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Europeans Need To Get Fine Points

Europeans (OK, mostly Germans) make some nice pens – except they don’t have a clue that many of us like fine tip points.  For example:

  • My Staedtler Liquid Point rollerballs claim to have a 0.3mm tip, but they’re not anywhere close to a 0.3mm gel pen; IMHO calling them medium point would be charitable.  (Yes, they’re decent pens, but they’re nothing exceptional).
  • My 0.3mm Staedtler Tri-plus Fineliners are pretty nice, but again, I’d call them medium.  I think they’re similar to Sharpie Pens, but a bit better:  they write a bit nicer, and have a wider range of colors.
  • My Yafa Italian-made cartridge rollerball pen seems pretty decent (I’m still evaluating it), but puts down a bold line.
  • I could keep on going, bringing up the Kaweco F nib, Mont-Blanc roller balls, etc.  Instead, I’d like to talk about what got this rant started:

Schneider Pens.

I was at Office Depot the other day, and saw something new: a display of Schneider pens, with demonstrators.  Of course, I had to check them out.  They’re interesting pens, but they all write fat!  I only brought home a hot pink Schneider Slider XB; if they had some finer points, I would’ve bought more.  If they’d had fine-tip Parker-compatible Viscoglide refills in all the Slider XB colors, I would’ve spent too much money…  Anyway, my Schneider impressions:

  • I was most interested in the Viscoglide ballpoints.  The Viscoglides supposedly have a new and wonderful ink technology; my first impression is that they do write nicely, but it’s not hard to make a 1.4mm ball pen write wonderfully.
  • I do like the variety of colors available for the Slider XBs; typically, ballpoint colors are limited and boring.  The main exceptions I can think of are the Zebra Surari, possibly the Jetstream, and now the Slider XB.
  • The price range for the ballpoints was ~$2-$4, with the price increasing with better ergonomics (soft grip, etc) and a refillable body (IIRC one $4 model used a Parker-compatible refill, but the color selection was limited).
  • The Schneider rollerballs were OK, roughly similar to the Staedtler Liquid Points.
  • I wasn’t impressed with the Xpress porous-point pens, but to be fair, I haven’t like any porous point pens.

As a bit of a postscript, does anyone know of a <$10 pen that can take the Schmidt 8126 refill?  As far as I can tell, the cheapest option is the Schmidt metal pen (~$30), which is more than I am going to spend right now.


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