I don’t know why M&G chose to name their erasable pen “Wisdom,” but it makes me think of the Serenity Prayer, the aphorism that asks for wisdom to know the difference between the things that can and cannot be changed. I guess that makes it a bit ironic, then, that the M&G Wisdom has such an awful eraser. With this pen, you’re better off not trying to change anything.
As erasable pens go, the Wisdom pales in comparison to the Pilot Frixion. The Frixion uses a heat-activated ink that disappears with a few swipes of its eraser. The Wisdom, on the other hand, uses a very wet ink, and its eraser simply smears it across the paper. Instead of a clean writing area, a large, gray blob will take the place of any mistake you attempt to correct.
The Wisdom’s ink flow is also unreliable. It cuts out frequently, requiring a nearby scratch pad to get flowing again. It’s not particularly comfortable to write with either. For some reason, the soft, rubbery barrel makes way for a hard, plastic grip section.
So, in the end, you’re better off sticking with the Frixion and leaving the Wisdom behind.
I should probably begin this review with the obvious: “Fanthom” is a terrible product name. As uni-ball’s erasable pen, I understand that it’s meant to be a play on the word “phantom,” but as far as purposeful misspellings go, it’s pretty bad. On the other hand, the same criticism might be made of Pilot’s erasable pen, the Frixion, but it never mattered in that case because that Frixion works incredibly well. But even looking past the name, the uni-ball Fanthom has a lot of problems.
On the positive side, the Fanthom does what it purports to do; it erases very well. Using heat-activated ink technology similar to that of the Pilot Frixion, rubbing the the cap against the page makes the Fanthom’s ink disappear without leaving any smears or eraser residue behind. Unfortunately, uni-ball’s erasable ink looks very dull and is much closer to gray than black. It’s also difficult to re-write over previously erased areas, which is certainly an annoyance.
I’m not a fan of the barrel design either. The grip area is a little slippery, the rubbery cap feels a bit cheap, and the dull gray aesthetic reminds me of the BIC Triumph 537R. Perhaps uni-ball will improve upon its erasable pen in the future, but for now you’re a lot better off sticking with the Pilot Frixion.
- Well Appointed Desk has a nice post reviewing the Fanthom and Frixion pens. Lots of pictures. She saw some residue from the eraser of the Fanthom, which looks more like residue from the erased ink to my eye.
- A review from No Pen Intended, which she says is overall on par with the Frixion. My favorite sentence from this review: “For those of you looking to build up your writer’s callous, look no further.”
- A review from Pen Addict. He also had trouble re-writing over previously erased areas. The Frixion has this issue too (see above picture), but not nearly to the same extent.
My first thought after coming across the Pilot Frixion was, “Why have I never heard of this before?!” My second thought: “I need to tell EVERYBODY!” As far back as I can remember, erasable pens were nothing but garbage. Not only did the eraser leave detritus all over the paper, but it also left a big ink smudge. The Frixion, on the other hand, leaves no eraser debris and erases better than even most pencils I’ve used. It’s almost something you have to see to believe.
It not only works well, it has a nice design too. There’s something about the white eraser on the black 0.5 mm version that looks especially cool to me. And I like that the clicking mechanism is on the clip, which works better with the end of the pen reserved for erasing. The Frixion is also refillable for a little over $1 per ink cartridge, which isn’t an amazing deal but still cheaper than buying the pens brand new. I’ve tried the 0.7mm version, but prefer the 0.5mm, though it can be a bit scratchy sometimes.
It’s definitely not a pen for all uses. You wouldn’t want to sign a check with it, for example, or use it in a journal you plan to save. But quickly taking notes, sketching something out, or anything you might have done with a pencil, the Frixion does a great job. I’ve been using mine almost every day at work, and I’m sure I’ll be using and recommending this pen for years to come.