It has been a while since my last non-fountain pen review so let’s take a look at the Pilot s20 deep red ballpoint I picked up from JetPens. These days it takes a little bigger price point and built quality to get me excited enough to write a review of a non-fountain pen and while this pen won’t take my top spot on a non-fountain pen list, it will warrant a review.
Let’s start off with a disclaimer, JetPens lists this pen as a ballpoint. My experience tells me this really isn’t a true ballpoint but rather a hybrid refill. The refill looks very much like a gel refill. Pull out a Pilot G2 refill and compare, you will see that they look identical other than the shape and size. However it is listed as .07mm tip size and if it were it writes much too fine to be a gel .07mm. One of the main differences between gel and ballpoint is pressure sensitive a gel is not. This seems to be in the middle. It is somewhat pressure sensitive but not as much as I expect in a 100% ballpoint.
But while a little different than what I expected I don’t mind I still love hybrids like the widely available Pilot Acroball to which performance is comparable and still very nice. But let’s take a look at the outside. The body is why I splurged $33 USD on this pen. It has a wood body that comes in two basic colors, a deep red (like what I got) and a brown. The length is typical of a generic Bic stick with some added diameter around the fattest part of the barrel. The center band sports the text “S20” and “JAPAN”. The clip is nothing fancy but has good tension and says “PILOT”. The pen doesn’t have any extreme or even moderate weight to it, really very similar to your average plastic pen.
The shape however is a little more unique. The grip section has the most subtle concave shape while the back of the pen just tapers from largest section around the middle to a diameter smaller than even is at the grip. This gives the pen comfort and style as the taper at the back which I have to assume would counter the weight added by the click mechanism and clip making it very balanced. The concave grip section is very comfortable in the hand unless you just have to have very large diameter grip sections. The Wood not only gives it style but allows just enough texture that you can easily hold it without needing to texture the barrel like many metal pens do.
It doesn’t feel as solid in the click mechanism as some other pens like the Twsbi Precision or Fisher Space Pen AG7 but mainly I think the difference is this mechanism just clicks at higher pitch making it seem lighter built. But this by far is nit picking and it is a very solid pen. I am glad I finally took a chance on it.
Between the looks, shape and writing performance of this pen it is not a purchase I regret. I am really enjoying it and can see it being up there in some of my top rotations of pens I carry to work (though I do cary too many). While not a fountain pen this is one that is going to be tough to leave behind at home. But only time will tell where it finally lands in the list.
Like wood ballpoints? Check out the Uni Pure Malt ballpoint.