The Pilot Frixion Ball 4 Wood is one of the many pens I picked up on my trip to Japan that I have yet to review.
The Frixion Ball 4 Wood is a multi-pen that features four erasable gel ball points, a wood grip and an attractive brown and black body.
This is one of the best looking multi-pens I have used and it has a very high quality feel, weighing in at 26.7 grams. It is a well built pen with a satin brown plastic body that is completely free of seams. The section is made of wood and metal and is what gives the pen its nice weight.
It is fair to say I love everything about this pen except for the way it writes. The erasable Frixion ink looks nasty. The colors are washed out and the lines aren’t particularly clean. It is a smooth writer especially for a 0.5mm pen but it’s not a winner for me.
The price is also prohibitive at 3,000 YEN (just under $30USD); that is three time the price of the Uni Pure Malt which while not as nicely made offers a better writing experience with Uni Jetstream ink.
I am quite smitten with the body so I am going to try and see what other refills will work in the Frixion Ball 4 Wood.
The Uni Pure Malt is a multi-pen with two 0.7mm Uni Jetstream hybrid ballpoints (black + red) and a 0.7mm mechanical pencil. If you are wondering what “Pure Malt” refers to, it’s the wooden grip which supposedly comes from the wood used in Japanese whiskey barrels. The Pure Malt comes in a couple whiskey related colors (browns). I chose one with a champagne colored body and a dark wood grip that I think looks great together. The barrel unfortunately has two seams and they go right down the middle of the plastic part of the body which is poor placement if you ask me. The words “PURE” and “MALT” are split by the seam.
The Pure Malt weighs 22.6 grams and feels of good quality. It measures just under 6″ long and is about 0.6″ at the widest part of the barrel. The Jetstream refills perform very well and are my favorite ballpoint style refills. The lines are quite clean and dark by comparison to a standard ballpoint. The point glides across with minimal resistance.
The mechanical pencil is deployed by pressing the clip down and to advance the lead you just click the clip in the down position. The 0.7mm mechanical pencil works very well. I picked up this pen in Japan for at the retail price of 1,000 Yen which is just under $10 USD and for that price I am really happy with the Pure Malt, in fact it is my favorite multi-pen I have come across in a long time.
The Sailor Shu-Katsu is an unusual multi-pen that I purchased on my recent trip to Japan. Most multi-pens that I have come across offer multiple colors and/or a mechanic pencil. The Shu-Katsu has three black ballpoints in 0.5mm, 0.7mm and 1.0mm widths as well as a 0.7mm red ballpoint.
When you unscrew the barrel you will notice that there are five, not four ballpoints. There is an extra 0.7mm black ballpoint refill for when one of the other three black ballpoints runs low.
The 0.5mm ballpoint is marked with one dot and a white button, the 0.7mm is marked with two dots and a grey button, and the 1.0mm is marked with 3 dots and a black button.
There is a three ballpoint (four with the auxiliary) version that is all black (no red). The Shu-Katsu comes in four different body colors: black, blue, light pink and light blue. It’s a pretty unexciting looking pen if I am honest. It’s very plain. Sailor refers to the clip as an “axis” clip. It is a quite large spring operated clip that you push the top of to open. The clip feels strong and the pen overall feels very solid.
The Shu-Katsu measures 5.5″ long and just over half an inch wide. It weighs approximately 16 grams It’s a fat pen, not something I would want to write for a long time with.
The ink is smooth and the lines are pretty crisp for a ballpoint but I found the 0.7mm and 1.0mm to be a bit blobby on paper.
The Shu-Katsu costs 400 Yen which is just under $4 USD and at that price I think it is a pretty good value. You get 5 smooth ballpoints for a little bit more than a Bic 4-Color. The real question though, is do you need or want 3 different black ballpoints? I don’t. I would rather have 4 colors to chose from than 2.
The Uni Jetstream 3 is a refillable three color (black, blue and red) ballpoint multi pen. The Jetstream 3, like all pens in Uni’s Jetstream line, writes very smoothly. The ink is fast drying and the pen always starts without a hitch. Being a ballpoint, the pen lays down lines that are not particularly clean and there is more resistance on the paper than you get from the equivalent roller ball or gel pen.
The translucent black body and rubber grip give the Jetstream 3 a simple and clean look.
Overall, the Jetstream 3 is a good ballpoint pen and I have found myself using it more than I thought I would.
Please note: this product was provided to me at no charge by JetPens for review purposes.