Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Review: Pilot Hi-Tec-C 0.3mm Gel Ink Pen - Mauve, Venet, Yellow Ochre & Khaki Brown

This is a pen that is long overdue for review. Given how many I own and how popular it is, I'm not sure why I haven't already reviewed it! In this post, I'll be reviewing the Pilot Hi-Tec-C in 0.3 mm.
IMG_5174 Resized
Top to bottom: Mauve, yellow ochre, venet, khaki brown.  A simply designed pen.
This pen is one that a lot of Japanese stationery lovers (in other words, JetPens fans) are familiar with already. What others (and haters) probably wonder is, what's so great about this pen?
Pilot Hi-Tec-C 0.3mm
Easy color identification.
IMG_5174 Resized
And easy tip size identification!
The pen's design is very simple and straight forward. It has a hexagonal clear plastic barrel and a clear cap. The pen can be posted and the cap is very snug both posted and closed. The tip of the cap and the end plug are color matched to the ink, a feature I find very useful. Especially when one has many Hi-Tec-Cs...The color plug in the cap also is labelled with the nib size, which is very convenient, given that you can get multiple nib sizes in the same color! I love the clear barrel because I can see how much ink is left in the pen. I don't care much for the body besides it being clear. It's not outstanding and it's not that comfortable to hold.

There is no real grip to speak of. The area where a grip would normally be placed is ridged in rings. Some people love this, some people hate it, some are indifferent. To me, I think it's more useful than no grip at all, so I won't complain much. It could certainly be softer though.

The part about the pen that I enjoy is the ink and the writing experience. Even the micro tip 0.3mm can write smoothly and consistently. It is certainly a sharper writing experience than when you pull out a gel pen with a 0.7mm tip (like a Uni-ball Signo RT 0.7mm, for example). But surely, you don't purchase a 0.3mm pen with the expectations of a butter tip!
Pilot Hi-Tec-C 0.3mm
That's a tiny tip, yessir.
Pilot Hi-Tec-C 0.3mm
Top to bottom: a 0.3mm tip, a 0.4mm tip, and a 0.5mm tip. 
The 0.3mm micro tips are fabulous for intricate details, tiny lines, and crisp, precise writing. I prefer writing on normal paper, not glossy/coated papers or papers that are fibrous/textured. This is because the tip is so thin that it can scratch up fibers, and stop ink flow. Normal paper works best for me - like the Leuchtturm 1917 notebook. I have found the Pilot Hi-Tec-C in 0.3 mm is less scratchy than the Pentel Slicci in 0.25mm but that's just my opinion.
Pilot Hi-Tec-C 0.3mm Writing Sample and Doodle
Seriously. Look at the detail on that.
Pilot Hi-Tec-C 0.3mm Doodle
I have had some of my 0.3 mm Hi-Tec-Cs in my pen cup since 2010. Some have been sitting horizontally, some vertically, some a combination of the two over time. I began to worry that they would dry out and stop writing sometime last year. Surprisingly, they all still write. For the ones that have never been used, it only takes a few scribbles to get them going, and then they write as though they're brand new. For the ones who have been used before but were then shelved for a little while - same thing - they write perfectly once I scribble a wee bit. And having to "get the ink going" is not abnormal. And the fact that these pens have been shelved for two years but still write like they're new is pretty awesome and impressive. And a relief for me, because I have like...thirty Hi-Tec-Cs. At least. And the ink lasts a good long while for normal use.

Things To Think About
Obviously, the tip is tiny. If you are a heavy handed writer, you will have to be careful and make conscious effort not to write too hard or press too hard because you can certainly bend the tip. The tip is a thin needlepoint type (still a rollerball, just very skinny), not a tapered rollerball type like that of the Uni-ball Signo DX micro tips (which tend to be sturdier).
Pilot Hi-Tec-C 0.3mm vs Uni-ball Signo DX 0.38mm
Top: a Uni-ball Signo DX 0.38mm, and a Pilot Hi-Tec-C 0.4mm (just for looks). 
Pilot Hi-Tec-C 0.3mm vs Uni-ball Signo DX 0.38mm
Top: a Uni-ball Signo DX 0.38mm, and a Pilot Hi-Tec-C 0.4mm (yes, not 0.3mm because I just wanted to show the different in tip shape).
Some people have raised the issue of getting the pen to start writing. I don't doubt that this could be a problem but it's never happened to me. A few scribbles and mine always work. I bought these pens expecting I would need to get them started for writing and this doesn't bother me.

Other Great Reviews
A Penchant for Paper
The Pen Addict
Gourmet Pens compares Uni-ball Signo DX to Pilot-Hi-Tec-C

JetPens - $3.30

The Pilot Hi-Tec-C in 0.3 mm is a pretty classic pen. If you are totally unfamiliar with micro tips, or you are a heavy handed writer, you may want to think about a different micro tip pen (for example, the Uni-ball Signo DX micro tips). If you only like really smooth, wet, buttery pens, this pen is not for you. If you are comfortable with writing with fine tips, or you want outstanding precision lines, or you just love the array of colors, I highly recommend the Pilot Hi-Tec-C in 0.3 mm. In fact, what initially won me over and made me order these was the array of colors because no other micro tips come close to this rainbow!


bonnie jean woolger said...

looks like they would be nice to draw with :)

Azizah Asgarali said...

Definitely! I can only imagine the incredible things you'd produce with these itty bitty tips!

Estivalia said...

Thanks for the review! As much as I love pens/art supplies I have to confess I've never tried these, eek. I'll have to remember to add them to a future Jetpens order :)

Azizah Asgarali said...

They are quite awesome :) I still can't get over the range of colors *DROOL*

Jacqueline said...

They are without equal - and I've tested a fair few - for annotating in teeny-tiny writing printed text in PDFs or [eek! naughty! but I own 'em] books. When you don't want to have to look up for the umpteenth time what 'ekphrasis' bloody well means you can write an aide-memoire in spider-scrawl next to it. And then promptly forget it again. Or that the author's statement on page five directly contradicts another one twenty-seven-sodding-pages-later. Outstanding for drawing symbols and squiggles and annotations in otherwise intimidatingly huge articles/ridiculously complicated chapters that otherwise would be totally unfamiliar within moments of finishing them.

Azizah Asgarali said...

LOL!! Those are very, very justified reasons for needing to write in your own book (or any book for that matter, because who wouldn't benefit from a reminder of what ekphrasis means or being informed that the author lies to you?). I'm trying to put a dent in my stock of these before I go buy more colors.... oh it's hard...

Jacqueline said...

Buy more colours! [I'm such an enabler!] Not only will your wonderful patterns look even more glorious but the delightful decision-making process over which colours to use for which annotation [argument; definitions; cross-references, etc.] is yet another tool in my arsenal [I'm mixing metaphors here, aren't I?!] of procrastination techniques. Next comes 'how shall I underline? to double rule or not to double rule?' - i should write a guide, except I'd never get past annotating my own annotations, or something...

Jake Chazan said...

I lived in Asia for over a year and had the opportunity to purchase many of these pens in different point sizes and colors. I found the 0.3mm inconsistent to write with. Some were scratchy while others were smooth writing. Personally I found the 0.4mm more consistent. By the way, they are considerably cheaper in Asia which makes the whole buying and trying experience better!

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