Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Review: Pentel Slicci Gel Pens 0.7 mm

There are a few reviews out there, such as from Office Supply Geek and The Pen Addict on the Pentel Slicci 0.7 mm gel ink pens. Which pen you prefer is obviously personal preference and what you use the pen for.

JetPens (wonderful, wonderful JetPens) describes the Pentel Slicci as “created to compete against Pilot's popular Hi-Tec-C line, the Slicci pen features comparable widths (.25mm, .3mm, .4mm) and colors. However, the tip is much sturdier than the Hi-Tec-C's point, thus resisting breakage or damage.”

The Body

The first thing to notice about this pen is that it has a slim body, perhaps more slim and narrow than most people are used to. I personally prefer pens that are on the slimmer rather than thicker side - they just fit better in my hand. I don’t have gigantic hands. They are normal sized female hands. This also means the pen is quite light, since it’s plastic.
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The barrel has no grip on it so if you’re, you know, writing a huge and terrifying exam and your hands are sweating like there’s no tomorrow, slippage might be a problem for you. There is a little section that is ridged on the barrel that might be enough for some people but for fast writing on a thin pen, I do like having a little bit of rubbery kind of grip.
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Ridged barrels

I also am a fan of top-heavy pens and this one is quite light even with the cap on the back. This means to get the control I want to write uniformly, I have to hold the pen a little tighter.

The Nib

My particular Sliccies (I’m totally guessing on the pluralization there) are 0.7 mm nib but there are several other nibs available: 0.25 mm, 0.3 mm, 0.4 mm, and 0.8 mm.

The 0.7 mm nib is quite broad and blunt. Usually, I really like broad nibs because I like to doodle and color in my journals and whatnot (you know... waste ink, basically, what with my no-talent). I also like that with broad nibs, you get really nice looking, solid lines, without having to worry about skipping or that dreaded fine-nib “scratchy” feeling. The 0.7 mm doesn’t offer much in the way of fine writing control but for my blotchy doodles, that doesn’t matter much. If you’re a skilled artiste of fine detail, the smaller nibs may be more suitable.

Aside from lack of fine control, a huge plus to a broad nib like this (coupled with really nice gel ink) is you get really smooth writing. If you want a euphoric writing experience, you will want to try these pens out on some Clairefontaine paper (try a Rhodia webbie or a Quo Vadis Habana). The nib is a solid feeling nib and even after tapping it on my notebooks (fyi: I don’t recommend you try this!!), it looked intact and wrote the same as before I abused it.

That being said, this is the first time I’ve written with a 0.7 mm nib that I found peculiar. It’s hard to put my finger on it but I found that no matter what angle I held the pen at, the nib always felt the same. With smaller nibs, by changing the angle of the pen, writing feels different. Often it takes a little bit of writing to “break in” a pen’s nib to your writing but with the 0.7 mm Pentel Slicci, it feels like it’ll never break in, because no matter how you try to write, you have no control over what comes out.

I compared writing with the Pentel Slicci 0.7 mm to the Pilot Hi-Tec C 0.5 mm and although the nib sizes are different, I feel like the reason the Slicci 0.7 mm feels so “blunt” is because it doesn’t flex at all with writing weight. It’s so solid (which is otherwise a good thing) but it has no give. No matter how you try to write, the lines it produces are always the same width.
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Various nib sizes

From left to right: Pentel Slicci 0.7 mm in pink, Pilot Hi-Tec C 0.5 mm in pink, Pilot Hi-Tec C 0.4 mm in pink, Pilot Hi-Tec C 0.3 mm in pink, Uni-ball Signo DX 0.38 mm in blue.
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Writing samples of comparable pens

For the way I try to draw, this isn’t a big deal but if you want a pen that allows you more control, steer clear of the 0.7 mm and try the smaller nibs instead.

The Ink

The gel ink of the Pentel Slicci is rich, bold and vibrant. The colors I have for sample here are: sky blue, green, purple, pink, and red, though there are many, many other colors available.
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Ink samples

I bought the red one for marking assignments but now have plenty of ink leftover after months of us (approximately 500 three-page assignments). I don’t use these pens daily so they have obviously lasted a long time. I cannot therefore comment on how long the ink lasts for regular use. I have found though that wide nibs and gel inks deplete ink supply quite quickly. This is another reason to consider thinner nibs in general.

Eco Conscious?

For those of you who are uneasy about disposing of pens after use, you can rest a wee bit easier. There are refills available in several nib sizes, in a few different colors. Not the really fun colors, but at least it’s something. I’m hoping Pentel will start making refills in more colors. Why should the pen bodies be thrown away?? They’re perfectly reusable!

Overall

Then pen itself is really nice - aesthetically appealing. The richness of the colors in the cap and barrel make it look more expensive than $3.00. I personally love to write with them - they are colorful and write smoothly - and I don't need specific control for what I do. The range of colors and nib sizes available gives a wide variety to pick from. I was really sold on the colors available.

For more general use though, a 0.5 mm nib might be a good middle ground - for thick, bold and colorful lines but not so blunt that you feel like you have no control over your writing. Maybe Pentel will add this to the Slicci line!

I think the 15 packs of colors (which come in the smaller nib sizes: 0.25 mm, 0.3 mm, 0.4 mm) would make great gifts for stationery aficionados, students, and professionals alike. Maybe not pink for professional documents though.

Price:

At Jetpens - $3.00 each (different nib sizes available)
At Writer’s Bloc - $2.75 each

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GourmetPens by Azizah Asgarali is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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