March 17, 2008

Review: Pilot FriXion Erasable Gel Ink Pen


I was very anxious to try out the Pilot FriXion, not because I thought it was going to be an awesome pen, but that I haven't used an erasable pen of any kind since I was in high school. (and there will be no mention of how long ago that was!) This pen is interesting to say the least - let's look at the pros and cons:

Pros:
- Great feel and design. This pen is very cool looking, and one of the better balanced pens in my hand. It is the right size, right diameter, and has a nice rubber grip.
- Good ink flow. I hate a pen that I have to stop and start writing with, or that leaves inconsistent width lines. No trouble from from this pen.

Cons:
- Ink color. Right out of the gate I didn't like it. The blue is too pale, almost as if it was a watercolor type ink. I only bought the blue pen, so I can't speak to the other colors.
- Eraser location. Completely annoying. I shouldn't have to remove the cap from the pen to get to the eraser. The cap looks like it could fit the eraser perfectly, so I'm not sure why it wasn't put there.
- The eraser itself. The main gimmick of this pen is barely passable. Maybe useful as a novelty, but not good enough for any length of time. It took to much effort to not erase completely, even causing me to dent the paper, which you can see in the image above.

Overall, I was pretty disappointed in this pen. I'll get some use out of it for fun, but that is about it.

I noticed over the weekend that the Super Limited Edition Blog had almost the exact same experience.

15 comments:

N (superlimitededitionblog) said...

With a very heavy heart, I am forced to say: "This pen sucks."

TapTap said...

I cannot totally agree on this one. Ok for the rather pale color, ok for the oddly placed eraser, but the erasing feature does work like magic with most papers : very easy and no trace left. However, I have read that some textured paper could make the erasing harder. The real downside of this pen : a ridiculous amount of ink.

Violet Dragon said...

I think the eraser works on the idea of the friction of the rubber rubbing against the paper causes heat, making the ink disappear. You might want to try rubbing over the ink faster rather than harder to get rid of more of the ink.

Most erasables leave dark smudgy bits, making it obvious something else was there or at least making the paper look dirty. What I've seen of the frixion, it doesn't really do that, giving it an advantage over most erasables.

dowdyism said...

Thanks so much for the suggestions. I do think it is a combination of the textured paper and how hard I was erasing. I'll certainly keep trying!

Nelson U said...

Nice blog!

I've found that a regular soft eraser (like the Staedtler Mars plastic ones) works just fine with the ink from these Frixion pens, although a little more rubbing is needed. The upside to using these erasers is that they don't leave dent marks in the paper.

Doing math in pen just got a little more enjoyable...

dowdyism said...

Good idea about the eraser - I'll give it a shot.

Willow said...

Just an FYI, The Frixion pen does come in a *light blue* colour which seems to be the one you were using, rather than the regular blue :)

I like this pen -- although the eraser placement is awkward and the ink is a bit thin. It's a great fun pen to sketch with or to write drafts. Comes in many colors: blue, light blue, black, red, orange, pink, violet, green.

dowdyism said...

Nah - it was the regular blue. The light blue barrel looks like this FriXion Light Blue, and mine is definitely the regular.

I have ordered two new erasable gel ink pens, so keep an eye out for those and I'll see how they compare to the FriXion.

Sonya said...

I've had great luck when using my FriXion pen. I also suggest less pressure when erasing.

On another note I am so happy I found your blog. I'm Certified Pen Crazy and I will definately read your posts!

dowdyism said...

Glad you found it Sonya!

Alicia said...

Actually, I love this pen! I like everything about it. The ink colors are perfect - I bought the blue and black. I like how soft the blue and black look on paper. Erasing has been no problem - nothing like erasable pens from back in the day. I haven't experienced ripping or denting from erasing. I do agree that the eraser should be on the cap. It's annoying to have to take the cap off to erase. Nevertheless, I am doing a google search to find out where I can buy the other colors in my area.

I like the idea of "The Pen Addict." I am a huge pen addict!!

Jeremy Brown said...

I just got the black ink version and I love it. It does take a bit more erasing than a pencil, but I find i can remove all traces of ink without damaging the paper. I guess it might depend on the type of paper. I have a theory re: the eraser placement. There's a federal law requiring pen caps to be vented in case a child gets one stuck in his throat, so that might have made it impossible to market this pen with an eraser in the cap.

But I've figured out a Frixion hack! It turns out that the cap has an insert that you can remove with a pair of long-nosed pliers. And You can also remove the eraser with a hard tug using the same pliers. The problem here is that the bottom end of the eraser doubles as a stopper to seal the refill. But if you sacrifice one pen (preferably a used up one) then you can hack a pen with two erasers: one in the cap, the other in the original place! Because, to my utter delight, the eraser fits snugly in the hole left after removing the insert from the cap. you do have to modify the eraser by cutting off the now useless bottom end (I cut mine down to about half length) otherwise it'll crash into the pen point when you place the cap back on. Am I a hero or what?

dowdyism said...

Wow - that is a great find Jeremy! I'll post that info on the main page this week sometime.

pixxienix said...

Hi, just wanna ask: has anyone encountered problems with this pen?? I haven't really used my pens much but both the purple and black inks are out! All I can 'write' are invisible inks. I'd like some opinions please, before I chuck these out. And they're not exactly cheap either :-/

GTMaGee said...

I'm so glad I found your site! I really do like this pen. I teach from a document camera, so a pencil often isn't dark enough, but I'm prone to occasional mistakes so I use a pen. This pen lets me erase those embarrassing mistakes and not make such a mess of the page. I also like using a pencil for calendar entries, but they tend to smear ... This pen works well for that too.

As a chemist, I agree - erasing faster (rather than harder) will generate more heat. I haven't had any problem on the types of paper I've tried so far.

I tried explaining my delight with pen and all the reasons for that delight to my husband, who remarked, "You need a hobby."