I recently realized that one of my most used non-fountain pens was my Uniball Jetstream multi-pen in both the .5mm and .7mm version. The .7mm version is the one in the front with the white clip and the .5mm is the one in the center with the clear clip and glossy black body. The other pen in this picture is the Uni Jetstream Prime with .7mm refills, which I was pretty much assuming would be the perfect pen (for me) with its solid metal construction and and almost all black design. On the surface this should be an upgrade of one of my favorite pens to a high quality smooth and elegant metal version for an even better writing experience. You know what they say about assuming though, right?
First things first, who the F’ bedazzled my pen? No, really what is this nonsense, why is it here, and why is it literally built into the clip (from underneath) to the point where you cant even hack it off without destroying the integrity of the clip? Now in all fairness I knew this was there before I bought the pen, but I figured that everything else about my potential perfect pen would totally cancel out this garish design flaw.
So on to more important things like the actual functionality of the pen because that’s what really matters, right? Just like any other multi-pen in the world, the Uni Prime has simple to identify color coordinated plungers…..wait, what? Ugh. Strike two! No, each plunger on this wrongly assumed perfect pen for me is completely black. “Hey, let me break out the red ink to mark up a document here…hold on, yep there it is, the black plunger for my red ink.” Perfect! Well at least the smart folks at Uniball probably came up with some other really cool and intuitive way to make my color selection easy, so lets take a look.
Hey now we’re talking, the top of the pen has some incredibly slim slivers of paint against a chrome/mirrored background that tell me which of the three black plungers is my red ink, which is my blue ink, and which is my black ink. I guess the person that designed this never sat in an office at a desk with bright lights. The reflection of any decent amount of light off the top of this reflective surface makes it very difficult to actually identify the color of the super slim color indicator here. The only positive here is that the order of the colors is the same on any of these multi-pens. With the clip facing out, black is always on the left, blue is always in the back, and red is always on the right. Why though, are we making it this difficult and forcing someone to essentially play the pen and paper equivalent of Russian Roulette with their multi-pen? Chalk that up as strike three on the Uni Jetstream Prime. Lets continue though because this is fun.
One of the things I liked about my cheap plastic Uniball Jetstream multi-pens was that I usually got a pretty good life out of the refills before I had to replace them. I tend to use these for marking up documents and notes in the margins of things, not lengthy writing sessions, so that plays into them lasting so long for me. So as if you cant see that strike FOUR is coming already, here it is, lets take a “premium” pen and shrink down the ink cartridges so that their usable life is significantly reduced. These are similar to the refills for a Zebra Sharbo X, which I don’t use much anymore because…well because the refills don’t last long enough.
Another great thing about the plastic version of the Uniball Jetstream multi-pen is that tip rattle while writing is pretty much nonexistent. With that said, I’ll just let you guess what strike…um FIVE now is with the Jetstream Prime. I remember once seeing a story on Animal Planet about a dog that would come running when it heard its owners plumbing van from up to two miles away. The dog heard the unique rattling noises of the van and knew his owner was on his way. I’m actually hopeful that if I keep writing with this pen, that maybe, just maybe that dog will show up. I’ve always wanted a dog, so maybe this pen wont be totally useless if it ends up somehow getting me a dog? Oh, and if tip rattle wasn’t enough, there is also plenty of rattle noise that comes from the top of the pen too. It seems to come from within the plunger mechanism and you definitely don’t get with the plastic versions of this pen. You can also probably tell from this picture that the grip section on the Uni Jetstream Prime is noticeably thinner. I know its just my own personal preference, but I like the thicker and slightly chunky grip on the plastic version. I cant help but wonder why they would take the incredibly well built and well functioning standard Uniball Jetstream multi-pen and “upgrade” it to such a ill-conceived, poorly designed, and poorly functioning shadow of its cheaper and all ’round awesome counterpart. If you are hellbent on buying a shoddy pen that will set you back way more than its worth, then by all means don’t let me stop you from wasting your money on this over at Amazon, but don’t say you weren’t warned.