Review: Sakura Gelly Roll, Gel Ink, 0.6mm


As an elementary school student during the 1990s, I’m very nostalgic toward the Sakura Gelly Roll pen. Gel ink was a fairly new invention back then, created as an alternative to oil-based ballpoint ink and water-based rollerball ink. One advantage to this new gel ink was that it could use color pigments instead of dyes – yes, apparently there’s a difference – which allow for many more colorful ink options.

At the time, these bright and shiny new colors were hugely popular for back-to-school shopping in the U.S., but at around $1 per pen, only the luckiest of my fellow students owned more than a few.

Lots of colors! (via Sakura’s website)

Today, the Gelly Roll still looks and feels exactly like the pen I remember from my childhood. In the years since, however, gel pens have become much more common, and as a standard black writing pen, the Gelly Roll is a bit out of date. The barrel, cap, and clip all feel very cheap, and though the ink has that iconic gel richness, it smears more than it should.

The price of a Sakura Gelly Roll has continued to hover around $1 per pen for decades, which isn’t bad considering inflation. Still, it’s hard to justify when higher quality gel ink pens exist for nearly the same price, such as the Pentel Energel or the uni-ball Signo 207. That isn’t to say I’d want the Gelly Roll to change – it’s a great nostalgia trip for me, even though I don’t plan on visiting it too often.
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Review: Staedtler Triplus Fineliner, Porous Point, 0.3mm


The Staedtler Triplus Fineliner is a porous point pen, similar to the Sharpie Pen or the Monami Plus Pen 3000, but the most interesting thing about the Triuplus Fineliner is its shape. Instead of a standard round barrel, the body is more of a rounded-off triangle. According to Staedtler’s website, this shape is meant for “relaxed and easy writing,” which I’m not so sure about, but it definitely prevents the pen from rolling off my desk.


As with most porous-point pens, the Triplus Fineliner produces those consistent and clean lines that make all handwriting look a little neater. Compared to the Sharpie Pen, one of my top five pens, the ink appears a tiny bit darker and smears a tiny bit less, but those differences are trivial. The big difference comes down to the barrel: which one is more comfortable?

I still prefer the slightly wider barrel of the Sharpie Pen, which I personally find a lot more comfortable to grip. However, I can see how the Triplus Fineliner might be a better fit for others. So if you’re a fan of the Sharpie Pen, it might be worth testing out the Triplus Fineliner to see if it’s right for you.


Extra Links

  • Steven Combs has a great comparison of Sharpie Pens and Staedtler Triplus Fineliners. He shows that the Triplus Fineliners bleed very slightly, but not enough to be problematic. He also doesn’t like the thin barrel of the Triplus Fineliners.
  • Review at Pen Addict. Apparently, you can leave then pen uncapped for days without it drying out.
  • Review at Journaling Arts. She didn’t like the barrel either, particularly the soft-angled edges.

Review: Monami Plus Pen 3000, Porous Point, Fine


I generally like writing with porous-point pens, and the Monami Plus Pen 3000 is no exception. And while their slogan – “touch of humanity” – is a bit confusing, the pen draws a good, clean line. However, that isn’t to say that the Plus Pen 3000 is without flaws; it certainly has a few.


To start, the body of the Plus Pen 3000 is very cheaply made. It’s composed of a thin, black plastic that flexes and bends. It has no grip, and it’s not particularly comfortable to write with. It also has a very short cap with no clip. So basically, it’s not the type of pen you’d want banging around in your bag or backpack, or else the cap might easily be knocked off and ink-stain everything you own.

Still, as a porous-point pen, it creates very neat lettering when writing. The ink has a moderate amount of smear, and I wouldn’t want to rely on it in a pinch. But a dozen of these in a pen cup would work fine – just call it the poor man’s Sharpie Pen.


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Colors Review: Paper Mate Liquid Flair, Assorted Colors, Medium Point


Although I didn’t like the Paper Mate Liquid Flair for writing, it turns out that it’s a pretty great pen for drawing and coloring. It’s comfortable to hold, and the medium, felt tip does a great job at filling in areas. Though smearing and bleeding can definitely be an issue, it might be worth the trouble for some of the bright and vivid colors.


This set comes with seven colors (plus black): blue, red, green, pink, orange, turquoise, and purple. Some of the colors almost look like highlighters, which isn’t something I tend to like. But the red, blue, and purple are dark and vivid – great colors.

If you’re doing detailed work, this might not be the pen for you – the medium point and the smearing issues would make it less than ideal for that application. But for general coloring, it does a great job. Each pen also has a different design on the barrel, which is a nice touch.


Review: Pilot V Razor Point, Porous Point, Extra Fine

Pilot V Razor Point Extra Fine

The Pilot V Razor Point, if nothing else, solidifies my fondness for porous point pens. It has a rich, dark ink, it’s smooth, and it’s comfortable to write with, despite having no real grip section to speak of. It does smear and bleed a little on standard papers, but not enough to cause problems when writing – though it might not be ideal for doodling.

The design of the V Razor Point is fairly basic. It has a silvery-blue color, black trim, and very straight-forward branding on the barrel, along with the letters “EF” (to indicate “extra fine”) on the end of the cap. For a fully disposable pen, it does a decent job of looking professional.

Pilot V Razor Point EF tip

While I really do like the Pilot V Razor Point, it doesn’t quite deliver the same sharp lines as the Sharpie Pen, another porous point pen. But if it comes down to which is cheaper or more easily available, the V Razor Point is a good contender. It provides a good writing experience, and you’re unlikely to be disappointed.

Pilot V Razor Point Extra Fine ReviewExtra Links