Review: Tul RB1 Rollerball Pen, Needlepoint, Black Ink
I like pens, and I’ve meant to review one for some time now. I’ve just been trying to figure out which one. It should be a good one; no need to complain first thing. It shouldn’t be one everyone already likes; no need for more Pilot G2 praise. And it should be cheap, so I don’t seem like a spendthrift.
I settled on the Tul RB1. Tul is the store brand for Office Max/Office Depot, and they make good stuff. Their pens are unique, but they remind me most of Pentels and Uni-balls. They have a clean design that I find really refreshing in a Bic-influenced age of unnecessary sweep and grooving. The RB1 is probably my favorite of them.
What I like
The RB1 is probably the best-looking pen I’ve seen in a regular office supply store. The body of it is made entirely of clear plastic; the Tul logo and silver color are printed on the refill. This gives the whole thing a space-age look.
The nib is “needlepoint”, that is, it is very fine and has had the excess metal around the channel to the ball cut off. This makes for very precise writing. The ink flows well from it; many needlepoints are so fine that they cut into the paper, which clogs the flow of the ink. The RB1 is just bold enough to prevent this.
The ink itself is very thin and very black. It’s not the thick, grey stuff too many pen makers think black ink should be.
What I don’t like
The ink does bleed a bit. I write mostly on office copy paper, and I’ve noticed some feathering of the lines and even some bleedthrough to sheets underneath. This isn’t a huge issue, but it could be if I were to use the pen for anything important.
How I use it
This pen is great for writing, but I’ve found myself using it most for a particular purpose: working out math. The RB1 is just perfect for this. The precision nib is great at forming symbols, the ink is very clear for reading over equations for errors, and it writes fast without being sloppy. I know most people use pencils for arithmetic, but I can’t imagine using anything else.
A good pen for informal or scrap work. Not best for formal work. Good Design.