uni-ball Vision Micro Black Review

The uni-ball Vision Micro. The only rollerball pen I like because it’s not very good.

I’ve never liked rollerball pens, but I DO like them more than ballpoints. That sounds like some kind of pen snob opinion, but it’s pretty true. There’s something about ballpoints that I just don’t like. I guess it’s the ink, since that’s the primary differentiator between rollerballs and ballpoint pens. There is one I like, however, and it’s this one. I first encountered these as an adult in the physics lab of my college. The lab tech was big into the pens with the micro points, and I would often ask him to borrow one, and I’d always make a point to return them since they were better than the standard pen fare. This is one rollerball I don’t mind, and it may be because it’s not good as a rollerball. Let’s get into it.

Performance: 5/10. The pen is scratchy and uneven. It feels like you’re writing through sand, or with a scratchy felt tip, if you’ve ever written with one of those before. Bad for a rollerball, but fun for me, as it keeps me feeling the paper and from straying too far off the letter I was intending to write. This may be a product of the fact that I have the micro version with the tiny (.5 mm) tip.

The aforementioned tiny tip of the pen,

The aforementioned tiny tip of the pen. Here we can also see a minor problem I have with the pen, the slick, uncomfortable grip section.

The Vision's line, plus a few other rollerball pens I have sitting around.

The Vision’s line, plus a few other rollerball pens I have sitting around. As we can see, it’s skinny, and slightly skippy.

Appearance: 7/10. Interestingly, this pen looks good because it looks like itself. Non pen people know this pen because, in its ubiquity, they have written with it once or twice and remember that it was a swell pen to write with. It may be their only experience with rollerballs. Hence, they are quick to recognize it as a good pen. But, barring that, it’s pretty generic. The point looks normal, the pen is a dull grey and made of plastic. Nothing to really see here. But, the clip is so spartan as to become pretty.

The pen with a quarter. Why's the quarter there? I didn't take it out of the background. As it happens, it propped up the pen, too, so it was a win win.

The pen with a quarter. Why’s the quarter there? I didn’t take it out of the background. As it happens, it propped up the pen, too, so it was a win win. But look at that clip. Straight as an arrow with zero flourishes. Now that is cool.

Build quality: 6/10 It’s about the same size as other disposable rollerball pens, and feels about the same. I’ve never had one of these things break on me. However, the grip section is just transparent plastic, forgoing the rubberized grip on many other $1 priced rollerball and gel pens. However, it’s just all plastic, and while it feels good, it doesn’t match up with, say, even a cheap plastic Zebra that looks worse.

Some other pens for comparison. A Frontier rollerball demonstrator, a uni-ball Signo, the Vision, and a Pilot Precise, from top to bottom. We can see the understated good looks here.

Some other pens for comparison. A Frontier rollerball demonstrator, a uni-ball Signo, the Vision, and a Pilot Precise, from top to bottom. We can see the understated good looks here. And that clip. Nice.

Refilling and maintenance: 5/10. You can’t refill it. Why do I give it a 5/10? Because it’s cheap, and it’ll last you a long ass time. Throw it out and buy a new one. It’s a rollerball: they all end up feeling the same.

Value: 9/10. It’s cheap. It works well. Comes in multiple colours.

Overall: 7/10. Not an average. This pen is pretty good. It’s cheap, writes just scratchy enough for me to like it, and it is known for its spartan good looks.

Here’s some terrible writing.

visionsample

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