Monday, October 31, 2011

Review: OfficeMax Gel 0.7mm Blue

This is a review of the Office Max Gel 0.7mm pen in blue
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I hate this pen. It looks nice enough. Very simple and like a typical gel ink pen. But wait till you start writing. Oh you’ll hate it just as much as I do. That is, if you are a pen snob or have freakish pen standards (one in the same, really).
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It has horrible grip. The shape and placement makes no sense to me. It leaves that horrible little space of plastic between the grip and the start of the tip where most people hold the pen itself. (Unfortunately, the Uni-ball signo DX also does this but I’ll forgive that pen because it’s magnificent in every other way). Furthermore, it’s a rounded type grip but has very little give to it so it hurts to hold it tightly.

Something about the way the lid snaps on to the top of the pen irks me. The lid feels so small and the snap is so violent, I feel like I’m going to crack the lid. While I do appreciate a snug hold so I don’t lose the lid, this one is just peculiar. By the way, it’s so tight that when you’re removing the lid from the back of the pen, if you should happen to grab the clip that’s inserted into the top of the cap, and pull on that, you’ll probably pull it right off. Allow me to demonstrate.
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Well. That was annoying.
The ink is blobby and the nib is terrible. The ink doesn’t flow smoothly at all. Sometimes it’s scratchy, sometimes I get a blob. Not left-handed friendly at all. And when it blobs, ink remains gooped on the nib. Which means if you accidentally drop it, it’s going to smear that ink on your couch or carpet. Or your new white shirt.
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I do like the fact that it has a clear barrel. I love being able to watch my ink levels go down. It’s so satisfying. Fortunately, one other thing it does have going for it is the color of the ink is quite nice. It’s a deep blue which I am usually a fan of. Too bad it’s combined with a miserable writing experience. I’m sorry. I feel so cruel to the pen. It’s not its fault it sucks. But it does. No offense if anyone out there loves this pen. Maybe I got a dud! Either way, I’m going to have to pass this off on to someone else to use up.

This pen (especially given that it comes in giant packs of 12 is not badly priced. But there are far better options out there. If you happen to have a whole bunch of these, given that the ink is a nice color and it comes out so ... inkily... you could color with it! I like to doodle and waste ink that way (because I have an illness that I am ashamed of - an obsession with using up pens). I guess that would be a good use for this pen.
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Words by Sarah Reilly
Far more preferable choices would be:
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From top to bottom: Zebra Sarasa 0.7mm, or Uni-ball Signo DX 0.38 mm, but not the OfficeMax Gel 0.7mm.
Pilot G2
Zebra Sarasa
Uni-ball Signo DX/RT

I liken this pen to a good hobby. Say you love fishing. Would you really want to fish with a garbage fishing rod? Probably not. If you really had to, you might. This pen is a garbage fishing rod. It ruins the hobby. If I really had to write with this pen and couldn’t afford to splurge on other pens, well, pens would probably not be a very good hobby for me then.


Office Max- $1.13 each (though they often have sales and deals)


I can’t recommend this pen to anyone. Unless you’re on a budget (well... we’re all on a pen budget, aren’t we?) - a serious budget, I’d cast my vote towards the other pens I suggested. In fact, even if you are on a serious budget, it’s probably worth it to splurge on a different pen that will at least give you some enjoyment to write with. The OfficeMax Gel 0.7 is just ... a pen. It’s not a gourmet pen - you know... a pen that’s suitable for the discerning palate!


Shangching said...

Last time I bought a store brand stationery item was my junior year in college. It was so bad that the roller ball will retract a bit to block the ink flow. Of course I could not toss them away so I just donate it to children who need pens. I feel bad for giving out bad writing instruments but they just did not fly with me. I would rather deal with blobby ballpoint than a rollerball. Such a stationery snob.

GourmetPens said...

Hey, it's the thought that counts! At least you didn't just throw them out or something!

Shangching said...

Next time, I should just draw on Auggie.

GourmetPens said...

LOL!!! OMG poor Auggie. He'd be so confused. "What did you do to my beautiful coat?!"

Shangching said...

Huh? What coat? Oh, you mean that coat that would not stop shedding? That will give me a very good justification for giving him a Mohawk! I am such a loving pet owner :)

Kurazaybo said...

Hi I live in Mexico and would like to add that this pen looks very similar to some pens I got at a cheap that sells cheap chinese things. I got a pack of 12 in assorted colors (red, blue, black) for less than two US dollars. The only difference is my pens have a needle tip point. I can't say I love them but they are better (at least for me) than generic ballpaints. The materials feel horrible to the touch and the clips fall of the cap for no apparent reason but I guess you get what you pay for.

GourmetPens said...

@Kurazaybo - Very true, you do get what you pay for but if it's cheap and functions as your go-to pen, why not, right?

Sum Dood said...

I added a pack of Promarx 0.7 Gel stick pens to an Amazon order, just to try something different, and have been disgusted with them. After looking at your pics, I'm confident they are identical to your office max pens. The most odd thing about them is that they will not write in an upward direction if used at any kind of angle. Straight vertical, and they flow fine, even a slight angle, and they might as well be out of ink.

Good thing I have my Sarasa's, and Energel's to keep me happy.

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