Soft Landing: Uni Jetstream Alpha Gel Grip Ballpoint

Thank you to JetPens for supplying this Uni Jetstream Alpha Gel Ballpoint pen for review. I was not compensated monetarily or in any other way. I am allowed to keep the pen. This review reflects my personal observations and experiences with the pen.

(Click on any image for a larger view.)


Uni Jetstream Alpha Gel

I probably told this story before— how years ago I picked up a pack of Jetstream Sport ballpoints from one of those office supply stores, ripped open the package in my car, scribbled on some scrap paper, and heard the angels sing. THIS was the ballpoint experience I’d been looking for my whole life.

This is not hyperbole.

In junior high, I’d squirrel away lunch money to buy pens from the school’s bookstore, always to be disappointed by the tepid performance of my purchase. I scouted the aisles at Woolworth’s for new and promising offerings. For awhile Papermate pens satisfied my desire for something that wrote better than the light streaky ink in the ubiquitous BIC line of pens. The quest continued throughout college and beyond, with only fair to middling results.

Uni Jetstream Alpha Gel

And then, decades later, I found the Uni Jetstream. Hallelujah.

Uni Jetstream ballpoint

The oil-based ink in the Jetstream line hits the ballpoint pen trifecta of darkness, smoothness, and solidness. In short, pure ballpoint joy. There’s no drag, and very little white space in your writing (really, none to the naked eye). The 0.7 mm tip glides across paper and lays down a wonderfully dark, tight line. There’s nothing remotely wimpy or washed about this ink. Other very good oil-based inks have since hit the market, but my heart belongs to the Jetstream. Because—you know— angels singing. You don’t easily forget that moment.

Uni Jetstream Alpha Gel Grip

So we’ve established that the ink in this Uni Jetstream Alpha Gel Grip ballpoint is superb, but here’s what make this particular model so special. Two words- GEL GRIP.

Holding this pen is like coming home and putting on your comfortable clothes— broken in jeans, your favorite sandals, a soft t-shirt. Clothes that make you say, “Ahhhhhh.” Clothes that soften the hard edges of your day. The addictively squishy grip on this Jetstream provides perfect comfort, as well as traction, for your fingers. It’ll make you wonder why all pens can’t be this comfortable.

Brushed metal body

The body is made of brushed metal—black in this case—which gives the pen a polished and classy look. The knock is solid with absolutely no wiggle, and there’s not a hint of rattle from the 0.7 mm refill. It’s a very solid, well-made pen. The clip—perfectly springy and tight—complements the matte look of the pen. There’s not one misstep here.


Jetstream branding and clip

One thing to note— the gel grip attracts dust and tiny fibers so the pristine look of that beloved grip doesn’t last long. BUT, there is a simple solution. I periodically clean the grip on my pen with a strip or two of scotch tape. Fast and simple. Works like a charm.

Uni Jetstream Alpha Gel

The world can be a hard place. Your pen doesn’t have to be. The Uni Jetstream Alpha Gel Grip ballpoint pen gives your fingers a soft landing while you experience the luxuriously smooth and dark Jetstream ink.

Yes— you, too, can hear the angels sing.


The Uni Jetstream Alpha Gel Grip ballpoint is available at JetPens for $16.50. Along with the black body/black grip version reviewed here, the pen is also available with a pink or silver body. Both of those versions feature white grips. Refills are available in black, blue, and red for $1.55. JetPens offers free shipping for all orders over $25.

Cool (and maybe free) stuff!

I find it hard to resist pen projects on Kickstarter, and have had generally very good experiences. Even though I’ve built up quite the supply of “Kickstarted” writing utensils, a couple of recent projects caught my eye AND my pledge. The project creators haven’t asked for a plug—I just wanted to share some cool stuff and a couple of giveaway opportunities.

Uncapped InTuition
Previously backed InTuition Pen/Stylus

I wrote about the InTuition Pen/Stylus back in February, and continue to enjoy the look, feel, and performance of that pen. Now I see that Tom of e4 Labs has launched a companion project—the InTuition Pencil. More carbon fiber, more goodness. What I like about this project is that there are only a couple of backing tiers, one at $39 for one pencil (0.5, 0.7, or 0.9 mm lead size) and $110 for all three lead sizes. Only 300 rewards are available (now down to 224, at the time of this writing) for the single pencil while just 50 rewards (currently down to 43) are available for the trio of pencils. By capping the number of rewards at each level, Tom won’t suddenly be faced with an avalanche of orders that make his proposed timeline impossible to meet. Tom delivered a great product the last time and I have no reason to believe that this pencil project will be any different. I’m already looking forward to my 0.7 mm version. The funding period ends January 4th, 2014, and the project is currently about 34% funded. Let’s make it happen!


Another Kickstarter project that made my eyes POP is the The Apollo Technical Pan and Drafting Scale by Pranay and Paul. Do I do any drafting? Heck no. Does that matter to me? Not at all. This thing is just so awesome looking that even my non-pen loving husband is excited. JetPens recently interviewed Pranay and Paul AND announced a JetPens/Apollo Pen giveaway contest. The grand prize is a JetPens themed Tri-Scale set with three pens, while one runner-up will receive a single Apollo pen.

