If you find yourself doing some back-to-school shopping at Office Depot, OfficeMax, or any subsidiary thereof, then you’ll probably spot some of the company’s TUL brand of pens. There’s actually a whole TUL family, which includes ballpoints, rollerballs, and mechanical pencils. But, of course, I was drawn to the TUL retractable gel pen – it has a needle point, a 0.5mm tip, and is exactly the sort of pen I typically like for daily use.
The look of the pen is right on. The black and gray fade on the barrel looks pretty cool, and the TUL logo right in the middle is simple and bold. I even like the demonstrator-ish look of the knock and the plastic, black accent on the clip. Although, in hand it feels a little cheaper than it looks. The aforementioned clip seems a bit flimsy, and the rubber grip could use a little extra cushion.
In terms of performance, the TUL retractable is good but not great. Its gel ink is dark and smooth with minimal smearing, though I had some issue with ink flow consistency. It sometimes fluctuated between finer and heavier lines, but this happened to only be an occasional problem.
Overall, it doesn’t fall on the top of the “retractable gel pen” heap alongside my favorites (e.g. the Energel Deluxe RTX and the uni-ball Signo 207), but I do like it nonetheless If these go on sale after the back-to-school shopping season, then I might just have to pick up a couple more packs.
- Here’s a review from The Pen Addict from way back in 2009. Like me he doesn’t like the grip so much, though apparently the refill will fit into a Pilot G-2 pen.
- A review at The Gentleman Stationer shows off the blue ink version.
- For reviews of TUL’s extended line check out The Well Appointed Desk, From the Pen Cup, Gourmet Pens, and Office Supply Geek.