Friday, October 22, 2010

Pentel Vicuna Pen Review

The Pentel Vicuna is a new offering from Pentel. It isn't sold in the U.S. currently, but it is available in Asia and other areas. The first thing that struck me about the pen was the design. It looks amazing. The word "Vicuna" is embossed, but covered in a translucent gray rubber-like material. The grip extends to the perfect length for my writing style, and covers most of the pen.

The word "Vicuna" embossed underneath the rubber grip.

The Vicuna comes in a number of eye-catching barrel colors and ink colors. The black ink color comes in a number of barrel colors (blue, red, black, orange, purple, etc.), and there are also blue and red ink with corresponding barrels. It is part of Pentel's Recycology line, which by definition requires the pen to be made of at least 50% recycled materials, not including the refills. This makes the Vicuna not only comfortable and good-looking, but ecologically friendly and refillable as well.

So, is there any substance behind its striking looks? Absolutely. This pen writes so smooth and consistent and is comparable to the Uni-Ball Jetstream's hybrid ink, but in a much better barrel. According to Pentel's Japanese website, it does indeed use a pigmented hybrid ink system. It is also advertised as being water resistant or water proof. According to their slightly silly graph, the Vicuna writes 1/40 of 100 smoother than a regular ballpoint pen. While this may be true, I don't necessarily agree with Pentel's marketing strategy of targeting this product towards women, as I find it to be completely unisex and fairly masculine looking in the black/gray barrel.

Masculine, or Feminine? You make the call.

The ink is dark & vivid and doesn't skip like a traditional ball point pen sometimes does. However, I did notice a little bit of ink globbing around strokes every once in a while. It is not as prevalent as it is in the Pentel RSVP fine point pens I've purchased and used, however. Like the Jetstream, the ink dries instantly so it doesn't smear, making it great for lefties. For around $2 a pen, it is priced competitively with other pens like the Uni-Ball Jetstream. I ordered mine for $1.50 from StationeryArt but JetPens also just started carrying them, although at $2.25 a piece. StationeryArt doesn't offer it in any ink colors aside from black, while JetPens offers black, red and blue and the black ink barrel variants.

To further my testing, I had my sister try the pen without offering any of my conclusions/opinions beforehand, and she noticed that it was smooth, wrote instantly, and didn't smear. She added that it was one of the nicest pens she's ever used. To more directly quote the experience, one of the test words she wrote on my sheet of paper was "amazing."

In conclusion, even with the minor issue of occasional globbing (which, honestly, doesn't happen often at all), I still highly recommend this pen. Next time you're making an order for a new pen (or pens), definitely put this one on your list.

-Derek (ThirdeYe)

Note: I was not compensated by or provided this product from JetPens nor StationeryArt. I purchased this item myself and these opinions expressed within are my own.


  1. Great review, just got my blue Vicuna from JetPens today.

  2. Great review :) I'm a big fan of the Jetstream line - I'll have to add this to my wish list :)

  3. Sara - Thanks for the comment! If you're used to the Jetstream, I really think you'll enjoy it. I've liked the Jetstream for some time now, and this is quite comparable and more comfortable in my opinion.

  4. Great review! I have been using the Vicuna for a while and absolutly love it. Personally, I find that the Vicuna writes smoother than Jetstream. I wounder when will Pentel release a 0.5 version for Vicuna.