* Prices may differ from that shown
As you will all be aware, I am a total stationery fan. Borderline eccentric stationery hoarder etc., So, when I saw Poundland were selling mixed packs of six different BIC pens for £1 for a while last Summer, I bought a few packs- not because I needed any more pens, but because I like pens! I was not previously aware of the BIC Z4 rollerball pen- and as I tested out each pen in the pack, I did put this one to one side immediately as I liked the feel of the pen. What you get is a fine nibbed ink rollerball pen with am 0.5mm nib (very fine). The pen itself has a lid that stays securely on the end of the pen when you are writing with it and clicks onto the pen when you are not using the pen. There is a sort rubber grip on the top third of the pen that caters for all the different people who hold pens differently when they write and will reduce you getting callouses on your hand if you write a lot (my hands are beyond repair from years and years of writing lots and lots!). This makes the pen very comfortable to write with for long periods of time. I would really recommend tracking these pens down to use as they are now one of my favourite pens. They are very smooth and give a very fine line- so they would also be good for drawing with as the comfy grip means you can hold them for long periods without your hands hurting. The ink is smooth and doesn't run out mid-line as can happen with gel pens. The ink is fine enough to make your writing clear even for those people with super tiny handwriting and these pens last for AGES (this is coming from someone who will run out a BIC biro in 2 days)- so definitely value for money. I have run my BIC Z4 out now - I particularly like that the barrel of the pen is see through so you know exactly how much ink is left in the pen. These pens can be found online - eBay are selling two for £3.20; but they are worth looking out for in The Works or Poundland who regularly have random packs of brand name pens for a low price. If you write a lot and need pens that are comfortable to write with, do not bleed or smudge and last for ages, and like fine writing - then I would say look out for these!
With exams looming, my equipment choice becomes increasingly important to get me to the end of that 3 hour exam. Almost every ball point pen I have taken to the paper in the past has caused much dissatisfaction. A common problem with them was the inconsistency of the lines. Lines were never solid and I was left with the paper being pushed through slightly causing an unevenness on the other side. Sometimes they'd also present more ink in the tube than would actually get onto the paper in the long run. I was given a pack of the Bic Z4 rollerball pens for my exams a couple of years ago and have used the same pen each year for the following exams. --A look at the pen-- There is a hefty price tag on these pens. £3 roughly for a pack of 2, or you can buy a pack of 12 for a slightly better deal. They are black ink writing pens with the size of regular ball point pens yet are thicker causing a small increase in weight. The pen has a sturdy pen lid that I can't even imagine snapping by accident. In fact, It'd be very difficult to damage it on purpose. The lid comes off with a little force but enough to keep it on the pen and can be slid onto the rear on the pen whilst writing. The black oval shape on the pen looks like a design. Yet, after a good deal of use you will notice it is in fact a window to the remaining ink which is great to know just when you need to replace the pen. The rubber grip can be slipped off with some effort if that is something you feel the need to do. These pens do not stand on their base due to their rounded bottoms, trust me, I've tried. Overall the pen looks quite attractive for a writing instrument and it has been noticed that I seem to use the same pen all the time. -- Using the pen-- This is the true test of the pen. The first thing you'll do is test its comfort on your fingers. Although I can admit to saying there are more comfortable pens out there, this one tends to be above average allowing me to write for extended periods of time. Taking a gentle slash at the test paper presents a nice crisp looking solid black line. It is the type of pen with rather runny ink that flows right out of the nib creating elegant lines. Although do be warned, if you happen to be testing on cheap paper then you may find that the nice line of ink begins to branch out as it tries to dry into it. Running your hand across this will cause an unsightly smudge. Turning the paper over will leave you horrified. The other side is not in a state you can write on. With an expensive pen, you need high quality paper to match. Perhaps a Pukka Pad is in order (See my Pukka Pad review). WARNING: During testing of this product you must agree that in any circumstances that your clothes touch the ink, that you fully understood the risks outlined in this review! And that I will not be taking blame. Yes this ink is dangerous. It does not seem to come out of white clothes. Instead, the blue of the ink fades over a few washes and you are left with a dull brown colour which does seem to branch a little. I try not to use these too often in class since I've had too many occasions where I've dropped it onto my white shirt resulting in an unmerciful stain. I mysteriously get the ink all over my fingers at times also. A plus for the ink though, it lasts a very long time. Weeks and weeks of use. Be careful with the nibs though, if you put too much pressure on it i.e. stabbing a jotter with it, then it may collapse in on itself rendering it useless. If you happen to leave the lid off for long enough I'm sure it also blocks the ink getting to the rollerball since this happened to 2 of my pens. Again, become useless. The ink cannot be refilled and the pen can not be taken apart. Aside from a few negative points, the pen writes very well on good paper. I tend to write neater with this style of pen and it allows me to apply less pressure than you would need to on a regular pen. It gets 5 stars for writing quality, but certain points sadly take it down to 4.