As a longtime fan of porous point pens, I’m happy to see more and more of them in stores. I found this pen, the Optimus by Inc., in a two-pack at a dollar store, sitting beside another porous point pen, the Promarx UltraFine. And, though I’ve had issues with Inc. pens in the past, I’ve got to say that the company has done a pretty good job here.
For an average price of 50 cents per pen, the Optimus is fairly inexpensive compared to name brand porous points. It comes with a hard plastic body and no “grip” section to really speak of, but I was pleasantly surprised to see a nice metal clip. Since most porous point pens come with cheapo clips, this is a touch that I really like. The pen itself is durable enough, and the tip has continued to produce a crisp line after two weeks of continuous use.
When it comes right down to it, this is a great pen for the money. Without any specified tip size (it just says “fine point”) it won’t replace any of the fancier fine liners, and anyone familiar with a pen like the BIC Intensity won’t see anything special or new here. But if you’re looking to cut costs from your porous point pen budget, the Optimus is a good way to go without sacrificing quality.
After my bad experience with the Inc R-2 rollerball pen, I wasn’t expecting much from the Inc Forma. After all, it does look like a cheap, ballpoint version of the Pilot G-2, and it’s primarily sold at The Dollar Tree. But after using it for bit, I was quickly and pleasantly surprised.
At $1 for a 3-pack, you’re definitely not getting a premium experience with the Forma. The pen is entirely made of plastic, the clip feels very flimsy, and the rubber grip is best described as “soft-ish.” But putting pen to paper, the ballpoint ink in this pen is surprisingly smooth. It doesn’t require much pressure to use, making it a decent writing experience.
On the negative side, the ink isn’t particularly dark, and there’s a small issue with blobbing and smearing. But, really, I don’t have any criticisms that are harsh given that it’s such an inexpensive pen. I’d prefer it over a cheaper BIC ballpoint any day.
Of course, I’d never suggest that anyone go out of their way to buy a pack. The Forma is not, by any means, a great pen. But if you happen to be in need of some cheap ballpoints while at a dollar store, then this is a fine choice.
The Inc R-2 rollerball pen has a thick, sturdy look about it, and it feels like a permanent marker in the hand. It’s fully disposable, yet seems durable enough to hold up to the abuse of banging around in a backpack. I was excited to use the R-2, but when I finally had a reason to pull one out and write, I was quickly disappointed.
The R-2 has a decent grip, making it fairly comfortable to hold, but it delivers neither the smoothest nor the cleanest lines. It has a really nice dark ink, but it bleeds through the page. Worst of all, the flow is just no good – there is no consistency in line width, and the ink frequently skips out.
The R-2 is an inexpensive pen – I bought a 2-pack for one dollar – but they’re still not worth the trouble. The writing is so inconsistent that they’ll only frustrate you. Instead, spend an extra dollar or two to get something at least a little better.