Thursday, September 8, 2016

Review: ENSSO Pen Uno & Pencil Uno @Kickstarter

Review ENSSO Pen Uno & Pencil Uno @Kickstarter 2

Thank you to the kind folks at ENSSO for sending this pair over for me to check out.
Pen Uno is a space-grade aluminum pen for the Hi-Tec C Coleto ink cartridge that also transforms into a mechanical pencil. Pen Uno and Pencil Uno are perhaps the most minimal and thinnest writing instruments in the market. The design aims to be elegant and discreet focusing on the details and essential components. - ENSSO on Kickstarter


Body Material: Aluminum
Trim: None
Cap: Threaded, stays attached
Posts: No
PEN Length (capped): 143.0 mm/5.63"
Length ("uncapped"): 136.0 mm/5.35"
PENCIL Length (capped): 148.2 mm/5.83"
Length ("uncapped"):140.7 mm/5.54"
Barrel Diameter: 5.0 mm/0.19"
Section Diameter: 7.9 mm/0.31"
Weight (all): 7.5 gm / 0.26 oz
Fill type: Pilot Hi-Tec-C Coleto & 0.5 mm mechanical pencil lead
Price: $25.00 USD +
Where to buy: Kickstarter


The Pen Uno & Pencil Uno were each presented in a narrow, clear plastic tube. The tubes are only wide enough to house each writing utensil. There are two ENSSO stickers sealing each end. I like this kind of packaging. I think there is minimal waste here, and it complements the minimalistic design.
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Both the Pen Uno and Pencil Uno are the same, aside from the pen and pencil components. Both are very thin, and only the "section", which also serves as the cap, is wider. There are no features or disruptions to the simple design - just a barrel and "section/cap". The Pencil Uno has a small screw in tube that fits into the end of the barrel. There is a small knock extending from it. The Pen Uno has a flush screw, holding the refill in place. It is just a linear screw, so no real tool is needed to open it. I open this one with a fingernail.
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They are machined out of space-grade aluminum and are available in five anodized colors: gold, rose gold, red, black, and space grey. Both of my utensils are rose gold. Yep, just like my phone. Laugh if you will, but I like that it matches. The rose gold looks really nice, and when new, the body and edges are in crisp condition. The edges are pretty sharp, so they take the most wear and tear, and the color starts to get dinged off. It would be nice if these were a little sturdier because it makes such a fine instrument look grubby.
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Upon arrival, there were no spots that looked like they lacked coverage, including the ends of the barrels - both screws are rose gold as well!
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The Pencil Uno has 0.5 mm lead in it. The leads are held in a very narrow metal tube inside the barrel of the pencil. The Pen Uno has a small screw at the back. To transform the pen into a standard 0.5mm mechanical pencil, you just have to switch two components. The pencil works well, and of course, you can put in different grades of lead and different colors, too. It can only hold a few pieces of lead at a time, so you may need to keep some extra lead with you, depending on how much you write.
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The Pen Uno takes the Pilot Hi-Tec-C Coleto refill. These are even smaller than the regular Hi-Tec-C gel pens because they are for the Coleto multipen. I find the refill quite delicate. It does not rattle, and it is seated securely in the pen, but it's just so tiny. The refills write well, and all three 0.4 mm refills I have work - no skipping or blobbing. The pen is so slim and light that it just feels so dainty to use this particular refill. Even the fine tip contributes to the dainty feeling! I find the Pen Uno more comfortable for light use, not heavy note taking or anything. It doesn't feel uncomfortable to use, but I find the section slightly too thin for long writing sessions. In addition, there isn't a heck of a lot of ink in a Coleto refill. They are actually pretty short and slim. If you write a lot, you're going to burn through refills.
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The cap/section screws into place to cover the tips. It is a somewhat smooth mechanism, but it takes several twists to open and close it. The rotating mechanism is very simple - it just twists, but I find it a little grainy. At first, I was worried I was grinding off the coating, but it seems ok. It just makes this sound... On the other hand, I do like that there is no cap to lose, so it's super portable.

If you buy this and then complain the pen is too thin, you probably should have seen that coming. It's slim. The section is slim. In hand, both are slim. Pen Uno and the Pencil Uno are very light and slender. The section is not slippery, nor are the barrels. So, once in hand, they will not slip around.
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To be honest, I mostly like them because I'm vain and like this color. And they're writing instruments. So it's hard to ignore them.
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  • Affordable for such a neat utensil. Come on. We've spent more on weirder things.
  • Available in several colors.
  • Perfect for keeping in the side pocket of your laptop sleeve!
  • Functional, useful refills.
  • No caps to lose.
  • You can get a matching pen & pencil set.
  • Simple, convenient packaging.
  • Easy to use.
  • VERY slim! Not really suitable for long writing sessions, or for those who have really tight grips. 
  • Although very nice, the Hi-Tec-C- Coleto refills do not last very long. They are also on the pricy side, especially considering the amount of ink in them.
  • Cap threading takes too many turns for it to be a grab and write, quick note taker.
  • Cap threading is a bit rough, and a bit squeaky. 
  • What if you lose parts? Are they replaceable?

Interesting. I would never have looked twice at this on Kickstarter, so I'm happy to have the opportunity to review them and share with you. These are super cute, dainty if pink and cool and minimalist if NOT pink! The design is simple but well executed. There isn't much that can break, although the cap is rough. Replacing parts could be an issue if you lose them - the little components are quite small. For me, these will spend their lives in the pocket of my laptop sleeve - perfect for quick doodles and notes, not for extended use.

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I received this item free of charge for the purposes of this review. I was not compensated monetarily for my review. Everything you've read here is my own opinion.


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