I love any review where I get to start by saying “DON’T TRY THIS AT HOME!” With the Uniball Power Tank Smart Series (see it here from JetPens)there are certain things about it that just beg for some extreme testing, like the claims that it is a great cold weather pen and also a great hot weather pen as well as being able to write upside down and on wet paper. The first half of the review will be the usual stuff, but the last half will be the more fun stuff that YOU SHOULD NOT TRY AT HOME. 🙂
Before we get to the fun stuff, there are some differences between this Power Tank and the old version of the Uniball Power Tank pen that I reviewed a while ago. Visually, it is a much different looking pen, the body is one width all the way down the length of the barrel, the grip is not rubberized, and the body is not translucent. In my opinion I think its a step down in terms of the comfort and looks of the pen because I really liked the rugged look of the old version and the solid feel of the chunky rubber grip. Overall though its a still a great looking pen that is comfortable to write with, just in comparison to the old, I prefer the old version for my extreme writing needs…not that I have many.
One thing that has bothered me in the past on some pens is that the UPC and other pen information was painted directly on the barrel, so before I got a close look at the Uniball Power Tank Smart Series, I thought that was going to be the case here. Upon closer inspection, I saw that there seemed to be a set of perforations that would allow me to peel that label right off, and lucky for me that was the case.
The above photo shows the Power Tank stripped of it’s label, which I happen to like much better. Something about all of the clutter of the UPC and the other info that just clutter up the pen and makes it “noisy” to me. Now the pen can show off the nice yellow / green color, the rugged looking ridged look (although completely smooth) and clean lines.
So here we are at the good stuff. So since this pen is advertised to be good for writing in extreme conditions, I figured I really needed to test those claims out again like I did in my last 2 part review of the old version of the pen. I started off on the cold side of things by freezing the pen in a bag full of water. The photo above might look like the top of the pen is sticking out of the ice, but you will have to take my word that it is completely submerged and 100% frozen over. I let this sit in the freezer for a little more than two days just to make sure that it froze solid. There is a writing sample below done right after the freezing, but there is one other test to document before showing that.
Now here is the part that (if you missed it before) you should not try at home! Having just come out of the freezer and melting the ice with hot water, it was time to stick this sucker in the oven.
I pre-heated the oven up to about 170 degrees Fahrenheit, made a little tin foil tray, and put it in there with my fingers crossed. After about 5 minutes of not looking like anything horrifying was happening, I decided to crank it up a bit and eventually got the oven up to about 210 degrees. I didn’t get a picture of the temperature gauge at 210 because at that point I was keeping a very close eye on the pen, to make sure things didn’t turn ugly.
From the research I did, it looks like an outdoor temperature of about 90 degrees Fahrenheit can result in the inside of your car getting up to a little over 140 degrees, so I think my test probably goes a little overboard. I think it goes to prove the point though, that this pen can stand up to being left in your car in hot temperatures, and cold temperatures for that matter as well, even if you drive into a frozen lake. I was quite pleasantly surprised that not one part of the pen even seemed to soften up after spending a little over 20 minutes cooking at up to 210 degrees…very impressive.
With both extreme tests documented above, you can have a look at the writing samples to show just hoe durable this pen is. The top third of the writing sample was done before I decided to abuse my Power Tank. The next two samples were done right after I thawed out the pen, and right after I took the pen out of the oven. In both instances the pen wrote fantastic, other than the surface being either really hot or really cold, you would never have guessed that anything had been done to the pen to push it to its limits.
Overall, you really can’t go wrong with this pen if you think you might want to keep a pen in your car during the winter or summer months where the temperatures can get pretty extreme…or if you just think that you might go backpacking in the Sahara or the Tundra, I’m fairly confident that this pen will not let you down. No doubt that this would be my “go to” extreme weather pen. And one last thing…please don’t try cooking your pens at home.