Review: Tombow Ultra, Rollerball, 0.5mm


The Tombow Ultra feels like a pen you’d whip out to write your personal number on the back of a business card. It’s a hefty, thick, and professional-looking pen. It exists to impress, but it isn’t just for show either. It’s durable and comfortable, and it comes stocked with an amazing rollerball ink.

The Ultra is in the 25-50 dollar price range, and for your money you get a good-quality metal and enamel pen. However, it does have a rubberized grip – it’s thick and comfortable, but it’s worth noting that it might wear down with heavier use.


Still, the only major flaw in the Ultra is a plastic piece inside the cap that exists to create an airtight seal around the tip of the refill, preventing it from drying out. Unfortunately, this plastic piece is too thin and malleable. It frequently gets bent out of shape when attempting to cap the pen, making it necessary to bend it back in place before the cap can be properly secured. It’s a very annoying aspect of an otherwise nice pen.

Regardless, I do like the Ultra. It even comes inside a Tombow case, making it nicely giftable. And, as I mentioned, I am very impressed with its rollerball refill, which is clean, dark, and low smear. It’s possibly the smoothest rollerball I’ve ever used, and it even comes in tip sizes as small as 0.3mm. I can’t say I’ll be using the Tombow Ultra as much as I use my (similarly-priced) Retro 51 Tornado, but I’ll definitely be looking to put that Tombow rollerball refill into any pen that will accept it.


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