It might just be the large Asain characters splayed across its barrel, but I really enjoy using the SKB Roller Tip rollerball pen. After all, it’s difficult to point to anything that makes it stand out. It’s not a particularly durable or fancy pen – the body is mostly plastic with a cheap-ish cap – but I can say that the Roller Tip is definitely a solid performer.
The SKB Roller Tip lays down consistent lines, has a rich black ink, and is moderately comfortable to hold. The ink does smears some, though not excessively for a rollerball pen. Overall, it might be the best disposable rollerball pen I’ve reviewed so far. It’s better than the uni-ball Air or the BIC Triumph 537R for sure, but it’s not as if the SKB Roller Tip blows those pens out of the water.
As with SKBs other products (e.g. the Soft Ink SB-1000, the Click Ball, and the V6), you’ll need to find the Roller Tip online if you want to purchase it in the U.S. And it might be even be worth hunting down. Just be sure not to expect anything beyond what it is; a good disposable pen.
While SKB’s Soft Ink and Click Ball pens showed some promise, SKB’s V6 gel pen mostly gave me trouble. With a classic silver-on-black color scheme, its design is nice enough. The cap secures and posts very well, and the clip is sturdy enough for daily use. And though it lacks a soft grip, it still manages to be somewhat comfortable to hold.
That’s all for nothing, unfortunately, when the pen has a bad refill. The V6 tends to skip out quite frequently, and it is one of the roughest writing experiences I’ve had – it feels like I’m scratching the paper with every stroke. And while the ink doesn’t seem to bleed at all, smearing is still a problem.
In Taiwan – where SKB primarily sells their pens – the V6 costs 15 Yuen (about $2.35 US dollars) for a 12-pack (or about 20 cents per pen). So in Taiwan, you get what you pay for. In the U.S., however, I paid $3 for a 3-pack, which is overpriced considering almost any other gel pen will give you a much better writing experience.
The most striking thing about the SKB Click Ball is how much it looks like the uni-ball Signo RT1 gel pen. The all-black design, the shape of the barrel, and even the knock/click mechanism seem nearly identical (click here for a comparison pic). It’s as if the Click Ball is the Signo RT1’s younger brother, albeit one that still has thing or two left to learn.
The Click Ball provides a great writing experience once it gets going: it’s smooth to write with, the ink doesn’t blob up, and there’s no smearing. Getting to that point, however, can be a bit of a struggle. After the pen has been sitting, it seems like the first few words drag on the page, and there are some intermittent issues with ink skipping.
Like SKB’s Soft Ink pen, I’m not overly impressed with the Click Ball. It’s not bad considering that it’s something of an economy-priced pen in Taiwan. To get it in the U.S., however, you’re probably paying more money than it would be worth. And if you just like the look of the pen, you’d be better off with the Signo RT1.
You can’t walk into a store in the U.S. to pick up a pack of SKB Soft Ink SB-1000s. In fact, you might even have trouble finding them online. As far as I can tell, they’re the “generic office pen” of Taiwan, and they certainly look the part.
Inside the clear plastic barrel and underneath the ordinary cap, there is a thin stick of ballpoint ink. These pens look like they’re produced very cheaply and are probably quite inexpensive in Taiwan, though you’ll be paying around one dollar per pen to get them here in North America. Beyond having one for its novelty value, it certainly isn’t worth purchasing.
What makes the SB-1000 interesting, however, is how well it writes compared to the standard office pens here in the U.S. The 0.5mm tip skips and occasionally produces small ink blobs on the page that are common with cheaper ballpoints, but the ink itself is surprisingly dark and smooth. Maybe American office supply chains should take note.