Friday, January 20, 2012

Review: Uni-ball Signo Scents Gel Ink Pens

This is a review of the Uni-ball Signo Scents gel ink pens.
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I won these yummy pens at a giveaway held by I Love Pens. Given that they sent it all the way from the UK (yes, it was a worldwide giveaway!), they took a little while to get here but I was eager to try them when they arrived - scented things are one of my associated addictions... I love smelly inks.
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Before I even tried them out, I wanted to point out something I love: all the packaging is recyclable. Yes, there is a lot of packaging. But it’s ALL recyclable! I am happy to see that Uni-ball put in some effort to make their packaging more earth-friendly. Next up: less packaging. 
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It weirds me out a bit that the writing on the cap and on the body don't match direction.
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On to the gems, shall we? 

The Uni-ball Signo Scents are stick pens with long, clear barrels, short caps, and plastic clips. The clips, end plugs, and the ink obviously indicate the color and hints at its scent. Green = mint. The caps post with a click on the back (something I love and is often a decent gauge of pen quality). The barrels are a good size - not too thin, not too thick - and a good length. As I mentioned, the caps are short, so when it’s posted, it hardly adds much to the length and they are really comfortable to hold, weight-wise. Not surprisingly - like almost every single Uni-ball I’ve ever used, they write wonderfully. 
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The ink is bold, vibrant and solid with great coverage, like all Uni-ball gel ink pens. I loved doodling with these because I didn't have to go back and fill in all the white bits left behind by sub-par coverage. The ink is so smooth and practically drips off the 0.8mm nib, but it didn't blob at all mid-writing. It just rolls off the nib. Because the ink is so wet, it takes awhile to dry (60 seconds), I was careful when I was writing/drawing but this doesn't bother me. The ink eventually dries matte and it looks really awesome. Even if these pens weren't scented, I would still buy them because they write so well.
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Because of the way the ink dries matte, if you put pressure on the backside of the written page, the ink can print onto the next page. Doesn't bleed though! I got this design idea from Sarah Brueck's Flickr! I made a few changes but her original was my inspiration (ok... I barely changed it. I was just trying to make a doodle that didn't look horrible).
But that’s not really why you’re here. You want to know about the scents. You probably could care less how they write. You have the warm memories of Mr. Sketch scented markers floating around in your nostrils. Ok I’m getting a little creepy here. 
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The scents and inks are as follows:
Fruity Pack
Strawberry Pink - Like candied strawberries. Gummy strawberries, I guess. Not very strong. 
Pineapple Yellow - Smells like pineapple-flavored fluoride from the dentist.. but worse. It burns my nose a little. 
Orangey Orange - Smells a bit like Vitamin C tablets. But not as mouthwatering. The color doesn't match the orange I thought it would be but that's okay. It's unique. 
Coconut Brown - Mild coconut but nice. Doesn't seem as inky as the other ones, and it seems a bit more glittery for some reason.
Blueberry Blue - Like sweet blueberries. I like it. And I love the color of this one. 

Sweety Pack
Cola Black - Very faint cola. I had to scribble and sniff the tip quite a bit to even get a whiff of this one. However, the black is gorgeous to write with. Gooey and shiny (like a beetle's shell...gross. Too far?). 
Bubblegum Pink - Smells more like banana medicine to me (which is a bit bubblegummy) - remember this stuff from when you were a kid? Amoxicillin!! 
Mint Green - Like minty floss. I'm tempted to taste it. Smells the most 'normal' of all the scents, I think.
Soda Blue - Smells more like blueberry than soda. What soda is blue?
Cherryade Red - Yummy. Like synthetic cherry but I like synthetic cherry... it's like red Mr. Sketch.

The scents linger on the page for quite awhile - days, as I am noticing. No complaints about that. I love sniffing ink anyway (whether it's technically scented or not...). I will admit, some of these seemed surprised me. Pineapple yellow? I kind of expect yellow things to smell like lemon. And the black should be licorice. No, no. That’s just me getting caught up in my warm nostril memories of Mr. Sketch markers. Uni-ball branched out a bit here and kudos should be given for trying out different scents. 

Sniff some other reviews

JetPens - $2.00 each (for certain scents) - I can't find the other ones online in the US?!
Cult Pens£14.66 for all 

These seem a bit difficult to get in the US, but there is a limited selection at JetPens. Given the price, you'd have to really like scented pens because you can get the Signo UM-100 for $1.65 - virtually the same pen, no scent. However, I like to try out fun things and I really enjoyed writing and drawing with these so I would certainly get them again. 


Vivian Tong said...

Awesome review. Thanks for bringing up Mr. Sketch. Reminds me of my school days. Your descriptions of each colour is great and yeah, I agree, who uses pineapple for yellow? I actually would rather have cola than licorice. :-\ Thanks for timing the smell. I use some scented fountain pen inks and some of the scents don't last as long as I would like. Again, great review.

Shangching said...

This might sound weird, but flavor and color association is culture dictated. I know blue soda sounds a bit weird, but I can think a candy or two from my childhood that is blue and in soda flavor.
Scented pens are a hit and miss to me because I need to smell it before I buy it. I am glad they work out for you. Looks like they are just as reliable as regular Uni!

GourmetPens said...

Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed :) I have noticed that my scented fountain pen inks don't last long enough either. These are probably the longest lasting scented pens I've ever used!

Shangching - I never even thought of that, but that makes sense! They do seem more popular in the UK, too.

Rori said...

Gah! Where do u FIND all these groovy pens?? (she asks as she heads to Jetpens)

GourmetPens said...

Pure luck on winning these ones :)

ennepenne said...

Hello Azizah, I just discovery your blog 1 hour ago and I'm fashineted! I collect stationery pens too, just to look and touch its, less to write with. About scented Signo I think it was better the old 100 (I show its here: ) , for example the first one white smells pop-corn, but really!
Well, sorry for my bad english (I've some problem also to understand your technical comments :-) ).
Have a great day, Paolo. Italian collector.

GourmetPens said...

Thank you :) Pineapple for yellow does seem strange to me but as Shangching says, perhaps it is just culturally dictated! I never even considered that!

GourmetPens said...

Hi Paolo! Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment! I always love to be in touch with fellow stationery collectors (whether you write with them or not!). I actually thought these scented Signos were brand new, I didn't realize they had other scents - popcorn?! Amazing! If my english is confusing anywhere, I would be happy to try and clarify :)

Ashlyn Guyer said...

I bought one of these yummy pens while in Ireland last summer and have been using it sparingly. Cant find them anywhere in the states. Wish I had bought more while there. Came across your blog while searching for these pens to buy more. I'm so excited that there are others out there who have my obsession. Smelly pens are supreme but for me if I can find pens that write smooth and are blue (Bright blue-almost cobalt/purple but BRIGHT). That is supreme. Avery makes an amazing pen called eGlide rollerball in purple. As luck would have it, they are very hard to find and I think they stopped making them. AHHG!!!!

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