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When most people think of a high quality, top end pen, they think of Parker pens. I did too, until I had my first. I wanted a good pen for use in exams so I was bought this pen for Christmas last year. I tested it out and it seemed very nice: The build quality initially was excellent, I could not fault it, the weight of it just enhanced the feeling of quality and you certainly did not feel like they had "cheaped out" on anything during manufacture. The ink coverage was amazing, not too much ink as to soak the paper and not so little as to make the lines faint. Even the pocket clip, which I have a tendency of breaking off, was very high quality and, surprising, after a year it is still attached. However, I find it very uncomfortable to write with for long periods of time i.e. exams. After about half an hour of continuous writing, my finger hurt due to no padding whatsoever on the pen and the fact that I have to grip especially hard due to the pen being completely smooth and nothing to increase friction with my finger to prevent my hand slipping. The sweat on my hands during the pressure of exams makes the situation far worse too. I have found that the substantial extra weight of this pen over other pens adds to the noise when writing, during a near silent exams hall I feel very self-conscious about writing when using this pen because of it. The refills for these pens are surprisingly cheaper than I expected at only a couple of pounds for a pack - I was expecting it to be more expensive but when you consider that you can usually buy a PACK of decent pens for this amount, it does seem a little dear.
When I was about 14 my parents bought me a Parker Vector Set for Christmas, which included a ballpoint pen, fountain pen and propelling pencil. I still have and use three 20 years later - the Vectors are pretty durable items! At school we had to use fountain pens so my Vector ballpoint got little use, apart from when I used the magic correction pens which dissolved the washable fountain ink and I would write over the top in the ballpoint pen. Since leaving school the ballpoint pen has had much more use and I have had to buy a refill cartridge at least twice. One cartridge does however last a very long time, probably around 4 years, although I'm not doing a huge amount of writing these days as everything has become electronic. The pens come a variety of colours, I have seen black and navy blue ones as well as multicoloured ones which come and go as fashion trends. My Vector set is burgundy and I quite like this colour. The pen itself has the lighter washable blue colour cartridge in, which is the colour I prefer to write with, although it is possible to buy black and darker blue versions as replacements. The pen is a cap up/down, ie. press the end of the pen and the nib goes in/out. The pen is made from moulded plastic and screws open above the stainless grip which is where the refill can be replaced. The area around the nib, the clip and button for pushing the nib in and out are also stainless steel. The pen writes very smoothly and I find I can write neatly using this pen. I think the pen looks quite stylish and professional and would be a nice gift for someone to take to work. I have no idea how much my Vector set was, but having a quick look online the ballpoint alone can be bought for around £10. I seem to remember paying around £3 for the last refill, which is actually quite a lot considering the cost of the pen new, however I like this pen for sentimental reasons plus I am used to it and it writes very well. For durability and length of service this pen has to get 5/5 from me.
For many thesedays, actually writing something rather than typing can be something of a rare occurrence and I can't imagine that sales of ball point pens will not have suffered in the last decade as a consequence. As will be the case with many writers and many reading this review, I have a huge number of pens of various sorts and brands from the very cheap hotel giveaways to the really rather nice expensive pens that are just too nice for everyday use. In short, I never throw any pens or pencils out and they are all over the place! My better pens are in the desk drawer and I do give them an occasional outing. I have a couple of Parker Vector pens - one with a black barrel and one with a blue. Each of them has a brushed steel finish at the finger end. The black one I found in a car park and it's a bit bashed, but still works; the blue one was a present many years ago. What I like about Parker Pens: * They are really reliable at getting ink out of them first time, unlike so many cheap pens * They look so slim, sleek and stylish and don't go in for anything too fancy. * The clips are strong; I have never broken one * The refills last a decent length of time and don't leak * The brand is one of the best around; I like its longevity and the reputation for quality What I don't always appreciate: * The cost of the refills * The initial purchase price can be high - worth shopping around I do believe that everyone's handwriting is improved through using a good quality pen and, although you can pay an awful lot of money for a quality pen, the cost of these is still within reach of the common man. I suspect many are bought as presents. Sadly, I suspect there are a huge number languishing in desk drawers, never getting used. Such a shame! If you believe it is important to write well, this pen and a pack of refills would be a good investment for your children or grandchildren. They are still available after being around for many a year and although there can be quite wide variations in price at retail outlets, eBay is a good place to hunt, especially for sets, incorporating a fountain pen or a pencil, with a matching case..... in some cases, less than a tenner which I think is excellent value.
Recently I have been racking my wee pea brain for ideas for other peoples Christmas presents. I was particulary stuck on what to buy my step-father as he is a notoriously difficult man to buy for. I was writing out a shopping list though the other day with my Parker pen that I use all the time and thought bingo...I'll get him one of these for work! I have used Parker pens for years now. When I was at school my mother always bought me them and I never realised why until I grew up and now look back! Sleek in style the pen is standard sized made from silver metal and then the main of the pen is a colour and in plastic. The top pushes to reveal the pen point roller and down one side of it there is always a silver thin strip which you can clip on to your clothing rally securely. The pens are lightweight, look smart and come in a variety of colours. Refills are easily bought for a couple of quid either online in places such as Amazon, Ebay and in shops on the high street such as Whsmith and what is great about them is that the refills last absolutely ages (even if they are used often) and always once you put pen to paper smoothly write and never clog up. For me a Parker pen is simply quality. In either black or blue refills these particualar pens comes either on a carboard backing or in a plastic case and these are the rather basic looking pens out of the large range of Parkers that are available. Expect to pay about £5 a pen and as I have previously mentioned in a variety of colours too. You really can't go wrong with a Parker in my opinion! This review is also posted on Ciao under this same username.