How does it feel like to write with the Acroball? Is it comfortable to hold? How does the ink look?
Our editing department purchased Pilot’s ever-popular Acroball, contacted three stationery specialists, and sought to answer the above questions. We also compared it to its rival, the Jetstream. This is what we learned during testing.
What’s So Special about the Pilot Acroball?
The Acroball features Acro Ink, which is patented by Pilot. It’s said that it’s only a fifth as viscous as traditional ink. The nib of the pen basically skates on top of it, allowing for very smooth writing. It holds just as fast as traditional oil-based inks–you can use it to jot down notes or to fill in important documents.
Plus, the design of the pen itself makes it easy to use. The tip comes in medium, fine, and super-fine, and it’s got a grip patterned like a tire that feels comfortable in the hand.
That’s the traditional Acroball. But there’s also the multi-pens “Acroball 3” and “Acroball 3+1”, as well as the classy Acroball 1000. Pilot even threw in some limited-time collaborations, such as their Acro vs. Godzilla line.
Putting the Pilot Acroball to the Test
We teamed up with three stationery specialists and put the Acroball to the test. Specifically, we were looking for the five following factors.
Test ①: Design
Test ②: Grip
Test ③: The Feel of Writing
Test ④: Ink Depth and Color
Test ⑤: Drying Speed
Test ①: Design
Because you can’t help but judge a pen by its barrel.
Nothing to Write Home About… Unless You Want to Warn Your Family Never to Get the See-Through Acroball
We’d say it’s not the prettiest pen in the world, especially when compared to its competitors, the Jetstream or Power Tank. The design is simple–you’ve got “Acroball” and Pilot’s logo on the clip and that’s about it. Not bad, but not that impressive either…
We did make the mistake of ordering a transparent body. You could see the yellow ink stopper through the barrel, and it bothered us. The rubber used for the grip was also not completely opaque. Having all those plastic bits on display actually made the pen feel and look cheaper.
Though, Admittedly, the Clip was Well-Designed and Secure
Okay, but we did like one thing. That gentle curve drawn by the clip of the pen was pretty slick.
The two bump-shaped fasteners beneath the clip were also clever. They made the clip that much more secure, helping the pen hold on to whatever it was attached to–a notebook, bag, shirt pocket… Very convenient for when you’re out and about.
Test ②: Grip
Because you can’t write without holding the pen first.
Rubberized Grip Didn’t Hurt and Didn’t Slip
We’ve seen online reviews claiming that the Acroball’s too thick and different to hold, but when we measured, we found that the grip was only 10 mm in diameter. It was a bit curved, but even at its widest point, it was about 11 mm–that is, the width of most standard pens and pencils.
Plus, that curve helped the grip fit our hands. The tire-like tread kept it from slipping. The rubber was just soft enough to keep the barrel from grinding against or fingers and hurting.
Weight was Well-Balanced and Well-Suited for Hours of Writing
We then perched the pen on a finger, looking for the center of balance. It was pretty much smack dab in the middle.
That told us the pen was going to be easy to control, and we could write for hours with it and not get tired.
Test ③: The Feel of Writing
Because you buy a pen to write with it.
Hold the Pen at ~60° and Don’t Press Too Hard, and You Won’t Have Any Trouble
We wrote with the pen held at three different angles. At 45°, the pen felt scratchy and ink faded in and out. But at 60°, all strokes were of a uniform width and the nib moved smoothly across paper.
At 90°, we got the same smooth performance, but it was hard keeping the pen perpendicular to the page. It’s said that it’s best to write with your pen poised between 60° and 90°, and this held true for the Pilot Acroball.
On a side note, the pen will also scratch if you put too much pressure on it.
Depends on the Paper You’re Using, but Generally Speaking, Not Much Ghosting
We then checked out the flip side of the page we wrote on. There was some ghosting where we pressed down too hard, but overall, things were looking pretty good.
Out of curiosity, we doodled on an even thinner page but, still, very little ghosting. We can’t guarantee that nothing will bleed through, as a lot depends on the quality of the paper you’re using. If you write on flimsy paper, then test the pen in a corner first.
Test ④: Ink Depth and Color
Because even when the pen is gone, the ink remains.
Ink Came out Vivid and Easy to See
The ink was so dark, it was practically popping off the page. All three of our specialists also praised the ink for being “very thick and very black.”
If you’re looking for rich color, then the Acroball is a good choice.
Test ⑤: Drying Speed
Because who likes ink blots on their hands or smears on their page?
Deemed Safe to Highlight
We wrote “my best” on normal notebook paper, then went over it immediately with a highlighter; there was slight smearing. We wrote “my best” again but waited five seconds before highlighting; there was very faint smearing, but not enough to bother us. We then tried the same thing but with a ten second interval; this time, there was no smearing at all.
We doubt there are many people who highlight after every word, so this drying speed should present little issue.
