with a huge selection of option al refills and pen bodies.

Read the guide

Pick a Body

Decide your refills

Place your order

Remember: Write something nice……

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My Favorite Disposable Pens

Favorite Disposable PensIn the knife community when you pick up a knife that catches your eye at the checkout register (think gas station or rural convenience store) and admit to it that is enough to get you banned for life on the internet knife forums for buying such presumed junk quality. In the pen community when you make a good score with a gel pen that was on sale or overstocked in a funky color you get high fives across the same internet. Funny, and I enjoy the high fives a hundred times more. Usually these finds come at the checkout of the big box office supply chains. $2 seems to be the price point cap so I bite more times than not and I would say my batting average is probably a .500 with those purchases that I keep. The other approach I take is sometimes on pay day Friday I just want a pen fix so I will shop Jet Pens in sort of a game mode to get as close to $25.01 for the free shipping. This usually includes something that writes from the Whats New area. Jet Pens’ excellent service has them in my mailbox, across the country, on Monday. From both approaches the keepers that I have enjoyed are numerous so I’m sharing them with you here to fuel your ideas in case you haven’t tried any of these. Forgive the short reviews of each pen, they are disposables so my review criteria is slim, they write good, they are not uncomfortable to hold and a simple scale of 1-10 with 10 being my highest rating.

Here is what I started with

All of my disposable pens

And here we go with the top choices in no particular order:

Papermate InkJoy Gel .7

This was a big box office supply store checkout counter find. It looked interesting and I always loved the name PaperMate, those two words together just say PEN to me. I was very impressed with how it wrote and liked it so much I found one of those 14 color pen deal and bought it. The whole body is rubberized which is kind of unique.

  • Writing: 10
  • Grip: 9
  • Aesthetics: 5 plain
  • Deployment: 10 clicky

Pilot Juice .7

A new one for me but I quickly fell in love. The clip is the BEST of the bunch if that is something you use frequently.

  • Writing: 10
  • Grip: 7
  • Aesthetics: 8
  • Deployment: 10 clicky

Pentel EnerGel .7

Another drugstore stumble find and I find myself grabbing it often sitting around the house. I don’t own alot of Pentel product and I’m not sure why not.

  • Writing: 9
  • Grip: 10 fat body
  • Aesthetics: 4 Blah
  • Deployment: 10 knock

And now for the Uniball Signo Run

Uniball Signo 207
Probably my favorite grip and always a consistent writer every time I pick it up.

  • Writing: 9
  • Grip: 10
  • Aesthetics: 9
  • Deployment:10 clicky

Uniball Signo 307

There are reportedly some differences between the 207 and 307 somewhere but I can’t find them except in the looks department. They both write and grip just the same but I would bump up the 307 by 1 point in the aesthetics category as I think it’s a touch nicer looking.

  • Writing: 9
  • Grip: 10
  • Aesthetics: 10
  • Deployment: 10 clicky

Uniball Signo UM-100-.7

The longest body shortest cap of the lot with a step body that I’m not sure the purpose of but it’s a solid performer.

  • Writing: 9
  • Grip: 4 all plastic
  • Aesthetics: 4 the cap to body balance is off to me
  • Deployment: 5 cap

Uniball Signo UM-151-.5

Probably my favorite stick style pen with a cap.

  • Writing: 10
  • Grip: 8 rubber is there but firm
  • Aesthetics: 5 plain clear body
  • Deployment: 5 cap

Uniball Signo DX UM-151-.38

The smallest tip size I will go. I am surprised it writes as smooth as it does but I only use this one occasionally when I have a specific need for a really fine line.

  • Writing: 9
  • Grip: 8 firm rubber again
  • Aesthetics: 5
  • Deployment: 5 cap

Uniball Signo RT1 .5

  • Writing: 9
  • Grip: 8
  • Aesthetics: 7 kind of sleek for a disposable clicky
  • Deployment: 10 clicky

Plenty of great pens in the $2 price range and if you’re going to have pens in the car, garage and kitchen drawer why not have ones that write good!

What are your favorites?

Remember: Write something nice……

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The Right Pen For The Job

I think it’s normal for pen people to burn mind calories and energy picking our preferred writing instruments based on the task in front of us. Maybe a house purchase, a marriage license or some other big event garners special attention to the choice of writing instrument. For me it’s more mundane tasks such as an extended note taking session at work, my pocket EDC for the day, church on Sunday or a variety of other tasks. It’s a joy to go through my collection and maybe stumble across a pen I have not used in a while. Many times this is not a fountain pen as it’s just not practical. Recently I caught myself doing this almost unconsciously.

I am fighting some finger joint pain and that’s required a few more visits with the medical professions that I’m used to. With the turn of the new year many of said professions need new paperwork for 2017 or I’m seeing a specialist for the first time and the new patient clipboard is daunting. This week I had another one of these new patient appointments and there I was the night before going through my roller ball and gel pens.  I was probably spending a bit too much time evaluating what is going to be the best pen for the job. I mean anything had to be better than the $10 per thousand globby stick pen with the name of some drug I can’t pronounce printed on it right?.

