I’ve bought some Amazon Basics items like their AA rechargeable batteries (here via Amazon) and have been happy enough with them that I thought I’d try some of their other products. Enter the Amazon Basics Gel Ink Pens (buy here via Amazon) that I recently picked up. Be warned though, I didn’t realize when I bought these that they came in a box of 50. There are 20 black pens, 20 blue pens, and 10 red pens in that allocation. I figure that with the popularity of the Pilot G2 it would be natural to compare thees Amazon Basics Gel Ink pens to them.
In terms of the size, the Amazon Basics Gel Ink Pen is just a hair shorter than the Pilot G2 and weighs .082 oz which overall is pretty insignificant. I will say though that when you hold the two, the Pilot G2 just feels more sturdy. The grip on the Amazon Basics Pen is also more triangular with three flat sides. This works well for the most part, but it does force you into only 3 positions you can hold the pen, so one position will always leave the clip pressing against your hand.
Visually its pretty easy to see that the Amazon Basics Gel Pen holds less ink than the Pilot G2. The Pilot G2 ink cartridge does feel a bit thicker, but it outweighs the Amazon Basics Gel Pen refill by .048 oz which is a noticeable difference. You can also see at the top of the Amazon Basics Gel refill has a bubble separating the last bit of ink from the majority of the ink in it. All 50 of the pens that I looked at had this although I didn’t see it in other areas of the refill. In terms of compatibility, the G2 refill will not work in the Amazon body, but the Amazon refill will work in the G2 Body.
Amazon Basics Gel Ink Pens Writing Samples:
The above scan of the Amazon Basics Gel Ink Pen writing sample shows how these perform in a Black n’ Red notebook. The blue and black are pretty vibrant in my opinion, but the red doesn’t capture that same intensity. In terms of the dry times, it seems like even 10 seconds isn’t enough time for their lines to dry, which to me is an upper limit when it comes to drying time. Anything after 10 seconds just doesn’t seem particularly noteworthy. Surprisingly enough though, the held up fairly well to being rubbed with a wet cotton swab once they dried for about 10 minutes. Most alarming though was what you see at the very bottom there with the red ink. 3 of the 4 red pens dried up after only a short period of use.
When comparing the Amazon Basics Gel Ink Pen writing to that of a Pilot G2, the colors seem a bit darker, particularly the blue and the red. The dry times were definitely a bit more convincing compared to the Amazon Basics as well, since they were completely dry at 10 seconds. I’ve never been a big fan of the way that the Pilot G2 writes, but to be honest, in this short writing sample their performance was acceptable. The Amazon Basics Gel Ink pens (excluding the red) never really skipped or feathered, but it there was nothing that made them stand out.
Amazon Basics Gel Ink Pens – My Conclusion:
After using the blue and black pens for a variety of writing with no issues (unlike the one red one) I decided to do some stress testing with a random sampling of the pens doing scribbles that you see above. I first did a few medium length writing sessions with 3 more red pens with no issues before the scribble test though. This is where 3 of the 4 red pens just didn’t want to write though, but I did push the one working red pen to a point where it filled enough of this page to make me think it will last. The issue with the red pens wasn’t for lack of trying as I gave them a rest, tried short strokes, long strokes, slow strokes, quick strokes, dots, dashes, shaking and scraping the tip with a finger nail. No luck with any of those methods. The random sampling of the 4 blue and 4 black pens never showed the same problems, but it still leaves me uneasy recommending these pens as I feel like the issue could show up at any time with the blue and black as well, and obviously the red pens just seem like a complete waste.