The Final Verdict: We Like How It Writes and the Look of Its Ink. Acroball Gets Our Seal of Approval
Overall, the Pilot Acroball is an excellent pen. It writes smoothly, feels comfortable to hold, comes out vivid, and dries quickly. The barrel’s well-balanced enough for those worried about penmanship, and the ink holds fast enough for important documents.
They’re readily available in America, and you can get one for about 150 yen in Japan (about $1.50). We think it’s well worth the price.
Are There Refills Available?
For all those looking to save money/cut down on waste, the answer is yes. You can get refills in 0.5, 0.7, or 1.0. Just keep in mind that refills for the original Acroball are not compatible with the multi-pens–your Acroball 2s, 3s, or 4s. They have their own separate refills.
The Big Battle: Acroball vs. Jetstream
The Acroball’s greatest rival: the Jetstream. If you’re trying to decide between the two, here’s our take on the situation.
If we’re talking about the look of the ink and the feel of nib on paper, the Jetstream pulled slightly ahead. However, the Acroball had a better grip, which fit our hands like a glove.
So, if you’re looking for a generally well-balanced pen, then get the Jetstream. But if you want something comfortable for long bouts of writing, get the Acroball.
We put the Pilot Acroball to the test. We were impressed by how it wrote, how it felt in the hand, and how the ink looked. Overall, it’s a worthy purchase.
We’ve seen our fair share of praise for the uni Jetstream. It writes smoothly. It feels pretty good in the hand. And the ink is dark as pitch. But we know that on the internet, things can get inflated and distorted, so we wanted to put the Jetstream to the test one more time. Our editing department purchased uni’s ever-popular Jetstream 0.7, contacted three stationery specialists, and looked at design, ergonomics, and ink quality. We also looked up information about refills. This is what we learned during testing. uni Jetstream Standard (SXN-150-07) Visit Amazon for more details Visit ebay for more details Visit Global Rakuten for more details Price: $1.50 Why is the Jetstream so Popular? Over the course of a year, over 100 million Jetstreams are purchased worldwide. A lot of it is thanks to the ink. Texture is light and smooth, but color comes out dense and crisp. You can find black refills in 0.38, 0.5, 0.7, and 1.0. The Standard is the most basic of your Jetstreams. There’s also t
We took a look at the Jetstream Prime Single from uni. Available for about $15 in Japan and usually sold for more in the States, it may not be as pricey as your hundred-dollar fountain pens, but it still costs a good deal more than your multi-packs from Office Depot, where pens are few cents apiece. So is the Jetstream Prime worth it? Our editing department purchased the Jetstream Prime and inspected the design, the ink, and the ergonomics of the pen. We also checked out refills. This is what we learned during testing. uni Jetstream Prime Knock (Retractable) Single Visit Amazon for more details Visit ebay for more details Visit Global Rakuten for more details Price: $16.01 What are the Standout Features of the Jetstream Prime? The Jetstream Prime is just a fancier version of the Jetstream. It’s got the same smooth, light, oil-based ink as the Jetstream but stuffed into a barrel sleek enough for business settings. The Jetstream Prime also comes as a twist pen, but we think the retractab
The Power Tank is one of those cheap, disposable pens. And to save money, companies are going have to cut corners somewhere, so it makes sense to wonder. Is the pen scratchy? Is it ergonomic? Is the ink of good quality? Our editing department purchased uni’s ever-popular Power Tank, contacted three stationery specialists, and sought to answer the above questions. We also looked up information about refills. This is what we learned during testing. uni Power Tank Visit Amazon for more details Visit ebay for more details Visit JetPens for more details Price: $3.30 What Sets the uni Power Tank Apart from Its Competitors? The Power Tank is known as a “pressurized” ballpoint pen. What that means in plain language is every time you click on the pen, you’re generating compressed air, which forces the ink out the tip. Since the Power Tank doesn’t rely on gravity to draw out ink (unlike traditional pens), you can write with the pen facing up or horizontally; the system also keeps water from s
The comfort of a Dr. Grip, the convenience of a multi-pen, and the flexibility of pencil all in one. At first glance, the Dr. Grip 4+1 seems good too to be true–and maybe it is. Reviewers complain about the levers being fiddly, the green being iffy, and the ink skipping. We were never ones to miss out on introducing a miracle product (or bashing a rip-off), so we purchased Pilot’s Dr. Grip 4+1, contacted three stationery specialists, and inspected the claims listed above. We also looked up available refills and tried installing them. This is what we learned during testing. Pilot Dr. Grip 4+1 Visit Amazon for more details Visit ebay for more details Visit JetPens for more details Price: $11.21 What are the Standout Features of the Dr. Grip 4+1? The Dr. Grip 4+1 is a black, a blue, a red, and a green ballpoint pen plus one mechanical pencil, wrapped into variously colored barrels. These barrel colors include bright red, lavender, baby blue, and champagne gold (we picked out the Bordeaux
