Shoplet and Bic sent a nice package of stationery along, and I was giddy like my toddler when Thomas the Train is sighted. I know that Bic gets little-to-no respect in the Stationery Blogger World, but they make my favorite pen, and most of the products from them that I have tried have performed as well as can be expected, if not better. I suspect that two things are at work in the No-Respect-For-Bic-Phenomenon:
1) Bic makes a lot of ballpoint pens.
2) A lot of folks hate ballpoint pens.
I enjoy a good ballpoint pen myself. I learned to write with pencils and with the PaperMate Write Bros. in the 1980s. My handwriting often looks better with the resistance of a ballpoint pen. Plus, these tools gave me a great callous I have never quite gotten rid of. It’s a good place to store space stick pins.
The Bic Atlantis has been around for a while. We had a few packs in our house over the last decade. I usually thought: meh. The writing was Okay, and the pen was reasonably comfortable to hold. But it not a pretty pen.
Enter the new designs I saw around back-to-school season this year. The Comfort features smooth ink, to rival newer formulations from other manufacturers. The Exact sports a needle tip, not something we generally find in the United States on our ballpoint pens. The barrels are mostly cylindrical, save for the area around the clip, where the pen gets slightly wider, to accommodate for the click mechanism, I assume. There is a pleasantly heavy metal cone at the business end of the pen, and the plastic body is covered in a grippy material. It is firm and not too tacky; so it neither squishes, not collects dust.
The clip is plastic and extremely tight. It feels like it would take considerable effort to break it, but it’s tight enough to make removing it from a shirt pocket a little more difficult than it ought to be. On the other hand, if you like a tight clip so that your pen will definitely not fall out of your pocket on its own, this might be right up your alley.
The click mechanism feels solid, and I like the touch of the clear plastic. No complaints here.
The insides are where these two pens differ. The Comfort is a medium pen, while the Exact is fine, even perhaps ultra-fine.
The Comfort pens that Bic sent are black. The ink is dark, much darker than we usually find from Bic. It flows smoothly, though I don’t feel like I am losing control of this pen, as I experience with the Jetstream. Neither does the tip constantly need wiping, like the Inkjoy 700. This is a nice pen, one that would surprise a lot of people when they see the brand.
Bic sent the Exact in blue. The ink is akin to the recent Bic Cristal pens in color. It’s a bright blue, with nice contrast. The laydown is smooth for such a narrow point. To be sure, this is a needle-tipped pen. I have been having fun drawing with this pen in my pocket notebooks. One cannot get quite the line variation with this pen that one can get with a regular ballpoint pen, but that is because the ink comes out very darkly with minimal effort (and the same is true of the Comfort).
I hope that the arrival of this pen could signal that Bic might bring some other fine point pens to the United States. I own only two or three Cristal pens in fine that I bought on eBay, and they are fantastic writers. I would be a very happy little blogger if they brought the Cristal fine to the States.
These new Atlantis variations are great pens and are easy to find to boot. If you like a smooth ballpoint pen that doesn’t smear or take control of your hand, these are the pens for you — doubly so if you are looking for some needle-point action.