Check out their interview HERE.

Enter the giveaway HERE. The contest ends December 12th.

This Kickstarter project has six more days to go, and is almost 400% funded, so this one is a definite go. Can’t wait.


The folks at Pen Chalet, a new-to-me online pen retailer, are currently running their own giveaway for  $50, $25, and $10 dollar gift certificates. Who couldn’t use a little help with holiday spending, right? I spent some time browsing their site the other night, while entering the contest, and like what I see selection-wise AND price-wise. Definitely worth a look and an entry. A winner will be drawn on December 15th. Fingers crossed!

Check out their contest HERE.


UPDATE: Here’s one more giveaway I JUST found— The FPGeeks are giving away a set of six Levenger inks and the True Writer Silver Anniversary Fountain Pen. What a sweet haul! Enter for those goodies HERE. This contest closes on January 6, 2014. Winning this would definitely make for a happy new year.


Have a great weekend! I plan to spend a little time with some friends, then hunker down with some pens. Bliss.

Moods & Options: Solid Titanium Pen + Stylus

Solid Titanium Pen + Stylus
Solid Titanium Pen + Stylus (or Ti, for short)

I regularly prowl Kickstarter for interesting pen projects, and try to get in as early as possible to get an Early Backer Reward. When I saw the write-up and introductory video for the Solid Titanium Pen + Stylus (clunky name, sweet pen) by Chadwick Parker & Joe Huang, a couple of details grabbed me right away. (I just accidentally typed “write away,” which, maybe, is what I SHOULD say.)

#1: Titanium. Titanium through and through- from tip to tail (as long as you don’t count the tip of the refill and the stylus end). I’ll be honest, I didn’t know a whole lot about titanium when I backed this project, but I knew that this pen would be strong and a bit hefty. Which it is. It sure is.

#2: Bead-blasted finishes. I love a matte finish on a pen, so seeing this pen offered in bead-blasted matte black and matte silver, as well as highly polished chrome (potentially too fingerprinty for me), drew me in a little deeper.

#3: “Most refill friendly pen ever!” Once I read that, I knew I was a goner. The number of refills that fit into this pen is as long as your arm (so to speak), and that was truly intriguing to me. I’m a bit of a fickle pen person, and my pen mood swings wildly from day to day, and sometimes, even within a day (or an hour). Knowing that I could swap in a bunch of my favorite refills (from Pilot’s Frixion, G2, and Hi-Tec-C Cavalier gel refills, to the hybrid ink Jetstream, and even a Montblanc Fineliner) meant that one pen body would last through my many pen mood swings.

#4: Bonus–> Stylus! I’m on some sort of iDevice a million times a day and having a great stylus sounded awesome, if only as a way to cut down on smudgy, fingerprinty screens. And if I could use it to draw and jot “handwritten” digital notes on my iPhone and iPad, all the better.

So I backed the project, and waited a few months while Chadwick & Joe updated us throughout the entire pen manufacturing process. Their dedication and unwillingness to settle for anything but a superior product became evident as they documented their progress and even fessed up to the occasional hiccup. The project was delayed a bit when they noticed that caps and bodies bead-blasted in different machines were not perfectly color-matched, which caused them to refine the process to correct the problem. “Good enough” is not good enough for this team.

So the pen arrived a little bit late, but who cares? The Solid Titanium Pen + Stylus delivers, which is all that matters.

The pen came loaded with a Pilot G2 0.5 mm refill, but I swapped in a Pilot Hi-Tec-C Cavalier 0.4 mm refill and wrote away. Then I decided I wanted to try a Pilot G2 0.38 mm refill, and that fits perfectly and writes great, too.

Ti G2 0.38 mm refill writing sample
Pilot G2 0.38 mm refill in use

The clip is sturdy (titanium, too!) and just flexible enough to clip the pen to your pocket. I’ve been doing this for weeks without an issue. The branding is super-subtle- just a a small, boxed Ti on the clip.

Ti clip
Ti clip and branding

Here’s a peak at the stylus, which, by the way, is the best stylus that I’ve used to date. Not too squooshy, not too stiff, and very responsive. I love the pen almost as much for the stylus end as I do for the pen end. Should you not WANT a stylus, the stylus can be replaced with a flat end cap, but really, why would you want to do that?!

Just right

Here are a couple of shots of the pen posted and unposted…

Posted pen


With the cap posted, the pen is WAY too long for me, so I always use it unposted. Not an issue for me, but something to keep in mind.

The “grip” area features three grooves, but quite honestly, I can’t really feel them when I hold the barrel. Personally, I don’t find the barrel to be slippery, but, again, something to consider.

Ti grip area
Ti’s grip

It’s getting late so let’s sum up…

Hefty! (38 g, when loaded with refill)
Excellent stylus
Choice of finishes…matte AND polished
Wide, wide range of compatible refills
Sturdy clip

Very long when posted
Ummm…nothing else, in my opinion.

