Pentel RSVP Fine Point pens are sturdy and comfortable in the hand. They are one the ubiquitous ballpoint pens in the US, and they are a darling of the pen spinning and pen modding community. But are they any good to write or draw with? We take the Pentel R.S.V.P. Fine point (BK90) set of coloured ballpoint pens out for a test. With illustration, writing and shading tests under our belts, we see if these Pentel pens are something special or just okay. Watch the episode for more.
Reviewing Pentel RSVP Fine Point Pens
Vishal: Hello and welcome to Stationery Test Drive where every week we take ordinary tools and fancy tools and we try all of these out in artistic ways. I’m Vishal.
Minjal: This is Minjal.
Samir: I’m Samir.
Vishal: Yes and the Pentel RSVP! These are the Pentel RSVP ball pens. They say they’re fine, they’re got a nice rubberized hand-holdy, grippy thing and you can use them as pens. You have no idea how inconsistent this pen is.
Minjal: I was stuck with the blue and red, I believe they’re the worst of the set.
Vishal: No, no, no. It’s a thing, each of them has their own magical ability to put down lines when you don’t want them to put down lines and not put down lines when you want them to put down lines.
Why did we dislike this pen so much? Other than all the things that I said, where it’s just inconsistent and balling and you can’t get the line right. Why don’t we just get to our test drives? Minjal you show us what you’ve done.
Handwritten Quotation with Pentel RSVP 0.7 Fine Point Pens
Minjal: I have a thing or two to say about this pen. I tried doodling with them, I tried Zentangles, I tried filling in alphabet shapes. I struggled with this pen from the word go. Vishal has already mentioned all the problems, there was constant smudging, the lines are very inconsistent.
The pens, they’re they’re good to hold, so maybe full marks to Pentel for that but I think that’s where it stops.
Vishal: Yeah, full marks to the product engineering department for making an extremely handsome pen to actually hold in the hands but the problem happens once you actually try to put down a line.
And yes I can see all the same problems that we had and that we had to work around in ours, but I think this is still a fantastic example. It’s going to be kind of hard to look at the results we’ve got out of this and then say that it’s that bad a pen to use.
Samir: Because the thing you have to realize is that you can get decent work or good work out of pretty much anything once you push enough.
What we often review is not about what results we get but how much we have had to struggle or push to get those results.
Minjal: We’ve used and reviewed the BiCs recently, they’re fantastic.
Samir & Minjal: Reynolds was great.
Vishal & Samir: The Hauser 4 in 1 was excellent!
Vishal: Let’s talk about the cost of these because you can probably get 50 Hauser’s for the cost of one of these.
Minjal: I believe an individual pen sells at like $ 1.25 but these are not available in India. And I got the the set for around $7 dollars.
Vishal: That’s a steep ask for things that artistically at least don’t deliver.
Minjal: Right and I’m not really sure what I’m going to do with these pens honestly? They’re not good for writing. I struggled because I didn’t realize whether I should put a lot of pressure to get consistent lines or you know apply less pressure. They’re not fun to write with.
Illustration with Pentel RSVP 0.7 Fine Point Pens
Vishal: Nor are they particularly fun to draw with. Even though as I said, the results you get out of them look brilliant, I must say that the colors are strong. I don’t know if they’re good.
Let’s say in mine, I did try to layer a little here and there but other than the colors getting more vibrant, they don’t really deepen in terms of value.
This one, the purples especially are nice, the greens are a bit waxy and kind of minty and okay, the black pens are perfectly reasonable, they’re kind of gray. But yeah, I don’t know it’s hard to say, they they don’t deepen to a level where I would say okay this is great and they’re also not fun to use because they ball a lot where you don’t want them to. So yeah, not something I would get for precision work.
There are the BiCs, they’re so much better, the Reynolds are so much cheaper. This pen is really struggling to find a place, just like you I’m not sure what to do with this.
Illustration Art with Pentel RSVP 0.7 Fine Point Pens
Samir: I had pretty much the same issues. I tried to do something where I could illustrate but also do a lot of shading because I think those are good tests of ball pens.
