Review: Pilot Acroball, Hybrid Ballpoint Pen, 0.7mm

Pilot Acroball

In the history of pens, hybrid ballpoints are a relative newcomer, ostensibly combining the fast-drying properties of ballpoint pens with the smooth writing experience of rollerball or gel ink pens. But how well do these hybrid ink pens actually perform? It turns out that Pilot’s hybrid, the Acroball, does a pretty good job.

Like most ballpoint pens, the Acroball’s ink dries immediately on standard papers and writes very noticeably smoother; similar to the uni-ball Jetstream, another hybrid ballpoint pen I’ve reviewed. But compared to the Jetstream, the Acroball’s ink is slightly darker and doesn’t seem to skip nearly as often. The Acroball is also comfortable to hold, and its white and grey color scheme stands out nicely, even though its all-plastic design looks a bit cheap.

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Though it can’t quite reach the smoothness and color-richness of gels and rollerballs, the Pilot Acroball is definitely one of the best options for people looking for a no-smear pen. You really might as well just throw out all your ballpoints and get one of these.

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Extra Links

Review: uni-ball Jetsream, Hybrid Ballpoint Pen, 0.7mm

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Do a quick Google search on the uni-ball Jetstream, and you’ll see that it has plenty of rave reviews. It seems that a lot of people cite the Jetstream as their favorite go-to pen, and I agree with a lot of those positive points. The Jetstream is certainly smoother than your average ballpoint pen, smudging is non-existent, and these pens are readily available at your nearest convenience, grocery, or big-box store. But as I’ve been using the Jetstream, it’s been hard to ignore the downsides.

Similar to most ballpoint pens, the black ink is somewhat dull, nowhere near matching the richness you can get with a gel or rollerball pen. And though the Jetstream uses a hybrid ink that is supposed to give consistent flow, I had plenty of skipping occur during my use. On top of that, I find the pen very aesthetically boring.

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The uni-ball Jetstream is definitely a big step-up for people who are used to using the cheap pens found in most offices, and I believe it is probably one of the better options for left-handers who need a quick-drying ink. As a go-to pen, however, I think most people can do better.

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Extra Links

The Wire Cutter dubs the Jetstream The Best Pen. There are a few caveats because they wanted something cheap, easily found in most stores, and with easy appeal to the masses.

Review at Parka Blogs. The reviewer, Kenneth Chin, says the flow issues are much better with the 0.5mm version.

Office Supply Geek’s Review. Included in the review is a short interview with the Senior Brand Manager of uni-ball.