Want one? Even though the Kickstarter campaign is over, they’re now available at bigidesign (as are the aluminum and pint-sized counterparts). This is not a sponsored post. Chadwick and Joe only know me as Backer # whatever. I’m just really impressed with this pen.

Finally a pen that has as many refill options as I have pen moods. And THAT’S saying something.

Win-Win: The Uniball Jetstream, Rubber Body Series (Orange, 0.7 mm)

I remember the day distinctly. The scene: 2004, Staples, pen aisle. I was doing my usual pen stalking, on the look-out for anything new, intriguing, interesting, promising. I stalk with a very critical eye as I learned long ago that you can’t trust the promises plastered on pen packaging. Just because the package yells, “SMOOTHEST PEN ON THE FACE OF THE EARTH,” doesn’t mean it’s true. How many times had I been sucked in by promises of dark smooth lines, only to be disappointed by “meh” performances? Too many times. Too many times. And yet, the stalking continued.

This day, on an aisle end cap, I stopped. Stopped dead, and thought, “Hmmmm…what’s this?!” Maybe I even said it out loud. “Ooooo…an Uniball Jetstream…worth a shot.” I think it was a pack of Jetstream Sports that I picked up that day. Back in my car, I tore open the package and scribbled a few lines on the receipt and on the back of the package. I IMMEDIATELY knew that this pen/ink was different. No more “meh.” The ink was smooth. It was bold. It was solid. It was the blackest black I’d seen in a long time (or ever). Angels with tiny harps sang HALLELUJAH in their perfect angels voices. (Didn’t they?) The quest- the decades-long quest- was over. You don’t forget that kind of day.

Since then, I’ve been a faithful Jetstream fan. I’ve purchased and used capped versions, retractable versions, and a bunch of multipen versions. The low viscosity ink is just amazingly smooth. I’ve never been without some form of Jetstream pen. Even as I branch out into other brands, other price points, and other ink types, the Jetstream remains a “go to” pen. Want a superb writing experience? Grab a Jetstream. It’s that simple.

Uniball Jetstream Rubber Body Series

This particular model is from the Rubber Body Series (0.7 mm, orange body), purchased from JetPens, and is a current favorite. The rubber body is smooth and warm, with just a bit of grip. I like the matte finish on the knock and the…ummmm, what’s it called?…the nosecone?

At work

At play

Monday morning

Relaxing on Saturday

At $4.25, it’s a great pen at a great deal. You simply can’t go wrong with a Jetstream. And you REALLY can’t go wrong with a rubber body ORANGE Jetstream.

Writing sample

Ah, yes…2004. It was a very good year.


AND NOW, YOU can WIN this pen! That’s right (write!)…I have a brand new orange Jetstream to give away. Here’s how it works:

1) Post a comment here (one per person, please). Say hi, offer an opinion, tell me why you’d like to win, tell me about your favorite pen(s)…

2) The deadline for commenting is 11:59 pm Sunday May 27th.

3) The first entry will be assigned #1, the 2nd will be assigned #2, etc. You get the drift.

4) On Monday May 28th, I’ll select the winner via a random number generator, and post the result here. We’ll sort out the mailing details after that.

5) Until I figure out what shipping pens internationally entails, this contest is open to US residents only. (Sorry about that!)

The best part? Even if you don’t win, you can pick up this awesome pen at JetPens yourself for less than the cost of a McDonald’s lunch. THAT’S a WIN-WIN situation.

Good luck.

Jetstream F*Series 2 Color 0.5 mm Ballpoint + 0.5 mm Pencil

Sooo…multipens. Addicted. Totally addicted. Which is kind of crazy given that having one multipen should be sufficient to meet all of one’s pen needs, right? In theory, yes. Problem is, once you try one multipen, you need to (okay, want to) try more. And more. And more. Until there are multiple multipens in your pen cup. And purse. And messenger bag.

Here’s one of my favorites…one that I recently re-discovered…the Jetstream F*Series 2 Color 0.5 mm Ballpoint + 0.5 mm Pencil (quite the name!). According to the description on the Jetpens website, the “F” stands for “feminine.” I don’t see this pen as being all that feminine, though I suppose the slim design, stripes, and little charm on the end could be considered more feminine than masculine. All I know is that I fell in love with the stripes and the fact that I could carry black ink, red ink, and a pencil in one pen body.


Because it’s a Jetstream, the 0.5mm line is sharp and crisp and the colors are true. Black is black and red is red. No wishy-washiness. Jetstreams, as a rule, do not disappoint. Simply twist the pen body forward or backward to rotate through the three options. My only beef with multipens is that I sometimes forget to check which point I’ve selected, and I wind up writing in red when I want to write in black, or vice-versa. But that’s not the pen’s fault, just user error. And age.

The pen tips are sharp, but smooth. Just perfect, especially if you prefer a fine line. There’s not even a HINT of scratchiness. Smoooooth.

And on the end…a tiny charm. Thus the F series, I guess.

A charming pen, no?!