Pros and Cons of Pentel RSVP 0.7 Fine Point Pens
Samir: Yeah, so the the problem I found, okay first let’s start with the positive. Because this pen has only one positive that I can think of which is that is really good at doing these subtle, light lines to fill up an area. I’m not saying that it’s as good as the BiC at it, but it’s pretty good at it and it has a fairly fine point when you try to do that.
Vishal: It lives up to the ‘Fine’ that’s written on the pen.
Samir: But unfortunately when you try to actually draw a line, it’s not good at that. I mean it’s a very similar issue to what Minjal is having here with just plain writing. The lines are just very inconsistent, you can see these simple curves that I’ve tried to make and I’ve messed that up more than I would with any other ball pen.
Vishal: Yeah, I mean we’re not expecting fine liner levels of precision from a ballpoint pen but we are expecting an elegant line which you can get in other things, especially the BiCs.
Samir: So it’s good at this very sort of flat, fine line shading. If you try to actually tone things and make things darker and lighter, it does not work. There’s just no consistent way of making sure that, okay if I go over it for 30 seconds more it will get darker consistently, no such thing.
It just kind of goes all over the place, so cross hatching with this not a great idea, outlining with this not a great idea because I can’t get a line that’s actually clean with it.
If I had to just cover a large portion with a very light line this is one of the better pens I’ve used to do that with, for sure. So, yes it’s been a very, very mixed bag when it comes to using this pen.
Minjal: Also, let’s face it, 90% of the people who use ballpoint pens, use it for writing. Now if this ballpoint pen is not even good at writing, what is the point of it?
Samir: And I think that’s the question we’ve been asking ourselves even off camera before we got to talking about it.
Vishal: Yeah, because we love Pentel. Pentel is a good company.
Samir: Yes, Pentel is one of our favorite companies even though we have not covered them extensively.
Minjal: We’ve tested the Pentel Graph 600 mechanical pencils.
Samir: Pentel has a long and great history of making excellent stationery. They started in the 1940s very much like Sakura, 20 years earlier, making crayons and oil pastels.
But very soon within a decade they had made the first Sign Pen. Pentel is the inventor of the fiber tip pen. They are even one of the pioneers in making what is called a Rollerball, so what became the gel pen. So a ballpoint pen but with a more water or die based ink. Pentel on its own is a great company, we love most of their products.
The reason we picked these up is because while we were looking around for trends that we could cover which are not in our local market, we came across these and they are supposed to be quite popular in the US.
So we thought let’s look at what is a normal, everyday ball pen in America and this is something that came up. The thing that kind of stands out to me about this is this feels like a Japanese car manufacturer trying to make an old Cadillac or an Oldsmobile.
A ball pen doesn’t need so much cladding and weight for this extremely thin refill. Yes, it’s kind of comfortable to hold but it it doesn’t feel like a Japanese pen this one. So I’m guessing that Pentel very much engineered this for the US market, in some ways and maybe it works for that region, just on a physical level.
Vishal: Like we said, top marks to the product engineering department in terms of the barrel. The actual pen is not something that I enjoyed using.
Samir: I assume this is a fairly standard size refill so it would be interesting to see what a good ball pen refill in this physical structure would be like.
Vishal: Yeah, I think there are people who do that. They find refills that are compatible, expensive refills or more performant refills and they just get a cheaper barrel and then put those in and then sort of have these weird hybrid pens.
Samir: I think Cross Pens probably sell many, many more refills than they have sold pens, because people do that.
Vishal: Okay! We should maybe try that at some point. And yes all of those things and more are going to be on Inky memo which is our website, where you can find transcripts of episodes and also there’s a newsletter with stories of history of stationery objects.
But yeah this is the Pentel RSVP we are not RSVP-ing to its party. But anything else that Pentel wants to do we are very game and we will be testing something like that out hopefully soon. And we hope that you will be there along with us to see those tests. Until then, I’m Vishal.
Minjal: This is Minjal.
Samir: I am Samir. And if you want to have a range of colors like this in a ball pen that’s actually good, you should look at our Hauser 4 in 1 pen video. We really love that one! And if you want to have a range of colors like this and even better colors in a much more classic ball pen look at our BiC video.