You’d think gel pens would be straightforward. But in Japan, where stationery makers are all vying for the top spot in a heated market, even the smallest improvement in design and the faintest sparkling of genius can make a difference. And wouldn’t you, the stationery buff, like to know what gel pens are currently the most prized in Japan? So this time around, we ordered the 15 most popular gel pens from Japan’s e-commerce giants (such as Amazon, Rakuten, and kakaku.com) and tested for the following: How the Grip Felt Balance The Color, Feel, and Depth of the Ink How the Nib Felt against Paper Fastness of the Ink Design This is how we tested and found the most exceptional Japanese gel pens. How to Choose a Japanese Gel Pen – Buying Guide We’ll get into how we tested and compared all the gel pens, but before that, we want to introduce four things you should look out for when picking out a gel pen. ① Get a Pen that Feels Good to Hold To find a gel pen you can write comfortably w
The lead in mechanical pencils is fine, which is both a blessing and a curse. Yes, it makes the pencil easier to control and fine print easier to write, but it also has an annoying habit of snapping. However, Japan, which excels in both engineering and stationery, has flooded the market with mechanical pencils designed not to snap. So which of these mechanical pencils live up to their promises and which are dupes? To answer those questions, we ordered the 8 most popular mechanical pencils (that claim to be unsnappable) from Japan’s e-commerce giants (such as Amazon, Rakuten, and kakaku.com) and tested for the following: How Well Protected the Lead is How the Grip Felt How Balanced the Pencil is How Easy It is to Write This is how we tested and found the most exceptional Japanese mechanical pencils that don’t break. How to Choose a Japanese Mechanical Pencil that Doesn’t Break – Buying Guide We’ll get into how we tested and compared all the mechanical pencils, but before that, we
Thickening at the slightest application of pressure, but also able to come to a fine point. Shifting easily from dark to light and back again. Calligraphy (or brush) pens are invaluable tools not just for calligraphy or the writing of Chinese characters or illustrating wall scrolls, but also for a wide variety of Western and fusion art as well. And quality matters. Japan is known for calligraphy, for ink art, and for stationery, so wouldn’t it make sense that some of the best calligraphy pens come from this island country? In order to introduce you to a few, we ordered the 15 most popular brush pens from Japan’s e-commerce giants (such as Amazon, Rakuten, and kakaku.com) and tested for the following: How Well It Writes How the Ink Transfers and Its Depth of Color How Thick It is This is how we tested and found the most exceptional Japanese calligraphy and brush pens. How to Choose a Japanese Calligraphy and Brush Pen – Buying Guide We’ll get into how we tested and compared all o
We’ve searched the internet high and low to figure out what makes a great correction tape. During our research,we found that the best correction tapes not only cover up your mistakes, but also offer helpful features like rewinding, see-through, and retractable tips. Whether you’re using it to cover typed print, block out documents for photocopying, or fix handwritten mistakes in your bullet journal or notes, a good correction tape will make your life easier. Keeping these things in mind, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite correction tapes available online. Top 10 Best Correction Tapes to Buy Online It’s important you know know how and when you plan to use correction tape. Different tapes are better for different situations, so keep your own in mind when making your choice. 1. Tombow Mono Hybrid Correction Tape (10 Pack) Visit Amazon for more details Price: $9.71 Best Quality and Quantity for the Price This compact correction tape works well in almost any situation. It’s small enoug
Highlighters are indispensable study assistants. It’s their job to point out and help you remember the most vital parts of your notes, a textbook, documents. You don’t want to skimp on them. And here in Japan, where the market for stationery gets ever more competitive, we have some of the most innovative highlighters in the world, including ones that are retractable, erasable, fast-drying. In fact, we have so much to offer, it’s hard to pick out the best. That’s why, this time around, we ordered the 14 most popular highlighters from Japan’s e-commerce giants (such as Amazon, Rakuten, and kakaku.com) and tested for the following: How Easily It Writes How Quickly It Dries How Functional It is How Rich the Color is This is how we tested and found the most exceptional Japanese highlighters. How to Choose a Japanese Highlighter – Buying Guide We’ll get into how we tested and compared all our highlighters, but before that, we want to introduce four things you should look out for when pi
Scissors are one of those things you don’t think about but are in fact an indispensable part of your household. That’s why we’ve decided to cut through the junk and research what makes a great pair of scissors. We chose to stick to general use scissors and found that the best ones are durable, comfortable, safe for all members of the family, and cut through anything from paper to cardboard. That might mean you need titanium-coated stainless steel blades, a left-handed grip, or a mechanism that makes use easier for arthritic users. Keeping these things in mind, we’ve handpicked a few of our favorite scissors available online. Top 10 Best Scissors to Buy Online A good pair of scissors works well for your hands and lifestyle. So be sure to keep your preferences in mind when making a choice. 1. Livingo Heavy Duty Scissors Visit Amazon for more details Price: $12.99 Best Extra Sharp, Heavy-Duty Scissors This heavy-duty, multi-colored, titanium-coated pair of scissors can cut through basical