From a good distance the Baoke Office may look like an expensive executive pen. In the hand, however, it’s easy to tell that this pen isn’t worth very much money. But don’t let that discourage you, the Office is still a pen that has some worthwhile aspects.
To start, the Office is reliable. It doesn’t skip or stutter, even when I’ve left it sit with the cap off for too long. The gel ink is dark, and it smears only slightly. But the best thing about the Office is its barrel, which is covered in a soft, almost velvety material – though I’m pretty sure its just some sort of rubber. It makes the pen easy to grip and comfortable to use.
Sure, there are better gel pens out there, and Baoke pens are not easy to get in the States (I bought mine off eBay for about $10 a dozen). So, I’m certain acquiring the Office is not worth the effort for most people. Still, despite the fake-gold trim, I find that I’m actually enjoying this pen.
For the Baoke Simple, there really is no more appropriate name. It’s a 0.5mm gel pen with a frosted, plastic barrel and a cheap clip. The refill is nothing special, though it writes reliably enough. The cap secures and posts snugly, and there’s no padded grip to speak of. Overall, the Simple is one of the more basic gel pens I’ve used, yet, surprisingly, I’ve found myself really liking it.
When you purchase a cheap pen, you’ll usually get something with a thin barrel made out of a hard plastic, a design that becomes uncomfortable when writing for an extended period. The Baoke Simple, on the other hand, has a thicker barrel made with a softer plastic. This makes for a much more comfortable writing experience, and I wish more pen manufactures would follow suit.
Unfortunately, Baoke is a Chinese stationery manufacturer whose pens aren’t commonly sold in the United States. It’s possible to find the Simple online for about 40 cents per pen, which may not be worth the effort. But regardless, I’m impressed that Baoke has a managed to make a good pen out of a cheap, no-frills design. Perhaps something similar will eventually make its way to store shelves in the West.