BIC just sent us an awesome display pack of 72 Cristal Stic Ballpoint Pens. That’s right, an entire display of the world’s premier writing instrument. At 1.25 miles of ink per pen, we’ve got more than 75 miles of awesome hand-written faxed memos. But with so many pens at our disposal, we decided to give them a workout as part of our popular product review series. Here’s what we found out.
Held in my right hand, the Cristal Stic felt perfect, its hexagonal and clear barrel well-suited for gripping and moving effortlessly under my control. Writing was a cinch, as it seemed orientated to move easily from left to right, even when executing more complex tasks like signatures, doodles, or redaction. And, as BIC advertises, it wrote the first time. No need to prime it on toilet paper before jotting a reminder on my hand.
Unfortunately, when I switched hands the Cristal Stic lost nearly all of its precision, flow, and control. My lines were squiggly, shaky and uneven, and often monstrously out of proportion. The pen felt awkward in my hands and—in all honesty—I felt once again that I was a retarded senior citizen. The experience was so different that I questioned whether I had picked up a defective pen from the batch of 72 that BIC had sent us. But, even after trying out six identical pens (all blue), they all performed the same when used in my left hand: terrible. Unusable. Disastrous. For that reason, we have downgraded the Cristal Stic from a 9 to a 2.3. My only hope is that BIC chooses to fix an obvious design flaw and works to produce a pen better designed for use in my left hand. Until then, it’s a pen to avoid, at least for writing.
The chewiness of the pen itself is a bit hard and somewhat disappointing. Though the plastic hexagonal barrel holds up well to gnawing, we noticed that little pieces of plastic may shear off and end up on your lap or even in your stomach. While the taste of these pieces is a tad acrid, they do go down fairly easy.
The chewiness of the cap, however, was nothing short of awesome. We swear BIC has dulcified the cap slightly more than in the past and it shows. It has a nice density to it—not too grainy and incredibly responsive. Rheologically, the BIC pen cap is a winner.
Breathing Underwater with My Head in an Office Aquarium
Since its introduction in 1950, the BIC pen has found many alternative uses, from picking Kryptonite locks to being used surgically in tracheotomies. It can also be used as an office weapon. For me, I tend to use it as an alternative breathing device and have successfully snorkeled with the pen in the drainage pond behind our office building. It also performs well in an office environment, specifically an office aquarium down the hall from us. Placed in my mouth and plunging my head into the aquarium, it worked well and stood up to the challenge, as I breathed easily while watching clown fish swim in and out of a small-scale pirate ship.
I still like the BIC ballpoint pen, though I now hesitate to recommend it until BIC fixes the pen’s lack of ambidextrous use. Until then, we’ll be snorkeling out back, shooting spitwads, and performing outpatient surgeries in the office instead of using it for more basic things like writing. But that’s OK.
Post image from Flickr.com user robertosena