The Uni Live Pigment Sign Pen is a decent porous tip pen with a simple black plastic body and a metal clip on the cap. The pen puts down a nice bold black line, darker than that of the Stabilo Sensor I reviewed yesterday. This pen writes relatively smooth but does not glide across the paper as easily as other porous tip pens like the Staedtler Triplus fineliner (review to come) and the Stabilo mentioned earlier. At $1.65 this pen is affordable but only comes in black, blue and red. I like the Uni Live but I don’t think it is a pen I will be rushing out to buy more of them any time soon.
I want to start off this post by saying that I love fineliners. Fountain pens are my favorite but fineliners are a close second for their lovely feel, portability, and ease of use. Now on to the review:
The Stabilo Sensor features a micro-cushioning “sensor” technology that is supposed to make long writing sessions more comfortable. The fineliner tip retracts into the metal casing when pressure is applied. For me it feels a bit weird. The pen feels bouncy on the paper and I don’t feel quite as in control as I do with other fineliners. The tip is smooth and glides along the paper nicely. I am not really sure I care for the looks of this pen. The “aluminum look” doesn’t look back but I don’t care for all of the big bold branding; to me it doesn’t have a professional look, it looks like a marker. The Sensor comes in black, blue, red, and green. For $1.60 this isn’t a bad pen but I can’t say I will be rushing out to buy another one.
The tip being cased in metal is durable and works well with a ruler
No ink bleed on to the paper
The black isn’t as dark as other fineliners like the Ohto Graphic Liner (review to come)
Ink is non-archival
Springy tip feels odd
Here are some great reviews of the Stabilo Sensor:
(I have no affiliation with any of the sites below)
The Optima is one of Aurora’s higher-end pens with a piston fill system and a 14k gold nib. My Optima has a factory oblique-double-broad (OBB) nib and a burgundy “Auroloide” (celluloid) body. The nib can be unscrewed for easy swapping. Being a piston filler this pen holds a lot of ink and even has a “reserve tank”. When the pen becomes low you simply twist the piston knob as far as it will go and this activates the special reserve tank which gives you another page or so of ink. The Optima has the smoothest piston of all the pens in my collection, it is a real joy to use.
Aurora makes all of its nibs in house and the Optima’s nib is large and beautifully decorated. This is my only OBB nib and I was surprised by how much I like it. The nib glides effortlessly across the paper without being overly toothy like my other stub and oblique pens tend to be. Aurora is famous for having nail-like nibs and the Optima’s is no exception. If you are looking for some flex this definitely isn’t for you. The nib features and ebonite feed with lots of fins. This pen has been very reliable; it doesn’t skip and starts right away even after being uncapped for 15+ minutes.
The Optima has a very nice weight and size. It’s a shorter pen at 5.9 inches capped but is thicker than normal at slightly over half an inch at the widest point making it very comfortable to hold. The Optima’s dimensions suit me very well. The celluloid body is beautiful. The flat cap and engraving on the barrel which reads “AURORA ITALIA” and “FABBRICA ITALIANA DI PENNE A SERBATOIO” gives this pen a nice vintage feel. The embellishments on the cap are nice quality but I am not in love with them. The Greek keys to my eye are not as tasteful as those found pens by OMAS and Montegrappa.
I have had this pen for about six months and it has been in my regular rotation since purchase. It’s a great workhorse. The quality and attention to detail set this pen apart.
Here are some great reviews on the Optima:
(I have no affiliation to any of the sites linked below)