Stabilo is an old company that has been working with porous point writing tech as far back as the 1970s (when the Stabilo Boss highlighter sales began to boom). So, with decades of design and manufacturing experience under its belt, Stabilo should have the resources to create a great porous point pen. And, as a fan of porous points, I was eager to try the popular Stabilo Sensor.
The main feature of this pen is its “sensor” tip, which retracts in slightly when pressed on paper. It sounds like an intrusive feature, but it’s hardly noticeable unless you write with a very heavy hand. The product’s webpage mentions that this feature is meant to improve smoothness and comfort, but I suspect that it has more to do with extending the pen’s life.
With porous point pens, the tip is usually the first part to break down. The Sensor adds a little ‘give’ whenever too much pressure is placed on it. As far as I can tell, this feature works as intended, but it comes with a couple drawbacks. First, it’s two to three times more expensive than a cheaper option like the Monami Plus Pen 3000. It also seems to me that the Sensor doesn’t put down a line that’s quite as clean as something like The Sharpie Pen.
For me, this pen isn’t a favorite, but it’s definitely a good choice. It writes well, and it has a dark ink with minimal smear and bleed-through. It has a nice barrel design as well – both aesthetically and functionally. It has a thicker body and longer clip than most other porous points (which, for whatever reason, tend to be thin with small clips). But for anyone with a heavy hand who likes the look and feel of a porous point, the Sensor is definitely worth a try.
Ever since the Sharpie Pen began to grow in popularity, it seems like porous point pens have eaten up more and more shelf space. This, honestly, comes as no surprise to me; porous points, even the super cheap ones, tend to write very crisp and clean lines. They make handwriting noticeably nicer and neater.
The Foray Stylemark is definitely among the better porous points out on the market. It has a plastic barrel and cap, but comes with a sturdy clip and a rubber grip. It looks nice, but it’s nothing flashy. Still, it’s a step up from its competitors, which often have short caps, crummy clips, and no grip section to speak of.
In fact, I think I’ll go out on a limb and say that the Stylemark has ousted the BIC Intensity to become my new favorite porous point pen. The only issue: Foray is an Office Depot house brand. So you’re unlikely to find it outside of that company’s stores. But if you are a fan of porous point pens then it might be worth making the trip.
It was practically a foregone conclusion that I was going to like the Pentel Finito, a fine-tipped, porous-point pen. Like other porous point pens, such as the BIC Intensity or the Sharpie Pen, the Finito produces a clean line that manages to make any handwriting look neater. It’s fully disposable, but it has the benefit of being a little thicker than an average plastic-bodied pen. So, it’s comfortable to use and seems fairly durable.
Unlike most porous-point pens, the Finito uses a feed system that helps keep the ink flowing smoothly, but having a feed sometimes can help a little too much. Given that it’s labeled as an “extra fine” pen, it produces a thicker line than one might expect. The Finito also suffers from some smearing and bleeding issues, though nothing I’d consider out of the ordinary.
It’s a good pen and one that I’d recommend, but, in my experience, the Finito is difficult to find in stores – I had to order a box online. On the other hand, the Pilot V Razor Point, a very similar pen, is quite common. So even though the Finito is a bit longer, thicker, and sturdier than the V Razor Point, you might as well grab whichever you can find at your local drug store instead of shelling out extra money for shipping fees.
- A review at A Pen a Day says that the Finito bleeds through paper less than the Sharpie Pen. That’s probably true, but expect bleeding from both if you’re using thin or cheap paper.
- The Pen Addict also laments the fact that the Finito can be difficult to find and complains of massive ink flow and bleeding. I wouldn’t call the ink flow “massive,” but, as I noted, I definitely wouldn’t call it “extra fine” either.
- Art Supply Critic did not seem too pleased at all, calling thing Finto “mediocre.”
As an instrument for writing, I wasn’t particularly fond of the Staedtler Triplus Fineliner’s barrel shape, a unique design that resembles a rounded-off triangle. But for drawing and coloring, this design seems to work pretty well. Almost like a grip, the flat edges allow for a little more control, whereas fully rounded and smooth barrels can sometimes slip in your hand.
This six-color set, is fairly standard in terms of color variation, so they could work well for utilitarian tasks like taking notes and editing papers. However, these pens are also very good at filling in areas and creating clean lines, so I’m inclined recommend them for more artistic purposes.
It’s also worth mentioning that Triplus Fineliners are “dry safe,” which means that you don’t have to worry too much about capping and uncapping these pens – they take days to dry out. So, if you’re working on something especially detailed, it will save you an extra step when going back and forth between colors.
But no matter what you might use them for, they are really a quality set of pens. In fact, I might have to look into adding a few more colors to my collection.
Note: that alien looks a lot more menacing than I intended.
To date, one of my favorite pens has been the Sharpie Pen. It’s relatively inexpensive, comfortable to write with, and it has a porous point tip that delivers crisp, clear lines. Every other porous point pen has had to measure up to the Sharpie Pen, and many, like the Sakura Pigma Micron and the Staedtler Triplus Fineliner, have come very close. But for one reason or another, I always go back to the Sharpie Pen.
And then there was the BIC Intensity.
It’s not that the BIC Intensity is much different from the sharpie Pen. In fact, it’s very similar in most ways. The length and thickness are about the same, they are both fully disposable, and they both contain a nice-quality ink (perhaps the Sharpie Pen’s ink is even a bit darker). But the Intensity edges out the Sharpie Pen for one reason; it has a more durable build.
Holding the two pens together, it’s easy to see and feel. The BIC Intensity has a thicker cap with a metal clip. The plastic construction seems harder, and it feels ever-so-slightly heavier. All of this makes the Intensity better for throwing in a pocket, backpack, or bag – perhaps only slightly, but enough to make a noticeable difference.
I still like the Sharpie Pen, and I have no doubt that I’ll continue to use and recommend it. However, it’s the BIC Intensity that I’ll reach for first.
- Rhonda Eudaly’s review points out that the porous tip will break down over time. Though, that’s true for all of these porous point pens.
- A review at Well Appointed Desk shows off some of the colors. Also, she has a paragraph at the end about why you might choose the Intensity over the Sakura Pigma Micron or Sharpie Pen, but overall she says the performance is very comparable.
- My favorite line from the Pen Addict review: “Overall, there aren’t any standout negatives, which is a rarity coming from Bic.”