"I see that you are a fan of uni-ball pens and thought you may be interested to know that this tax season, uni-ball has partnered with the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) and identity and security theft expert Robert Siciliano to raise awareness about identity theft and uni-ball’s specially formulated ink. Uni-Super Ink is a specially formulated ink that won’t wash out and protects against check washing. And because tax time is a key period when there is a spike in identity theft given the large amount of sensitive documents and information in circulation, an affordable solution, such as a $2 pen can help." The rep. also offered to send me some samples of some uni-ball pens with the super ink technology for consideration of doing a review of said pens.
Naturally I agreed to spread the word and to do a review of some uni-ball pens. A short time later a package arrived from Weber Shandwick with some uni-ball pens inside. Among them was a carded pack of 4 uni-ball Vision Elite Bold 0.8 mm Rollerballs in four colors, Red, Green, Blue and Violet. I wasted no time in opening the pack and having a look-see as I had never seen a uni-ball Vision Elite before. I was in unknown territory, wadding in uncharted waters, peering into the depths of the unknown... OK, enough melodrama!
When I got one of the pens into my hot little hands and removed the cap I noticed right away the textured grip. Unlike the plain clear plastic grip of the Vision Micro, the clear plastic grip of the Vision Elite is textured in a large diamond pattern. This gives the fingers a little something extra to hold onto besides the non-slip plastic. I found the grip a delight and kept running my fingers over it as I examined one of the pens. It also adds a bit of visual interest to the pen as well.
I also noticed that while neither the packaging nor the Sanford uniball web site mentions anything about the Vision Elite being refillable the entire business part of the pen, the tip, grip and ink supply are all one piece but unscrew from the body proper. I find that generally this means that for just a shade less than the cost of a new pen, a refill is available. I did not do a thorough web search for refills though. While having the pen apart I had a good look at the ink supply. It seems to be quite generous and the ink looked
to be rich and opaque, always a good sign.
I also took a gander at the pen's tip, a 0.8 mm ball in a conical shaped tip. A bit wide for my taste but it seems that I'm in the minority when it comes to favoring fine and ultra fine tipped pens. However the Vision Elite also comes in a 0.5 mm version that I would like to try out one day.
While the set I was sent had the four afore mentioned colors the Vision Elite also comes in Black, Orange, Pink and Blue/Black. Not a bad starter set of colors I do say.
According to the packaging the ink in the Vision Elite:
- Won't leak in flight
- Helps prevent check washing
- Fade- and water - resistant ink
So just how does the Vision Elite perform? I thought that you'd never ask! I did my standard test for ink pens. Using an Ampad "efficiency" ruled note pad I first wrote a line of text. That was followed by a short line for the water resistance test. That was followed by the bleed through test which consists of me holding the pen tip to the paper for 10 seconds using writing pressure.
The Vision Elite writes with a smoothness only available from liquid ink pens, aka, rollerballs. According to uni-ball this is due to the thinness of the ink used in rollerballs, about the consistency of milk. The thinner the ink and the wider the ball, the smoother the writing experience. But since the ball is only 0.1 mm larger than a o.7 mm ball, such as is on the uni-ball Signo 207, I did not find a perceptible difference between the 2 different ball sizes when it came to how smooth they write. I guess a silly little millimeter is just not enough increase in size to be noticed tactility. However, the Vision Elite is a smooth writing pen.
However visually I am able to detect a noticeable difference in the line width between the Bold 0.8 mm Vision Elite and the Fine 0.7 mm Signo 207 (hey, what happened to medium?). The 207 lays down a slightly thinner line, but not by much. I noticed that the ink in the Vision Elite does not dry as quickly as some other liquid ink pens. This could be because of the ink formula or because of the 0.8 mm tip laying down so much ink.
The water test consists of me putting a single drop of water on each ink line, using a cotton swab, and waiting for it to dry. Once dry I check to see if the ink has bleed, or feathered, when subjected to water. In the case of the Vision Elite the ink did not feather at all. This is primarily due to the fact that the ink is pigmented.
The bleed through test was a bit more telling. Despite having to run the Blue pen through it twice, to make sure that I used the same pressure on all four pens, my results are conclusive. All four colors bled through to the next page when the tip was held to the paper under normal writing pressure, mine that is, not yours! But when the tip of the pen was rested ever so lightly upon the paper's surface a barley perceptible dot is made. So it appears that the ink needs to be in relatively strong contact with the paper in order to leave a mark. Is this a good or bad thing? I guess it all depends on your point of view.
The Vision Elite feels comfortable in my hand, especially unposted as the pen is top heavy when posted. As mentioned earlier it writes very smooth and it's free flowing, an easy writer. It makes big bold lines, easy enough for this old geezer to see with his aging eyes. The pen is quite attractive, the bright colors contrasting nicely with the white and silver gray colors of the barrel and cap. The chrome metal pocket clip adds a nice visual touch as well.
The cap snaps in place with quite the audible "snap" and presses on snugly, almost with a snap, when posting the cap. But as mentioned earlier I find writing with the Vision Elite more comfortable when the pen is unposted, something I don't normally advocate.
All in all, the Mitsubishi uni-ball Vision Elite is a nice pen delivering quality at an affordable price. Plus it comes in 7 colors plus black. So if you are interested in a bold tipped pen that not only is a pleasure to use but will also help protect you from identity theft and check fraud then get yourself a uni-ball Vision Elite or two, or four, awe heck, get all eight!