Here were my choices and where I landed:

  • Pentel Slicci .25 – Form factor is a bit skinny to hold, further complicated by my aggravating joint. A fine enough line but a bit nail like scratchy. Pass
  • UniBall Jetstream – Not sure which tip I had but it was too bold. Pass
  • Sharpie Pen – Smooth and probably fine enough but maybe a bit wet if the forms are two sided on cheap paper. I just can’t have bleed through. The horror. Pass
  • Sakura Pigma Micron – Probably the best choice, wrote small enough, smooth and not very wet but I didn’t have a black ink version. Pass
  • UniBall Signo .5 – Smooth, always a favorite and just a quick decision on the .38 or .5. I landed on a black version of the one in the picture. Oh yes and I took a blue along as a backup. Success!

Everybody does this right?   Please say yes you have a medical forma pen.

Remember: Write something nice……

Uni-Ball Signo 307 Review

IMG_2840-resizedI know I’m late to the game on the Uniball Signo 307 but I think it’s a great pen worth reviewing. While playing with the 307 I was reminded of the days before my real focus was fountain pens. I would frequently wander the aisles of the big box stores looking to see if I spotted anything new in the writing instruments section. I couldn’t really keep track of all the models and manufacturers of what I had already bought so occasionally I would end up with something I had already tried. Most of the time I just got sucked in to cheesy marketing when NEW AND IMPROVED was printed on the packaging. That might as well have been a catapult from the shelf to my buggy.

In the past couple of years I have not been a big disposable roller ball or gel pen user but you couldn’t tell that from the inventory of same sitting around my house in every drawer and open counter space. All of them get picked up and used for convenience. Most write well and get the job done and probably end up getting borrowed, lost or broken before the ink runs out.

When I read all the recent reviews on the new 307 I looked around and found a Signo 207. Frankly it didn’t make the top of my list but not because it was a bad pen but just nothing stood out for me. With my NEW AND IMPROVED interest piqued I actively searched out and purchased a Signo 307 for a compare and this review.

Aesthetics

Aesthetically I like the 307 slightly better the obviously comparable 207 but that is totally subjective. I think the 307 has a slightly more modern look to it, which is no surprise. They are very similar. The 307 has a subtle grid gradient on the barrel that gives a bit of a carbon fiber look that’s popular today. The 207’s barrel in smoky transparent where the 307 is black. Also the tip surrounding the writing point was changed from chrome on the 207 to black on 307.

IMG_2842-resizedIMG_2844-resizedIMG_2850-resizedClip

The clip on the 207 was chrome metal and in what appears to be the only downgrade the 307 went to plastic. Maybe a cost saving measure? They both seem to hold ok but I have to believe the metal would win out in a durability match.

IMG_2852-resizedErgonomics

No changes here that I can tell. The rubberized grip with the little nubbies is comfortable to hold. Average length, diameter and weight in line with most disposables in the class. The retract works smooth with a definitive click loud enough to drive your cubicle neighbors crazy.

Ink

The biggest advertised difference is the use of Uni-ball’s Super Ink technology in the 307. The promotion of the ink seems more geared towards its proclaimed permanency than the smoothness and writing experience. Uni-ball appears proud of the Uni Super Ink technology, which assuming their claims are true, it’s pretty impressive. From the Uni-ball website:

  • “…. The color particles of uni Super Ink stay suspended, the ink is not soluble in water or solvents. The uni Super Ink won’t wash off when immersed in water, acetone, glycerin, bleach or other chemicals used by criminals. Once on the page, uni Super Ink can never be removed….”

The 207 and the 307 both write well. Smooth with no skipping or ink blobbing but nothing really special to report. I will admit I was intrigued by the claim that nothing will get the ink off the paper. I fancy myself a bit with having a wide range of cleaning chemicals stocked in my garage for a variety of household projects that come up. No muratic acid but the toughest I get to is automotive brake cleaner which if you’ve ever let that stuff sit on your hands. Well it’s pretty strong and can be a good substitute for pepper spray, but that’s for another post.

I started with a sheet of good paper HP Premium Choice Laser 32lb. I figured the paper should at least be able to hold up to the chemicals. The magic formulas I tried with the 207 and the 307:

  • Water
  • Goo Gone
  • Greased Lightning
  • Simple Green
  • Purple Power
  • Mechanics Hand Cleaner
  • WD-40
  • Household bleach
  • Rubbing Alcohol
  • Denatured Alcohol
  • Gumont Carb & Choke Cleaner
  • Gasoline Unleaded 87 octane
  • CRC Brake Parts Cleaner

Maybe the 207 was converted to the Super Ink formula already?

IMG_2860 2Permanent or Removable?…Uni-ball’s Super Ink claims are not far off. I would say it’s pretty permanent. Now whether that’s any value to you or not I can’t tell but it was fun stinking up the garage all in the name of research for you dear readers

IMG_2861Conclusion

I like the 307. I didn’t use the 207 extensively to fairly compare the two but others have said the 307 is a slightly better writer. It’s smooth on a variety of media, I did not experience any skipping or ink blobbing and the ergonomics are as good as in disposable I have used.

Are you a big fan of the 207 and have you tried the 307 yet?

Remember: Write something nice……

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