“ Brand: Uniball / Misc House Type: Pencil „
I am something of a stationery addict, so I first saw the Uniball Clipturn pen when browsing my favourite aisles of WHSmith. At around £8 it was slightly out of my budget (usually 20p!) but I decided to treat myself - and am thoroughly glad that I did.
The pen itself is slightly longer than a normal biro, as well as wider to accommodate all the gadgetry inside! It therefore takes a bit of getting used to, but the comfy rubber grip ensures that it's not too cumbersome to write with.
Around halfway down the pen is a split which allows you to turn to any of the Clipturn's 3 functions - black ink, red ink, or 0.5mm mechanical graphite pencil. The function is indicated by a red pointer on the second part of the rubber grip. When the pen is not in use, the pointer can be left between 2 functions to keep the ink or lead retracted.
Above the selector is the eponymous 360 degree rotating clip of the pen. Although this is what the pen is named after, it hasn't proved all that useful to me - except as something to fiddle with when bored! As well as being able to rotate, the pen's clip can be secured onto a pocket (or anything else, in fact, as long as it's not too thick) by clicking down a little red lever. Beside the clip is also a small arch, allowing the pen to be attached to a lanyard, string, chain or piece of floss if desired.
At the very end of the pen is a coordinating silver cap, which can be removed to reveal a useful eraser. If you make as many mistakes as I do, though, you'll find that it runs out quite quickly - and I still haven't been able to find a suitable refill!
Now as for the actual core function of the pen - writing! - I find the Clipturn a joy. The black and red ballpoints give a pleasingly smooth line, quite thin and precise, with no gaps or faded areas. I have been able to take this pen into exams with confidence, knowing that I won't need a backpack of back-ups, because so far I have never experienced a discontinuous line!
It's also fantastic to be able to carry a single writing implement around, without needing a separate pencil and eraser for rough notes and diagrams.
There is a downside to this pen though - if you love it as much as I do, you're going to use it all the time, but what happens when it runs out? For the pencil, this isn't a problem, as 0.5mm graphite lead can be purchased in any stationery outlet relatively cheaply. For the ink, though, I had to search in vain, and could not find a single high street stockist for the black or red ink refills - and there were no suitable alternatives either. Worry not, for refills can be purchased online! When I emailed Uniball to ask them where, they recommended www.cultpens.com, although there are also other stockist. The refills cost around 50p-£1.
SOME FRIENDLY ADVICE
Take good care of this pen - it deserves it! :)
It's a good idea to order a few refills in advance, so you're not frustrated when it runs out. The time taken for it to run out depends on how much you write with it - I was able to get a good few months out of the black ink, even though I was intensively rewriting lecture notes. I have not yet run out the red ink.
Open the pen up by unscrewing the lower half - this allows you to check the ink levels and refill. Be careful when replacing the ink - sticking it in with Blu-tac is a VERY bad idea!!
Finally, make sure you always keep a watchful eye on your pen; if anyone borrows it - they might just keep it!
Premium ballpoint pen.